THE Tripura Khet Majur Union has completed its tenth state conference with a resolute vow to frustrate the orchestrated drive of the communal, parochial and sectarian elements under the patronage of the RSS and the BJP to create unrest and disturb the peaceful atmosphere in the state and thus embarrass the Left Front government. The conference also called upon all its members to plunge into the battle for formation of a Left Front government for the eighth term in the state in the assembly election slated for early next year for the interest of impoverished sections of the people.
The Tripura Khet Majur Union is the state unit of the All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU). The conference commenced with a massive open rally in Kumarghat, a sub-divisional town in Unakoti district, on April 28. The rally, presided over by Bhanulal Saha, was addressed by Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, AIAWU general secretary A Vijayaraghavan, CITU state vice president and education minister Tapan Chakraborty, and AIAWU state secretary Babul Bhadra, among others.
Manik Sarkar, in his address, illustrated the chaotic socio-economic situation of the country due to the Modi government’s more aggressive pursuit of neo-liberal policies in one hand and the RSS-BJP’s drive for transforming the country into a ‘Hindu State’, on the other. They are doing this quite contrary to the sweet pledges that the BJP made during the election campaign in 2014. He pointed out one after another electoral promise such as control of prices of essential commodities, recruitment of two crore unemployed youths in a year, providing remunerative price to the farmers, unearthing black money and introduction of universal food security that the government has failed to fulfil. On the experiences of the last three years, Sarkar said the Modi government’s performance is quite dismal in every sphere. He was a hooded serpent hissing against all evils before election and now he has bowed down his hood before the corporate companies just like a hissing cobra calms down before a snake-charmer, Sarkar quipped.
On the rural job scheme MNREGA, Sarkar said it was introduced because of the pressure of the Left parties on the first UPA government. Though Tripura was the best performer in the country for several years, the central government purposefully reduced the state’s allocation which has an adverse effect in the rural economy this year. The people are not accepting these attacks on livelihood without protest. The RSS and the BJP are thus playing communal card to keep the aggrieved people divided on religious, caste and creed lines. He also described the pro-people programmes of the Left Front government managing all odds, limitations and non-cooperation from the Centre. The democratic people of Tripura must make the communal elements learn a lesson that Tripura is a too hard soil to bite and that in no way they should be allowed to show their fangs in Tripura, Sarkar warned.
AIAWU general secretary Vijayaraghavan said the government at the centre is not at all concerned about the poor people’s plight, their declining income, rising farmers’ suicides, crores of unemployment, absence of social security and lifting of items from rationing system. Instead of providing land to the landless, they are snatching away lands from the peasants for the benefit of corporate. They are now concerned with issuing Aadhaar card to cows. Their concern for cow is to divide the people and thus hide their service for the big corporate. Only the Left parties are opposing their anti-people and pro-corporate policies. Our task is to keep the people united and make them aware of the onslaughts unleashed by the Modi government. So far as Left Front governments in Tripura and Kerala are concerned, he said they are working with an alternative policy which is an inspiration for the Left movement in the whole country. That is why these states are the main targets of the BJP which is ruling at the Centre.
Next day, in the inner session of the conference, Vijayaraghavan said the enemies of the working class are in the central government. They are armed with corporate money, media and religious insanity. The BJP came to power in several states not with the people’s real mandate, but with a mandate manufactured by the corporate houses. Thus, it is quite likely that the central government shall act in favour of the corporate companies. So far as economic policy is concerned, the Congress and the BJP are either side of the same coin. Explaining impact of the central government’s economic policy on the poorer section, he said education is gradually being privatised. So, agricultural workers cannot afford their kids’ education. So also in respect of healthcare, food security, etc., MNREGA payments are being made about half-a-year later so that the workers lose interest to join the scheme and in this way, they are trying to abolish this scheme. A large section of agricultural workers and peasants is in debt-trap. They are being compelled to sell out their land and house. Only difference is in Kerala and Tripura where the governments are pursuing an alternative policy. So, he argued, only way to protect the agricultural workers and landless people is to strengthen the organisation and mounting pressure of movement for reversal of the central government’s policy in favour of the poor.
In the first session of the conference, AIAWU state secretary Babul Bhadra presented the political-organisational report. The report deals mainly with the present condition of the agricultural workers in the perspective of the neo-liberal drive of the Modi government and alternative policy of the state’s Left Front government and the state of affairs of the state AIAWU organisation.
In total, 404 delegates, including 55 women and 29 tribals, attended the conference representing 24 sub-divisional committees and eight district committees. Thirty-four delegates participated in the discussion. The points raised in their discussion were: urgency of enactment of a law for the agricultural workers, social security, communal campaign of the BJP, bad impact of demonetisation and digitisation, rescue of a good section of agricultural workers from debt trap, urgency of enhancing of wage in MNREGA, introduction of pension for agricultural workers, harassment in banks for getting loan and REGA wages, giving proportionate berth for the women in various committees of the organisation, and properly refuting the misinformation campaign unleashed by RSS and BJP leaders. Almost all the members advocated for remoulding the organisation in such a way that may be able to launch befitting programme according to the need of the hour and implement it properly.
In the last session, a 101-member new state council was proposed and passed by the house unanimously. In the new council, 16 comrades were newly incorporated. Thereafter, the new council constituted a 33-member state executive committee and 16-member state secretariat. Bhanulal Saha and Babul Bhadra were re-elected as president and secretary respectively. The conference expressed gratefulness to 11 aged and infirmed members for their invaluable contribution to the organisation and relieved them with honour, from the council.