A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 13, No. 18, 27 APRIL – 03 MAY 2010
Bharat Bandh: Bourgeois Parties Backtrack in Parliament,
the Fighting People March on the Streets
hirteen non-NDA non-UPA parties had given a call for a countrywide mass strike against price-rise on April 27. Considering the severity of the price situation and the need to sharpen and intensify the movement, the CPI(ML) along with the Maharashtra-based Lal Nishan Party (Leninist) and Punjab-based CPM(Punjab) also endorsed the strike and called for strengthening the all-India mass action against the UPA government’s inflationary economic policies and its failure to provide any relief to the aam aadmi. The strike call issued by the CPI(ML), LNP(L) and CPM(Punjab) also focused on the issue of growing state repression and corporate loot and demanded food security for the people and nationalization of the mineral sector.
Reports received from different states showed widespread countrywide mass support for the strike. The strike was understandably more effective in states or regions where the parties sponsoring it have a strong presence, but the level of mass participation and spontaneous support reflected not just the relative strength of the concerned parties but a much wider public anger against the UPA government’s failure and betrayal. The people are angry not just over the UPA’s failure or refusal to control prices but more particularly with its utter lack of concern for the common people. Budget 2010 only added fuel to the inflationary fire without bothering to provide any relief and worse still, while the masses reeled under soaring prices, UPA ministers and managers remained merrily immersed in choreographing the corrupt corporate carnival of IPL.
While the people expressed their anger by marching on the streets, the Lok Sabha was scheduled to have a showdown over two cut motions. Considering the parliamentary strength of the parties that had called the bandh and the declared position of several other non-UPA parties, the cut motion voting should have meant a very close call for the government. But the results were 289 votes for the government and 201 for the motion with 55 MPs abstaining from voting. What increased the government tally despite one absence each from the Congress, NCP and TMC was the support extended by the BSP’s 21 MPs and Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren. The opposition tally was reduced not just by a few absences in the NDA camp, but most notably by the decision of the SP and RJD to abstain from the voting. Also joining the abstention brigade were the JD(S) and the lone MP of the SUCI.
The voting pattern reveals a clear rupture between the popular anger and agitational mood and the political calculations of several ‘opposition’ parties. The RJD, for example, has been quite vocal on the question of price rise, having already observed a Bihar bandh on the issue in January. But when the budget came, the country saw Lalu Prasad speaking not so much on the budget but against the women’s reservation bill, and now at the decisive hour of voting on the cut motion, he once again chickened out along with his SP partner from UP. Maybe the Congress will now reciprocate by putting the women’s reservation bill on the backburner. The BSP and the Congress seem to be engaged in an intense turf war in UP, but that did not stop the BSP from coming to the rescue of the Congress at the Centre. Time will tell us what sealed this deal – maybe the Centre’s assurance of a soft line on Mayawati’s mounting court cases, or the nod for the 5,500-crore Greater Noida international airport project!
With the bourgeois opposition parties displaying their characteristic vacillation, the responsibility for carrying forward the agitation against the UPA’s anti-people policies lies squarely with the revolutionary Left. The developing political situation and the people’s response to the countrywide mass strike have vindicated our agenda and assessment. Mass pressure must be increased on the UPA government for automatic inclusion of all agricultural, rural and unorganized workers and small peasants in the BPL list and for immediate enactment of food security legislation. The question of democracy too is fast coming up on the forefront of public discourse – even as the debate on Green Hunt intensifies, bourgeois opposition leaders too complain of telephone tapping and growing curbs on democracy and freedom.
The UPA may have survived the cut motion in Lok Sabha, but parliamentary deals must not be allowed to dampen the fighting spirit and tempo of the masses. The governments that inflict misery on the people and wage war on democracy will have to be halted in their tracks.
