Saturday, February 26, 2011

Left Front Govt Stands Beside the Workers

THE neo-liberal policies have left the working population, both in rural and urban areas, to the mercy of the market forces. The real wages of the workers have actually come down. The ever increasing prices of essential commodities have hit the rural agricultural workers and workers of the unorganised sector most. In this perspective, the Left Front government has tried to pursue an alternative trajectory, by intervening actively in uplifting the conditions of the workers belonging to the unorganised sector and agricultural labourers as much as possible.

This week, the West Bengal government announced the hike in minimum wages for workers under unorganised and agriculture sector from next month. With new rates, the unskilled workers of 58 unorganised sectors in urban areas would get their monthly minimum wages including variable DA hiked from Rs 3878 to Rs 4967.

Similarly the monthly minimum wages including variable DA for semi-skilled workers increased from Rs 3903 to Rs 5423, for skilled workers from Rs 3928 to Rs 6010 and for high skilled workers from Rs 3953 to Rs 6610 per month.

In rural areas, monthly minimum wages including variable DA for unskilled workers have increased from Rs 3762 to Rs 4687, for semi-skilled workers from Rs 4138 to Rs 5156, for skilled workers from Rs 4552 to Rs 5672 and for highly skilled workers from Rs 5007 to Rs 6239, the minister said.

Daily minimum wages including variable DA for unskilled agricultural workers also increased to Rs 159 (without meal) and Rs 148 (with two meals), for semi-skilled to Rs 175 (without meal) and Rs 164 (with two meals), and for skilled ones to Rs 192 (without meals) and Rs 181 (with two meals).

Earlier minimum wages for agricultural workers were Rs 112.50 (without meal) and Rs 102.50 (with two meals).

Altogether 2.5 crore unorganised sector workers and agricultural labourers in the state would be benefited from this decision. The state government has directed that all employers are liable to pay this wage. "The state government would also set up 480 labour welfare facilitation centre to assist such workers in case of any problem in getting the right wages," state labour minister Anadi Sahu said.

The Left Front government has already initiated wide ranging social security benefits for the unorganised sector. In West Bengal, for the first time in the country, at the initiative of the Left Front government, a provident fund scheme for workers in the unorganised sector was introduced in the year 2000-01. Nearly 20 lakh workers have registered themselves for the scheme. The Left Front government has also constituted a Health Insurance Scheme for these workers. Under this scheme workers of 44 industries have been covered and 12 categories of self- employed workers have also been covered. More than one and a half lakh workers are registered under a scheme for the workers in the construction sector, whereby the workers have to pay Rs 20 per month and avail of the various facilities under this scheme. Under this scheme, medical allowances are provided to the workers, in addition to the provision of pensions for these workers. A social security scheme for the workers in the transport sector has been started in 2010. Since 1998, the Left Front government is maintaining a scheme of giving allowance to workers of the closed factories.

People’s Democracy, February 27, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Left Path is the Way for West Bengal: Buddhadeb


By B Prasant

THE Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata has seen large, massive rallies for at least five decades now, held at the call of the Left. However, probably all records were surpassed on 13 February. It was by far the biggest of assemblages.

The rally, popularly termed as the beginning of the election battle, was held after forty days of intensive campaign throughout the state. Hundreds of thousands of orderly processions merged in the rally ground from morning, thereby colouring the whole of Kolkata red in the early spring. All roads leading to Brigade looked like streams of humanity.

By the time it was mid-day, the maidan looked completely filled with million Red flags carried by a million-strong presence, maybe more. Thousands of people came from the affected rural and urban areas of both the jangal mahal and the northern fringes of the state. Women were very well represented indeed in this rally. Over and above the masses of workers and kisans, adivasis, students-youth, and urban and rural middle classes were present in great numbers.

Even before the meeting actually started, the entire downtown area stretching from the Esplanade on to the southern side of the venue had been filled up and that thousands of people had started to slow down as other marchers crowded the way into the maidan. In fact, we may say with under estimation that if over a million was present at the rally, tens of thousands simply could not either make to the maidan in good time or found the bottlenecks too complex to negotiate. No wonder, the general leitmotif of the rally was the expression of a resolute opinion to ensure that an eighth Left Front government would be set up in Bengal come the elections, due in April-May later this year.

A total of 378 Left workers have been killed by Trinamul Congress-'Maoist' alliance in West Bengal after the last parliamentary elections. The big and festooned Red dais that marked the rally out had in front, eight columns on which the names of the martyrs were inscribed. The Left Front leaders paid homage to the martyrs and placed wreaths of flowers at the columns.

Presiding over the mighty rally, Bengal Left Front Chairman, and CPI(M) state secretary Biman Basu called upon the people to resist the killers as these forces were out to jeopardise democracy itself. He asked the people to go back to their areas, their localities, their cities, their town, their villages, their hamlets with the resolution to ensure that a pro-people Left Front government is once again elected to office for democracy, and for development.

Biman Basu called for a people’s upsurge for democracy in the 79 thousand booths and auxiliary booths of the 294 Assembly constituencies to which elections would be held. Each household of each booth must be interacted with and the contact made close and clarifying towards the polls and the setting up another Left Front government in Bengal.

Noting the pro-poor measures the Left Front government had undertaken over the past three decades and more, the senior CPI(M) leader stated that democracy was well-established today in the urban and rural areas. The people are empowered by the rural and urban self-governing bodies. Unique in the country, Bengal witnesses 50 per cent of the planned budget decentralised down to the lowest level of functioning.

Around 30 lakh of the rural poor have benefited from free khas land, and 15 lakh more have won the right as share-croppers. The Left Front government has a democratic outlook on all sections of the working people, something that was not there before 1977. The members of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes have stood to win benefits under the Left Front governance. He alleged that ‘sharecroppers are being assaulted regularly and their lands largely being snatched by TMC landlords and TMC-led panchayats.

The Left Front government has initiated lots of developmental programmes not only for the organised labourers but also the unorganised labour force. To sustain such initiatives and ensure the development of the common mass we must organise people to form the 8th Left Front government. Only the Left Front government can fulfill the expectation of peasantry and industrial forces in West Bengal, averred Biman Basu.

He warned that the pace of development would halt if peace and democracy were not allowed to flourish. Mass education would suffer, as would pro-people progress. Democracy must be ensured to see the state go further ahead, working for the mass of the people. For this, the unholy alliance of the Bengal opposition must be dealt a strident defeat. A Left Front government was the need of the hour, concluded Biman Basu.

Rising to address the rally, amidst a great round of applause, West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee noted that the way of the masses was the way of the Left. The state has progressed with the Left. The slogan of the opposition to ‘change’ did not carry conviction. Would the proponents of this ‘change’ also call for changing of the measures undertaken by the Left Front government like development, democracy, redistributive land reforms, Panchayat system, mass education, and above all the flourishing of the rights of the common people! Would the masses now have to down the Red flag as well!

