THE struggling left and democratic masses of Tripura must not let their guard down after the formation of the Left Front government in the state for an 8TH term in the ensuing election, but they must continue their struggle to enthuse the people of the country in forming a pro-people alternative government in Delhi in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Chief Minister Manik Sarkar told a mammoth rally called by the Scheduled Caste Coordination Committee in Agartala on October 29.
Agartala had never seen such a huge and lively gathering of the Scheduled Caste community before. Apart from the rally ground, a part of Agartala town was occupied by the rally-bound people, a good number of whom were women. Large processions decorated with organisational flag, festoons, banners and replicas of fishing boats reached the venue from different directions chanting slogans and singing newly-composed songs appealing for formation of the 8TH Left Front government in the state. The Scheduled Caste Coordination Committee called this rally in protest against rising price hike, unemployment and unprecedented repression on Dalit people, and demanding all-round development. The rally was presided over by its president and minister Ratan Bhowmik, and was addressed among others by Scheduled Caste Coordination Committee secretary Sudhan Das and Dalit woman leader and MP Jharna Das (Baidya).
Citing the deceitful role of the BJP in the Indian freedom struggle, Manik Sarkar said Dalit people had played an important role in the freedom movement with expectation that freedom would help meet their basic needs. But after 70 years of Independence, they hardly got any relief in spite of reservation in education and government jobs for them. Their plight has aggravated in unprecedented scale both economically and socially in the last three years after the BJP government assumed office at the Centre.
Sarkar described how the Modi government has betrayed the people after promising ‘achhe din’ and on the contrary, pursued anti-people policies that severely affected farmers, workers, traders, youths, students, women and the middle-class. Random price rise in the country does not affect affluent people, but the poor. Contrary to the promise of two crore new jobs every year made by the BJP in the run-up to the 2014 election, lakhs of workers lost job post demonetisation. More and more farmers are suffering under debt-trap in the absence of remunerative minimum support price (MSP) for their crops.
Explaining the approach of the Modi government towards the poor, Sarkar said that while a farmer’s mortgaged property is auctioned for being defaulter of several thousand rupees, big corporates are getting amnesty from the government in the form of loan waiver ranging hundreds of crores of rupees which are basically public money. This undisputedly shows who serves whom and who are enjoying ‘achhe din’at the cost of ‘bure din’ for 90 per cent of the population.
Describing the alternative pro-people approach of the Left Front government, Sarkar said that since 1978, the precondition for development and advancement that the state accomplished were peace, unity and friendly co-existence of the people of various communities and religious sections. But these are eyesores to the BJP. It is inciting a section of tribals with a separate state demand in one hand and provoking to promote Hindutva creating hatred against Muslims on the other. In this way, the Hindutva brigade is trying to break peace, unity and harmony, which are, they know very well, the strong pillars of the Left Front. At any cost, evil designs of the BJP to purchase people’s support by cash, by spreading personal scandals and misinformation in the state must be foiled, and the peace-loving, democratic people must remain vigilant against such plots of the BJP, he said.
Sudhan Das explained the deplorable role of the RSS which opposed the adoption of the present Constitution and demanded adoption of rules of Manusmriti, which enshrined the rights of the upper sections to be served by none other than the Dalits. He also explained the position of women in Manusmriti which denies women any right to education, right to protest, even right to worship. According to Manu, women are destined to give birth, bring up children and manage households, not to speak of any political right. Out of this regressive outlook of the BJP-RSS leaders, horrifying incidents of attacks on Dalits are taking place in various parts of the country. He cited some incidents of inhuman killings and repression on Dalits in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, and said that living in Tripura you cannot believe that in BJP-ruled states, Dalits cannot fetch water from the same well, or same water-tape or pond which the upper caste people use.
Jharna Das (Baidya) lambasted the BJP government at the Centre for its failure to pass the women reservation bill in Parliament although it has absolute majority. Scheduled Caste Coordination Committee president Ratan Das appealed to the people that the rights and dignity we achieved under the Left Front regime must be protected and that it could be ensured only if we elect the Left Front for an 8th term.