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“WHY is Trinamool silent in parliament when it comes to opposing the BJP?” Party general secretary Sitaram Yechury raised the question at a CPI (M) public rally at Rani Rasmani Road in Kolkata on January 30. He added that Narendra Modi is ruling the country with the aim of fulfilling the unfulfilled dreams of the killers of Gandhi. Their goal is to create a Hindutva state. At this hour, all the secular democratic forces need to unite and oppose BJP/RSS to save the country.” But why is Trinamool silent in parliament in opposing this Modi government? The people of Bengal surely know what the secret behind their role change is, said Yechury.
After the two-day Central Committee meeting of CPI(M) in Kolkata ended, a huge rally was held at Rani Rasmani Road at Esplanade, the centre of the city at the call of the Party's Kolkata district committee. The meeting was presided over by the Kolkata district secretary of the Party, Kallol Majumdar. Apart from Sitaram Yechury and Mohammad Salim, party Central Committee member Deblina Hembram also addressed the meeting. Senior party leader Biman Basu, Polit Bureau members Surya Mishra, Nilotpal Basu, Ramchandra Dom and many members of the Central Committee were present in the meeting.
Yechury said that before the presidential election, the Trinamool had talked about the united opposition voting together. But why did they change their stance during the vice-president’s election? Why are they sitting quietly in parliament now? The Left Front is trying to unite all the anti-BJP parties to defeat the BJP in the Tripura assembly elections. Suddenly Trinamool now wants to go to Tripura from Bengal and fight that election. “Is it to save the BJP?” he wondered.
Uncovering this mystery, CPI(M) state secretary Mohammad Salim said in the rally that the more the people of West Bengal are rising, the more the power centre at Kalighat is tottering. Trinamool is now being run from Nagpur and not from Kalighat, so it is sitting quietly at the parliament, he said.
Referring to the plight of the countrymen in the context of corporate loot and the attack on the constitution by the BJP government, Sitaram Yechury identified that the main task at the moment was the ouster of the BJP government. He said, corruption has happened before, but such loot never happened in the past. Adani became super-rich by looting the savings of common people, which would not have been possible without government support. The report, which came to light ahead of the budget session, gives details on the way Adani got enriched. LIC, SBI and other public sector banks have all made huge investments in Adani Group. Government's responsibility is not to save Adani, but to save people's savings. For that, if need be, the government should confiscate Adani’s ports, airports, cement factories, coal mines and so on.
In addition to demanding a Supreme Court-supervised high-level probe into the accusations in the Hindenburg report regarding the Adani ‘con’ case, Yechury referred to the demand raised by the CPI(M) to alleviate the immediate economic woes of the people. He demanded the central government to make provisions in the coming budget to increase state investment and create employment opportunities. This will increase the purchasing power of the people and strengthen the market. Besides, the centre should increase government expenditure on public welfare, give subsidies on food grains, let NREGA create more jobs, put property tax on the rich to remove wealth inequality, put inheritance tax on property, and remove GST on essential commodities including vegetables. Gandhiji put pressure on the British to stop levying tax on salt by marching to Dandi to make salt, in defiance of British law. Today also there is a need for a mass movement to lift the GST on vegetables.
But instead of doing politics in public interest, the Modi government is playing politics of division and hatred and stifling the voice of protest. He said that BJP is doing politics of hate against religious minorities by walking the opposite path of Gandhi. The RSS chief is targeting the minorities and talking about war for a thousand years. We are talking about thousands of years of war between rich and poor, upper and lower castes that is against humanity. RSS is talking about extermination of communists, we need to remind them again and again the fate of Hitler. The red flag cannot be exterminated, communists are never finished, their struggle continues.
UNITY AGAINST HATRED
Mohammad Salim said that the chief minister and the prime minister are promoting their party with government funds by spreading their own pictures. Left has stood by the side of people with the red flag in times of danger. This has been proved beyond doubt during the pandemic years with the red volunteers coming to the fore when the state health system showed signs of collapse. In the last few months we have been on a ‘mass collection and mass connect’ drive in West Bengal and found people helping us to the best of their abilities, and speaking freely from their hearts.
And now when Trinamool in a copycat initiative to ours is chasing people by sending messengers, they are facing the heat of people’s dissent. The chief minister had once issued diktats on what newspapers can be kept in the state libraries, and the prime minister is shutting down BBC documentaries, he said.
