October 22, 2023
UP: Left and Democratic Parties Hold Rally

THE Left and democratic parties held a rally in Lucknow on October 11, with the slogan ‘Save Constitution, Save Democracy’ and ‘Defeat BJP, Victory to INDIA Alliance.’ The core issues addressed during the rally included rising prices, unemployment, increasing atrocities against women, minorities, and dalits, the prevalence of bulldozer raj, and communalism. Hundreds of people enthusiastically participated in the rally.

The main speakers at the rally included Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist); D Raja, general secretary of the Communist Party of India; Dipankar Bhattacharya, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist); G Devarajan, general secretary of the Forward Bloc; and Javed Raza, chief of Loktantrik Janta Dal. The rally was also addressed by Subhashini Ali, CPI(M)  Polit Bureau member; Girish Chandra Sharma,  national executive member of the CPI; Hira Lal Yadav, CPI(M) state secretary; Arvind Raj Swaroop, CPI state secretary; Ishwari Prasad Kushwaha; Krishna Adhikari of the CPI(ML); Uday Nath Singh, state secretary of the Forward Bloc; and Zubair Ahmed Qureshi, state secretary of Loktantrik Janta Dal. The presidium comprised DP Singh of the CPI(M), Imtiyaz Ahmed (former MLA of the CPI), Ramesh Singh Sengar of the CPI(ML), and Sripathi Vishwas of the Forward Bloc.

In his address at the rally, Sitaram Yechury highlighted the pervasive politics of hatred and violence affecting the entire country. He emphasized the need to defeat such politics and in this context mentioned the significance of Uttar Pradesh in this fight as it sends the largest number of MPs. Yechury underscored that today's rally represents a significant step in this direction.

Yechury went on to express concerns about the BJP government's actions, which he described as attacks on the very foundations of the country, including the constitution, democracy, economic policies, secularism, the right to work and education, and social justice. He referred to the public's criticism of the national media which is serving as "Godi media," and how the Modi government is exercising control over the information system. Yechury also addressed the question of who could replace Modi, asserting that the country's need is for alternative policies rather than any single individual, and he argued that this alternative lies with the Left.

During the BJP government's nine-year rule, it has waived debts worth Rs 16 lakh crores for capitalists, while dismissing pleas for debt relief for impoverished farmers and artisans as "Rewari culture." Yechury also highlighted the ongoing privatisation of factories and industries, resorted to by the government to safeguard the interests of corporates. He mentioned that the ‘shining India’ that the BJP speaks of, primarily benefits capitalists and corporations, while the rest of India's population, including farmers, workers, and common citizens, yearn for freedom, democracy, and social equality. Yechury drew attention to the continuous attacks on dalits and women, with 46 women falling victim daily. He expressed concerns about the persistent misuse of government agencies such as the ED, CBI, the Election Commission, and even the judiciary against opposition parties, which has undermined parliamentary democracy. This government is passing bills without taking into account the views of MPs. Yechury concluded by stressing on the need for a Left, democratic political change. He emphasized the Left parties' role in striving to bring about this change and said that their support for the INDIA Alliance, is driven by the objective of protecting the Constitution of India, democracy, public sector industries, and independent journalism.

The INDIA Alliance is raising employment issues and advocating for a law similar to MGNREGA for urban areas. They are also proposing the provision of 10 kg of subsidised foodgrains per unit, an employment allowance, and giving a statutory backing to the minimum support price for farmers by making it into a law, with provisions for punitive measures against traders who purchase below MSP. Yechury expressed his full confidence in the commitment of alliance members to work hard towards safeguarding the Constitution, defeating the BJP, and securing victory for INDIA.

D Raja, general secretary of the CPI, stated in his address that people have gathered to express concern because the government of our country is targeting dalits and tribals. They often mention the ‘double engine sarkar’, but neither engine is functioning effectively. They speak of ‘Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Vikas’ and engage in ‘Mann Ki Baat’, but for whom? Certainly not for the underprivileged, or workers, dalits, or the youth.

Dipankar Bhattacharya, general secretary of the CPI(ML), addressing the rally expressed concerns that the government is inclined to substitute the Constitution with Manusmriti. “They argue that our current Constitution is of British origin, but they overlook the fact that Dr BR Ambedkar was the architect of our Constitution. Dr Ambedkar, along with the martyr Bhagat Singh, warned that if workers and farmers did not attain power, any ruling regime in the country would merely represent a change of skin colour, with no substantial transformation. Today, their words are being vindicated”, he said.

During his address, G Devarajan, general secretary of the Forward Bloc, emphasized the importance of the rally, stating that it is the need of the hour. He pointed out that Uttar Pradesh has historically been a trendsetter in the country, with the socialist movement originating from this state. Uttar Pradesh has a rich history of revolutionary movements, and the ‘Save Constitution, Save Nation’ and ‘Remove BJP’ rally is commencing from UP, which is a source of pride for the comrades in the state.

Devarajan went on to express concerns about the Modi government's authoritarianism, highlighting that 14 laws have been changed in a mere 11 minutes under their rule. He mentioned that democratic rights are being curtailed, and even members of parliament who speak out against the government in the parliament are being suspended. He stressed the need for a united effort to fight the authoritarian government.

The president of Loktantrik Janta Dal, Javed Raza, highlighted the impending revision of the voter list in preparation for the 2024 parliamentary elections and stressed the need for great caution. He expressed concerns that the government might attempt to remove names from the voter list, potentially affecting the election. Raza emphasized the importance of carefully scrutinising the voter list and urged those whose names are missing to fill out Form Number 06 to have their names added.

He also criticised the government for its false promises, such as creating two crore jobs annually and depositing 15,00,00 rupees into bank accounts of people, only to later admit, when questioned by journalists, that these promises were merely political rhetoric. Raza asserted that the people will give a befitting reply to these empty promises.