CPI(ML) Congratulates Working Class and Aam Admi for Voicing their anger against Price Rise and increasing State Repression and making the 27 April Countrywide General Strike a Success
CPI(ML) General Secretary Arrested with Thousands of Bandh Supporters in Patna
Bihar: Demanding immediate check on food-prices and essential items’ prices, inclusion of all poor in the BPL list, complete withdrawal from the policies of privatisation, nationalisation of minerals and natural resources, stopping all assaults on democracy and operation green hunt, immediate implementation of comprehensive food security bill and progressive land reforms, the CPI(ML) supported Bharat bandh was totally successful in Bihar and elsewhere in the Country.
CPI(ML) General Secretary Com. Dipankar Bhattacharya along with State Secretary Nand Kishore Prasad, Polit Bureau member Ramji Rai, CC member KD Yadav, Patna Dist. Secretary Kunal, RYA GS Kamlesh Sharma and Pradip Jha along with dozens of other Party leaders and hundreds of bandh supporters were arrested in Patna while leading a march. More than five thousand CPI(ML) members were arrested in 27 April Bharat Bandh in Siwan, Darbhanga, Nawada, Chhapra, Naugachia, Begusarai, Betiah and other places in Bihar apart from Patna.
To make the Bandh successful large rallies were organised by Party committees in Patna, Arrah, Bhabua, Buxar, Sasaram, Gaya, Arwal, Aurangabad, Jahanabad, Nalanda, Nawada, Sheikhpura, Siwan, Samastipur, Gopalganj, Darbhanga, Bettiah, Muzzafarpur, Bhagalpur, Purnia, Begusarai, Araria, Supaul and other districts led by senior Party leaders. Bandh supporters held dharna and blockades on railway lines and national highways thus completely paralysing the traffic. All major commercial, official and educational institutes remained shut.
Com. Dipankar citing the successful bandh said that if the Central and State Governments do not take lesson from this and stop repressive measures like price rise and green hunt, it will have to be prepared to be dislodged from power.
Uttar Pradesh: In Lucknow, CPI(ML) and AIPWA jointly took out a march in support of the general strike. AIPWA’s entire national council was present in the march. When the march was stopped by the police from proceeding, the marchers sat on the street forming a dharna. Later the City Magistrate declared them arrested.
At Mirzapur, CPI(ML) State Secretary Com. Sudhakar Yadav led the rally. Party cadres were arrested in Ghazipur, Varanasi, Jalaun and Sultanpur when they were implementing the bandh call. Rallies were also taken out at four centres of Ghazipur dist.- Dist. HQ, Jamania, Bhadaura and Saidpur; Mughalsarai, Chakia, Sakaldiha and Naugarh in Chandauli dist.; Ahiraura, Rajgarh, Jamalpur, Lalganj and Dist. HQ in Mirzapur; Hargaon, Mahauli, Biswan and at Sitapur dist.HQ. Apart from these places CPI(ML) members in hundreds also took to street at Sonbhadra, Ballia, Dewaria, Gorakhpur, Mau, Bhadohi, Kanpur, Ambedkar Nagar, Khiri, Pilibhit, Gonda, Azamgarh etc. to make the bandh successful.
Chhatisgarh: Dharna was organised at Sector-1 in Bhilai in support of the bandh call on 27 April.
Delhi: The activists and members of CPI(ML) and AICCTU organised mass actions in various parts of Delhi to make the All India General Strike a great success. The Wajirpur Industrial Area remained closed as hundreds of CPI(ML) and AICCTU workers started picketing since early morning followed by a massive demonstration and public meeting. Thousands of workers supported the bandh call and came out in streets for the whole day. The strike in this area was led by AICCTU leader Com. Mathura Paswan, Munna Yadav, RP Singh and many others.
AICCTU also participated in strike call in other parts of Delhi like Okhla, Jhilmil, Bhorgarh and adjoining NOIDA. The demonstration in NOIDA was led by Com. Shyam Kishore Yadav and Pramod Singh.
