WEST BENGAL: CPI(M) Reaches to All Sections
From our Special Correspondent
THAT the CPI(M) is the party with a difference has been proved time and again in the past and it has been proved one more time during the on-going parliamentary elections. The part II of the election manifesto published for the 2019 parliamentary elections is testimony to this fact. This section of the manifesto spells out in detail the ‘alternative policies’ advocated by the Party. This segment enunciates “an alternate trajectory of economic growth” for “overall development”.
And in a step towards that direction the Party this time has taken the thoughtful step of coming out with a 12-minute video that highlights the Party’s manifesto in ‘sign language’. That the Party stands for inclusion was proved when it released an audio version of its election manifesto keeping in mind the visually challenged people. Both these are a first in India.
Under the ‘equal rights and social justice’ section, the manifesto unequivocally championed the cause of the women, children, youth, SCs, STs, minorities, OBCs and most importantly the transgenders and persons with disabilities. This section clearly highlights the new laws, that the Party shall make the effort to bring into force if it is given the opportunity to represent the people of this country in the parliament. It also intones the changes in law that it proposes to bring about that would directly affect the lives of these impecunious layers of the society.
While some other national parties have spoken in passing about these segments of the society, the CPI(M) has been very elaborate with its philosophies and their implementation. And in keeping with the spirit of the manifesto, the West Bengal state Party organised many interactive sessions with the members of these marginalised sections of our society. The communicating gatherings began sometime in the last week of March when the two lady candidates contesting the 2019 parliamentary elections from Kolkata North and Kolkata South constituencies, Kaninika Ghosh (Bose) and Nandini Mukhopadhyay, respectively, met the lady slum-dwellers of the city. The next such meeting was organised with members belonging to the religious minority. One such gathering was organised with the old and the infirm.
The possibility of harming their poll prospects has kept away candidates of other political parties from talking about the LGBT openly. The CPI(M) has taken on the challenge of addressing the hardships of these people who have had their backs to the wall.
During the interactive session with the sexual minorities or the LGBT community, the two candidates took questions from the participants and had a heart to heart talk with them. Different issues touching the lives of these people were discussed. It was unequivocally mentioned by the candidates that the daily fight against injustice, the right to eat any food and wear any dress according to one’s personal choice is not different from the fight for equal rights of the sexual minorities. The myriad adversities faced by the members of this community came up during the discussions. While trying to reach out to them the candidates said that though all these problems will not be vanquished in a jiffy, they have resolved to walk alongside these people and fight till their problems are addressed and resolved.
The next gathering of significance was the one where the candidates met with the disabled people. Through their inspiring speeches the two candidates tried to boost the morale of the physically challenged people. Though this section of people comprises 10 per cent of our population, barring the CPI(M), the other political parties have paid scant attention to their special demands. In fact we must not forget that the regressive and discriminatory clauses that were included in the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 were strongly protested against on the floor of the Rajya Sabha by the two CPI(M) MPs, K K Ragesh and C P Narayanan, who moved amendments to the act. Sitaram Yechury had also addressed a letter to the minister for social justice and environment, expressing his concern over the manner in which rules were being framed.
The candidates from Dumdum and Jadavpur, Nepaldeb Bhattacharya and Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya respectively, had interactive gatherings with members of the LGBTQ community. Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya being a lawyer of eminence has said that the fight to secure the rights of this group of people shall continue within parliament and in the courts of this country.
Left Stands behind Policies, Not Leaders
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury , in his public meetings and road shows, has asserted that only the Left do not search leaders but policies for better government. In the campaign trail for last phase of polls in West Bengal, Sitaram said, the Left have tried to present alternative policy perspectives in this election instead of centering around leaders and personalities. Questions are asked who will be the leader. Our answer is, we have seen many leaders, but what the toiling people of the country need is policies that can safeguard their interests. The prime minister in his whole campaign has avoided speaking about economic policies and livelihood. That is because he knows his government has utterly failed to provide livelihood to people. He has catered his cronies. Sitaram said democracy itself would be in danger if Modi government returns to power. RSS-BJP is out to destroy secular democratic fabric of the country to complete their agenda of establishing ‘Hindu Rashtra’. The unity of the country will be in serious danger.
Sitaram participated in road show in Diamond Harbour, addressed meetings in Dum Dum, Jadavpur and Kolkata South constituencies.
The CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Prakash Karat addressed several meetings. He pointed out that TMC’s lumpen politics has created land for BJP’s lumpen politics. At the time of Left Front government, West Bengal was free from communal tension. In TMC regime, it(lumpenisation) has become a norm. The TMC has allowed BJP to flourish in Bengal. Only the Left can resist communal forces.
Prakash questioned the so-called ‘nationalism’ plank of Narendra Modi and said if it was real nationalism, the Indian government should not bend before US pressure on oil import from Iran. Modi is follower of imperialism.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Salim, a member of the CPI(M) Polit Bureau, questioned the media hypocrisy and said, “people in West Bengal are in grave crisis, sandwiched between Trinamool terror and corruption and BJP's hardcore communalism, which is tearing apart the social harmony. At this point of time it should be the responsibility of the print media to unmask the masterminds of all corruptions and to protest against the communal rancour. Unfortunately, the print media, ignoring its responsibility, is busy in fixing a mock fight between BJP and Trinamool to obfuscate the people of West Bengal. Besides, what they are propagating against the Left is poisonous and false.”
It is to be noted here that coming to this last phase of the election, a few corporate funded print media houses like the ‘Anandabazar’, the ‘EiSamay’ and ‘The Times of India’ are publishing cooked up articles to cater that the Left cadres are helping BJP in its fight against Trinamool. Salim stated that none of these articles could quote any CPI(M) leader or ground worker to substantiate their claim. Even the news titles are fictitious and manufactured to create social unrest.
Mohammad Salim pointed out, “the reality is that CPI(M) workers are risking their lives in their protest against the vote loot. The CPI(M) polling agents, the sentinel of West Bengal's democracy, are being attacked even after the polls. Lots of video clips, pictures and primary information in the social media show how the CPI(M) polling agents patrolled the polling booths. Interestingly, even corporate funded print media houses like the EiSamay had to publish this news.” He added, “Even the scribes are being attacked by Trinamool goons.”
Salim stated that the people in West Bengal know that Trinamool and BJP spend crores in print media advertisements. People are angry as they see the central and state governments are wasting tax payers' money in useless print advertisements. People are also angry as the print media blacks out or belittles their protests. Recently, people have witnessed print media’s indifference to the hunger strike of the SSC pass out candidates.
At this crucial time, Salim reminded the scribes of their professional responsibility and appealed them to write positive for the sake of people of West Bengal. He added that they should not write anything fictitious, false and negative which creates despair and gloom. He hoped that the print media would promote optimistic politics and uphold the positive alternative.