Friday, June 19, 2015

ML Update | No. 25 | 16-22 JUN 2015

ML Update

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol.  18 | No. 25 | 16-22 JUN 2015 

Crony Capitalist Nexus Between Lalit Modi and Modi Government, BJP 

The UPA Government lost credibility and earned people's anger for the series of scams stemming from its crony capitalist nexus with corporations. Within a year of the Modi Government, it has become apparent that the Modi Government and BJP are deeply mired in the same crony capitalist nexus. The mutually beneficial relationship between Gautam Adani and Narendra Modi has always indicated this. And now further evidence is available in the form of revelations that BJP leaders and Modi Government Ministers have worked to help IPL scamster Lalit Modi evade the law in India.  

It was the Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje in her earlier term, who had helped Lalit Modi get a foothold in the BCCI via the Rajasthan Cricket Association. She had done so by passing an ordinance that tweaked the rules to deny voting rights to powerful rival members, and by supporting Modi's candidature in spite of his criminal conviction in a US court for drug possession, kidnapping and assault. The RCA coup paved the way for Lalit Modi's journey to become BCCI Vice President and then IPL Chief.

After being implicated in multiple charges of corruption in the IPL scam, Lalit Modi fled to the UK. In 2011, the Enforcement Directorate got his passport revoked and issued a blue-corner notice against him, requiring foreign law enforcement agencies to detain and deport him back to India to face questioning and trial. In 2014, the Delhi High Court restored Modi's passport citing that the ED had presented inadequate materials to justify revocation of the passport. Significantly, the ED under the Modi Government's Finance Ministry, and the MEA, did not challenge the Delhi HC order.    

It now emerges that Sushma Swaraj, when she held the Constitutional post of leader of the Opposition in Parliament, sought his help to secure admission for her nephew in a UK University. Her husband and daughter are Lalit Modi's lawyers. As Minister for External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj intervened to help Modi secure travel documents to allow him to leave the UK for Portugal. Swaraj now claims this was a 'humanitarian' gesture that allowed Modi to be with his wife for cancer treatment in a Portugal hospital. If that was the case, why did she not stipulate a specific period for which travel permission be granted? Why did she make no effort to get Modi to return to India to face justice? Lalit Modi is now holidaying in Montenegro, brazenly mocking the Indian investigative and legal process. Sushma Swaraj's 'humanitarian' relationship with scamster Lalit Modi is similar to her 'blessings' to the scam-tainted Bellary brothers in the past.

It also emerges that Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, when she was leader of the Opposition in the Rajasthan Assembly in 2011, gave testimony backing Lalit Modi's bid to get a permit to stay in the UK. She did so "on the strict condition that my assistance will not become known to the Indian authority." The testimony explicitly relies on Raje's weight as a leader of Opposition, a leader of the BJP and a member of a prominent political family with links in both Congress and BJP. This means that Raje used her clout in a Constitutional post to assist a fugitive from Indian law – carefully seeking to hide this assistance from Indian authorities. Raje's Rajasthan Government also signed an MoU with the Portugal hospital where Lalit Modi's wife was treated, a couple of months after her surgery.

The manner in which BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje and the Modi Government helped a scam-tainted person evade Indian law and live freely in foreign countries, mocks the BJP's, RSS' and Narendra Modi's claims of probity and patriotism.        

Corruption does not simply involve an exchange of bribes or money. The deep, mutually beneficial links between political leaders, parties and Governments, and corporations are the very essence of cronyism and corruption. The lack of enthusiasm of the Enforcement Directorate under the Modi Government for pursuing cases of corruption against Adani, Ambani or Lalit Modi; the decision to bail out Mukesh Ambani's loss-making Reliance Gas Transportation Infrastructure Limited by rescheduling its repayment of loans to public sector banks from 2019-20 to 2030-31; and the ED's recent decision to drop a Rs 1000 crore case of money laundering against Baba Ramdev, are instances of the Government's special favours to corporations that have close relationships with the Government and with BJP leaders.      

Narendra Modi has recently claimed that the country was 'scam India' until he took over the reigns as Prime Minister. Why is Narendra Modi silent now on the manner in which the MEA and Finance Ministry as well as a prominent leader of his party have all helped the scam-accused Lalit Modi evade the Indian legal system?

