A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 16 No. 26 18-24 JUN 2013
The JD(U)-BJP Split:
Opportunities and Challenges for the Left in Bihar
The JD(U)-BJP alliance has finally come to an end. According to Nitish Kumar, the alliance was no longer tenable and the time had come when it had to be 'sacrificed' for the sake of 'principle'. What triggered this sudden pang of 'principle' was the elevation of Modi as the chief of the BJP's poll campaign for the coming Lok Sabha elections and the tame surrender of Advani.
If it is a matter of 'principle' now for Nitish Kumar, clearly he has a thoroughly opportunist yardstick to measure it. Nitish Kumar has no problem with the BJP. He has shared power with it at the Centre and then in Bihar since 2005. He has no problem with Narendra Modi either. He had never said anything when Narendra Modi's government orchestrated the Gujarat genocide in 2002. It now turns out that while inaugurating a railway project in Gujarat in 2003, Nitish Kumar as union railway minister had even foreseen a greater role for 'Narendrabhai' in the service of the nation. Even in 2009 Nitish Kumar had no problem flashing the victory sign together with Narendra Modi in an NDA meeting in Punjab.
His problem started when some Bihari businessman with business interests in Gujarat sponsored an advertisement in newspapers in Bihar flashing that photograph of bonhomie between the two chief ministers. Nitish Kumar did not want Modi to spoil his show in Bihar. He had kept Modi away from any kind of electioneering in Bihar. But now that the BJP has chosen Modi as its poll mascot, a prelude to or an equivalent of his formal projection as the party's prime ministerial candidate, Nitish Kumar could not possibly keep him out of the Bihar scheme of things any longer. So he decided to call off the alliance now, making it into a matter of 'principle'.
Clearly Nitish Kumar's assessment is that while initially he needed the BJP to gain and consolidate power in Bihar, he could now afford to come out of the BJP's embrace and seek some other alliance. While striking deals with the Congress over 'special category status' for Bihar, he also seems ready to contribute to the chorus for a 'federal front' by reaching out to his counterparts in Odisha and West Bengal. On June 12, while a JD(U) emissary was present at the Naveen Patnaik show in Delhi demanding 'special status' for Odisha, another JD(U) leader came to Kolkata to have a talk with Mamata Banerjee.
There is also a pressing need for Nitish Kumar to seek a new context for himself in Bihar. He is aware that the social and political coalition that catapulted him to power was born under extraordinary circumstances and cannot be sustained for any indefinite length of time. In 2005 February he emerged as a key player but without a clear mandate. In November 2005 he got a mandate to usher in 'regime change' in a chaotic and stagnant Bihar. In 2010 he played on the danger of a possible return of Lalu Prasad, but what fetched him a bigger mandate was Bihar's aspiration for development.
But now in 2013 when the dream of development has visibly begun to turn sour, and social oppression, police repression and the highhandedness of a corrupt bureaucracy have become the hallmarks of his government, Nitish Kumar evidently needs to shift the goalpost. Hence his sudden rediscovery of the secular principle! And unlike VP Singh who had to sacrifice his government at the Centre by parting ways with the BJP, Nitish Kumar has the comfort of playing the 'secular' card without risking the safety of his government as his own party is just a few short of the majority mark!
How should the Left respond to this split in the ruling alliance in Bihar? The fact that the ruling alliance has split under the weight of its own unsustainable opportunism is certainly welcome and the Left must use this welcome turn of events to intensify the ongoing struggles on the host of people's issues and sharpen and strengthen its own intervention in the increasingly competitive political situation of Bihar.
It must be understood that the Left in Bihar has not come together only to oppose the impact of central policies on Bihar – the joint actions of the Left in Bihar have primarily been directed against the policies and measures of the Bihar government, against the latter's comprehensive failure and betrayal in keeping its poll promises and fulfilling the demands of the people. The people of Bihar will not shed tears over the loss of trust between the BJP and JD(U), but there is no way the people can condone the betrayal by the Nitish Kumar government of the interests of the toiling masses of Bihar and of the very aspiration for 'development with justice'.
