People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 09

March 03, 2013


North-East Regional Jatha Flagged Off

Manik Sarkar flagging off the jatha in Guwahati

MANIK Sarkar, CPI(M) Polit bureau member and the chief minister of Tripura, flagged off one of the sub-jathas of the Sangarsh Sandesh Jatha from Guwahati on February 23 as a part of the CPI(M)’s countrywide campaign against price rise, unemployment and corruption, etc. Addressing a rally on this occasion, Manik Sarkar dealt at length with the issues of the jatha organised throughout the length and breadth of the country.


The North-East Jatha will merge with the Eastern Jatha in Kolkata on March 1.


Lambasting the policies of the Congress-led UPA government, Sarkar said, “The policies of the ruling classes have created a great divide between the rich and poor of the country, and 77 per cent of the Indians cannot spend even 20 rupees per day. There is escalation in the prices of essential commodities. Still, the government is refusing to universalise the public distribution system and supply 35 kg of rice and wheat at a maximum price of two rupees per kilo to each family.” He said that though a majority of the Indians are youth, more than 20 crore among them are educated unemployed. A significant number of people are illiterate and have no access to healthcare facilities. In the name of lack of funds, the government is making healthcare inaccessible to the common people by privatising the sector. On the other hand, there is rampant corruption and huge accumulation of black money in foreign banks. “Through this jatha, the CPI(M) will reach out to the common people in the country highlighting the failures of UPA government,” Sarkar said.


Pointing out that a majority of peasants in the country did not own lands, Sarkar said: “Land reform is one of the prime demands of this jatha. In fact, we have been raising the demand for land reforms since independence. In spite of the laws, successive governments at the centre and in many states failed to implement them. As a result a majority of the farmers live in utter misery.”


Sarkar said that even the president's recent address to both the houses of the parliament did not raise these problems of the common people of our country. On the issue of black money, Sarkar said the government was doing nothing except indulging in big talk. “If this money is brought back to the country, it would easily be able to fund welfare schemes for the poor,” he said.


Criticising the Congress for its lip sympathy for women's issues, Sarkar said that it has been using reservation for women in the parliament as only an election promise. “After it came to power at the centre, the Congress has given up pursuing the bill for reservation of seats for women. If the Congress is really serious it should have by now passed the bill. We the Left parties would support it,” he added.


Terming the recent 48-hour countrywide strike as an expression of resentment of the common people, Manik Sarkar urged for even mightier struggles against price rise, unemployment and corruption. “The recent general strike was a massive success because it had the support of the common people. Apart from the Left trade unions, even the INTUC and BMS too participated in the strike. This in itself reflects that a majority of the workers and other people are against the policies of the government.”


The public meeting was presided by veteran CPI(M) leader Hemen Das. The CPI(M)’s Assam state secretary Uddhab Barman and veteran leader Noorul Hooda also addressed the gathering. Before the jatha reached Sorbhog in Barpeta district, two gatherings were organised en route, at Rangia and Ghograpar. At the time of writing this report, the jatha had entered West Bengal. It was received with enthusiasm in Jalpaiguri and later a public reception was held in Siliguri which was addressed by central committee member Shyamal Chakraborthy.