Dangerous Jingoism in the Wake of the Myanmar Operation

The jingoistic rhetoric and posturing by the Modi Government as well as sections of the media in the wake of the Indian Army's recent Myanmar operation is extremely irresponsible and harmful to India's interests as well as to peace in the Soth Asian neighbourhood.

The ambush that claimed the lives of 18 Indian soldiers in Manipur is condemnable. It also underlines the failure of the Government at making headway with a political resolution to conflicts in the North East. The mysterious Myanmar operation clouded in jingoistic frenzy is no answer to the many conflicts in the region, and can in fact worsen the situation considerably.

The aggressive boasts made in the wake of the operation have damaged India's relationship with Myanmar and the much-vaunted 'Look East' policy. Myanmar has denied that it was a cross-border attack at all. Insurgent groups have denied heavy losses on their side. It is unclear if what, if anything, has been gained by the action. But doubtless, the Government's chest-thumping over the action has damaged peace in the region.  

The manner in which spokespersons of the ruling party and sections of the media have used the action to bandy about threats of a 'hot pursuit' policy in the territory of Pakistan and China, is of extreme concern.      

Defence Minister Manohar Parriker for instance has said that respect for the Army is waning because India has not fought a war in decades, and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has similarly observed that India has not fought a 'serious' war in decades, since Kargil was a mere one-sided skirmish. These remarks expose the fact that BJP leaders want to impose wars and Army 'actions' on India and its neighbours, for political gains, with no concern for the grievous human costs. India and Pakistan are both armed with nuclear weapons – such irresponsible war-mongering threatens the people of both countries with mutual destruction.  

It must be remembered that the key to resolving conflicts in the North East and Kashmir lie in dialogue towards a political resolution. Towards this end, the first and most urgent requirement is to heed the calls of the citizens of these regions for scrapping of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) and ensuring accountability and justice for all crimes against citizens by armed forces.

Akhilesh Yadav Government Must Answer for Murderous Attacks on UP Journalists

A Shahjahanpur-based journalist Jagendra Singh who had exposed a scam involving Uttar Pradesh's Minister for Backward Classes Welfare Ram Murti Verma, was set on fire and burnt alive by policemen during a 'raid' on his house. He has succumbed to his injuries, after implicating the Samajwadi Party Government Minister in his dying declaration.

In Pilibhit, another journalist who had exposed dubious land deals was tied to a motorcycle and dragged.

These horrific incidents point to the free rein enjoyed by criminals under patronage of the Akhilesh Yadav Government and ruling Samajwadi Party.

The CPI(ML) condemns these incidents and demands independent judicial probes to establish the nexus between police, corrupt and criminal forces, and Minister and SP leaders behind these attacks, and to punish the guilty.

CPI (ML)'s ongoing struggle in Bhojpur for farmers

 Since 6 June, CPI (ML) leaders Comrade Sudama Prasad and Comrade Raju Yadav had been on an indefinite hunger strike demanding immediate payment to farmers from whom paddy had been procured but the payment had been delayed by nearly two months and also payment of compensation to farmers and sharecroppers whose crops had suffered due to hailstorms and untimely rains a few weeks ago. Days after the indefinite hunger strike had started, the government officials had failed to even meet the hunger strikers. In solidarity with the ongoing hunger strike and CPI (ML) called for a Bhojpur Bandh and Chakka Jaam on 12 June 2015. Several Nukkad Sabhas were held in days leading to the Bandh to mobilize the masses and increase the pressure on the officials to respond to the demands of the farmers. On 12 June, thousands of people responded to the CPI (ML)'s call and for hours buses and rails were stopped during Chakka Jaam. Protest marches were also organized in Ara, in which people from Ara and other areas of Bhojpur too participated in large numbers.

Protest demonstration in Delhi over appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as FTII Chairperson

The recent appointments of Gajendra Chauhan as the Chairman, Anagha Ghaisas and Shailesh Gupta as Governing Council members of FTII have been made not on the basis  of creative contributions in the field but solely on the basis of their loyalty to the RSS-BJP brigade. The students of FTII have been engaged in a determined protest against the appointment of Gajendra Singh as Chairman of FTII. AISA and JNUSU earlier in the week released statements congratulating the students for their spirited protests and expressed solidarity with the students. JNUSU president and AISA leader Com. Ashutosh Kumar has also left for Pune to join the agitating students in an expression of solidarity.

