MASS organisations in West Bengal are preparing for a massive campaign-agitation march, raising the demands of all sections of people. The march, like jathas, will actually consist of numerous local level marches, culminating into district and region-wise longer marches and finally merging into massive public meetings. More than 100 mass organisations, including trade unions, peasants’ organisations, student-youth-women organisations and representative organisations of different sections of people will participate in the march under the banner of Bengal Platform of Mass Organisations. BPMO had earlier organised jathas in 2015 , but this time the scale is wider.
The marches will start from October 22 and will continue till November 3. The target is to touch all 77 thousand booths, 40 thousand villages, 126 cities and towns in the state. The marches will cover around 25 thousand kilometers of road between them. In short, the marchers will try to reach every possible habitat in the state.
In North Bengal, two main jathas from Coochbehar and Maldaha will move towards Siliguri. On the way, they will be joined by district and regional marches. On November 1, there will be a mammoth public rally in Siliguri.
Similarly, jathas from Asansol, Jhargram, Siuri, Purulia, Farakka, Haldia, Digha, Basanti, Raidighi will traverse different districts to reach Kolkata on November 3. There will be a big rally in Kolkata on that day.
On the way, nearly 400 public meetings will take place as well as some thousands of street corner meetings, village meetings.
The main demand charter consists 17 pressing demands of people. It includes remunerative prices for famers, digital ration cards to all, food for all, founding of new factories to provide jobs, opening of closed factories, particularly in tea and jute industries, no to privatisation and sale of public sector enterprises in the state like Alloy Steel, Bengal Chemicals, Bridge and Roof, defence of ICDS and Mid-day meal schemes, minimum guaranteed wages for workers of unorganised sectors, providing social security to them, transparency in appointment of school teachers, compensation to victims of chit fund scams, security for women in the state. Importantly, restoration of democracy and strongly defending communal amity are two major slogans.
But the organisers have emphasized that apart from state-level demands, the marches will include local level popular demands, many of those demands may be achievable. The jathas will inspire to initiate sustained and intense movements to achieve those demands.
To make this programme a success, district level conventions have been held. All mass organisations participated and chalked out the routes, included district and local demands, and finalised the preparations. Area level conventions, meetings were also held.
In today’s West Bengal, there is apprehension that the marchers will not be allowed to travel in some terror-affected areas. The chances of attack from the ruling party are not ruled out. However, it has been already stated by the state level leaders of BPMO that in such a scenario militant resistance await the attackers.