At every turn of event and on every issue of importance, the Nitish Kumar government has proved to be a handmaiden of the feudal forces and if the BJP has succeeded in almost doubling its strength in Bihar Assembly, it is very much a result of Nitish Kumar's politics of appeasement of feudal-communal forces in Bihar. This historical reality cannot be erased by the belated and opportunist split on the question of elevation of Narendra Modi as the chief of the BJP's election campaign committee. With the BJP pushed into the opposition space, opposition politics will become much more competitive in Bihar and the Left will have to assert its agenda by intervening in this competition with all its strength. It must be understood that this is an important part of the Left's battle against the BJP in this new phase in Bihar.
The Odisha model where a section of the Left ran into the embrace of Naveen Patnaik the moment he severed ties with the BJP must serve as a negative reference point for the Left in Bihar. The Odisha model may have helped the CPI win a Lok Sabha seat with the blessing of the ruling party but today Odisha is a hotbed of corporate plunder and the people are forced to fight hard against the government that the CPI continues to support. In Bihar, the CPI has already declared the support of its lone MLA for the June 19 vote of confidence sought by Nitish Kumar, of course adding that this stand should not be construed as an expression of general support for the government. The future of understanding and cooperation between the CPI and CPI(ML) will depend on the course the CPI takes vis-a-vis the JD(U) and the Nitish Kumar government.
The Left ranks in Bihar need not learn only from Odisha. The CPI has its own experience in Bihar to learn from. The early 1970s were a period of great advance for the CPI in Bihar but the Emergency era blunder of partnership with Indira Gandhi stunted its growth and discredited its politics. After years of determined anti-feudal struggle, when the Congress was ousted from power, the CPI once again repeated the blunder by getting into an uncritical alliance with Lalu Prasad. By the time the party leadership woke up to the danger of this perilous partnership, it was too late and the CPI could never regain the strength, credibility and initiative it once enjoyed in Bihar.
Now that Nitish Kumar has been forced to end the extraordinary and unsustainable alliance in Bihar, the political situation in the state has surely opened up. The revolutionary Left must take the fullest advantage of the new situation to rejuvenate the resistance of the working people, sharpen the struggle on every question of democracy, justice and development and forcefully intervene in the developing ideological-political churning in the society in Bihar.
Nitish Kumar had reduced whatever ideology he had inherited from the 1974 movement to a pursuit of power marked by utter political opportunism and total appeasement of feudal forces. Today when the Congress faces its deepest crisis of credibility, ironically enough, both Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar, the two self-styled legatees of the 1974 movement are busy in a competitive bid to court the thoroughly discredited Congress. The revolutionary Left must take the lead to unify the Left and other democratic forces in Bihar in a determined and powerful bid to emerge as a pole not only against the Congress and the BJP but also in contrast to the corrupt and opportunist political culture symbolised by the JD(U) and the RJD.
CPI(ML) Statement on BJP-JD(U) Break Up
Patna, 16 June 2013
The CPI(ML) had for long demanded that the JD(U) part ways with the communal fascist BJP, and in this context, the party welcomes the break-up of the JD(U) with the BJP. At the same time, we must point out that the alliance between the JD(U) and the BJP was formed on the basis of opportunism, and has now broken up on the basis of opportunism.
Nitish Kumar and his party have been responsible for giving strength and legitimacy to BJP and Narendra Modi for 17 years, with Nitish Kumar remaining a Minister in the NDA Government even in the immediate aftermath of the Gujarat massacre masterminded by Modi in 2002. It is very apparent that the break-up is not inspired by a genuine concern for secularism and democracy, but out of Nitish Kumar's opportunist political calculations.
In Bihar, too, Nitish Kumar's Government has adopted much of the BJP's feudal-communal agenda and bias whether on the question of justice for dalits and minorities or land reform. The police firing and atrocities on minorities at Forbesganj and the Government's role in allowing the supporters of Ranveer Sena's Brahmeshwar Singh to 'vent their anger' on dalit students and common people after his killing are prominent instances of Nitish Kumar following in Narendra Modi's footsteps.
While welcoming the break-up of the JD(U)-BJP alliance, we will not let Nitish Kumar shift the agenda in Bihar, and will hold his Government responsible for all its betrayals and failures on the question of land reform, justice, corruption and people's rights.