The call for this vaunted ‘change’ was also being fuelled by a segment of foreign powers that had nothing but fear and hatred of the Red flag. They are indulged in an ill-gotten effort to finish off the Left, if they could, in various countries. Let them beware and desist from all efforts from interfering with the affairs of Bengal, said Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

Bhattacharjee referred to the Trinamul Congress as a disastrous danger and said that these forces were providing succour to the ‘Maoists’ and helping the latter’s efforts to kill the rural poor for the ‘crime’ of being Communists and Left workers. Until now, the ‘left’ sectarians could be contained in the three western districts of Bengal, the CPI(M) leader stressed. Buddhadeb was also critical of Trinamul Congress for their understanding with the separatist GJMM.

Bashing out at the second edition of the Congress-led UPA government, the chief minister highlighted the unprecedented corruption completely engulfing the UPA-II and the whole country. Billions of rupees of public money has already been drained into bourgeois pockets where ‘who’s who’ of the UPA associates are involved. And when the food inflation goes beyond the tolerance, they ridiculously argue that the reason of price rise lies in ‘the increasing purchasing power of people’ as people started consuming more!

Slamming the Congress as ‘unkind and brutal’ to the people, the chief minister averred that the Congress has given enough patronage to those illicit hoarders of the country who perpetrate ‘black marketing’ particularly of sugar and onions and many other essential commodities. These people are also responsible to drain out such commodities in the name of export, when the internal markets are witnessing soaring food inflation.

Referring to the black money, he said undeclared assets proliferated especially in foreign banks, and the Congress government would not disclose the names of the people owning such undeclared assets and income. The union government firmly believed yet in the ‘trickle down’ effect of putting the lubricant of wealth on the topmost earning layer of society and allowing the befits to drip down – an impossible and improbable scenario.

Addressing the youth brigade, the chief minister stated that Mamata Banerjee’s Railway Ministry is on the verge of complete bankruptcy. She is also very reluctant to fill up empty posts in different categories of employment. She can’t generate a single employment, averred Buddhadeb Bhattacherjee. “I specially congratulate the youth and students who have responded so hugely particularly in colleges and other institutions. We must convince those people, who have either been baffled or dissatisfied with the Left Front, about the imminent danger of the TMC-'Maoist' extremism”, affirmed Buddhadeb.

Noting that the Bengal Left Front government had made sure of the social security of unorganised workers, ensuring at the same time of emoluments for the workers of closed factories, Buddhadeb pointed that ‘we had wanted industrialisation in Singur and Nandigram and not any trouble and unrest for, trouble and unrest went against the grain of development and people’s understanding.

The Left Front government was in office on the strength of support among the toiling masses. They know what constitutes the Left Front government and what it politically connotes. The chief minister called upon the students-youth to come forward and make the Left Front more alive and alert while augmenting Left’s strength among the masses.

Bhattacharjee also appealed to the women as well to the members of the scheduled castes and tribes to renew all the while their strong support behind the left governance. The Left Front government has made reservations a possibility for the minority community, ensuring land and education for the people. There has been peace and amity in the state under its governance. Asking the people not be diverted in the wrong direction by the diatribe of the Railways minister, Bhattacharjee noted that the weight of the foundation stones itself would have a drawdown effect.

Bhattacharjee called upon the Left workers to lead the people out of any confusion that might have arisen, and to play this role as a political task. The people who had been misled must be interacted with and brought back into the fold. The errors and mistakes committed must be rectified. There is a plethora of good leaders and sincere workers yet, some of the leaders have erred, and this had the effect of getting the people to misunderstand us, said Bhattacharjee who also said that the people must be listened to with humility all the way with no commandism in existence.

He urged to reach out to the people in every city and every village and a strong organisation must be built up with their participation. ‘We have won seven assembly elections,’ said Buddhadeb who went on to assert that the Left Front would struggle and win the elections this time as well, and the people knew that they had no path other that the Left path before them for democracy and development.

The rally paid homage to the memory of the Communist poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz on his birth centenary. CPI(M) leader Mohd Selim recited the some memorable lines from Faiz. At the beginning of the rally, Biman Basu and Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee formally published a poster of a painting of Faiz by the noted artiste Wasim Kapoor. Also addressing the rally was CPI(M) leader Shyamali Gupta who in her brief address spoke of the role of the Left Front government in the uplift of women and pointed to the atrocious attacks on the women by the Bengal opposition and its goons across the districts, especially over the recent past.

Other Left Front leaders who spoke at the rally were Mohd Amin (CPI-M), Manjukumar Majumdar (CPI), Barun Mukherjee (FB), Kshiti Goswami (RSP), Kironmoy Nanda (SP), Pratim Chatterjee (FB-M), Umesh Chaudhury (Biplabi Bangla Congress), Prabodh Sinha (DSP), and Subhas Roy (RCPI).

(with inputs from our Special Correspondent in Kolkata)

PEOPLE'S DEMOCRACY, 20th February, 2011

Incredible Strength of Left Front

By A Correspondent

A long way to go to deliver “power to the people”. Keeping this in view the first Left Front government, led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), assumed office in West Bengal in 1977. After taking charge of the first Front government as Chief Minister Jyoti Basu reminded all the Left parties in the coalition government of their task with a resolve of providing immediate relief to the people who, according to him, “is the last word”. At the time of taking office Jyoti Basu said that the Left Front was fully conscious of the duties and responsibilities that had been entrusted to it by the people through a historical electoral verdict .He declared “ our government would not be run from the Writers’ Buildings alone ; it would maintain close touch with the representative organizations of the people in order to serve them effectively.”

Since 1977 the Left Front has received overwhelming majority in all the seven successive Assembly elections setting a political record of steering the administration of a State for such a long, uninterrupted period.

What is the incredible strength behind this CPI(M)-led Left Front with which it is going to face another Assembly polls soon ? To get an answer one has to go through the pages of the latest publication of the Ganashakti entitled – Left Front Government : Keyword is People. The 736-page book traces long history of how left parties under the leadership of the CPI(M) have been brought under one umbrella through a series of mass movements in West Bengal and how the unity among them has been kept intact in running a government on the basis of a common economic programme. Historical documents along with valuable articles of Marxist leaders and theoreticians have enriched the volume which is sure to act as a pathfinder to young party workers.

From the beginning the Left Front government has been carrying out its programme of work with a resolve to provide immediate relief to the people, take the State forward on the path of development, decentralize the power structure, and thus involve people in the day-to-day work of the government. Of the 34 years it has in power, the Left Front government was led by Jyoti Basu for over 23 years until he stepped down in favour of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in October 2000. That it has kept the promises and gained the people’s trust is evident from the fact that the Front has been voted to power seven successive times with massive mandates. This is a world record for an elected Left government. Effective and purposive governance, successful conduct of coalition politics, political stability that was achieved and firm adherence to secularism are widely seen as the reasons for its success.

Tracing historical background of the formation of the Left Front, one gets an idea of how the CPI(M), experienced with the United Front governments of 1967 and 1969 stood the party in good stead. This period was followed by a dark phase when the Left parties had to function in an atmosphere devoid of democratic rights , under the Congress government. It was during this long period of struggle for democratic rights, civil liberty, social justice, agrarian reform and industrial resurgence that the Left Front took shape.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Press Information Bureau
Government of India

Kolkata, February 18, 2011.