On 16 June 2015, Students, Flimmakers, Alumuni of FTII, Students of FTII and student organisation participated in a protest at the I&B Ministry at Shastri Bhavan. The protest was in solidarity with the on going students strike at FTII and the Saffron appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as the Chairman of the Governing Council of FTII. Nakul Sawney, Filmmaker, Sanjeev Sood Sec of the Northern Region of the Alumni Association of FTII, Kishlay ex- Gen Sec of FTIISA, President of NSDSU Naresh, JNUSU VP Anant, Student Organisations like PACHHAS and Naujawan Bharat Sabha participated in the protest.

A delegation met the PS of Arun Jaitley and submitted a memorandum to him which stated that the current Chairman Appointee doesn't hold the necessary credentials needed to hold a post of such immense responsibilities an. There are wide ranging speculations of the appointments in FTII (the Chairman and other newly appointed governing council members) being political and to make the situation worse, Mr Gajendra Chauhan is a known face of the ruling party. His association with BJP and his selection bypassing well known stalwarts, has created an atmosphere of mistrust and anger among the student-teacher-film maker fraternity.

Speaking at the protest Sucheta De, National President of AISA said, 'We are time and again seeing that appointments to the heads of institution are being made as a reward for being loyal to the ruling party rather than actually fulfilling the criterion required for the said post. This is the case for institutions like ICHR, ICCR, Censor Board etc. The students of FTII have shown that this won't be allowed and we have to stand shoulder to shoulder with them. Nakul Shawney filmmaker said, 'The FTII has produced filmmakers who have shunned corporate funding and made films by collecting money from the public, it is this idea that the Government wants to kill but we shall not allow it to happen. Kishlay, Ex Gen Secretary of the FTIISA and Sanjeev Sood, Secretary of the Alumni Association of FTII, Northern Region, representatives from PACHHAs and Naujawan Bharat Sabha also spoke at the protest.

AIPF Dharna in to demand basic rights for Bhagalpur 1989 riots victims 

The Bhagalpur unit of AIPF called for a dharna on 10 June 2015 to carry forward the struggle of Bhagalpur riots victims for their rights. Nearly 26 years after the Bhagalpur riots, the riots victims and those displaced are yet to be given complete compensation. The dharna was organized to raise the demands which included (i) complete compensation for the displaced, injured and those who lost their family members, (ii) housing provision under the Indira Awaas, (iii) inclusion of names in the BPL list, and other basic rights. The dharna was organized in front of the Amarpur block head-office in Banka district.

Left Parties Joint Activists' Conference in Madhya Pradesh

CPI-ML, CPI, CPI (M), and SUCI (C) organized a State level joint activists' conference on 24 May at Neelam Park in Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) to oppose the Land Acquisition ordinance, to demand compensation to farmers for crop damage due to unseasonal rains, and to discuss other burning issues. About 1500 activists from different districts of the State participated in the conference. CPI-ML activists from 3 districts in Chambal participated in good numbers.

The conference was organized at the initiative of Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha national Vice President, Madhya Pradesh co-ordinator and CPI (ML) State in-charge Com. Devendra Kumar Chouhan. He emphasized the need for mobilizing Left activists against the anti-people policies of the Central and State BJP governments. CPI (ML) leader Com. Mohd. Khan Bharaiya, CPI (M) leader and former MP Com. Subhashini Ali, CPI (M) State leader Com. Badal Saroj, CPI National Secretary Com. Amarjeet Kaur, Com. Shailendra Kumar Shaili and other Left leaders also addressed the conference. It was decided that dharnas and protests will be organized in various districts and blocks in the month of June against the Land Ordinance and other burning issues of the people. The leaders pointed out that the Central and State governments have failed on all fronts, therefore a pervasive and united Left movement must be carried out against the anti-people policies.