Having finally pulled out of the long and opportunist alliance with the BJP, Nitish Kumar is hobnobbing in an equally opportunist way with authoritarian and corrupt forces like Congress and TMC. Nitish Kumar is now competing with Laloo Prasad to appease the Congress.
Narendra Modi has come to represent the agenda of communal as well as corporate fascism. This agenda can be resisted only by a people's movement and a politics firmly committed to defending democracy against the corporate stranglehold and state repression. Nitish Kumar's Government in Bihar, and the Congress Government at the Centre and in various states, have proved to be a miserable failure on this count.
The CPI(ML) will oppose the BJP's Bihar Bandh called on 18 June, calling for people of Bihar to firmly reject and resist the feudal-communal politics and corporate-communal agenda of the BJP and the JDU alike.
CPI(ML) Bihar State Committee
Statewide Protests Held in Jharkhand
On June 11 CPI(ML) organised demonstrations and protests throughout Jharkhand demanding immediate dissolution of the Jharkhand Assembly and fresh elections. In the capital Ranchi protests were held at Albert Ekka Chowk. Braving the incessant monsoon rains, about a hundred protesters stood their ground and remained firm in their demands, addressed the people and raised slogans. Addressing the rally Central Committee member and MLA Vinod Singh said that the Congress can never be in a position to form a government in Jharkhand on its own strength and yet it cannot give up the desire for power and therefore it uses all underhand means to grab power. President's Rule is an excuse hiding behind which the Congress is ruling in Jharkhand. The Congress is serving its own ends by keeping the Assembly suspended for such a long period and by keeping the JMM and the RJD under pressure. Com. Vinod stressed that the people of Jharkhand had become wise to the deceit of the Congress and is not prepared to suffer Congress rule any longer. If the Assembly is not dissolved and fresh elections held immediately, the people of Jharkhand will intensify their struggle on the streets. State secretary Janardan Prasad, CC member Anant Prasad Gupta, State Standing Committee member Parmeshwar Mahto, State Committee member Sukhdev Munda, AIPWA leaders Guni Oraon and Sarojini Bisht, youth leader Bhishma Mahto and others participated in the rally.
In Garhwa district protesters demonstrated in front of the district Collectorate under the leadership of State committee members Mohan Dutta, Kalicharan Mehta, and Sushma Mehta. At the Palamu district headquarters a protest was held where the speakers also also condemned the incident where shops of minorities were burnt down in Chhatarpur while the administration tried to evade the issue by refusing to enter into talks but the CPI-ML leaders stood their ground and the Deputy Commissioner finally spoke to them and assured them that the matter would be conveyed to the proper authorities and all efforts would be made to find a positive solution to the problems. This protest was led by District secretary R. N. Singh, Ravindra Ram and all others.
In Giridih, protesters participated in the demonstration in front of the district deputy commissioner led by District Secretary Manoj Bhakt, State Committee members Rajkumar Yadav, Rajesh Yadav, Usman Ansari and other leaders. A protest in Kodarma was led by State Committee members Prem Prakash and Shyamdev Yadav. In Dhanbad, protesters gathered at Randhir Verma Chowk. In Bokaro protesters rallied in front of District deputy commissioner's office led by District Secretary Devdeep Singh Diwakar, State Committee members Janardan Harijan, J. N. Singh, Baleshwar Yadav and other leaders.
In Ramgarh, protesters led by district secretary Bhuneshwar Bediya and state committee member Devkinandan Bediya raised the issue of forcible capture of land by Jindal. In Hazaribagh state committee member Baijnath Mistry, AICCTU leader Pachchu Rana led the protesters against the illegal capture of thousands of acres of land by Reliance, NTPC and several other companies in the name of coal mining and power plants in the district. In Godda, demonstrators protested against the grabbing of Adivasi land by Jindal and declared that if action was not taken against Jindal and other corporate looting the people, the district headquarters would be gheraoed on July 15. The protest was led by Arun Sahay, Motilal and others. In Deogarh demonstrators sat in protest against the incidents of violence against women. It may be noted that even a month after the rape and murder of two minor girls in Deogarh, no arrests have so far been made. This protest was led by district secretary Gita Mandal and Sahdev Yadav. Protesters put forward their demands in Kundohit sector of Jamtara district. In Tata, people participated in the protest and raised their demands, led by state committee member and former MLA Bahadur Oraon, state committee member Om Prakash Singh and district secretary S. K. Rai. Protests were also organized in Dumka and Lohardaga and an effigy of the Central government was burnt in Gumla.