Salim said that instead of arresting the Trinamool attackers on Bhangar MLA Naushad Siddiqui, the Kolkata police arrested the MLA. The MLA has the right to protest. There will be a fight for their release in the courts, as well as on the streets. This is also part of the fight to restore democracy in West Bengal. Salim also expressed support and solidarity to the government employees who are protesting on the streets demanding outstanding dearness allowance.
Furthermore, Salim said, BJP has put a freakish incompetent person in charge of Visva Bharati who is bent upon humiliating Amartya Sen. Just as the Trinamool has taken over the state educational institutions; the BJP is doing the same with the central universities. They are putting Visva Bharati, the centre of advanced learning founded by Tagore, to shame.
Debalina Hembram said in the rally, the farmers in the villages collect straw and keep it in heaps called Paloi. Trinamool leaders are looting money and keeping these Palois at home. We were in government for 34 years; no one from the Left Front was dragged by the collar as a thief and put in jail. We are therefore boldly going to the people and asking them to organise struggles for rights. If we have rigging-free elections, the Trinamool will wither away like dry leaves, she said.
Presiding over the meeting, Kallol Majumdar said the Left is mobilising people not only from the top but from the bottom to restore its organisational strength to defeat Trinamool and the BJP. Today's rally that has overflowed Rani Rasmoni Road is proof of that. It is not possible to beat Trinamool with BJP or to stop BJP with Trinamool, the Left has to do this. The support of the people is showing us the way; we must take the people by our side, see the ruler eye to eye, speak with them face to face, and stand up against all attacks.
Row over Garlanding Gandhi's statue!
ON the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Gandhiji's assassination, the Left Front observed 'Communal Harmony Day' in the entire state including Kolkata on January 30. On this day, the Left Front paid tributes to the Gandhi statue and held a short meeting at Gandhi Bhavan in Beleghata.
In the meeting, CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said that Gandhi was shot at close range by Nathuram Godse, a trusted active worker of RSS. Gandhiji died on this day. Apart from condemning that brutality, we are again opposing the way the RSS, BJP are trying to spread hatred and mistrust among people across the country. We want to create an atmosphere of harmony. That's why we want to remember Gandhi and highlight the politics of infernal frenzy that led to his killing. RSS and BJP are trying to misguide the young generation of the country.
When the Left Front leadership went to Gandhi Bhavan in Kolkata to pay tributes to the statue of Gandhi at 10.30 am, some employees of the Bhavan stopped them at the behest of the local Trinamool workers. They said no one will be allowed to garland the statue except the MLA of the area. If permission is to be granted, that will be possible only after he has finished. That shall happen after half past eleven and not before twelve. Mohammad Salim went ahead after hearing their objections. He and Left Front chairman Biman Bose told them that it was officially notified that they are going to come to garland the Gandhi statue that morning. No one raised any objection then. So why are they being prevented from paying tribute at the statue? No answer came to this straightforward question.
In this context, Mohammad Salim told reporters, “Everyone has the right to pay respect to Gandhiji. It is seen here that just as BJP wants to take over everything, Trinamool is also doing the same. Netaji statue in Calcutta has also been encroached upon like this. The people of the country will not accept if anyone thinks of garlanding Gandhiji and at the same time praise his killers.”
Later, in a short meeting held along Beleghata Main Road, Sitaram Yechury strongly condemned the current situation in the country, the atmosphere of communal hatred created by the BJP and its politics of divisiveness. He said that RSS and BJP are celebrating Martyr's Day in Delhi today by commemorating Gandhiji, but they have no moral right. They call Gandhiji the most respected leader outside the country, and worship Nathuram Godse inside. They are going on doing this. Gandhiji spoke out against the anti-national forces that created the atmosphere of riots after the country became independent. He moved to Calcutta in 1947 with the intention of going in person to Noakhali to stop the riots. He stayed in this house in Beleghata which has now been named Gandhi Bhavan. Here he sat on hunger strike appealing to rioters to stop the bloodbath. He did not go to Noakhali because of the objection of the then National Congress leadership. He returned to Delhi from here. Then he was killed.
Biman Basu gave an opening speech on the relevance of this meeting. He said, we have been observing this day for many years. Every year I come to Gandhi Bhavan in Beleghata in the morning. The building authorities never objected. Today, Trinamool MLA of the area and his supporters raised objections, but that did not work.
Many local people here came forward and encouraged the programme of the Left Front.
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