Orissa: CPI(ML) protested price rise at at Bhubaneswar, Rayagada, Gosani, Rajkanika and Pattamundei, Gunupur, Padmapur and Bhadrak. Demands to curb price rise and stop green hunt immediately were raised vigorously by the bandh supporters along with Party members. Com. Mahendra Parida of AICCTU, State Secretary of AICCTU- COM Yudhistir Mohapatra, State Commitee member of CPI(ML), Tirupati Gamango and Ashok Pradhan, Comrades Bidhan Das, Samar, Banshi Dhar Parida, Radha Kanta Sethi and others took part in the rally at different places. Protest was very attractive and colourful and the speakers lambasted the Naveen Patnaik and Central UPA Govt. for its repressive policies.
Uttarakhand: Effigies of Manmohan Singh and State Chief Minister Nishank were burnt at Srinagar in Garhwal, Deghat and Bhikiyasain in Almora, Munshiari and Pithoragarh District Headquarters, and Haldwani in Nainital to protest the price rise and assaults on democracy in the name of combating the Maoists.
AISA and RYA Protest against Operation Green Hunt
Activists of the All India Students' Association (AISA) and Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) protested in Kolkata on 23rd April against operation green hunt. They also burnt effigies of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and WB Chief Minster Buddhadeb Bhattacherjee. More than five hundred student and youth in a well decorated rally attracted the attention of the people and media for the exclusive issue what many political organizations are not daring to address. Standing both against the pro-state mainstream Left trend, which has succumbed to congress led UPA Government and the anarcho-militarist political trend, AISA and RYA condemned the operation "Green Hunt" launched by United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government describing it as a virtual war against the tribals and other poor Indian people to grab the land, mines, forests, and rivers for the sake of monopolist capitalists. Assault on democracy in its various forms was fiercely condemned. Malay Tewari and Jul Mukherjee, State Secretary and Jt.Secretary, AISA; Souvik Ghoshal and Apurba Ghosh State President and Secretary, RYA led the rally.
AICCTU’s Resolute Fight in Tamil Nadu Boosts Morale of Working Class
AICCTU had sought permission for holding a padayatra from Coimbatore to Chennai from April 17 to May 1, with an inaugural meeting in Coimbatore. The Coimbatore SP denied permission for the whole padayatra till May 1, which is out of his jurisdiction, citing Roy George’s murder as reason. He also said in his letter denying permission that the padayatra can not be allowed as it is going through ‘highly industrialized districts’ and that AICCTU members are the murderers in Roy George case.
This letter was challenged in Madras High Court and the Court at the outset said the Coimbatore SP can not pass orders for the whole padayatra and the DGP will have to give permission and thus the SP’s letter holds no more value. DGP also denied permission citing the same reasons placed by SP and passed an order to that effect on 16.04.2010. She also added in her letter that AICCTU has a violent history. As it was already time for April 17 program, AICCTU wrote another letter seeking permission for the padayatra with a revised schedule. The court asked the DGP to pass orders on AICCTU’s rescheduled padayatra program before April 21.
However, the DGP did not pass any order till April 21. The Madras HC on April 22 asked the Govt. pleader why the DGP did not act as per Court’s direction and it again notified the DGP for immediately passing the orders. By 14:45, the DGP’s order was served in the court.
This order did not mention anything about the earlier allegations on AICCTU levelled by the SP and DGP to deny permission. The new order granted permission for the padayatra from 23-30 April. It directed the concerned SPs and commissioners to provide security for AICCTU’s programmes.
The Coimbatore and TN police’ undemocratic attempt to deny AICCTU entry into Coimbatore, of course at the behest of Coimbatore industrialists, was thus foiled.
Pricol Workers Hold Successful Public Meeting on 1 hour’s Notice: As DGP’s order granting permission for the padayatra came at 2:45 pm on April 22, the Pricol workers were informed at 4 pm to get ready for the public meeting same evening at 6pm. This was first public programme in Coimbatore after the police’s witch-hunt against Pricol workers and our Union in September–October last year. The meeting was held at the same venue where the Pricol workers organised their 8000 strong May Day rally in 2007. Pricol workers were eagerly waiting for such an occasion. They started gathering by 5 pm at the venue which is around 20 km away from their dwelling place. By 6 pm more than 1500 Pricol workers, some with their families filled the venue.