AISA-RYA Protest Violation of Sovereignty and Right to Privacy and Internet Freedom
After whistleblower Edward Snowden's courageous leak citizens world over are enraged with the criminal audacity of the surveillance programmes run by US which violate the minimum democratic rights of free individuals. It's a shame that such colonization of free spaces and sovereignty is done in the name of preventing terrorism and providing security. Obama's US believes itself to be the self proclaimed dispenser of global security. Every common individual is being treated as a potential terrorist automatically warranting US surveillance and any dissent, like that of Edward Snowden, deserves extreme punishment. This huge organised terror reign under the pretext of fighting disparate terrorist attacks cannot be accepted.
It is shocking how Indian state has responded so meekly after it is exposed that its big brother has ranked her among top five mistrustful and spied nations. The response of other nations which boasts of defending democracy and sovereignty globally has been muted as well.
Addressing the protest held on 15 June at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, Sunny Kumar, AISA state secretary said, the sham of America's imperialist interference and war-mongering in the name of defending the rights and democratic aspirations of people around the globe is now exposed to the people of US and world over as it got exposed to Edward Snowden. US must realise that that last decade has been the decade of youth movements asserting their democratic rights in many countries including their own. Right to Internet freedom and privacy is something which citizens endear globally and unless US shuts down its surveillance programme it is risking a global mass movement against itself which even its partner and puppet governments would not be able to stem. Aslam Khan, RYA leader said, we have repeatedly warned that tremendous data collection UID scheme involves foreign companies like US biometric technology companies, L1 Identity Solutions Operating Company and Accenture Services Pvt. Ltd for de-duplication. Both these companies admittedly work with US intelligence agencies and US Homeland Security respectively as privatized gatekeepers of national security. The details are available on their websites. It is the Indian Government policies which is making its citizens susceptible to surveillance.
AISA and RYA demand that Indian Government spearhead the global democratic community in pressurising the US to stop all such surveillance programmes and till then snap all sorts of ties with US. Also the US should handover its criminal CIA agent David Headly to India and also ensures that no harm is being done secretly or openly to Edward Snowden.
Forest Dwellers Demonstrate to Demand Panchayat Elections in Forest Villages (Khattas).
All India Kisan Mahasabha has been waging struggle on the basic civil rights of forest dwellers (Khattavasis) in Uttarakhand for last many years achieving some victories. But the atrocities and nefarious designs to displace them by administration continue. Continuing their struggle the Kisan Mahasabha held demonstration before district magistrate in Nainital on 10 June 2013 demanding holding of Panchayat election in Khattas.
A mass meeting was held on the occasion which began with the recitation of Gorakh Pandey's poem by com. Pankaj Inqalabi, and addressed among others by Bahadur Singh Jangi, Nainital District President of Kisan Mahsabha and Kailash Pandey, district secretary of CPI(ML).
The speakers lambasted the Congress government and the previous BJP government for ignoring these forest dwellers and denying them their basic rights like electricity, family registers, medical facilities, schools and panchayats. They charged the forest department of repeatedly harassing them and attacking their livelihood in violation of earlier agreement reached with Nainital district administration. They also criticised the central and state governments of conspiring to displace them from their forest lands under the garb of environment and eco-sensitive zone and demanded holding of panchayat elections in Khattas (forest areas where they live) to ensure basic rights and their development and called for waging a powerful movement for achieving their demands.
The other speakers were Kamala Kunjwal, ASHA workers' leader and Lalit Matiyali, Gulam Navi, Gopal Dutt and Hayat Ram. After holding the mass meeting in Tallital, a procession was taken out to the DM office where the leaders of Kisan Mahasabha submitted a memorandum demanding holding of Panchayat elections in Khattas, to stop creating eco-sensitive zones, to stop atrocities on Khattavasis and to register murder charges against accused in the murder of Sangita Malda. The demonstrators in solidarity with workers of SIDCUL, Uddham Singh Nagar also demanded unconditional release of all arrested workers of Tata-Asal plant and withdrawal of all cases against them.
