March 26, 2023

Janakeeya Prathirodha Jatha in Kerala Concludes

K N Ganesh, Amal Pullurkat

THE 27-day-long Janakeeya Prathirodha Jatha, organised by the CPI(M) and headed by Kerala state secretary M V Govindan, concluded with a massive rally at Putherikandem Maidan in Thiruvananthapuram on February 18. The jatha, which went through all the 140 assembly constituencies in the state, was enthusiastically received by the people of Kerala, and in a number of centres the reception of the jatha acquired the dimension of people’s festivals. A similar atmosphere prevailed in Thiruvananthapuram also, as people from all walks of life gathered and listened to the speeches of the leaders at every corner of the city at a radius of two to three kilometres from the main venue. Thus, the grand finale of the jatha proved to be a real show of strength of the CPI(M) and the Left and democratic movement in Kerala, and even the hostile media could not avoid reporting the event in detail.

V Sivankutty, Party state committee member and minister in charge of general education and labour, presided over the grand reception to the jatha in Thiruvananthapuram. Besides M V Govindan and the members of the jatha team, the session was attended by Polit Bureau member M A Baby,                          S Ramachandran Pillai, M Vijayakumar, T N Seema, Kadakampally Surendran, A A Raheem, and a large number of dignitaries from all walks of life. CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury inaugurated the session and M V Govindan addressed the gathering.

Sitaram Yechury began his inaugural address by pointing out that the jatha was able to mobilise the people of Kerala against the anti-constitutional policies of the BJP-led central government, which have been bent upon attacking and trying to destroy the alternative development policies of the LDF government in Kerala. However, he said, it has nothing to add to the words of President Droupadi Murmu who gave such a glorifying tribute to the work done by the Kerala government. Her words themselves have provided a fitting reply to the accusations by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.

The record of the Government of India under Narendra Modi demonstrates how the corporate-communal nexus is destroying India. The basic features of Indian democracy have been overturned. Narendra Modi is bent upon privatising everything and distributing resources in India to his friends like Adani. The BJP had joined the protest actions of the opposition against the corrupt practices of the earlier Congress government. Now when crony capitalism is advancing to levels unheard of, the protests against them are not heeded or ignored. Efforts are made to stall or block even the enquiries against serious accusations of corruption against the government. Every criticism against the government is dubbed as anti-national and attacked.

Sitaram Yechury pointed out that even during the past Lok Sabha elections, 63 per cent of the voters voted against the BJP, showing that the present central government does not enjoy the support of majority of the Indian population. Still, the BJP government has made it appear that it enjoys the support of 140 crore people in India and has dubbed anyone who criticises them as anti-national. They have even gone to the extent of raiding the office of the BBC, who showed a documentary on the BJP government, calling them anti-national. When the Hindenburg report exposed the corrupt practices of Adani, it was also characterised as working against India. Just as the earlier slogan of ‘Indira is India’, it is now being propagated that ‘Modi is India’. It could even be ‘Adani is India’! We should be able to demonstrate that ‘India is Indian People’ and unite to remove BJP from power.

It is claimed that 80 crores of Indian people are being directly fed by the Indian government. Earlier people used to receive 5 kg of foodgrains free and another 5 kg as subsidy. Now people are forced to buy five kg distributed as subsidy under market rates. On the health front, 16 AIIMS were promised by the BJP government and not one of them has been opened so far. Such is the extent of lies spread by the BJP government.

All the cases of those who have joined the BJP from other parties have been withdrawn. The situation is such that whoever wins the elections, finally BJP will come to power in the state. Governors have been blatantly used for browbeating the opposition governments and preparing for a BJP takeover. A section of the media is still eulogising the BJP. They claim that BJP is invincible even when they lose the elections. The ED and other central agencies are being liberally used for the same purpose. Such blackmailing politics has to end and it is the responsibility of the Indian people to remove BJP from power.

Recently, the kisan march from Nashik proved to be a success as all the farm bills by the Maharashtra government have been withdrawn. The alternative policies of the Kerala government augur well for the future. The Niti Aayog rated the performance of Kerala at the top, with Uttar Pradesh coming at the last. All the central agencies have been forced to rate the performance of Kerala in all fronts as high. The people’s support to government policies as demonstrated in the jatha despite attacks by the opposition and by a section of the media has been highly encouraging, Sitaram Yechury concluded.

M V Govindan, in his address, concentrated on the experience of the jatha. Even though the jatha had to face concerted attacks from the entire opposition and the media from the beginning, people enthusiastically welcomed the jatha in all centres and tens and thousands of people came to attend the meeting in each centre. The jatha was organised to focus on the financial squeeze on the state by the central government, despite the rating of the Niti Aayog, and the denial of the legitimate share of the GST by the state as well as downsizing the numerous social welfare schemes and other development programmes by the centre. Kerala has a proud record of attending to the welfare of all sections of the population, including adivasis, dalits, coastal communities, women, the aged population and differently abled, which has provided a model that has been commented upon even by such economists as Amartya Sen. The welcome to the jatha by the adivasis of Idukki district and the fishers of Alappuzha and Kollam amply demonstrated the positive effects of this policy. The scheme of pension for homemakers has been unprecedented, as value for the housework of women has been recognised for the first time. 

When the majority of the people in states like Gujarat are extremely poor, their number in Kerala has been reduced to 0.07 per cent of the total population in Kerala that is 64,006 households. The government has decided to adopt these households in its effort to eradicate poverty in Kerala. Such reduction in poverty became possible through the success of land reforms in Kerala. The reforms by the 1967 EMS government were aimed at the ending of landlordism in Kerala, and on October 14, A K Gopalan declared that land reforms should be completed by 1970. This facilitated the progress of land reforms and the eradication of poverty.

We have also been able to usher in a new era in infrastructural development as all the disputes on acquisition of lands for national highways have been amicably settled and the construction of highways is fast progressing. We are also in the process of providing employment to 20 lakhs of people. However, such efforts are being scorned upon by the UDF-BJP opposition who attempt to vilify all acts of the government. The acts of the governor in the higher education sector are also aimed at politically targeting the government. However, if we proceed with a clear perspective regarding our path and determination, there is no doubt that victory will be ours.

After the addresses, the jatha was received by the constituents of the LDF, and different mass organisations including CITU, Kisan Sabha, KSKTU, Adivasis, DYFI, SFI and AIDWA.