THE Mahajana Padayatra, undertaken by the CPI(M) in Telangana with the objectives of social justice and all-round development, completed 100 days on January 24, covering 2,663 kms and touching about 1,000 villages. Led by CPI(M) state secretary Tammineni Veerabhadram, the padayatra received popular support from various sections of the people and leaders of political parties and mass organisations, irrespective of parties and ideologies.
It highlighted various problems of the people at the grassroots level and exposed the acts of commission and omission of the TRS government. The intolerant outbursts and insinuations against the padayatra and the CPI(M) by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, ministers and leaders of the ruling party and the way KCR was constrained to review some of the policies and issues raised during the padayatra have established beyond doubt the resounding success of the padayatra and the kind of impact it had on the government.
On the occasion of the padayatra completing 100 days, anadivasi poru garjana sabha was organised at Komuram Bhim stadium in Eturunagaram in Bhupalapalli district. Women with batukmmas and tribal people performing their traditional cultural and art forms welcomed CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat to the venue. Adivasi Girijana Sangham leader Midiam Babu Rao unveiled the plaque of a special pillar constructed to mark the occasion at the mandal headquarters of Eturunagaram. Celebrating the occasion, CPI(M) organised rallies and other programmes at different centres all over the state.
Addressing the gathering, Karat hailed the padayatra as historic, as an ideal for the country and complimented Veerabhadram and other leaders participating in it. She pointed out the distinct significance of the padayatra, explaining that contrary to tours of political leaders by helicopters for political purposes, the Mahajana Padayatra has been moving among the people and leaders staying at the houses of adivasis, dalits and other downtrodden people and understanding their problems. She came down heavily on the KCR government, elaborating its repressive measures and acts of commission and omission on different fronts. She lashed out at the government for foisting false cases against 815 people in the district, accusing them of occupying and cultivating lands illegally. As KCR was in Parliament when the enactment was made and aware of the fact that the law made provision for conferring rights of ownership on 5 to 10 acres of land on every farmer doing podu cultivation, he should be ashamed for telling lies in the Assembly as chief minister, Karat said. With an eye on Delhi, KCR is saluting Modi and crying for his appreciation.
Though KCR has been making statements provoking people to obstruct the padayatra and claiming that he has been doing all things for the people, why have the people been laying red carpet to the padayatra? Karat asked. KCR should realise at least now that his government has failed in solving problems of the people and that the people of Telangana have been following the Red Flag, she said. There is sincerity in the voice of the team of padayatra and that is the reason why support is being extended to it, irrespective of parties and ideologies. If KCR had any doubt, he should participate in the padayatra and then he would be able to understand the problems and difficulties being faced by the tribal and dalit population, she said. It is well-known that Red Flag has a distinct significance in the politics of the country and that it has been fighting for social justice; it has a history of sacrifice. Karat promised that with the cooperation of the people, the CPI(M) would put forth an alternative programme. She asked the tribals to go ahead with struggles and without any fear, asserting that land and forests are theirs, and reiterated that the CPI(M) would stand by them for protecting their rights. She participated in the padayatra and covered two kms.
Former MP Midiam Babu Rao warned that the KCR government, which has been saying that tribals have no right on forest, would be taught a fitting lesson and that such an earthquake would emanate from Bhupalapalli. 28 lakh tribal people have been doing podu cultivation in an extent of 28 lakh square kilometres. Babu Rao assured them that they would go ahead with the slogan of ‘jal, jungle and zameen’, given by Komuram Bhim, the legendary fighter for rights of the tribals.
Veerabhadram reiterated that the padayatra was intended for social justice and that for capturing state power, the CPI(M), along with all other parties which come forward for achieving that objective and by bringing together adivasi, tribal Lambadi and other social organisations, would strive for an alternative forum. While the rulers asked the people to throw stones at the padayatra, the latter showered flowers on it and welcomed it, he said. With the support of the people, the padayatra crossed the 100-day milestone, Veerabhadram said and appealed to all sections of people to extend their support to complete the remaining task. Making it clear that there has been intrinsic link between the forest and the tribals, he said that KCR should be ashamed for telling lies in the Assembly, as if he were ignorant of the enactment providing rights to tribals on forest that had come into force from 2006. Though the CPI(M) had made it clear that it was ready for a public debate as challenged by the leaders of the TRS, Veerabhadram said he had no confidence that they would come forward for such a debate. CPI(M) leaders B Venkat, P Sudarsan Rao, T Jyothi, B Ravi Kumar and others participated in the meeting.
Meanwhile, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member B V Raghavulu addressed a public meeting organised at Yedullabayyaram village when the Mahajana Padayatra entered Bhadradri Kothagudem district on January 26. He asked TRS MP and daughter of chief minister, K Kavita, whether no woman was qualified to be in the KCR cabinet and how women were benefitting from the formation of the state of Telangana? Injustice has been done to women in Telangana in all fields; workers of mid-day meal are being subjected to difficulties without paying bills for them for months together; ASHA and anganwadi workers are agitating without job security. The leaders of TRS who made women play batukkama during the Telangana movement and made innumerous promises, have insulted the women by not providing a berth to them in the cabinet, he said. The Mahajana Padayatra has been undertaken with a view to explaining to the people facts and how the rulers have been failing in ensuring welfare of the poor. The padayatra has gained a distinct identity at the national level and the TRS government is shivering seeing the kind of response coming from the people, he said. Pointing out that representations had come from people in 1,000 villages during the padayatra, he said that the government should answer to all issues raised.