Increase Left Strength for Pro-People Alternative
LF CAMPAIGN SURGES AHEAD IN TRIPURA THE Congress won’t be able to win half the Lok Sabha seats it got last time while the BJP, pursuing the same ruinous economic policies and trying to divide the masses on communal line, is no alternative. What is needed to save the country is a secular non- Congress government based on alternative pro-people policies, and an increased strength of the Left is a prerequisite for this alternative to emerge. This was what CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and Tripura chief minister, Manik Sarkar, said on March 22, while addressing two impressive mass meetings at Hezamara in Simna assembly segment and BT College ground in Agartala assembly segment. He urged the masses to ensure victory of both the Left candidates to Lok Sabha, for the formation of such an alternative and to strengthen the struggle for the state’s development. Both the meetings which Sarkar addressed were in support of the CPI(M) candidate for West Tripura seat, Shankar Prasad Dutta. In the Hezamara meeting, 273 voters of 83 families openly severed ties with the Congress and INPT, and declared support for the Left Front. The meeting, braving scorching heat, was attended by both non-tribal and tribal people of the Simna assembly segment. As usual, women outnumbered the male. The meeting in the BT College ground of Agartala assembly segment was also impressive. In both the meetings Sarkar said all the surveys were unanimous that the Congress has no chance of forming a government at the centre this time; the Congress might not get even half of the 212 seats it had won last time. But the Congress itself is responsible for its pitiable condition. The situation is so grim that most of its senior leaders including P Chidambaram, the main guiding force behind the Congress government’s anti-people policies, have decided not to contest this time in order to avoid a humiliating defeat. Sarkar said the continuous and unabated price rise, double digit food inflation, a dwindling rupee vis-à-vis dollar, increasing number of unemployed youth, job losses, unending agrarian crisis and corruption involving more than Rs 5,00,000 crore are the direct fallout of the pro-rich policies of the Congress. People are fed up with it. While the BJP, a communal party, is trying to exploit this situation, it is no different from the Congress on economic policies. Rather they are two sides of the same coin; the UPA could never pass some anti-people laws if the BJP had not supported it in parliament. Moreover, the BJP is a communal party controlled by RSS which wants to destroy the secular character of India. This is unambiguously clear from the projection of Modi of the infamous 2002 Gujarat pogrom as its prime ministerial candidate. Sarkar said the need of the hour is a non-Congress, non-BJP government at the centre that would reverse the ruinous policies being pursued now and follow an alternative trajectory in favour of the workers, agricultural workers, peasants, youth, women, small traders, employees, SCs, tribal and other marginalized sections of society. For such a government, an increased strength of the Left in parliament is a prerequisite. At the same time, it would also aid in realisation of the urgent demands of infrastructural development of Tripura, for which only the Left parties and mass organisations have been conducting mass movements regularly. The Congress has never tried for, has in fact created impediments to, Tripura’s development. Sarkar also criticised Ms Mamata Banerjee’s false claims that West Bengal under her rule is number 1 in MGNREGA implementation while in fact it is 25th among the 28 states of the country. He said the manner in which democracy is being butchered in Bengal now was experienced by the people of Tripura during the Congress-TUJS regime in 1988-92. But the people rejected that regime and brought the Left Front back on the basis of their own experience. He asked the masses to make both the Left Front candidates victorious by greater margins. CPI(M) state committee member Pranab Debbarma and Ranabir Debbarma were among the other speakers at Hezamara. Ratan Das also spoke at the BT College ground. LEFT PROCESSION ROCKS AMBASSA On March 21, Ambassa, the headquarters of Dhalai, the biggest district of Tripura, witnessed