West Bengal continues to occupy the first position in India in gross as well as net collection of small savings. During the first three months of the current fiscal the gross collection in West Bengal reached Rs.26098.30 crore registering the growth of 26.96% compared to the corresponding period in the last financial year. However, the net collection during the first nine months has been to the tune of Rs.7228.96 crore, 25.48% higher than the net collection during the corresponding period of the last fiscal year. Shri Jameel Asghar, Sr. Regional Director, National Savings Institute, gave this information in Kolkata today. He said that up to December 2010, the eastern region comprising West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Andaman & Nicobar Island could mop up gross small savings to the tune of Rs.41,391.48 crore while the net collection figure stands Rs.10962.95 crore. While the rate of growth in gross collection is 27.02% the same in net collection is 26.26%. In terms of rate of growth in gross and as well as net collection, A&N Island occupies the first position. It registered an increase of 66.29%D in gross collection and 126.87% in net collection.
PIB Kolkata

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Chief Minister of Kerala

Let me at the outset congratulate the Ganasakti for this initiative to bring out a compendium on the role of left-led governments in India, especially Left Front govt. in West Bengal. My article will be confined to highlight the advancement in Kerala of the Left politics in general and LDF government in particular.

In the present era of globalization it has become a habit of even social democratic governments to pay special attention to the welfare of the rich than of masses. Only the Left governments are developing policies catering to the needs of masses. LDF government is one among them.

Left in Kerala has a tradition spanning over five decades of implementing a Left agenda. Through various measures including land reforms, democratization of many activities of the state, upholding and extending rights and freedom of workers, peasants, students, youth, women and other sections of people, ensuring social justice for the deprived classes and introducing decentralization at various levels of government, Left governments in Kerala developed a quality of life at a very low per capita expenditure which attracted attention of the whole world. They gave it a pet name, Kerala Model. The challenge has always been to preserve and enrich it in spite of the pro-rich policies of the central government and continuous intervention of UDF governments led by Congress to distort and undermine these popular achievements.

When the present LDF government assumed office, the state was in shambles literally. During the previous UDF rule Kerala, which was famous for religious amity, witnessed a number of communal clashes and murders. A series of sexual atrocities on women were committed. Various dastardly acts had become familiar sight. Now, according to central government records Kerala is the most peaceful state with minimum number of crimes. Communal strifes, atrocities on women and different types of crimes have been contained.

Owing to the neglect of the central government during the NDA and UPA rule, agricultural production, especially of commercial crops, as also their prices, had fallen leading to a large number of suicides by peasants. Central government had done nothing to prevent further loss of life. It was at this time the LDF government assumed office. Kerala also had witnessed suicides by a few hundred farmers during the UDF regime. LDF government appointed a debt commission to study the problem and announced a series of steps in support of families of the farmers who committed suicide and those in the grip of debt. These steps infused confidence among the peasantry so that the trend of suicide came to a stop in Kerala within a few months. The achievement will become evident when one compares it with states like Maharashtra which are still witnessing continued peasant suicides in spite of thousands of crores of rupees spent in the name of Vidarbha package and others.

The LDF government decided to give priority to intervention in primary sector recognizing the fact that it was to this sector the largest section of deprived people belonged. It gave substantial budgetary support to this sector which has infused confidence among people to seriously engage in agricultural operations, dairying and fisheries. LDF government has increased the support price of paddy from Rs 7 per kg in early 2006 to Rs 14 by now. This has resulted in the increase of paddy cultivation area by 60,000 acres and paddy production by about one lakh tons paddy. Production of vegetables, milk, fish, eggs and meat also has recorded marked increase as also income of those engaged in this sector. Cooperative banks have thrived under the patronage of LDF government and through them the government have arranged loans with zero or low interest to the various producers in the primary sector.

Women have gained most under the LDF government. They have been the worst affected by policies of globalization, liberalization and privatization of the UPA and UDF governments. In order to get them employed and able to have their own earnings LDF government organized them into SHGs which are tied together at panchyath, district and state levels through an organization called Kudumbasree which at present has a membership of 37 lakh women organized in about two lakh SHGs. They are engaged in production of paddy, vegetables, milk, meat, in the processing of various agricultural products, in many small scale industrial units and in rendering a number of services.

Majority of workers in Kerala are employed in traditional industries including coir, cashew, handloom, bamboo, etc. Because of the utter neglect of these sections by the central government and previous UDF government, number of days of work and wages they got dwindled in course of time. LDF government intervened in their favour by substantially increasing budget allotment and ensuring that workers got benefit of increase in production and price rise.

During the UDF rule most of the public sector industries were sustaining big losses. For that reason that government tried to close down many of them and even sell them. But the united resistance of workers irrespective of union affiliation prevented their sales. The LDF government on assuming office took effective steps with the cooperation of workers and experts with the result that now almost all of them are making profits. This imparted confidence and courage to the government to start nine new industrial concerns in public sector at a time when at the centre and many states public sector concerns are being handed over to private sector.

LDF government is implementing a major project of providing funds to all BPL families to have their own house. This project is named after E M S Nambudiripad, the first chief minister of Kerala. In the previous two five year plans about 8.5 lakh houses were provided in this manner mainly under the auspices of local bodies. Now, those who do not have any land of their own are being provided with land to put up the house. Most of the beneficiaries are the scheduled sections. If they were to get a house under IAY scheme, they would have had to wait for decades. Also, with the money given by the central government under IAY scheme it is not possible to put up even a hut in Kerala. In order to complete the scheme within the next year local bodies have taken loans amounting to Rs 3000 crores from cooperative banks on state government guarantee.

LDF government has given priority to SCs, STs and minorities in giving assistance of various types. This is based on the policy of social justice adopted by LDF for the past so many decades. The government had declared that one acre of land would be given to every landless tribal family. This assurance is being implemented now. also tens of thousands of landless dalit families have been given small pieces of land. In the matter of accessibility of education, health and so many basic necessities of life in the modern world Kerala has been able to extend them to almost all of these deprived and dispossessed sections. That is the basis of Kerala having a better social justice compared to many other states.

During the last three matriculation examinations the pass per cent in Kerala was more than 90 per cent. This result shows that a large number of children from backward sections pass the examination. This is a welcome change compared to previous years. Though SCs, STs and minorities are still lagging behind in various ways, their lot has substantially improved from what it was earlier.

Another area where Kerala is placed by central government at a higher pedestal is with regard to public distribution. Kerala has historically been a deficit state in the matter of food articles. For this reason some 45 years ago the centre allowed Kerala to have statutory rationing. Also most of articles of daily use come to Kerala from other states. This often gives a chance to traders to fleece the people. LDF governments over the years have developed a network of civil supplies stores and cooperative consumer stores which make wholesale purchase and distribute essential commodities at reasonable prices. Because of these measures which cost six hundred crores of rupees annually at present to government price rise of essential commodities in Kerala is the lowest according to central government.