Demonstration against Murder of Anti-liquor Activist in Uttarakhand
Sangita Malda was murdered on 29 May 2013. She was spearheading a movement against liquor smugglers in Uttarakhand – the land of anti-liquor movement with the slogan of "Nasha Nahin, Rozgar Do". She was an ASHA worker in Mandalsera village of district Bageshwar. On 20th May, she led a protest demonstration of women at SDM office, Bageshwar demanding action against liquor smugglers in the village. Then on 24 May she submitted a memorandum with DM in which she gave the names of liquor smugglers and demanded protection for her and other women comrades. But the district administration ignored her demands. As a result of the callous and apathetic attitude of district administration, on 29th May she was murdered in her house by liquor mafia when she was alone. After murdering her, the culprits tried to convert the murder into a suicide scene by forcing pesticide into her mouth, and their agents went on to propagate that she has committed suicide owing to financial fraud done by her with women group and lodged a case of suicide. But these concocted charges were refuted by the treasurer of women group Ramuli Devi who informed that the entire fund is safely lying in bank.
Demanding punishment to the murderers of the martyred Sangita, who bravely fought against liquor mafia and for the dignity of women, hundreds of women, members of ASHA union, anganwadi workers and villagers under the leadership of CPI (ML) and AICCTU staged a militant demonstration on 4 June at DM office. They demanded lodging of murder cases against the accused, immediate arresting of the fourth accused, punishment to administrative officers and policemen who did not take any action despite repeated submission of memorandum and information, prohibition of legal and illegal sale of liquor in the entire district, arrest of all liquor smugglers and compensation and job to the dependent of the deceased. The militant demonstration forced the DM and SP to come out of office to face the demonstrators and to give clarification to every demand raised. They had to confess in front of the demonstrators that the police ignored the facts and were also conceded to the demands raised in the demonstration and declared that the case of murder will be registered after the enquiry into this incident by high officials. The district administration was given an ultimatum of 10 days with a warning of Chakka Jam if the demands are not met.
AIALA Conference in Puducherry
Save Puducherry- Karaikal rural workers! Save Peasants, agriculture and lands!! Such were slogans of the special Conference organised by rural workers affiliated to AIALA on 13 June at Kaikalampakkam, Puducherry. Large numbers of rural workers especially woman workers participated with much enthusiasm. Workers from Karaikal region took part in good numbers.
The conference was presided by R.V Lenin, Puducherry district leader of AIALA and P. Murugan, co-organiser of AIALA. P. Sankaran made the welcome address. Dhirendra Jha, CPI(ML) Politburo member and All India General Secretary of AIALA, Balasundaram, CPI(ML) Tamil Nadu State Secretary; So. Balasubramanian, CPI(ML) in-charge of Puducherry; S. Mothilal, State Secretary AICCTU, Puducherry and A.S Singarevelu, Secretary CPI(ML), Karaikal, addressed the Conference. The participants took part in lively deliberations.
While addressing the Conference Com. Dhirender Jha said "Workers are neither getting 100 days of work nor are they getting notified wages of MNRGES in Puducherry. Under the pressures of industrialists and kulak lobbies, Central and State governments are conspiring to kill MNRGES. It is being done through fixing less wages than market rates and non-implementation of MNRGES provisions in totality".
The following resolutions were passed in the Conference and sent to the ANR Congress government in Puducherry State and Central UPA government at the centre.
I) Concrete steps should be taken to save agriculture, rural workers and lands.
II) Free supply of 70 kg rice, and sufficient quantities of oil, pulses and other essential items should be made compulsorily to all families.
III) Implementation of MNRGES with full swing without deduction of notified wages of Rs 148/- per day to a worker.
IV) Waiver of all debts to marginal, small and medium farmers.
V) Pension of Rs 3000/- to all rural workers; and
VI) Cauvery Delta farmers should be saved, and appropriate relief measures should be undertaken for farmers and agricultural workers.
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: 22518248, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.cpiml.org