an unprecedented red wave as Jitendra Choudhury, the Left Front supported CPI(M) candidate for East Tripura (ST) seat, filed his nomination papers for the election to be held on April 12. A grand procession, preceded by an impressive mass meeting, marked the nomination filing. At 12 noon, the militant procession started from the Ambassa motor stand for the DM office. Thousands of tribal and non-tribal masses thronged the district headquarters from distant tribal villages of Ambassa, as did people from adjoining subdivisions like Khowai, Teliamurra, Kamalpur, Gandachherra, Langtaraivalley, and also from the southernmost subdivision Sabroom. The foothills of Atharomura and Longtarai witnessed a splendid wave of red flags, festoons, red shirts and caps. Clad in this colourful attire, people marched dancing to the tunes of bands to take control of the National Highway 44. Tribal and non-tribal women, in their traditional dresses, were as usual in the forefront. The procession was led by CPI(M) state secretary Bijan Dhar and Central Committee member Bajuban Reang. Kamal Kar, Gajendra Tripura, Sudhir Sarkar, Lalit Tripura and Pankaj Chakraborty, CPI(M) district secretaries of Kamalpur, LT Valley, Teliamura, Gandacherra and Ambassa respectively, also joined it. Fisheries minister Khagendra Jamatia, state committee member Hemanta Jamatia, Sudhir Das, Gouri Das, Lalit Debbarma and other party leaders were also there. At 12.45 pm, the candidate submitted his nomination papers before the DM of Dhalai. The meeting that preceded the procession was addressed by Bijan Dhar, Bajuban Reang and Jitendra Choudhury who said the Congress would suffer a serious drubbing this time. In this context, Dhar referred to the Congress rally of March 20, which was a flop show, adding that this bore testimony to the extent the Congress had got isolated. In the last two months alone, about 12,000 people of Tripura have severed ties with the Congress, INPT and other parties and joined hands with the CPI(M), he informed. STORMY CAMPAIGN IN WEST TRIPURA From the early mornings till late into the nights, the Left Front’s campaign in West Tripura Lok Sabha constituency is creating waves everyday. With each passing day as the day of polling is approaching, the enthusiastic attendance of the people in Left Front meetings and processions has been increasing. On March 19, a series of rallies and meetings were held in support of the Left Front supported CPI(M) candidate Shankar Prasad Dutta in West Tripura. These started from 8 in the morning and ran with an astonishing energy till 9 p m. The meetings were addressed by CPI(M) Central Committee member Badal Choudhury, state secretariat member Niranjan Debbarma and the candidate himself. Meetings, followed by processions carrying red flags, banners and festoons, were held at Sonamura, Boxanagar, Rajnagar, Takarjala and Udaipur. Badal Choudhury addressed seven election meetings in the Rajnagar assembly segment. In the meetings at Rangamura, Dimatali, Ekinpur, Gabtali, Rajnagar and Barpathari, people in large numbers reiterated their support to the CPI(M), the party which they have found by their side on every occasion of life, be it joy or grief. CPI(M) state secretariat member Niranjan Debbarma addressed two general body meetings in Takarjala. The CPI(M)’s Bisalgarh district secretary Gora Chakraborty and other leaders also addressed these meetings. The candidate, Shankar Prashad Dutta, addressed 18 rallies and mass meetings throughout the day in Sonamura subdivision. Manikyanagar, Bheluar Char, Putia, Rahimpur, Madhya Boxanagar, Boxanagar, Kalsimura, Bagber, and North and South Kalamchoura were the main spots of campaigning. Traditionally inhabited by religious minorities, these areas have always maintained a legacy of communal harmony and the day’s meetings saw the people of both communities coming and sitting together. State committee member and minority welfare minister Shahid Choudhury was also present in these rallies. Meetings were also held at Kulubari, Dhanirampur, Maynama, Matinagar, Aralia, Karaliamura and Duragapur. A huge mass rally was organised on the main road in Sonamura Nagar Panchayat area. In Udaypur, SFI district unit organised an impressive rally in support of Shankar Prasad Dutta, followed by a meeting addressed by SFI state secretary Nabarun Deb.