Health system in Kerala has a huge network of allopathy, ayurveda and homeo hospitals in every panchayath in the form of PHCs, at the block level in the form of CHCs, and as general hospitals at important centers and as district hospitals in every district. New buildings and modern equipments are made available to many of them and necessary staff made available in every hospital. A Medicine Corporation is established to ensure proper availability of medicines in hospitals. Health insurance scheme introduced by central government is implemented in the state in a manner which make it more patient and family friendly.

There is no power cut or load shedding in Kerala for the past few years. This has been achieved by reducing transmission losses substantially and making people introduce CF lamps at their homes and workplaces. New projects to produce energy from a large number of mini and micro units as also from gas based units are in the offing. Kerala has one of the lowest tariff rates in the country.

The state being highly populated and having a network of backwaters, 41 rivers and a large area of marshy and wet lands, confronts with various kinds of environmental issues. The previous UDF government had in the name of development allowed widespread annihilation of forests, wetlands and privatization of public property including water bodies. The central government often invoke environment and forest laws to prevent implementation of projects that are highly essential for the development of the state, while at the same time giving sanction to application of hazardous chemicals in agriculture as pesticides and in industry as raw material. In the northern district of Kasargode a dangerous chemical, Endosulfan, used to be sprayed airily on cashew plantations. Now after so many years of spraying it is found to have caused various kinds of disabilities and diseases to young and old. While the central government still adopts a callous attitude towards the problem, the LDF government is giving health care, assistance of different nature to make the lives of affected people more bearable.

Two questions are to be normally expected: How do you find resources for all these expenditures? Is it enough for a government to bestow attention on socially and economically backward, differently abled and those stricken with diseases?

When LDF took office annual income of Kerala government was About Rs 10,000 crores. By management of resource mobilization this has increased over the years crossing Rs 20.000crores this year. The dictum followed by LDF is to mobilize more resources and meet higher expenses which is different from the dictum of UDF to collect less taxes and spend less. Less expenditure during their tenure meant less benefits and less support to the poorer sections of people. LDF government has cleared all outstanding arrears of welfare pensions due to various sections of deprived people. It has widened the benefits to the deprived by ensuring that there was enough resources to meet such demands.

In Kerala more than 50 per cent of people belong to middle class sections. Their youth, both girls and boys, are educated. They aspire better jobs. To ensure them jobs new avenues are to be created. Due to environmental problems and paucity of industrial raw materials certain kinds of industry are not acceptable to Kerala. IT, tourism, Biotechnology, etc are some of the fields suited to it. In the IT sector projects for two major IT parks at Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi and a number of smaller parks in different districts are at different stages of implementation. Already they offer more than 20,000 jobs. Once completed they are expected to offer more than 2,00,000 opportunities of different kinds. Kerala being a tourist destination of people from far and near, tourism industry is bound to grow here offering umpteen job opportunities. Necessary groundwork for this has already been carried out. Recent advance in the field of biotechnology has opened up wide areas of development and employment for a state like Kerala. It has rich deposits of rare metals like Titanium, Thorium, etc. Schemes to use them for producing high value added products are being prepared which in future will open up a number of opportunities to the educated sections.

This shows that the path of development envisaged by LDF in Kerala offer opportunities of growth not only to forward sections of the society, as is normally done by promoters of globalization, but to the deprived sections as well. This trajectory of growth will ensure all round development of the country. Also it will prevent confrontation and conflict between various sections of society usually sponsored by the ruling classes on the basis of religion, caste, ethnicity, language, etc.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Left Parties Memorandum to the Election Commission of India

From India News Network(INN)

New Delhi, February 7: A delegation of Left Party leaders led by Sitaram Yechury and submitted the following memorandum to the Election Commission today in connection with the ensuing Assembly elections in West Bengal.

February 7, 2011

Left Parties Memorandum to the Election Commission of India

Dear Sir,

In continuation of our representation before you dated January 21, 2011, we are presenting our specific area-wise concerns which pose a challenge for the holding of peaceful, free and fair elections for the upcoming West Bengal Assembly in some parts of the state.

But, at the outset, before going into these specific facts, we would like to draw your attention to certain observations from the Election Commission. That West Bengal elections have been historically violence-prone is a claim which is not borne out by facts. On the contrary, West Bengal has a very positive record of peaceful elections. Further, West Bengal’s electoral history is unique characterized by abnormally heavy voter turnout underlining the peaceful, free and fair character with massive popular participation under the strictest scrutiny of the EC. A number of times the Election Commission and its observers have put these on record. Particularly during the 2006 elections, the EC had organized it under unprecedented security arrangements. So much so, that the elections were held in five phases and both security and other election officials were largely drawn from outside the state. Unfortunately, overlooking this history and making ahistorical observations can only lead to interpretations which will help partisan interests.

The situation, as we had stated on January 21, is, indeed, serious in certain areas. This is largely due to the nexus between the Maoists and the Trinamul Congress. More developments have taken place since which bring out the brazenness of this complicit relationship. Now, this nexus is not operating covertly but quite in the open. A meeting was held in Lalgarh jointly sponsored by the Trinamul Congress and the People’s Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) on January 30. This was addressed, amongst others, by Shri Shishir Adhikari and Shri Mukul Roy – both Ministers of State in the Union Government and front-ranking TMC leaders. Both the print and the electronic media have reported banners, festoons and flags alongwith the actual presence of PCPA in the meeting. Incidentally, PCPA has been described by the Home Minister as a frontal organisation of the Maoists – on the floor of the Rajya Sabha itself. The CBI chargesheet in the Gyaneswari Express tragedy has established the involvement of the PCPA in the gruesome incidents where deliberate sabotage had led to the death of 150 innocent people. On January 31, two Maoists were apprehended from the so-called relief camp run by the TMC in the Congress-TMC led Midnapur municipality’s Guest House. Communications with the top Maoist leadership, including Kishanji, was recovered from these arrested Maoists. Media has also reported that questioning of these two have led to the recovery of firearms and ammunition which were hidden under the ground.

The open involvement of a major political force which is a part of the UPA coalition at the Centre with the Maoists may adversely affect the coming election process. This will create difficulties for the maintenance of a peaceful atmosphere, despite the state administration’s best efforts. Efforts by the administration have led to recovery of a large cache of firearms and other lethal weapons. The joint security operations has also been able to largely restore normalcy in large part of the affected districts. However, the new feature, as stated above, is the open complicity between the TMC and Maoists that makes the task of the security forces more difficult as seen in the resistance to arrest of two Maoists from the TMC relief camp and the subsequent insinuations by the TMC against the police administration.

We would like to further inform the Election Commission that the joint forces have conducted a thorough search for the so-called `armed camps’ on the basis of a list submitted by the opposition before the Hon’ble High Court. The Commandant of the CRPF has publicly gone on record that the operations did not establish the existence of `armed camps’. But people evicted by violence were found to be living in those camps and that their names were being listed systematically by the security forces. Arrangements must be made by the EC to ensure that such displaced voters in areas like Nandigram, Khejuri and other parts of East Midnapur are allowed to exercise their franchise. However, the improvement of the situation has not been able to stop `individual annihilation’ of CPI(M) and Left cadre which continue to take place. In fact, since the noise over `armed camps’ reached a crescendo more than a dozen Left activists have been killed by the Maoists. One cannot escape an uncomfortable conclusion that such propaganda of disinformation has only emboldened the TMC-Maoist to mount greater terror. On this 4th of February, a CPI(M) sympathizer, Baidyanath Jana, an employee of a school was shot dead by the TMC-Maoist nexus in Nayagram, in the Jangal Mahal area of West Midnapur district.

