August 08, 2021

Can't Imagine Mumbai without Comrade Mahendra Singh: Sitaram Yechury

S K Rege

'I CAN'T imagine Mumbai without Comrade Mahendra Singh', said emotionally moved CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, while addressing a large condolence meeting for Comrade Mahendra Singh, Central Committee member of the Party, who passed away on July 4, 2021 due to a massive heart attack.

On July 23, the CPI(M) Mumbai committee organised a condolence meeting in the hall of Adarsh Vidyalaya at Chembur, Mumbai. Inspite of Covid restrictions on travel and assembly and unavailability of local trains in Mumbai, the hall was overflowing with Party members and sympathisers, who travelled long distances in auto-rikshaws and taxis on a working day to attend this homage to a Comrade who had been secretary of the Party's Mumbai district committee for 21 years and had built the Party and mass organisations in Mumbai.

Sitaram Yechury, NilotpalBasu, Polit Bureau Member, Ashok Dhawale and Mariam Dhawale, Central Committee members, had all come from Delhi, whereas Narasayya Adam, state secretary and Central Committee Member, had come from Solapur to attend this condolence meeting out of deep affection and respect towards their colleague, whose name was intrinsically linked with Mumbai in Party circles all over the country.

The programme started with the recitation of a condolence song by Rabindranath Tagore in Bengali by MFUCTO president, Tapati Mukhopadhyay, followed by recitation of a condolence poem in Hindi by SFI activist, Sakshi Theek.

A video prepared by the social media team of the Party, displaying condolence bytes from Polit Bureau Members Prakash Karat, S R Pillai, Hannan Mollah, Brinda Karat, M A Baby, Subhashini Ali, Mohammed Salim and Tapan Sen, and Central Committee member and CITU national president, K Hemalata, was exhibited at the beginning of the programme. All extolled the qualities of Party loyalty, discipline, fearless fighting spirit, ideological clarity and simple living of Comrade Mahendra Singh in one voice.

The meeting began with the introductory speech by the Party's Mumbai committee secretary, S K Rege, who also conducted the meeting, which was presided over by Narasayya Adam.

Sitaram Yechury said that all the sectors in the industry, as well as agriculture, are being allowed to be looted by foreign and Indian crony corporates by the central government of BJP through following an unabashed policy of privatisation; working people are being fleeced by massive indirect taxes and prices of petrol, diesel, gas and all essential commodities; the food security of the majority of poor and toiling people is being compromised by this ruthless government; farm laws and labour codes have hit all the toiling sections that produce the wealth of our country; corruption and black money have sky-rocketed, and people are dying in this pandemic due to lack of speedy, universal and free vaccination because of the unpardonable neglect by the central government.

Above all, he said, the secular and democratic values of the Constitution are being undermined and the secular fabric of society is being destroyed with a vengeance by the Sangh Parivar and the BJP central government. He pointed out that anyone opposing the policies of the rulers is being jailed by this authoritarian government with fascist tendencies. He said that in this difficult situation, the presence of Comrade Mahendra Singh was even more necessary for the Party in Mumbai and Maharashtra.

NilotpalBasu said that although the MahavikasAghadi government of Maharashtra is not functioning ideally for the benefit of the common man and although it tabled on the floor of the assembly the centre's agricultural laws with minor modifications,  it is allowing dissenting people to voice their opinions and organise their programmes. He pointed out that it is for this reason that this state government is being destabilised by the BJP central government. He further said that the skill of Comrade Mahendra Singh in forging a broad unity of political forces shall be sorely missed at this crucial juncture.

Ashok Dhawale praised the ideological clarity with which Comrade Singh used to oppose the class enemies of the working people, whereas Mariam Dhawale expressed high regard for his unstinted help to the women's movement and for maintaining the unity of the Party in thought and action.

Husain Dalwai, Indian National Congress leader and ex-MP, Milind Ranade, CPI leader, Vijay Kulkarni, Lal Nishan Party leader and  RajendraKorade, PWP leader, all highlighted the flexibility and skill of Comrade Singh in forging a broad unity against the common opponent.

CITU state secretary, Vivek Monteiro, CPI(M) MLA Vinod Nikole, DYFI state secretary, Preethy Sekhar, Jaati Ant Sangharsh Samiti state convenor, Shailendra Kamble, AlpsankhyankHakk Sangharsh Samiti Mumbai convenor, Sayeed Ahmed, CITU Mumbai president, K Narayanan and SFI state vice-president, Kavita Ware, all paid homage to Comrade Mahendra Singh.

Savitri Singh, wife of Comrade Mahendra Singh was seated on the dais all through the meeting. She was given a goodwill cheque of one and a quarter lakh rupee, brought by workers of the CITU-affiliated Auto Window Company union which Comrade Singh guided. She instantly donated it back to the Party. This act of Savitri Singh was the special feature of this meeting.

Narasayya Adam, while concluding the meeting exhorted the Party members and sympathisers to rigorously follow in the footsteps of Comrade Mahendra Singh to fulfil his goals and ideals.