November 19, 2023
AP: People’s Movements are the Key

B Tulasidas

THE two-month-long campaign ‘Praja Rakshana Bheri,’ undertaken by the CPI(M) Andhra Pradesh state committee, concluded with a huge rally and public meeting in Vijayawada on November 15. The mass rally commenced from BRTS road, with thousands of volunteers in red attire, accompanied by cultural squads presenting folk arts and fancy dress displays illustrating the plight of the people and mocking government policies. The rally continued for about half an hour, culminating at MB Stadium, where the public meeting was convened, that was presided over by Party state secretary V Srinivasa Rao. Party general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Polit Bureau member BV Raghavulu, Central Committee members S Punyavati, MA Gafoor, and some state secretariat members addressed the gathering. The inauguration of the 'People’s Manifesto' took place, and the meeting resolved to continue the movement for its realisation in the days to come.

There is a pressing need for a robust people's movement to remove the ruling party at the centre and its allies in the states in order to safeguard democracy in the country, asserted Sitaram Yechury. He emphasized, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi has often spoken about 'Amrit Kaal,' but unfortunately, the amrit has fallen into the wrong hands – those who suppress the voices of the marginalised. In every state where the BJP holds power, there are attacks on minorities. It is imperative for all of us to unite and reclaim the 'amrit' from him, ensuring that it benefits everyone."

Yechury also highlighted the appointment of an adviser to Adani Green Energy Limited as a member of the Centre's Expert Appraisal Committee responsible for granting environmental clearances to projects. He pointed out that four proposals from the company are currently awaiting clearance from the committee, and said, “What will come out of it is something we all know.”

Touching upon the Israel-Palestine conflict, Yechury expressed dismay, stating, "Since Independence, we have advocated for the Palestinians to have a country of their own. However, the Modi government has shifted its stance, aligning itself shamefully as a junior partner with the American government."

Yechury reminded the public of the historical significance of people's movements in defeating the Emergency and asserted that it is time for another such movement. He declared the responsibility of the Party to lead this movement. Yechury also appealed to the ruling YSRCP and opposition TDP, Janasena parties, questioning whether they would stand with the interests of the people or continue supporting the BJP.

Addressing the meeting, BV Raghuvulu stated, "It is not sufficient to oust the BJP alone; the state will only be free when the YSRCP is also voted out of power since it is also implementing the dictates of the Saffron party, and burdening the people." He exposed the stands of the opposition TDP and Janasena parties that openly endorse the BJP. Raghuvulu said that the YSRCP and TDP criticise each other in Andhra Pradesh but remain united in supporting the anti-people policies of the BJP at the centre. He said it is shameful that the TDP continues to support the BJP despite knowing its involvement in the arrest of former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu. “We have a history of former chief ministers who raised their voice when needed. It is sad that not one party in the state has the courage to oppose the BJP at the centre today,” Raghavulu said. He appealed to regional parties to break free from the clutches of the BJP.

In his address, V Srinivasa Rao explained the process involved in developing the People's Manifesto and detailed the various stages of the Praja Rakshana Bheri campaign. He highlighted the state-level seminar and 23 other conventions held on different issues in October. Additionally, he mentioned the three bus jathas that covered approximately 3500 km, addressing more than a lakh people. Srinivasa Rao strongly criticised the BJP central government for denying special category status to Andhra Pradesh and for not fulfilling the promises made during the bifurcation. He exposed the YSRCP government for imposing burdens on the people and suppressing agitating sections. He reaffirmed that the struggle under the Red flag would persist until the realisation of the People's Manifesto. Srinivasa Rao also informed the gathering about the unfortunate demise of veteran Communist leader Comrade N Sankaraiah and paid rich tributes.

Party Central Committee member Punyavati recalled the heroic struggles led by the Communist movement in Andhra Pradesh and urged the people to carry on this legacy. She criticised the Modi government for deceiving the public regarding the women's reservation bill and demanded its implementation from the 2024 General elections itself.

Party Central Committee member MA Gafoor strongly criticised the state government for its anti-working class and anti-people policies, emphasizing the heavy burden placed on the masses. He warned the YSRCP that its mass base of minorities, Scheduled Castes, and Scheduled Tribes would teach them a lesson for supporting the communal BJP. Gafoor exposed the TDP and Janasena for aligning with the BJP. Former member of the Party Central Committee P Madhu asserted that nobody in the state is happy due to the misrule of both the central and state governments.

Party state secretariat member D Ramadevi criticised the government for not regulating liquor consumption and highlighted the lack of safety and security for women. K Prabhakara Reddy, state secretariat member, explained the plight of farmers and agricultural workers due to drought, demanding relief measures from the governments. Party state secretariat member K Lokanadham exposed the neglect of backward regions by the state governments and pledged to continue the struggle for development. V Venkateswarlu, state secretariat member, criticised the Modi government for weakening the MGNREGA. Party state secretariat member Killo Surendra affirmed that the legacy of the adivasi struggle led by Alluri Sitaramaraju would be continued.

Other members of the state secretariat, including Y Venkateswara Rao, M Sitaram, V Uma Maheswara Rao, B Tulasidas, Mulam Ramesh, K Subbaravamma, and V Rambhupal, were present on the dais. Ch Baburao, Party state secretariat member, welcomed the gathering, and Party state committee member D Kasinath delivered the vote of thanks.