Given this, the first specific concern arises from the geographic features of the state with its long borders with Jharkhand and Orissa. In fact, these borders are in many cases under forest cover. Therefore, it is that much easier for the Maoists to cross over and conduct operations. The Ayodhya hills and its adjoining blocks of Purulia district like Bandwan, Balrampur, Arsha, Baghmundi, Jhalda-I and II and Jaipur are particularly vulnerable from the security point of view. Similarly, Khairasol, Rajnagar, Mohd Bazar, Rampurhat, Nalhati of Birbhum district have borders with Jharkhand. Of late, as the situation improved in Jangalmahal, increased operations by Maoists have been noticed in Birbhum, Murshidabad and Nadia districts. It is necessary for the EC to address this question of vulnerability in the border areas from a security point of view and may be consider the sealing of the state borders from the time of announcement of elections.

Further, we would like to draw the attention of the EC to specific assembly segments, villages and gram panchayats where terror has been let loose with an arms build up. We are attaching as annexure detailed district-wise information.

Unfortunately, the visit of the set of observers to study law and order exclusively on the basis of allegations by the opposition has created some doubts in the minds of the people. During the visit of the observers, there are complaints that even after specific efforts were made, the representatives of Left parties could not meet these observers. This was most particularly evident in Purba Midnapur district.

We hope that the Election Commission will initiate appropriate steps to address these concerns to instill the required sense of confidence.

With regards,

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely

Sitaram Yechury
MP (Leader, Rajya Sabha)
Member, Polit Bureau, CPI(M)
Nilotpal Basu
Central Secretariet Member

D. Raja
Member of Parliament
Secretary, National Council, CPI
Prabodh Panda
Member of Parliament, CPI

Abani Roy
Member of Parliament
Secretary, RSP
Barun Mukherjee
Member of Parliament
Central Secretariat Member


Burdwan District

259 Khandoghosh Assembly constituency:

There have been major instances of violence in Bonai Chandi Gram Panchayat. Miscreants belonging to TMC have demolished CPI (M) Party office in the village market, injured several CPI (M) activists and gutted 62 houses. Most of these belong to the poor people. Similar violence has been experienced in village Kulchura, Kamalpur and Khejurhati.

260 Burdwan Dakshin Assembly constituency:

There have been instances of violence with CPI (M) office and residences of CPI (M) workers attacked in Lakshmipurmath, Khagragarh, Badshahi Road, Mehedibagan areas of this district town. There is a strong possibility of violence in the run-up to elections.

261 Raina Assembly constituency :

The main centre which has been affected by violence is the Hijalna Gram Panchayat. As a result of violence unleashed by TMC miscreants, a large number of CPI (M) activists had to leave the village. Still over 50 supporters of the CPI (M) have to remain outside for the fear of lives. Two CPI (M) activists have been killed in this area and several grievously injured. What makes the violence most unacceptable is the fact that this is being led by a Minister of State of Government of India Shri Mukul Ray and an MP, Subhendu Adhikari who are openly seen accompanied with some of the miscreants against whom FIR has been lodged for the killings and widespread violence.

262 Jamalpur Assembly constituency:

The affected villages are Kora, Shaly and Math-Shaly. The violence took the form of physical attacks on CPI (M) local leaders, ransacking of houses and looting.

263 Monteswar Assembly constituency:

The major violence affected areas are Aruar and Mahata Gram Panchayat. Physical attacks, eviction of Party activists are taking place.

269 Purbasthali Assembly constituency :

There have been several attacks by TMC miscreants.

271 Ketugram Assembly constituency :

Khandra and Rajput grama panchayats remain affected by violence led by the TMC miscreants. Certain villages like Knartari, Ratanpur, Serandi, Dadhia under Pancha gram panchayat and Khalipur and Bamudi villages under Morgram, Bhopalpur gram panchayat also remain affected by violence. Seven villagers from Amburia and one each from Morgram, Khalipur villages have been killed during these period since last Lok Sabha elections. A large number of villagers and CPI(M) activists cannot live in their homes.

272 Mongolkote Assembly constituency : Following the killing of a CPI(M) leader and elected member of the Burdwan zilla parishad – Falguni Mukherjee an elected member of the Burdwan zilla parishad on June 16, 2009, terror has been unleashed and during the panchayat bye-elections, 12 booths were rigged by the TMC. Villages under Nakuria and Gotistha gram panchayats have been attacked by TMC miscreants. CPI(M) workers from villages like Siur, Kalyanapur, Mallikput, Amdob, Chakda, Kotalghosh have been attacked and injured. A number of CPI(M) activists have been forced out of their villages.

West Midnapur District

This district is worst affected by Maoist violence. The scale of violence can be gauged that over 259 Left leaders and activists have been killed in the three districts of West Midnapur, Bankura and Purulia as on February 4 of which 192 in West Midnapur alone. The special feature of the violence and killings in West Midnapur has been a close interrelationship between the holding of meetings by top leaders of the TMC and immediate fallout in terms of these killings. The highly publicized meeting addressed by Ms. Mamata Banerjee on August 9, 2010 in Lalgarh was followed by the killing of Santosh Datta in Belpahari, Nirmal Mahato in Therua on August 13 and Nishikanto Naik and Shankar Jana on August 14 in Nayagram block. These are all areas which have borders with Jharkhand and Orissa. In the last five months, Sukhendu Adhikari has addressed open meetings 24 times. He has addressed meetings in the Jhargram block eight times. It is immediately after these meetings, spate of killings have taken place. There have been open threats issued to the villagers by Maoists and their frontal organisation – PCPA – to attend meetings which were to be addressed by these leaders. While Maoists have imposed road blocks to disrupt normalcy, such actions have been withdrawn to facilitate the movement and visits of Shri Adhikari. Maoist squad members have been arrested even from the vehicles of TMC leaders. Dreaded Maoist squad member, Kanchan Deb Singh was apprehended from the car where he was traveling alongwith the Trinamul Youth Congress district president, Debasish Choudhury, and TMC Shalboni block president Jaipal Singh. There are charges of 14 murders pending against Kanchan.

East Midnapur District

The district is most severely affected by violence unleashed by the TMC. The worst affected areas are Nandigram, Khejuri, parts of Mugberia, Bhagwanpur, Patashpur and Contai. Separately a list of the names of those killed since the last Lok Sabha elections and people who have been rendered homeless is being separately forwarded.

A large number of anti-socials are actually rooming freely who are severally charged in different FIR registered with the concerned police stations. There have been instances where miscreants who had been accused in major acts of crime have been sought to be snatched away from police custody by the TMC.

