Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Thirty Years Ago

Jyoti Basu,

first Chief Minister of
Left Front Government in West Bengal,

in a message broadcast from the Calcutta
Station of All India Radio, on June 22, 1977,
stressed the need for “the people’s
co-operation in abundance in order

to fulfil the tasks” of the new

(Excerpts from the Message)

After the last Lok Sabha election, the vast majority of the people
of this state have given their unmistakable
and historic verdict in the state assembly election.
In this election, you have given a fitting reply to the terror,
repression, corruption and bankrupt economic policies pursued
for the last seven years. You have also rejected
the divisive forces. An overwhelming majority of the people of
West Bengal have indicated their choice for
the programmes of the Left Front and given expression to
their desire for a left government in this state. The
Left Front Government has commenced its journey with
enormous support and goodwill of the people of the
state. The people have successfully fought back the conspiracies
and attacks designed to obliterate the left forces.
The erstwhile ruling party and government had subverted
parliamentary democracy in 1972 through massive
rigging operations. You have won back the right to vote in
freedom after a long and arduous struggle. This
time, you have voted in freedom and we are proud that
you have elected us by an overwhelming majority of
the seats. Hundreds of our compatriots laid down their lives
in the state during the last seven years in the cause of
democratic rights and struggles of the toiling masses; they
had been victims of the terror launched by the thengovernment
and ruling party. We remember them all in this hour of victory,
and pay our respects to their sacred
memory. We pledge to fight for the cause for which they made
the supreme sacrifice. We are conscious that the people of
West Bengal have shown great political maturity in voting for a left
government and they expect a change in the interest of the people
and our state. We shall strive to the best of
our ability to be worthy of the trust and confidence reposed in us.
In the past few years, there had been massive attacks on the
freedoms and rights of the people of the state
and plans were afoot to take them away altogether.

I want to assure you on behalf of the Left Front Government
that we shall give due priority to the task of restoring and
protecting these freedoms and rights. Following a
decision taken at the first meeting of our cabinet, we have
declared a general amnesty for all political prisoners,
detained without trial, under trial or convicted. The new
situation in India demands that an opportunity be
given to all political forces to operate in freedom and seek
the judegment of the people.” The common people of our
state face grave problems in meeting the basic needs of life.
Problems have accumulated over the years in all spheres --- food,
clothing, housing, transport, power, education, health and
even with regard to drinking water facilities. The economy of the
state is in a moribund condition and the
people’s suffering knows no bounds. Massive unemployment,
closed factories, retrenchments, absence of
investment, power shortage ---- all these problems have assumed
frightful proportions. The condition of the
countryside beggars description. We shall make serious and
sincere efforts to tackle these problems.

The state governments in India have to function amidst severe
political, constitutional and financial
constraints. We will seek to do our best to provide relief and to
advance the cause of the state even within
these limitations. Our tasks are arduous, but given your support
and goodwill, I believe, we shall be able to
take these in hand and achieve success. We shall surely overcome
all obstacles with the co-operation of the
masses. The Left Front Government shall not be guided by a bureaucratic
outlook. We shall try to move with the
active cooperation of the common people and their organizations.
This government will not put down
democratic movements through repressive measures, but
will help them advance. It is the sincere desire of
the Left Front Government that new horizons will open up
with regard to the movements of the democratic
masses . In this connection, it is necessary to put in a word or
two on the role of the police. We shall not allow the
police to be used to suppress democratic movements,
nor shall we allow the police to launch terror and repression
on the common people. However, the police will have to be
firm in protecting the interests of the people and
bringing criminals and anti-socials to book. None will
interfere with the police in the performance of this task.
If the reactionary and vested interests seek to create chaos
and disorder, and the enemies of the left forces and
the people conspire to create difficulties for this government,
they will be put down with a firm hand.

The government and the ruling party of the days past had
misguided and corrupted a section of our youth
and turned them into anti-socials to serve their partisan ends.
We shall appeal to these young men to put their
past behind them and take up normal healthy and useful
roles in society. All political parties and organisations
must help our youth to pursue a healthy role.

We want to build up friendly relations with the central
government, though we reserve the right to oppose
any measure of the centre which may go against the
interest of the masses. I hope the central government will
cooperate with the West Bengal government in a friendly
spirit although ours is a government of the left. I
also hope the Centre will go by the norms of a federal
democratic set up.

Let me tell you that this government is your own.
You have installed it in office, and it is for you to give it
necessary direction and guidance through your democratic
organizations. We shall do our best to serve the
interests of the people in the political, economic and
social spheres and to protect their living standards. We
will offer you relief from the disastrous consequences of
the misrule of the previous government. We shall
spare no efforts to move forward to a new future basing
ourselves on our past successes and failures. We are
aware that for future developments all over India, the left
and democratic forces throughout the country wish
us well.

Once again I wish to state that we require the people’s
cooperation in abundance in order to fulfil the tasks

Thank You.

No comments: