Vol. XLIII No. 08 February 24, 2019
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WEST BENGAL: Brigade Turns into Red Sea

Debasish Chakraborty

TENS of thousands of people, in some estimates a million, thronged the Brigade Parade Ground on February 3 at the call of the Left Front, to assert alternative policies and politics. One of the largest ever mobilisations in Kolkata’s historic ground threw up a challenge to the communal and political polarisation in the state, triggering a new stage of confidence as well as struggle.

The rally came as a follow up of series of struggles of different sections of toiling people and huge rallies and padajatras in the state. Intensive campaign has finally resulted in spontaneous participation of people and made Brigade a ‘Red Sea of Humanity’.

The rally was addressed by general secretaries of five Left parties and CPI(M) state leaders.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said, the country needs change of policies and not merely change of leaders. He said, Modi government has looted the people for nearly five years and is now trying to lure them by giving a paltry sum. This government has behaved like pickpockets and Mamata Banerjee in Bengal has acted as cohort. The rally has established that the people in Bengal are vying for a change. But to exercise voting rights, protest has to be elevated to resistance.

CPI general secretary Sudhakar Reddy said that unified movement by the Left forces and peoples movement will change the dimension of politics in the coming days and its effect will be felt in the coming Lok Sabha elections also.  RSP general secretary  Kshiti Goswami said that Bengal is passing through a dark phase and this huge rally will electrify the red flag bearers in their struggle to end the rule of the anti-democratic forces in the state and in the country. As a guest speaker, CPI (ML-Liberation) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya said this rally has shown   that the  ideology of the Left is deep rooted in West Bengal and fascist forces like the BJP and the TMC cannot uproot  them away with their mock fight. In his speech, Forward Block general secretary Debabrata Biswas highlighted that real fight is to dislodge the tyrannical forces like Modi and Mamata from power and the rally indicates the mood change in the minds of the people in the state.

CPI(M)  state secretary  Suryakanta Mishra  commented that  once BJP is ousted from the power in the country , then it will take just days to oust the TMC run government  as the  covert understanding of the BJP and the TMC is keeping both those parties, alive. The fight of the workers, farmers and common people is not for their own benefits only, but for greater good and in the interest of the people of the country.

Left Front chairman Biman Basu, presiding over the rally, said that the task is to build hundreds like such mini Brigade rallies in the area level and take the fight to the enemy camp, where already infighting has started.

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Md Salim  said,   any attempt to stall the march  of this  Red Sea will bring Tsunami  in the political scenario, and it will sweep away  anti-democratic   and communal forces like PM  Narendra Modi and his  communal brigade and their covert ally, TMC.

Prominent CPI(M)  leader  and former  minister Deblina Hembram  electrified the  rally speaking in  Santhali   and sometimes in Bengali  and  narrated the plight of the tribals in the state. She said, “we don’t want doles, we want education, health, jobs as rights.”

The outstanding feature of the rally was the huge participation of youth of all sections, who marched into the ground with innovative slogans. Thousands of families, including children from rural Bengal arrived facing hardships. In fact, they started arriving from two days ago. Mass of unorganised working class marched with workers from organised sectors. Intellectuals, teachers, middle class people were seen pouring like streams.

The success of the rally immediately triggered a mock fight between the TMC and the BJP on the issue of purported attempt to search the residence of Kolkata Police Commissioner. They tried to create a media agenda and to divert peoples’ attention from the massive rally of the Left. However, the calls of Brigade have started reverberating in every nook and corner of the state.