Left Farmers' Organizations Hold Joint Protest in Bihar

Protest marches, dharnas, and meetings were held on 25 May in front of DM's offices in different district of Bihar in response to the call from Kisan Sabha (Kedar Bhavan), Kisan Sabha  (Jamal Road), Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Mahasabha, Akhil Baratiya Kisan Gramin va Khet Mazdoor Sabha, All India Risak Khet Mazdoor Sangathan, Bihar Prantiya Khetihar Mazdoor Union, All India Kisan Federation, Bihar Rajya Khet Mazdoor Union, Akhil Bharatiya Agragami Kisan Sabha, Pragatisheel Kisan Sangh, Akhil Bharatiya Janvadi Kisan Sabha, Pragatisheel Khet Mazdoor Union, All India Khet Mazdoor Kisan Sabha, and other Left farmers' organizations. The demands of the protesting farmers included- (i) revoking of the Land Grab ordinance, (ii) speedy payment for all farmers including sharecroppers after paddy purchase, (iii) curbing corruption, (iv) speedy compensation for all farmers including sharecroppers for crop loss due to unseasonal rains and ending scams related to compensation, (v) Rs 10 lakh compensation to farmers who committed suicide due to anti-farmer policies of the Centre as well as State, (vi) waiving of bank/moneylenders' loans, (vii) making farming a productive occupation, (viii) guarantee of wheat crop sale by opening purchase centres, (ix) modernizing all canals including Son canal, (x) 20 hours electricity for villages, among several other demands.

In Patna the protest march started from Gandhi Maidan. The protest march was followed by a meeting addressed by National President of Akhil Bharatiya Gramin va Khet Mazdoor Sabha Rameshwar Prasad, Patna district Kisan Mahasabha Secretary Umesh Singh, Kisan Sabha State joint Secretary Rajendra Patel, and other leaders. Com. Rameshwar Prasad pointed out that the large scale migration from rural areas was due to the wrong policies of the government. He said that rural workers are facing starvation due to the Modi government's cuts in MNREGA. In the absence of the Collector, a memorandum was submitted to the Deputy Collector.

The protest in front of the Buxar Collectorate was led by Kisan Sabha State Vice President Alakh Narayan Chaudhury, while State Secretary Sudama Prasad led the protest in Ara. The protests in Rohtas district HQ at Sasaram were led by Kisan Mahasabha National Secretary Arun Singh, district Secretary Jawahar Singh, and other leaders from Left farmers' and workers' organizations.

The protests at Aurangabad, Kaimur, Jehanabad, and Jamui were led by peasant leaders Babban Singh, Ramadhar Singh, Manoj Pandey, and Shambhusharan Singh. Farmers associated with organizations of CPI, SUCI (Communist) and CPI (ML)  participated in the dharna at Arwal, led by Ram Kumar Sinha and Rajeshwari Yadav. About 500 people participated in the protests at Nalanda, l
ed by Munni Lal Yadav, Pal Bihari Lal, and other leaders. About 3000 people protested at Purnea led by Avinash Paswan and others. At Beguserai, a joint convention was organized in the town hall, led by Ramapati Yadav and Parwez Alam. Protests in Darbhanga were led by Sivan Yadav, Praveen Yadav and others. About 600 people participated in the protest march in Muzaffarpur with significant participation by SUCI (C), led by Jitendra Yadav, Parshram Pathak, Bindeshwari Sah and others.

About 600 farmers participated in the protests at Western Champaran, led by Virendra Gupta, Suni Rao and others. A big protest march was taken out in Hajipur, led by Visheshwar Prasad Yadav, while Jainath Yadav led the joint protests in Siwan. A huge dharna of 1500 people was held in Samastipur. The protest in Gopalganj was led by Kisan Mahasabha leader Lal Bahadur Singh and others.

This is the first time that small and big Left farmers and khet mazdoor organizations have come together on such a large scale to raise burning issues of farmers, sending a positive message to left forces and raising possibilities of future joint programmes by khet mazdoor organizations.

Jharkhand State Non-Gazetted Workers' Mahasangh Holds 5th State Conference

The 5th State conference of the Jharkhand State non-gazetted workers' mahasangh was held on 23-24 May 2015 at Com. Sadhusharan Ram Manch of the Van Sabhagaar (Subodh Narayan Choube Sabhagaar) in Doranda (Ranchi). After flag hoisting by State President Sushila Tigga and tributes to martyrs, proceedings began under Chairpersons Comrades BD Das, Sushila Tigga and Singheshwar Ji and a 3 member steering committee of Comrades Ajit Prasad, Chandrashekhar Singh and Gopal Sharan ingh.

