Wednesday, March 31, 2010


By M.K. Pandhe

One of the most crucial decisions of the 13th Conference of the CITU held at Chandigarh was the organization of one week solidarity campaign all over India from 18th to 24th April 2010. During the week all unions affiliated to CITU will organize various forms of actions culminating in rallies all over India on 24th April to condemn the heinous attacks on the cadres of the left and democratic movement in West Bengal by Trinamool and so-called Maoist Combine.

Delegates from West Bengal speaking fervently in the Conference gave vivid description of the murderous attacks on the poor and innocent activists of the left parties and mass organizations in West Bengal. Delegates from all over the country applauded when West Bengal delegates pointed out how heroically the working class and the people in West Bengal are resisting these attacks and fight ing back the offensive by relying on the support of the people in the state.

Most of the persons who were brutally murdered were coming from the downtrodden sections of the society, who were involved in the struggle against the anti-people policies of the UPA Government and to protect the interests of the common people. Assassinating the cadres fighting for the legitimate rights of the toiling people has only emboldened the capitalist sharks in the country to intensify their wicked attacks on the popular masses in the country. Though the Trinamool and so-called Maoist gangs talk in the name of the people but in practice they have been hitting at the basic interests of the people. People in West Bengal are realizing the game behind these atrocities but the people of India should know about the true character of the policies pursued by Mamata Banerjee and Psudo-revolutionaries. The purpose of the CITU’s one week campaign is to make working class and the people of India understand the nature of the nefarious cruel alliance built against the left front in West Bengal. Its sole purpose is to overthrow the left front Government and establish the anarchic rule which meets the requirements of the ruling classes at the centre.


West Bengal as the frontline outpost of the revolutionary movement in India is running the state administration from 33 years which has become eyesore of the capitalist hierarchy in India. Foreign powers are also keenly interested in destabilizing the Left Front Government since it is implementing alternate policies not suitable to the growth of capitalism in India. The imperialist agencies in India are clandestinely helping the anti-left forces to strengthen their machinations against the Left Front Government. Moral and national help given from the imperialist agencies to electronic and print media as well as political forces who are active against the left front Government which has been a big factor in the campaign against the left front Government in West Bengal.

The attack on the left front Government in West Bengal is only a precursors of the attack against the left and democratic forces all over India. If the reactionary forces inside and outside succeed in their game to topple the left front government it will only embolden them to engineer an all round attack against the left and democratic movement in India. Hence, the solidarity campaign to be launched in India is a campaign to protect the future of our movement in the country outside West Bengal. This important aspect of the struggle to defend the left front Govt. in West Bengal has to be realized by the working class in India.

The last meeting of the General Council of CITU decided to observe a day in October 2009 to express solidarity with the toiling millions of West Bengal and expose before the people of India the vile nature of the campaign against the left front Government. The programme was successfully carried out by State Committees of CITU and the workers and the people responded well to the campaign.

The need to continue the campaign was urgently felt by the CITU conference because the conspiracy against the left Govt. has been intensified and the spate of murderous attacks against the left front activists have increased with Mamata Banerjee becoming desperate to occupy the chair in the Writers Building. With one point programme against the left front, she is making all attempts to align with any one who would be prepared to support her unprincipled design and personal ambitions. Her concept of Mahajot is nothing but an opportunist alliance to achieve her objective of aggrandizement.


The CITU Conference clearly noted that Trinamool Supremo had no coherent policy or principles. She has aligned in elections with all types of political parties. She had no compunction to allow BJP to grow in West Bengal and carry forward its communal agenda. She was happy as ministers both the NDA and UPA Governments. She characterized Congress party as B Team of CPI(M) and at the same time developed electoral alliance with that party. In Nandigram agitation she joined hands with all forces who are opposing the left front Govt. She continued her agitation even after West Bengal left front Government announced that Nandigram Chemical hub would not be developed if the people do not want it !

Her alliance with the so called Maoist is another example of the opportunist politics. She kept mum as a railway Ministers when they blew up the railway tracks. She had no qualms to condemn CPI(M) for the sabotage though it was later found that it was a handi work of the so called Maoists. She prefers to keep mum when arrested Maoist leader admits that Trinamool supplied them arms and logistic support. From extreme left to extreme right Trinamool Supremo had allies in all forces on the condition that they oppose the left front Government !

Her quixotic style of functioning was seen when she expressed her desire to remove red colour from the Indian railway net work. Even her supporters ridicule the idea. She had shamelessly supported the divisive Darjeeling agitation for separate Gorkhaland and she had no difficulty to encourage Kamatapuri agitations simply because it was against the left front Government. She had never condemned the killing of left front cadres through their number is swelling every day! She however demanded withdrawal of the central security forces sent to West Bengal to deal with the so called Maoist depredations in parts of West Bengal !

As a Union Railway Minister her performance is much below the mark. The largest number of railway accidents have occurred since Mamata Banerjee has taken charge of the Railway Ministry. Her attendance to the Ministry is minimal and most of the time she is leading agitations against left front Government in West Bengal.

She approved the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Cabinet Meeting but opposed it in Parliament. This duplicity in her behaviour has brought down her image in the country. As a Cabinet Minister she should have honoured the decision of the Govt. to oppose murderous policies of the so called Maoists but she is openly supporting the depredations of Maoists. It further exposes the hollowness of the UPA Government polices to tolerate her utter duplicity in policy matters. Several Railway Ministry officials privately talk against her handling of the Ministry but Manmohan Singh Govt. due to their opportunist polices is allowing her maverick behaviour.


The CITU’s solidarity campaign will explain effectively to the people in India the dangerous game played by Congress-Trinamool. SUCI-Maoist gang up against the left front Government. The killing spree of the cadres of the left front only exposes their desperateness in some how the other trying to topple the left front Govt. in the electoral battle.

The propaganda machine of the left front is moving cautiously but effectively. It has almost become a struggle between the unprincipled opportunist alliance and the alternative policy framework to the policies of globalization and opposition to imperialist penetration in India.

With the solidarity actions by the toiling masses all over India the left front and all the mass organizations supporting the left front will successfully foil the attempts by the reactionary forces to unseat the left front from the Writers Building at Kolkata. The CITU’s campaign during 18th to 24th April next will be a humble contribution to the struggle of the heroic people of West Bengal to defend the glorious traditions of the state. The West Bengal State Committee of the CITU is publishing a documented campaign booklet to help all CITU unions in this nationwide campaign.

Without any concrete policy to serve the people of West Bengal the Trinamool and its allies can not keep their hold on the people. Dissention within the party had cropped up due to authoritarian style of running the party apparatus. Many sections who supported Trinamool have now started speaking openly against the reckless policies of Trinamool Supremo. Despite offer of two Cabinet posts Trinamool agreed to take only one post because no one can be equal to the Trinamool Supremo. However, the wound created in the minds of the persons concerned cannot be healed by demagogic speeches.

Several Congressmen have expressed their opposition in private to the Congress Trinamool alliance due to humiliation imposed on the Congress Party by the Trinamool Supremo. The murder of the Congress leader by Trinamool goons is not taken kindly be several Congressmen. Opposition of Trinamool to every development project in West Bengal is also not appreciated by several congress leaders. The opportunist alliance is on shaky ground and the left parties will expose their unstable character.

The Maoist collaborators of Trinamool Congress are misusing the name of great Mao Tse Tung who organized a historic Chinese revolution. Mao Tse Tung never advocated individual killing of poor and innocent persons. He led millions of peasants in revolutionary struggle and prepared them for an upsurge against imperialist domination and their Chinese collaborators. Mao Tse Tung never asked his cadre to extort money from the people. But the forces who work in the name of legendry Mao are resorting to extortion, individual annihilation and help the ruling classes by opposition the left forces in India who are fighting against the anti-people the pro-US imperialist policies of UPA Government. Their opportunist support to Trinamool Congress against the left front Govt. in West Bengal proves their ideological bankruptcy. It was also seen in their open support to Shibu Soren in the last elections. This infantile disorder only help the ruling class in India and hit at the interests of the left and democraic movement which is fighting for the establishment of a socialist society in India.