It will be pertinent to mention that major revelations has been made regarding the complicity of the Maoists in the Nandigram flair up which must be available with the state administration. These include statements by Maoist leaders and the depositions of Maoists in custody.

Therefore, the Commission is required to make special arrangements for this district.

Howrah District

177 Uluberia North Assembly Constituency

1. On 7th May 2009, after the Lok Sabha election Manwar Hussain Jamader, a CPI(M) sympathizer of Chandrapur, Amta I Block was heinously murdered by the Trinamul backed goons. The F.I.R was lodged and the Police had initiated the Amta PS Case No 51 /2009 in connection with this incident. Out of 41 FIR named accused only 12 were arrested and only 19 took bail rest of them are moving freely under the shelter of TMC leaders and threatening the innocent villagers and CPI(M) supporters regularly.

2. On 29/01/2010 in village Chandrapur the house of Atar Ali alias Bhutto was ransacked and the modesty of the women was outraged by TMC backed goons. Amta PS case No 13/10 dated 30/01/10was initiated. During the course of investigation 5 out of 12 accused were arrested. But the accused moving freely in the daylight have again ransacked the house of said Attar Ali on 05/03/2010 the Amta PS case No 48/10 was started. Only one of the accused named in the FIR has been arrested.

3. On 16/03/10 the said Attar and other 31 CPI(M) supporters who had been driven out of the village entered the village with the help of the administration. On that night itself the notorious goons backed by the TMC leaders including the Central Minister had bombed the village to create panic. The police started the investigation of the same.

4. Within one year eight months after the murder of Sheikh Manwar Husain Jamader, Sheikh Shangir, another CPI(M) supporter and a petty grocer was murdered in brought daylight in the same GP of village Harishpur in Amta PS by the Trinamul backed anti socials on 21/12/2010 near the police camp in the village. The police has started the case i.e. Amta PS Case No 350/2010.Only 3 of 38 of the accused named in the FIR were arrested. The court has refused them to grant bail in this matter.

5. It is so unfortunate after the occurrence of the aforesaid murder that the local Member of Parliament and the Central Minister Mr. Sultan Ahmad came in the village and instigated the goons in the garb of political meeting .It is found that most of the accused who are supposed to be absconding in the said murder case were attending the meeting in front of the police and started new attacks as a result of the instigation and provocation by the Central Minister.

6. As a result of the said instigation, a CPI(M) worker Sheikh Kasem was abducted and beaten severely with an attempt to murder him by the Trinamul sponsored anti Socials. The said Sheikh Kasem is admitted to the Medical College Hospital for treatment. The police has commenced the case i.e. Amta PS Case no 4/2011dated 7/1/2011

7. The anti socials in the garb of villagers attacked the elected Panchayat Upapradhan of G.P Balichak, Mr. Gautam Chakravorty during an official meeting at the GP office in broad day light. The police started the case in connection with this attack i.e. Amta PS. Case No 245/10 dated 21/10/2010.
8. Educational Institution like Amta RS College became the target of the TMC backed anti socials since the Lok Sabha election 2009.The S.F.I supporters of the RS College were beaten time and again. The extent of attack was so major that some of the students had to leave their study. Even a professor was hackled and forcefully ousted from the college by outsiders. Student leaders belonging to TMC were backed by these outsiders. The General Diary was made at Amta Police Station GD No-535/10/9/2010.

182 Udaynarayanpur Assembly Constituency.

1. On 8th May 2009, Chandu Dolui, CPI(M) supporter of G.P Debipur of Village Manashree, PS Udaynarayanpur was heinously murdered by the Trinamul backed goons. The F.I.R was lodged and the Police had initiated the Udaynarayanpur PS Case No 60/2009 in connection with the murder. Out of 32 named as accused in the FIR 12 people were arrested by the police from the spot itself .On 5th September 2009 A CPI(M) Party office was attacked and ransacked in Khila within Udaynarayanpur Assembly Constituency. The F.I.R was lodged in Udaynarayanpur Police station and the case has commenced on the basis of the F.I.R (Udaynarayanpur PS case No 179 of 05.09.2010).

2. A large number of CPI(M) leaders, supporters and even innocent people are unable to enter the village and return to their homes because of the continuous threat and coercion forced by the Trinamul Congress goons. They are forced to live away from their homes life with their family and children outside the village. The number of such people is 56 at Manashree under Udaynarayanpur assembly Constituency. (A list of homeless people have been annexed herewith the Annexure A)

3. At least 10 people have been restrained forcefully by the Trinomial congress supporters backed by infamous anti socials from harvesting their own land. (A List of the same has been annexed herewith Annexure B)

4. The villages with the strong support for the CPI(M) have been targeted by Trinamul Congress backed anti socials. The muscle power has been used to physically controlling the schools, colleges, cooperatives and Gram Panchayats.Recently on the day of the Primary teachers council election even the teachers were badly beaten up by Trinamul Congress anti socials. The F.I.R was lodged in Udaynarayanpur Police Station and Udaynarayanpur PS Case No 241; dated 28/11/10 has been commenced by the Police.

5. The Trinamul deployed anti socials had attacked and ransacked the house of CPI(M) sympathizer Rabin Bodhok.UdaynarayanpurPS- PS Case No 194/10 dated 22/09/2010 has started.
6. The continuous instigation from Trinamul Congress leaders has resulted in the incident of ransacking the house of CPI(M) supporter Jaydev Koley in village Habla of Basantapur GP. Amta PS case No 944/345 has started in connection with the same incident.

7. The CPI(M) worker and the elected Panchayat Samity member Haradhan Malik was abducted by the Trinamul backed anti social from the Block office in broad day light while performing his official work (Case No 37/10 dated 09/03/2010)

8. The Booth Level Agents, appointed by our party were forced to leave the place at the time of hearing on the voter list in the following Parts:
Part No:2,3,26,48,50,53,79,84,85,89,92,93,94,96,97,98,99,100,101,147,168 and 169.
We have reported the incident through our letter dated 20/07/2010 and made a request not to take any final decision at the booth level. We express our doubt that the free and fair election cannot take place if the agents cannot freely enter into a Booth. The situation of this Constituency at the moment is not conducive for peaceful, free and fair election. A good number of people are living away from their homes. In the light of above mentioned facts we request you to kindly intervene the situation and take the necessary measures to ensure the peaceful election in 182 Udaynarayanpur Assembly Constituency.

181 Amta Assembly Constituency.

1. Sk. Arsakul Islam alias Sheikh Babua of Chilampur Village, a student of class X was murdered on 8th May 2009 in Bakshirhat area on 8th May 2009. Bagnan PS has started the case in connection with this murder.