Leader of Bihar workers' movement Com. Rambali Yadav and Jharkhand AICCTU General Secretary Com. Shubhendu Sen were present as special guests. Com. Somar Oraon welcomed the gathering by remembering former AICCTU national President and father of Bihar workers' movement Com. Yogeshwar Gope. Inaugurating the conference, AICCTU national Vice President Com. Swapan Mukherjee said that Yogeshwar Gope, Subodh Narayan Choube and Sadhusharan Ram are shining examples of development of class consciousness in the workers' movement. These leaders developed the revolutionary tradition in workers' struggles. In addition to unifying the workers' movement, they also joined it to the revolutionary trade union tradition of AICCTU and strengthened the communist party foundation in the workers' movement. True tribute to these departed leaders can be paid only when the above three points are fully incorporated into the workers' movement.

Com. Swapan Mukherjee further said that "Make in India" means corporate raj, and maximum profit and cheap labour for the corporate houses. All legal and constitutional principles with regard to workers' rights are going to be scrapped through the amendments to the labour laws. Wage differences are at their peak in the organized sector. Now even pension funds and EPF are being put into the share market. Workers on contract, honorarium, and incentive payment are also government employees but they are not permanent. This is the reason the mahasangh needs to organize contractual, honorarium, and incentive workers and fight for their minimum wages and regularization of appointment. The mahasangh can become a mass base organization for struggle, and can play a big role in changing society and regime by uniting with the country's workers' movement.

The conference was also addressed by West Bengal leader Com. Anjani Bishwas, Bengal secretariat leader Com. Shriman Guhaji, Bihar Non-gazetted Workers' Mahasangh (Gope group) General Secretary Com. Premchand Sinha, Jharkhand AICCTU State Secretary Com. Bhuwaneshwar Kewat, and Com. Sukhdev Prasad. The reports by Mahasangh General Secretary Com. Subal Thakur and State Secretary Com. Sushila Tigga were presented and were unanimously passed after detailed discussion. Next, a 27 member State committee was elected. Com. Sushila Tigga, Com. Subal Kishor Thakur, and Com. Brajesh Kumar Singh were elected President, General Secretary and Treasurer respectively. Com. Singheshwar Singh and Com. Tarini Prasad Kamat were elected honorary President and chief patron respectively.

It was resolved at the conference that 10 chosen districts would be developed as strongholds of workers' movements and activists would have to take serious initiatives for this. The first priority of the mahasangh would be to mobilize the huge base of incentive, honorarium, and contractual workers.

AIPF and CPI (ML)'s Dharna for making Usri river pollution free

Usri river is the main river of Giridih. The increasing pollution in the river has been a major concern among the residents. Demanding steps to make the river pollution and dirt free, a dharna was organized in Giridih under the leadership of AIPF National Council member, Rajesh Sinha and CPI (ML) leader Deepak Lal on 13 June 2015. The one day dharna was organized to put pressure on the apathetical municipality officials towards the deteriorating state of the river.

Com. Ashok Pandey

Com. Ashok Pandey, from Bigah village in Nalanda district passed away on 14 May 2015 following a snake bite while he was sleeping. He was 52. Com. Ashok had come in contact with the party in 1989. He led several revolutionary paeasant struggles of the rural poor. He was a member of AIARLA district committee of Nalanda district and a member of the party's leading team of Kateersarai.

Red Salute to Comrade Ashok Pandey.

Com. Mohammed Nizam

Com. Nizam passed away on 1 June 2015 following a heart failure. He was 42. Com. Nizam hailed from Chapri village of Mandu block in Ramgarh district of Jharkhand. He became associated with RYA in 1998 and received the party membership in 2000. Associating with the local party committee of Kanjgi, he initiated the struggle in Chapri against the coal mining and displacement by CCL. A condolence meeting was organized in Chapri village to pay tribute to Com. Nizam.

Red Salute to Comrade Nizam.

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