The CITU has therefore decided to explain in their campaign the ideological bankruptcy of the so called Maoist and their unprincipled alliance with Trinamool Congress which is only helping the reactionary forces in India and abroad in their attacks on the left and democratic movement in India.

It will also be necessary to expose how right reactionary and left extremist forces in the country are making a common cause to oppose genuine left movement in the country.

It is necessary to note here that some extreme leftists in the country have already expressed their opposition to the policy of individual annihilation of the persons form the poorest strata of the society. It is of extreme importance to note the importance of the struggle against the erroneous and infantile ideology of the so called Maoists who are helping Trinamool for their selfish interests, which in the long run bound to fail in West Bengal.

The attack on the CITU activists by the so called Maoists are not confined to West Bengal alone. In Orissa too in Kalta Iron Ore Mine the CITU leader Thomas Munda was kidnapped on 25th January 2010 and brutally murdered and his body was thrown 5 kilometers away a railway station. Case of threatening of CITU union members to leave the union are also reported in the Orissa Iron Ore mining belt. The contractors are very happy at this development.

In Chhattisgarh too the so called Moist murdered Shakti Dey in Bastar area on 9th October 2009. He was mercilessly killed in presence of his family members.

Killing of persons without having any arms with them to defend themselves is not a sign of bravery. The self-proclaimed human right activists do not say a word about the human rights of unarmed persons who are brutally murdered by armed gangs!

The left front and its supporters in West Bengal are fighting heroically a grim battle against heavy adds. The task of winning over the people who did not vote the left front in the last Parliamentary polls is no doubt a difficult task but the determination of the cadres to launch a powerful campaign among the people to explain the pro-people policies of the left front and convince them about their crucial role in keeping the left front Govt. in saddle in West Bengal.

The CPI(M) had heroically faced semi-fascist terror in West Bengal in 1971-72 period and despite martyrdom of over the thousand of its activists and eviction of several thousands of cadres from their place of residence, people in West Bengal rallied behind left front and brought the left front Government in the state and maintained in Govt. for nearly 33 years. No other party or combination of parties remained in the state administration for such a long time since independence.

The CPI(M) has self critically examined the reasons for the set back in the last Parliamentary polls and decided to take corrective measures to improve the administrative apparatus to serve the people more effectively despite limitation provided by the present capitalist system.

Undaunted by the heinous attacks by the Trinamool –Maoist combine the left front in West Bengal has carried forward its powerful campaign to explain its pro-people policies and expose the nefarious machinations of the reactionary forces backed by imperialism. The left front Govts in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura are considered by these forces as a bottleneck in carrying forward the policies of globalization dictated by World Bank and the IMF.

During the Conference delegates wholeheartedly cheered when they heard the successful election result in favour of SFI in West Bengal and success of the CITU in Farrakka NTPC elections. The left front is rightly expressing its confidence that it would win over the people who went away from it during the last Parliamentary elections and nip in the bud the fond hopes of Trinamool to enter the Writers Building by hook or crook. The glorious historical traditions of West Bengal will inspire the people to rise to the occasion and defeat all conspiracies to unseat the left front in the forthcoming period.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Reservations for Muslims

Economic & Political Weekly

February 20, 2010 vol xlv no 8
West Bengal needs to be careful in implementing its new decision
on reservations.The announcement by the Left Front (LF) government of
West Bengal to provide 10% reservation in government
jobs and educational institutions to economically, socially
and educationally backward minority Muslims was not
unexpected. The beleaguered LF has steadily lost support in the
past three years, reflected in its electoral performances at various
levels in the state. The losses have been particularly acute in its
traditional support bases among the poor, including the Muslims
who constitute about a quarter of the state’s population. The
Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee report in 2006 had identified
a number of indicators that revealed the social, economic and
educational backwardness among Muslims in the rural areas of
the state. Muslims in West Bengal are mostly residents in rural
areas while they are far more urbanised in other states. The
decision to go ahead with steps for reservation should help the LF
government address the grievances among sections of the minorities
in the state, which have become more open after the findings
of the Sachar Committee that the West Bengal government had
not been sensitive to their concerns.

