February 19, 2023

AIKS Calls upon People of Tripura to Defeat BJP

      THE All India Kisan Sabha, in a statement issued on February 14, has called upon all its units in Tripura to campaign among the people especially the peasantry to ensure fair election in Tripura and every voter exercise the constitutional right to cast the vote in a peaceful atmosphere by massively resisting any chance of rigging and terror by miscreants. AIKS calls upon all democratic sections to work for electing Left, democratic and secular forces in the assembly elections on February 16, 2023 and vote to oust the anti-people BJP government.

The AIKS strongly condemns the decision of the State Election Commission to deploy Gujarat Police and Assam Police in place of BSF or CRPF in Tripura and demands the Election Commission of India to immediately reverse this decision which is a misuse of power to interfere in the election process. The BJP-RSS has let loose a reign of terror in the last five years in the state. There has been massive rigging and intimidation of voters in the Autonomous District Council elections, panchayat and municipal elections, different by-elections during the last fice years. All complaints to the Election Commission of India and assurances from their side however have not put a stop to this sorry state of affairs.

The high level of anti-incumbency due to the broken promises of the BJP government, increasing unemployment, price-rise, hunger, poverty as well as attacks on people has rattled the BJP-RSS.  Under the Left Front government agriculture in Tripura was looking up and the state had emerged as a seed-surplus state in paddy and potato. Large areas had been converted into the system of rice intensification leading to increase in productivity with incentives to make cultivation remunerative, incentives for rubber cultivators, promotion of agro-based industries etc. Tripura Left Front government was the best in the country in implementation of Forest Rights Act and also made efforts to make it economically viable by promoting horticulture and irrigation facilities. BJP promise of doubling farmers’ incomes, minimum support prices at C2+50 per cent was still born and even incentives for paddy farmers was stopped. Procurement at MSP was not being done, fertiliser prices sky-rocketed and was perpetually under short supply.

Tripura under the Left Front had a corruption-free pro-people government that ensured peace and unity of people. Tripura Tribal Autonomous District Councils and panchayats worked with autonomy taking development to the nook and corners of the state. Tripura had the best record in the country in generating employment under MGNREGA having provided an average of 92 days of work in each panchayat while the national average was below 40 days. The BJP government’s record has been abysmal having managed to provide just about eight days of work per panchayat to a reduced number of applicants and huge arrears of wages are unpaid. The Left Front government had introduced an Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme in 2009 under which 75 days of employment was promised; by 2017 an average of 65 days of work was being provided. Under the BJP government, the scheme has been starved of funds and hardly 30 days of work was provided to a reduced number of beneficiaries. The BJP government promise of a minimum wage of Rs 340 and increase of social welfare pension from Rs 1000 to Rs 2000 per month was also betrayed. It arbitrarily put welfare pensions including old age pensions, widow pensions etc on hold for more than 80,000 beneficiaries belonging to the poorest sections. 

All sections of society have faced attacks and the adivasis, dalits, minorities and women have been worst hit.  There have been reports of starvation, sale of children due to extreme distress. Attacks on women increased and there were 407 incidents of rape, including 26 gang rapes              (seven victims were killed) since January 2020 with BJP leaders and members complicit in many of these crimes: the labour minister’s son is allegedly involved in the gang rape of a teenager in the Unakoti district.

The last five years of BJP rule have seen a denial of democratic rights and brutal attacks on the kisan sabha activists, activists of other class and mass organisations, the Left Parties especially the CPI(M) and also other opposition parties. Between March 2018 and June 2021, 667 offices of Left parties and 204 offices of Left mass organisations, 3363 houses of CPI(M) members and supporters and 659 shops belonging to them have been burnt and ransacked.  More than 1500 fish ponds and many rubber trees have been destroyed. Only on September 7-8, 2021, 44 party offices – 42 of the CPI(M) and one each of the RSP and CPI(ML) were burnt. Sahid Mian was killed when BJP goons attacked a protest against the reign of terror in Sepahijala district.

The election in Tripura is politically significant and the defeat of BJP is inevitable to protect the democratic rights of the people, to protect the basic principles of the constitution of India including secularism, federalism and also to resist the class exploitation of the peasantry and the working class by the corporate forces under the Narendra Modi government. AIKS calls up on the peasantry and the people of Tripura to ensure massive victory to the Left, democratic and secular candidates and put a halt to the misrule of BJP in the state.