June 22, 2014

CPI(M) Appeals for Huge Left Front Victory

Rahul Sinha

THE Tripura state committee of the CPI(M) has appealed to the masses to ensure a huge victory of the Left Front in the ensuing elections to the three tier panchayati raj bodies; these polls are scheduled to be held on July 15. A resolution to this effect was adopted in the recently concluded meeting of the CPI(M) state committee on June 14. The CPI(M)’s state secretary Bijan Dhar briefed the press about the decision at a press conference convened on June 15. At the press conference he, flanked by CPI(M) state secretariat member Gautam Das, gave a brief account of the deliberations of the state committee meeting and announced the names of the Left Front supported CPI(M) candidates for the 116 seats of eight zila parishads in the state. He also gave details of the scrutiny and renewal of party membership in the state. Bijan Dhar said the state committee had adopted a resolution welcoming the decisions of the Left Front government to launch a health assistance scheme for the poor and to distribute mustard oil and red lentil (masur daal) to all the ration card holders at subsidised prices through the public distribution system (PDS). (See People’s Democracy, June 09-15 for the details.) Terming the decisions as exemplary, and more so in view of the limited financial resource base of the state government, the state committee said we all would have to take responsibility of making these schemes successful. Hailing the decisions of the state government, the CPI(M) state committee reiterated that the central government too should follow suit and distribute 14 or 15 essential commodities to all the citizens of the country through the PDS at subsidised prices. Bijan Dhar said the Left Front would fight unitedly the three-tier panchayat elections and the by-elections to the four seats in the urban local bodies, to be held on July 15. Through its second resolution, the state committee meeting appealed to all the democratic, peace loving and secular masses to ensure huge victory of the Left Front candidates in these elections. Bijan Dhar said the Central Committee review of the results of 16th Lok Sabha elections was reported in the state committee meeting. At the same time, the performance of the party and Left Front in the two seats of the state was also analysed, while holding a discussion on what could be done to ensure a better result. Referring to the review report of the Central Committee, he said, at the national level, for the first time after independence, a communal force following the Hindutva ideology of the RSS has assumed office with an absolute majority. Notwithstanding what the prime minister may say, this might lead to two particular phenomena. First, steps to ensure unbridled profiteering for the domestic and international big business have already started. On the other hand, the RSS will use this opportunity to sharpen the communal divide in the country, in order to achieve its stated goal of a Hindu rashtra. The CPI(M) would continue to fight against the anti-people and anti-national moves, and try to mobilise larger and larger sections of the masses in these struggles. He said it was very much expected that the Congress would be a loser in view of its record of unprecedented corruption, its anti-people neo-liberal policies and unabated price rise, but such a poor show on their part was not expected. It is the BJP that has benefited from the anti-Congress sentiment of the masses. The Left too has suffered its worst electoral setback since 1952. Though in Kerala the Left Democratic Front increased its seat tally numbers from four in 2009 to eight, its chances in at least five more seats were spoiled due to communal polarisation and some other reasons. In West Bengal, at least 10,000 polling booths were totally rigged and the election was marred by incidents of widespread terror and violence. At the same time the political and organisational weaknesses that had caused the electoral defeats in 2009 and 2011 are yet to be overcome. A section of the traditional supporters were misled, fell prey to the communal campaign and voted for the BJP. Other than these three states, despite struggles and movements, electoral victories could not be achieved because of caste and communal polarisation and organisational weaknesses. The weakness to translate the effect of struggles into electoral outcomes was pointed out. Bijan Dhar said the Central Committee has decided to review the political tactical line being pursued for last three decades in the process of the next party congress. The state committee also took stock of the semi-fascist attacks on the Left in West Bengal and decided to launch solidarity programmes in the state to protest these attacks and in support of those facing these brutal attacks. CANDIDATE LIST FOR PANCHAYAT ELECTIONS At the press conference, Dhar announced the names of 116 CPI(M) candidates, supported by the Left Front, for the eight zila parishads in the state. While the CPI(M) will contest all the ZP seats, as per the seat sharing agreement in the front other Left Front parties will contest some of the seats at panchayat samiti and gram panchayat levels. The CPI, RSP and AIFB will contest in six, five and one seat of the panchayat samiti respectively while the CPI(M) will contest the remaining seats. There are 35 panchayat samitis in the state. At the gram panchayat level, the CPI, RSP and AIFB will contest 60, 63 and 21 seats respectively. According o Bijan Dhar, 85 percent of the candidates this time will be contesting for the first time. This was necessitated as 50 percent reservation for women in all the three tiers and in the office bearer posts was being implemented for the first time in the state. Apart from that, a number of party cadres who have worked as elected members for quite some time in these bodies have been asked to dedicate themselves completely to the organisational work of the party. SCRUTINY AND RENEWAL OF PARTY MEMBERSHIP Bijan Dhar said according to the report on the scrutiny and renewal of membership of the party, the number of party members in the state now stood at more than 87,000. This means an increase of 4.22 percent, which is the highest rate of increase in party membership in the last few years. During the last one year, 447 members passed away; 132 members were expelled; and membership of a total of 3,200 was not renewed because of inactiveness or non-payment of levy and renewal fees, according to the party constitution. However, the social composition of the party members is encouraging. Membership among women, SC- ST groups and religious minorities has increased. CPI(M) state secretariat member Gautam Das said the state committee had set a target of increasing the vote share of the Left in the Lok Sabha polls by at least five percent compared to the last assembly elections. But, surpassing that target, the vote share of the Left Front has increased by 6.08 percent compared to the last assembly elections. The Left Front got 1,43,226 votes more than in the assembly elections, getting more than 50 percent votes in 58 out of the 60 assembly segments while leading over the opposition in all the 60 assembly segments. In 10 assembly segments the Left Front got more than 70 percent of the valid votes cast while in 38 seats it got more than 60 percent votes. During the Lok Sabha election campaign, more than 9,000 families, till then with the opposition parties, joined hands with the Left, resulting in an increase of the Left Front’s vote share and vote percentage. Das said a big number of voters from the poor sections, working class, peasantry and lower middle class of the society are still with the anti-Left forces but we hope to win over more and more of these sections to our fold in the panchayat election campaign.