The LF government’s decision to provide reservation for
backward minority Muslims will take the quota of reservation for
the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in the state to 17%. This along
with the extant quotas for the scheduled castes and scheduled
tribes will keep total reservations below the Supreme Court mandated
ceiling of 50%. The additional groups of backward Muslims
to be included in the OBCs would be identified by a panel comprising
representatives from a number of state commissions and
would exclude the creamy layer, identified as persons from
families with an income of Rs 4.5 lakh per annum.

The recent judgment of the seven-member bench of the Andhra
Pradesh High Court striking down the Andhra Pradesh
Reservation in Favour of Socially and Educationally Backward
Classes of Muslims Act, 2007 as unconstitutional would be relevant
for the LF government. The high court judgment questioned the
effort by the Andhra Pradesh government in correctly identifying
backward sections among Muslims in the state and for acting in
haste in providing 4% reservation for sections of backward
Muslims through ordinances and legislations. The Act was
also struck down as being “religion-specific” and violative of
Articles 14, 15 (1) and 16 (2) of the Constitution.

Insofar as the government of West Bengal intends to identify
economically, socially and educationally backward sections
among the minorities and extend reservation to such sections
to the tune of 10% within the ambit of OBCs, its actions should
not be violative of the precepts laid down by the AP High
Court judgment.

The government of West Bengal has also declared that its
decision to implement reservations broadly conforms to the
recommendations of the National Commission for Linguistic and
Religious Minorities (better known as the Justice Ranganath
Mishra Commission). The Commission's report was submitted to
the prime minister in May 2007 and tabled in Parliament only in
December 2009. This report has proved highly controversial, for
some of its core recommendations run counter to the letter and
spirit of the Constitution and are therefore of doubtful value.
Article 16(4) of the Constitution that mandates equality of
opportunity in matters of public employment does, indeed, say
that “Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making
any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in
favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of
the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the
State” and this is the enabling constitutional provision that the
report claims it draws on to make its recommendations. The
report states that the criterion for identification of backward
classes should be uniform without any discrimination between
the majority and minority communities.

While there is no difficulty in accepting the recommendations
on reservations for the backward among the minorities, where
the Ranganath Mishra Commission walks on thin ice is in going
further and recommending 15% reservations for minorities (10%
for the Muslims commensurate with their 73% share of the minority
population in the country). The commission has held that
religious minorities as a whole are deserving of reservation in
educational institutions as well as in government jobs (where
they are inadequately represented). The LF government has also
claimed that its recent decision to introduce reservations for
Muslims in the state is in conformity with this argument and
recommendation of the Commission. It is difficult to reconcile
the recommendations for reservations to religious minorities
with the constitutional principle of non-discrimination on the
basis of religion as enunciated in Articles 14, 15(1) and 16(2) of
the Constitution.

If the LF government is not to find its new reservations struck
down by the courts, it needs to work towards the identification
of only the backward sections among Muslims beyond the
12 sub-groups of Muslims that are already in the OBC list of
the state; the framework for this has been provided by the
Sachar Committee.

finding it difficult to balance the household budget, the committee
wants an immediate Rs 100 hike in the price of LPG per cylinder!
It is in such times that one thinks of the campaigns against
price rise that were once led by the socialist Mrinal Gore and the
communist Ahilyabai Rangnekar. Has the ideology of neoliberalism
brought forth a crass individualism to the extent that people no
longer come together to demand what they collectively want
from the ever resistant capitalist order that torments them? That
order, it must be reiterated, essentially serves the interest of the
khaas aadmi, even as it claims to represent the aam aadmi.