Vol. XL No. 43 October 23, 2016

TELANGANA: CPI(M) Embarks on Five-month Mahajana Padayatra For Social Justice and All-round Development

M Venugopala Rao

THE CPI(M) in Telangana has began a Mahajana Padayatra to cover a distance of 4000 kilometers across the state from October 17, 2016. It will conclude on March 12, 2017. The main agenda is social justice and all-round development of the state.  Led by the Party’s state secretary Tammineni Veerabhadram, a team of nine leaders are conducting this five-month padayatra with a view to eliciting the views of the people at grassroots level, to study their problems, highlight the failures of commission and omission of the TRS government and to work out a development model with alternate policies for social justice and all-round development of the state.  A decision to this effect was taken in the Party’s three-day plenum held in the month of August in Hyderabad.  Several Left parties, mass organisations, different sections of people and intellectuals have been expressing their solidarity and extending their support to the Mahajana Padayatra, hailing it as a step in the right direction which can help pave way for emergence of an alternative of the Left, democratic and secular forces and the overwhelming sections of the SCs, STs, minorities and other oppressed and backward classes. The presence of leaders of various political parties and mass organisations and massive presence of different sections of the people at the inaugural public meeting of Mahajana Padayatra held at Ibrahimpatnam in Ranga Reddy district on the 17th of this month and their thought-provoking messages reflected this trend that augurs well for the emergence of such an alternative. The padayatra was inaugurated by former chief secretary of the government of the undivided Andhra Pradesh, Kaki Madhava Rao, amidst overwhelming enthusiasm. The grandson of Dr B R Ambedkar and leader of Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, Prakash Ambedkar, was the chief guest. The other leaders participating in the Mahajana Padayatra are John Wesley, S Rama, M V Ramana, P Asayya, K Nagesh, Sobhan Naik, Naitam Raju and Md Abbas.

Speaking on the occasion, B V Raghavulu, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, took strong objection to the intolerant outbursts of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao against the Mahajana Padayatra  and asserted that the Padayatra would proceed forward irrespective of obstructions that might be created.  Raghavulu made it clear that the CPI(M) and Left parties have the right to articulate the  issues of social justice and fight for the same. He challenged the TRS government to work out a special agenda and put before the people if it had any sense of sincerity for the development and welfare of SCs, STs, BCs and minorities.  Otherwise, it should extend support to the Mahajana Padayatra, Raghavulu said and asked the TRS whether it could conduct a padayatra on social issues. Without the development of SCs, STs, BCs, MBCs and minorities, who constitute 93 percent of the people of the state, how would golden Telangana be possible, he asked. Raghavulu demanded KCR to answer on what his government has done in formulating and implementing sub-plans for BCs and minorities. The promise of the CM to give three acres of land to each dalit has gone with the wind.  Raghavulu expressed concern that Telangana is lagging behind in literacy, with SCs and STs lagging much more behind.  In this background, the Mahajana Padayatra being conducted by the CPI(M) would provide a direction to social justice and all-round development of the state,  Raghavulu explained.

Prakash Ambedkar felt that comprehensive changes are needed in the development model being followed by the rulers in the country and Telangana at present.  Though there is a view that decentralisation of development would take place in smaller states compared to bigger states, development is confined to the capital cities and some corporations only, he said. Ambedkar asserted that the fruits of development should reach every district, taluk and mandal.  In the name of big projects, the rulers are squandering public money on a large scale, with nearly fifty percent of the funds allotted being swallowed in the form of commissions, he said and pointed out that it is not prudent to allocate thousands of crores of rupees every year for beautification of big cities alone.  By taking up small lift irrigation projects, water can be provided to lakhs of acres of land in the country; by setting up agro-based industries locally, employment opportunities can be created for the youth, and by developing small towns migration can also be prevented, he suggested. Prakash Ambedkar hoped that the Mahajana Padayatra going to the people with an alternative development model would be a step forward for another change in Telangana.

   Tammineni Veerabhadram asserted that development of the state is not different from the development of SCs, STs, BCs, MBCs and minorities. Social justice can be achieved only through economic, social, cultural and political equality.  Rebutting the insinuation of KCR that the CPI(M) was anti-Telangana, Veerabhadram reminded him that the TRS was not averse for alliance with the same Party in the elections in 2004 and 2009. In fact, the CM was not angry with the CPI(M), but with the issues being raised by the Party. Veerabhadram made it clear that implementation of people’s agenda is possible only when Communists and other democratic elements join forces and achieve electoral success. Veteran leader of the CPI(M) Mallu Swarajyam commented that the CM did not know about the Red Flag which has been in existence even before his birth.  Criticising the questionable approach of the government in acquiring lands of the people and allotting them to industries and projects, she warned that the CPI(M) would fight for the rights of the displaced farmers and people. Swarajyam asked the police not to obstruct the Mahajana Padayatra but to welcome it.

P Madhu, secretary of Andhra Pradesh state committee of the CPI(M), gave a call to the people to teach a fitting lesson to the rulers who are robbing Peter to pay Paul.  He lashed out at the government for acquiring thousands of acres of lands from dalits, tribals and others and subserving the vested interests of real estate owners and industrialists by allotting them lands and doling out hundreds of crores of rupees in the form of concessions, etc. Madhu requested the people to own and protect the Mahajana Padayatra being conducted for the sake of the downtrodden. Ch Venkat Reddy, secretary of Telangana state council of the CPI, said the people would teach a lesson to the TRS government for its anti-people policies and autocratic rule. The aim of the Padayatra taken up by the CPI(M) is eradication of poverty in the state and justice to the people, he said and complimented that a padayatra of this kind was not conducted earlier. Venkat Reddy said that the CM shivered at the announcement of the Mahajana Padayatra and threatened that they would obstruct it.  He said that the Padayatra would proceed ahead, despite such obstructions, and that it would be a step forward for emergence of a political alternative by the next elections.

CPI(M) MLA Sunnam Rajaiah,  leaders of  different political parties and organisations – Srinivas Reddy (MCPI), Murahari (SUCI), Addanki Dayakar (state president of Mala Mahanadu), Babu Madiga (vice president of MRPS), Ravi Chandra (TPF), leader of minorities cell of advocates Khadri, Prof Krishna of University of Hyderabad, former MP Ravindra Naik,  film actor Madala Ravi, convener of preparatory committee of the Padayatra, B Venkat, and others participated. Bhupal, secretary of district committee of the CPI(M), presided over the meeting.