CPI(M) to Strive for a Real Alternative Govt at Centre
THE city of Agartala turned into a red sea of humanity on 15th December as the CPI(M) held its mammoth central rally to mark the end of its first ever central committee meetings in the capital city of the Red bastion in North East. The mass meeting at the newly constructed Vivekananda Stadium (formerly known as Astabol Maidan) virtually saw the beginning of the CPI(M)’s campaign for the forthcoming Lok Sabha election. The top leaders of the Party, including its general secretary Prakash Karat made it clear in their speeches that the CPI(M) will strive to ensure defeat of both Congress and BJP and work for a secular, democratic and alternative government at the centre which will pursue an alternative set of policies as is being implemented by the Left Front government in Tripura. It was the first time after formation of CPI(M) that its central committee had met in Agartala. To make the event memorable, the whole city wore a festive look. Gates, statues, flags, flexis, chain flags marked the look of the city. CPI(M) Tripura state committee, with all round help from the democratic people of the state, tried its best to make arrangements simple but befitting to the occasion. The Polit Bureau meeting preceding the CC meeting was held at Dasharath Deb Smriti Bhavan [CPI(M) state committee office] and the three day CC meeting from 13-15 December was held at Shahid Bhagat Singh Youth Hostel. From the noon of 15th December itself huge processions started pouring into Agartala from all the corners of the state and they started marching towards the stadium. The colorful processions comprising of tribal, non tribal masses, youth, women were proof enough of the mass base of the Party in the state. The rapt attention with which the masses listened to the leadership, the way they greeted the leaders and responded with thundering sounds of claps was proof enough that the democratic masses of Tripura are ready to make their meaningful and enhanced contribution in the struggle for alternative that lies ahead. The rally was presided over by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member S. Ramachandran Pillai. The meeting was addressed by CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, Polit Bureau members Sitaram Yechury, Brinda Karat, Manik Sarkar, Biman Basu, Pinarayi Vijayan and CPI(M) Tripura state committee secretary Bijan Dhar. PB members A K Padmanabhan, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, K Varadharajan, M A Baby and Surjyakanta Mishra and CC members were seated on the dias. At the outset the meeting stood in silence for one minute in memory of Nelson Mandela, the legendary leader of the struggle against apartheid. Addressing the mass meeting, Prakash Karat blamed the policies of the UPA government at the centre for the relentless price rise, inflation and the resultant burden on the common masses. “Despite our repeated demands, the government callously refuses to take measures for controlling price rise. Rather it is promoting speculative forward trading of essential commodities and decontrolling petroleum products which in turn is increasing the burden on masses further. It has broken all records of corruption and is the most corrupt government till date. All its policies are aimed at protecting the interests of the big corporate houses and MNCs. These are resulting in massive corruption, increased exploitation of workers, agrarian crisis leading to continuing farmer suicides and ever increasing unemployment”, he said. Karat felt that the people have vented their anger against these policies in the recently concluded elections of state assemblies by defeating Congress in four of the five states that went to polls. The central committee in its meeting has decided that the Party must further intensify its struggles on the burning issues concerning workers, peasants and other toiling masses. A countrywide campaign program will be launched in the months of January and February 2014 on the issues of price rise, corruption and unemployment. Karat was emphatic that the results of the assembly elections are a clear indication of a resounding defeat awaiting the Congress in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls. Despite its governments’ dismal record of misrule and corruption, the BJP has been the beneficiary of the raging anti-Congress mood of the people and is forming governments in three of these states. The Congress could not dislodge the BJP from power as the people could not see any viable alternative in it to BJP especially because of the UPA government’s anti-people image. However Karat underlined that these results do not represent a national trend for the win of BJP in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls because in most of the other states there are regional, democratic and Left parties who can fight both Congress and BJP. While the defeat of Congress is assured, Karat warned against the possible victory of BJP controlled by RSS. He said, it is trying to polarise the country on communal lines and the man they are projecting as PM candidate, Narendra Modi, is responsible for the most infamous anti-minority mass killing after independence in Gujarat. On the economic front BJP represents and follows the same anti-people and pro-corporate policies. That is why the corporate houses are supporting Modi in an unprecedented manner. Hence the CPI(M) has decided to cooperate with the non-Congress and non-BJP parties so that a non-Congress, non-BJP secular democratic alternative may emerge. The CC has decided that we must step up our campaign against communalism to prevent the BJP from coming to power after the defeat of Congress. We will strive for a secular democratic and alternative government at the centre which will follow an alternative policy trajectory as is being pursued by the Left Front government in Tripura, he said. Addressing the meeting Sitaram Yechury said that the future of the country will depend on the outcome of the coming parliamentary election. But the ‘Namo Raga’ as being presented by the two big parties and the corporate media is a cacophony