2. Lastly on 24th July 2010, Sheikh Shanwaz, a CPI(M) worker was heinously murdered by the Trinamul backed goons. The F.I.R was lodged and the Police had initiated the Jaipur PS Case No 87/2010 dated 24.07/2010 in connection with this murder.
Since the Lok Sabha Election 2009 the Trinamul anti socials are waging the armed attack on CPI(M) workers. The grave attack took place in Chitnan Gram Panchayat area and Ghoraberia village of Bhatora. At least 300 CPI(M) supporters had to leave their homes in order to save their lives.45 houses of the poor people were looted and destroyed by Trinamul Congress anti socials at Sholbhaga Village. In 2008 Panchayat and 2009 Lok Sabha polls, many polling stations was under the direct control of Trinamul goons. It is reported that in those polling stations the polling agents appointed by our party were driven away from the polling stations.
Darjeeling district

There is a special situation in the three hill sub-divisions of the district. You must be aware that the Gorkha Jana Mukti Morcha (GJMM) has unleashed a rein of terror in the name of agitation for a separate Gorkhaland state. They are forcing blockades, illegal bandhs and the democratic atmosphere is in complete jeopardy. No non GJMM organisation or political party is allowed to carry out legitimate activity and public programmes. The most blatant example was the murder of late Shri Madan Tamang, President, All Bengal Gorkha League – a respected leader in broad daylight while he was addressing a public meeting. The CPI(M) activists in Bijanbare, Sonada and Kalimpong area and tea gardens of Garidhura area are being assaulted forcing some of our organisers to leave their homes.

They have recently called a continuous bandh in the hills and openly declared that tourists should not visit the area while students appearing for public examinations should be prepared to loose one year.

We would request you to recall the experience of the last Lok Sabha election where the polling in these three hill sub-divisions degenerated into a farce where most of the booths were physically captured by the GJMM workers with all EVMs being taken under the virtual control of local GJMM/BJP election machinery. It will be pertinent to mention that more than 90 per cent of the polled votes was secured by the BJP candidate while no others were allowed to campaign.

The situation on the ground has changed in the wake of the murder of Madan Tamang. Therefore, GJMM is further concentrating on terrorizing the people and this poses a real challenge to the holding of free and fair elections in the hills. This warrants a special intervention of the EC including a visit of the Commission members themselves in the hills.

Bankura District

This is one of the districts which was badly affected by Maoist violence in complicity with the TMC particularly affected were the areas of Ranibandh and Sarenga PS areas.

Though the situation has generally improved, there are certain points where the TMC have organized armed camps under four police station areas. The details of these camps are as follows:

1) Indas PS

a) Karishunda gram panchayat – i) Lakshman Modak’s shop (Laku Moira, Bandherpar) ii) Fadilpur - Amit Baran Chandra Deb (Bagdi)’s house, iii) Karishunda – Gul Mohd.’s house
b) Indas gram panchayat – i) Kotir Pukurerpar (Hajrapara) ii) Indas Midjapur Sk. Kasem’s hosue
c) Rol gram panchayat – i) Somsar Chaudhuri Riaz’s house ii) Barul Sagar Ghose’s house iii) Gopalnagar - Sayed Hosan’s chamber iv) Rol Purbapara club v) Bagicha Bandh - Tinkari Mondal’s house
d) Amrul gram panchayat i) Shantashram – Mohd’s stationery shop ii) Patrapanti – Gopal Barat’s sweet shop
e) Indas-2 gram panchayat – i) Khoshbagh – Rezac Sahab’s house ii) Kumrul – Samser Mallik’s shop
f) Shashpur gram panchayat – i) Namo Dharampur – Sk. Tapan’s house

2) Bishnupur PS

a) Vacant PHE quarter (East and South) within Bishnupur municipality office campus.
b) Municipal Domitry, College Road, Ward No. 3

3) PS Patra Sayaar

a) Patra Sayaar Dakshin Para – Snehesh Mukherjee’s house and the Samiti office of the Kamars
b) Bamira – Nabapal’s house
c) Baraban – Tarashidh’s house
d) Dhagria bus stand – Sk. Mannan’s house
e) Fakir Danga – Mohar Midda’s house in Barquatchowk
f) Arabinda Panja’s house
g) Shimul Danga – Gunamay Mondal’s house

The areas where the activities of the anti-socials sponsored by the TMC are still continuing include Karambakuli (village Bhagwanpur, Dhan Simla area, Dhan Simla village), village Balrampur (Manik Bazar area), village Kalipur (Purban Basan area), village Palshara (Dhulai area), village Dhulai, Samanta Bera village and Radha Ramanpur village (Daripara area)

North 24 Paraganas District

Separate exhaustive memorandum by the District Committee of the CPI(M) is being forwarded to the Commission.

The specific areas affected by violence unleashed by the TMC include large parts of Barrakpore sub-division including Barrakpore, Kanchapara, Titagarh, Naihati. The other majorly affected area is Shashan area under Barasat block and parts of Harwa and Minakha areas adjoining Bhangar of South 24 Paraganas district. In many of the instances, local MPs of Trinamul Congress and the Minister of State Mukul Ray, the leader of the opposition in the Assembly Partho Chatterjee have been actively involved in the planning and execution of the acts of violence.

Monday, February 7, 2011

'Bamfront Sarkar: Manush-e shesh katha' (Left Front Govt: Keyword is People) released

Marxists publish book to woo masses in poll year

2011-02-06 05:30:00, IANS

Kolkata: In an apparent bid to woo the masses in an election year, West Bengal's ruling Marxists have brought out a 728-page book on the state's left movement and the Left Front government.

At a time when they are going through perhaps their toughest times since coming to power nearly 34 years ago, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) mouthpiece Ganashakti has published the book containing writings of eminent people like Nobel prize winning economist Amartya Sen and late Marxist patriarch Jyoti Basu.

The book is titled 'Bamfront Sarkar: Manush-e shesh katha' (Left Front Govt: Keyword is People) and was released on Saturday.

Articles by economists Prabhat Patnaik and Jayati Ghosh, as also by the party's founding fathers like E.M.S. Namboodiripad, B.T. Ranadive, M. Basavpunnaiya, Harekrishna Konar, Promode Dasgupta and Nripen Chakraborty have found their pride of place in the compendium priced at Rs.300.

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has also penned a piece 'Bampanthai Path' (Leftist ideology is the only way) on the current political situation and the challenges faced by the Left Front.
Amartya Sen's research-based article 'Primary Schooling: A report on improvements and problems in West Bengal schools' written several years back is part of the compilation that also includes several important documents detailing the CPI(M)'s outlook on the Left Front governments in West Bengal and Tripura and the Left Democratic Front regime in Kerala.

'The book provides an insight through the pen of our leaders into the mass struggles which brought the Left Front to power, the coalition government's experiences, the alternative policies unfolded by the Left Front with a pro-people approach, and how it is going forward by fighting against a plethora of conspiracies and attacks,' state CPI(M) secretary Biman Bose says in the preface.
'Some articles containing the views of experts on the Left Front government and its various activities are also a part of the book that would benefit those wishing to know the origin, initiatives and approach of the ruling combine,' he says.

'But this book can never be considered a comprehensive evaluation of the Left Front government,' he adds.

Careful not to annoy other Left Front partners, Bose promised that write-ups of their leaders would be included in the next edition of the book. 'The book is incomplete without their writings. In future we have to include such pieces.'