Meeting started at 6.15 pm. Speaker after speaker were cheered and welcomed by the Pricol workers with great enthusiasm and the mood of the meeting amply showed the victory of the workers over the biased police. Pricol workers also donated funds for the forthcoming yatra under AICCTU leadership. Only in 5 minutes over Rs.50,000 was contributed by the workers. There were more workers waiting and as that would take at least another half an hour, they were requested by the organizers to give the funds later.
Com. Kumarasami, who addressed the gathering, recalled various victorious stages in their 3-year long struggle and said they would emerge victorious in the coming days too and called for the workers to carry forward their struggle to newer heights.
The public meet was presided over by Com. N Krishnamurthy, Pricol Workers’ Union leader. Comrades S Kumarasami, AICCTU’s National President, NK Natarajan, AICCTU’s State GS and others addressed.
Yatra: Following the successful public meet in Coimbatore, the Pricol workers began their Yatra (tour) the following day passing through various districts of Tamil Nadu highlighting the issues and demands of the working class of TN and demanding discussion on workers issues in the current Assembly session. The Yatra is being led by Comrades S Kumarasami and NK Natarajan. On April 24, they held public meetings and rallies in Erode, Pallipalayam and Komarapalayam, where power loom workers are in large numbers. On April 25 they moved to Salem, Villupuram on 26 and Virudhachalam on 27 April. At all these places, rallies and public meetings were held.
22nd April 2010: CPI(ML) Celebrates its 41st Foundation Day
Cadre Meeting in Tamil Nadu: On April 22, a State-level cadre meeting was held at Salem. Apart from State Committee members, district standing body members, dist. in-charges and more than 23 local committee secretaries also participated in the meeting.
April 22 call was read. Participants expressed their opinions and raised certain clarifications. Com. Kumarasamy, PBM, explained the call in detail. He called upon the cadres to find out ways and means to translate the Party’s call into a living practice. “Raising the level of mass assertion and expanding Party’s political initiatives” is very much linked to the style of work and level of practice of the party structures and cadres. In this regard he cited from Mao’s writing, ‘Style of work’ and ‘Method of Leadership’. ‘Speaking a lot about mass work and doing less on mass work’ is one important gap we see in our practice. This must be overcome. This particular gap must be eliminated by active implementation of the call both in letter and spirit.
More than 23 local committee secretaries placed reports about implementation of the special fund drive, levy collection and Theepori subscription enrolment. The meeting resolved to strengthen the local committees as the vibrant leading centre of Party and mass work. Every dist. Party organization should take up this as a key task. All the decisions of the party and mass organizations must be translated into active day-to-day by actively mobilizing local level party structures. The meeting also proposed to hold a convention of local committee secretaries.
The meeting decided to actively participate in the 27th April general strike and decided to make a big success the May Day workers’ rally at Chennai against price rise, state repression and for workers’ rights and dignity. Several resolutions were passed in the meeting. The meeting began with flag hoisting by Com. Mohanasundaram, Dist. Secretary of Salem. Com. Ponrasu, Dist. In-charge of Tuticorin-Virudhunagar paid tributes to the martyrs and departed leaders. The meeting observed 2 minutes silence. Balasundaram, Party State Secretary, also addressed the cadre meeting.
Delhi: Flag hoisting and meetings were held at many places in Delhi. Flag hoisting and paying of tributes to martyrs was organised at Wajirpur, Mandawali, Okhla, Shahdara, Kondli, Khora and Noida. A public meeting was also organised at Wajirpur Industrial area. The 22 April call was discussed and pledge taken at all these places.
Rajasthan: Dharna, demonstrations and cadre meetings were held on 22 April by the Party and its mass organisations in Jaipur, Jhunjhunu, Pratapgarh, Ajmer and Udaipur districts.
Road blockade and mass meeting was organised by Party activists and members at Salumber sub-division of Udaipur dist. Prior to that a rally was taken out through the main streets led by Com. Gautam Meena. The mass meeting exposed the failure of the Ashok Gehlot Govt. and his Party’s Central UPA Govt. Another speaker Com. Unkar mentioned that hundreds of mines are being operated illegally in Udaipur’s tribal areas since many years and even minimum wages are not being given to the workers, leave alone any security. Workers are dying regularly due to unsafe mining and the State Govt. is hand in glove with the mine owners. The mass meeting resolved to end this mafia rule and the grave injustice. About 400 peasants, women and rural workers laid the blockade of the main highway. A memorandum was also submitted to the SDM.