and won’t be good for the country. We need an alternative to this. That alternative is being shown by Tripura. Terming the forthcoming election as a political Mahabharat, Yechury said the politics of hatred being pursued by BJP like that of Duryodhan and aided by RSS playing the role of Shakuni mama is a real danger to India. But Congress’ politics of Sinhasan is no alternative to the BJP’s politics of Dussashan. Congress’s dismal record of corruption has resulted in disasters. The amount looted in 2G scam could suffice for providing 35 kg of rice at Rs 2 per kg to every family in the country, the money looted in coal scam could be sufficient to ensure free universal school education. There is no dearth of resources but what is needed is an alternative policy and not a mere alternative leader. Tripura is an example of how alternative policies can be implemented to serve people. We shall put forth the example of Tripura before the country as the model of alternative policies. Tripura will show the path of Jansashan defeating both the politics of Sinhasan and Dussashan, he said. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat said the neo-liberal economic policies of the centre is proving disastrous for the people. But the ruling classes and the media remain callous to these issues. In Madhya Pradesh, around 95 per cent of the tribal hamlets do not have any facility of drinking water; in Gujarat and Jharkhand tribal people are deprived of their forest rights. But in Tripura we have tribal people not only getting pattas to their forest land but also enjoying the benefits of different government schemes for their economic development. All the villages here have drinking water facility. There are number of leaders and ministers of both Congress and BJP who are behind bars for corruption, but no one can level charges of corruption against any minister of Left Front government. This government is the alternative that we want for the country, she asserted. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and Kerala state committee secretary Pinarai Vijayan congratulated the people of Tripura for the development of the state made under the Left Front governments led by Manik Sarkar. He described how the UDF government led by the Congress in Kerala is unleashing repressive measures to curb democratic movement by way of police atrocities, registering false cases against CPI(M) leaders and cadres, putting them in jail and physical annihilations. At the same time he described how the advances made during the LDF regime are being reversed. He warned against the politics of hatred and communalism being pursued by BJP and the ruinous, corrupt policies of both the big parties but expressed confidence that with people’s support the CPI(M)-led LDF will be successful in bringing effective political change in the state. Terming Congress and BJP as birds of same feather, he called for defeat of both the parties in the next Lok Sabha polls. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and West Bengal state committee secretary Biman Basu said that the semi-fascist terror of 1988-92 witnessed in Tripura is being repeated in today’s West Bengal under TMC rule. Till date 142 leaders and workers of CPI(M) and Left Front have been murdered. over 46,000 of our workers and supporters have been evicted from their houses. The Panchayat and municipal elections have been openly rigged. A strange, undemocratic atmosphere prevails in the state. Lakhs of people have been duped in the Sarada chit fund scam. Other states where the chit funds have cheated the depositors have asked for CBI enquiry, but TMC government refuses to agree to the same demand. But the people have started raising their voice which will get further emboldened in future, he expressed confidence. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and chief minister of Tripura, Manik Sarkar said that the CPI(M) wants an alternative to both Congress and BJP. He said, we want to see such a force at the centre which will have a secular, democratic and human outlook and which will work for workers, peasants, unemployed, middle class, SC, ST and small and medium traders. The policies of Congress are causing price rise, job loss, peasant suicides, large sale privatisation and massive corruption. It is silent about the politics of hatred, riots and communal polarisation pursued by the BJP which is trying to take advantage of the mass dissatisfaction against Congress. But on economic front they are supporting all the anti-people measures and legislations put forth by Congress. Manik Sarkar said, while both Congress and BJP are safeguarding the interest of capitalists, landlords, hoarders and speculators, the BJP is trying to repeat the policy of communal polarisation as they had done through kar seva and rath yatra. We believe a democratic, secular and pro-people alternative is possible against both of them and the CPI(M) will strive for that. He said, Tripura has to play an important role here as it has shown what that alternative could be by working for the betterment of the masses. In recognition to this work for people’s welfare, India Today magazine has chosen Tripura government for their award for the best state administration working for the welfare of people. He called upon the Party workers to reach out to more and more new people who are still not with us and win them over so that Tripura can play a much more effective role in the struggles ahead. CPI(M) Tripura state committee secretary Bijan Dhar said, in Tripura the Left Front government is working with a pro-people policy which is opposite to the anti-people policies of centre. We must intensify struggles for a similar government at the centre. He said, the holding of the central committee meeting in Tripura was a historic event. But the reactionary forces are afraid of us, hence they are resorting to campaign of falsehoods about the expenses of the meeting and about their flags being removed, but people have seen flags of Congress and TMC flying simultaneously with our flag even during the CC meeting. S Ramchandran Pillai thanked all before concluding the meeting.