Dharna and demonstration was held at Dhariawad town of Udaipur dist led by Dist. Secretary Com. Chandradeo Ola. He said that the promise made by Ashok Gehlot before coming into power to settle the land issues of the tribal people ahs been betrayed and the forest dept. is rejecting the claims of adivasi people under directions from local Congress politicians, or even worse the pattas are being distributed to the Congress cadres. The Congress politicians are involved in NREGA corruption too. A memorandum for the President of India was submitted to the ADM. The Dharna was only lifted when the ADM assured of urgent action on local issues.
In Pratapgarh, a rally led by Comrades Karulal, Sambhulal Rawal and Shantilal Trivedi marched through the main streets of the town before reching the DM’s office where a dharna was held. Com. Jafar Khan charged the Govt. of abetting the land mafia’s intention of bulldozing the unregularised colonies where no basic civic amenities are being provided. Comrades Shahnaj and Sosar Bai said that the Govt. has turned a blind eye to the crisis of drinking water despite repeated demands from AIPWA for resolving it.
At Ajmer, hundreds of women and men led by Com. Bhanwari held a demonstration for inclusion of urban poor into NREGA and providing basic civic amenities.
In Jaipur, a cadre meeting was organised in the Party office led by State Secretary Com. Mahendra Chaudhary and CCM Com. Srilata Swaminathan. Com. Mahendra called forth for taking up the challenge of building Party organisation in whole Rajasthan and especially in Jaipur dist.
At Jhunjhunu a cadre meeting was held in the Party office presided by Com. Phoolchand Dhewa. Members of the Grameen Mazdoor Sangathan and Bhatta Mazdoor Sangathan also participated. At Khetri, a sub-division, a dharna and demonstration was organised at the Electricity Dept. office led by Com. Ramchandra Kulhari. The main demand here was that the Congress Govt. keep its promise of providing minimum 8-hours of full voltage power to the peasants and farmers for agricultural work, and also make proper arrangement for drinking water. Hundreds of peasants attended the dharna and raised slogans against Central and State Govts.
All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA)’s Rajasthan unit held demand demonstrations at District Headquarters of four districts- Jaipur, Ajmer, Udaipur and Pratapgarh demanding passing of the Women’s Reservation Bill in the current session of the Parliament. In Jaipur a 15-member delegation led by AIPWA incharge Com. Manjulata handed over a memorandum to the Governor. At Ajmer 50 women led by AIPWA’s State President Bhanwari Bai met the Dist. Magistrate and gave him a memorandum demanding that UPA Govt. stop its theatrics of building consensus and immediately pass the 33 percent reservation bill. In Udaipur and Pratapgarh as well the AIPWA leaders and members met the DM and handed over similar memorandums. In Pratapgarh Comrades Abida and Shahnaj led the demonstration and delegation. The speakers at the demonstration also exposed the anti-women face of the UPA Govt.
Chhatisgarh: A cadre convention was organised at Bhilai on 22nd April. Main speaker was Party’s CCM Com. Rajaram. Party’s call was read after observing silence and paying tributes to the martyrs. The Convention was conducted by State Secretary Com. Brijendra Tiwary. Party members also held meetings and discussion on Party’s 22 April call at Jagdalpur in Bastar, Bangoli in Raipur and at Lal Khadan in Bilaspur.
Peasant Conferences were organised at Masurchi block in Bilaspur on 18 April and at Deveda under Berla block in Durg dist. on 25th April. These conferences were addressed by Com. Rajaram and Narottam Sharma of AIALA. Various issues were raised and Raman Govt’s Gram Suraaj Abhiyan was termed as pretentious, meant for causing confusion among masses and for covering-up the rule of loot and repression.
Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.cpiml.org