The Left Front came to power in the state in 1977 riding on the anti-Congress wave sweeping the country immediately after the Emergency, and it has ruled without a break all these years.
However, over the last two and half years, the red citadel has crumbled with the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress winning a series of elections to the rural and urban civic bodies and the Lok Sabha. The back-to-back electoral defeats have triggered speculation that the Left Front could be on its way out in the state assembly elections slated for May.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Learn from past mistakes, Buddhadeb tells Communists

Left Front Chairman Biman Bose releasing in Kolkata on Saturday a compilation of select essays and documents written by CPI(M) leaders and political commentators outlining the Communist movement .

By Raktima Bose

The Hindu, Date: 06/02/2011

Kolkata: Criticising the Trinamool Congress for trying to mislead the people of West Bengal through slander campaign against the Left Front government and its achievements over the last 34 years, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in a recent write-up has emphasised need for the State's Communists to undertake self-introspection and learn from past mistakes so as to be able to face the “chaotic and violent” forces trying to dislodge the present government.

Titled ‘Left is the sole pathway', the article encapsulates Mr. Bhattacharjee's views on an array of issues - land reforms, agriculture, industrialisation, violence perpetrated by the Maoists and other separatist forces in alleged collusion with the Trinamool Congress, violence in educational institutions and the need for self-introspection.

The write-up is part of a compilation of essays and documents written by various past and present CPI(M) leaders like Jyoti Basu, E.M.S. Namboodripad, Pramod Dasgupta, Prakash Karat and Manik Sarkar among others that has been published in the form of a book titled “Left Front Government: People's is the last word”. The compendium was released by the State's Left Front Committee chairman Biman Bose on Saturday.

The first edition of the book does not feature any article written by leaders of the three other alliance partners of the CPI(M) in the Left Front. Mr. Bose assured that the articles will be included in the second edition.

Slamming the Trinamool Congress for allegedly trying to obscure the Left Front's contribution in the State's land reform movement, through negative campaigns, he said that the TMC is trying to upset the State government's efforts for industrialisation and urbanisation.

“Does the Trinamool Congress call for ‘change' mean pulling the plug on all opportunities of employment for students and send them back to the farms? Closing down roads, factories, schools and colleges is the essence of Trinamool Congress ‘change',” Mr. Bhattacharjee said.

Saying that the State government has learnt its lessons from the Singur and Nandigram incidents, he assured that the government will act “cautiously” in future and “strike a balance between agriculture and industry”.

Rubbishing Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee's claims of creating one lakh employment opportunities through railway projects as “false promises”, Mr. Bhattacharjee charged the Trinamool Congress with colluding with the Maoists and holding both covert and overt meetings with them.

“The Opposition is trying to spread the Maoist violence throughout the State and we are trying our best to stop them at the western borders…the Trinamool Congress has brought this danger to the State and they have to answer the people,” he said and added that the party has also joined hands with various separatist forces to divide the State.

Admitting that “misbehaviour and arrogance” of a section of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) workers have alienated people from the party, Mr. Bhattacharjee said that the leaders and workers should accept criticism and try to mend their mistakes.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

More Evidence, Mr Chidambaram?


By Special Correspondent
People’s Democracy, February 06, 2011

KOLKATA: TRINAMUL Congress-‘Maoist’ nexus in West Bengal has been exposed once again after the Joint forces arrested two ‘Maoist’ activists from a Trinamul camp on 31 January. TMC turned a guest house “Rajeev Nilaya”, run by Midnapore Municipalty, into a camp of their party. The camp, situated in Midnapore town was a shelter for TMC activists operating in jangal mahal area.

On a tip off, the security forces arrested Asim Mahato and Amiya Mahato, both accused in several cases of murder and ‘Maoist’ attacks, from the camp. When the security forces moved in for a search of the camp, TMC activists resisted. They were soon joined in by TMC leaders from the town, including the chairman of the municipality run by TMC-Congress combine. In the chaos that followed at least four other ‘Maoists’ fled.

Blocked by TMC men, the security forces resorted to lathi charge and some journalists were also injured in the commotion. TMC chief and railway minister Mamata Banerjee rushed to Midnapore, probably for preventing further raids.

This incident took place just 24 hours before the chief ministers’ meeting on internal security in Delhi. In the meeting itself, both prime minister and union home minister sharply criticised the ‘Maoists’ and maintained that the threat from this violent force remained as dangerous as before. While they were stressing on increased co-ordination between centre and the states to effectively counter the Maoists, their cabinet colleague was furiously challenging the role of security forces.

Amiya Mahato (alias Lachchu) and Asim Mahato (alias Baichung), who were slapped with charges of conspiracy and other charges under the Arms Act, were produced under high security in the court of Midnapore chief judicial magistrate the next day. The magistrate remanded them to police custody for two days. According to police, Asim Mahato used to act as a courier for the elusive ‘Maoist’ top leader Kishenji and Amiya Mahato was a Maoist squad member and accused in several cases. According to police, several letters of senior ‘Maoist’ leaders including four from Kishenji were recovered from them. Amiya Mahato was a member of erstwhile Sidhu Soren squad of ‘Maoists’. He was injured earlier in a gun battle with joint forces in the jungle near Ranja, in which Sidhu himself was killed. Amiya was involved in several murder cases in West Midnapore. They were also involved with gruesome attack on security forces in Shilda in February last year in which 22 jawans were killed.

According to the reports, one of the leading ‘Maoist’ Kanchan Deb Sinha also spent days in that particular camp of TMC. Deb Sinha was later arrested.

CPI(M) and the chief minister have alleged many times in the past that the most crucial factor in the violence in jangal mahal was the nexus between ‘Maoists’ and a constituent partner of UPA. Two days prior to the Midnapore raid, TMC and PCPA, a frontal organisation of ‘Maoists’ held a joint rally in Lalgarh. The rally was addressed among others by Mukul Roy and Shishir Adhikary, both union ministers. The flags of both TMC and PCPA were put up on the dais itself. It may be noted, PCPA members are the prime accused in CBI chargesheet in Gyaneswari Express sabotage.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhatacharjee has warned that appropriate administrative actions would be taken against those who were providing shelters to ‘Maoist’ murderers. "The state government will no longer wait. We will take action immediately on the basis of evidence of Trinamul's link with the ‘Maoists’ which are tumbling out one after the other," he said.

Bhattacharjee said he would inform union home minister P Chidambaram about the Trinamul-‘Maoist’ nexus which had once again been confirmed after the arrest of two Maoists from a Trinamul-run camp in West Midnapore district, calling the incident "dangerous".

"I have asked them not to keep any relation with the killer ‘Maoists’. We want peace, development and industry in the state," he said. He told he would remind Chidambaram of what kind of party the UPA coalition had at the centre, asserting that even two days back Trinamul Congress had held a meeting with the ‘Maoists’ at Lalgarh.

"They want to facilitate the spread of the ‘Maoists’ throughout the state, causing concern for the people who will never allow this," Bhattacharjee said

There has been a meticulously motivated campaign about the so-called ‘armed camps’ of CPI(M) in jangal mahal. Even the union home minister joined in the campaign and wrote three letters to chief minister on this issue in December 2010. The joint forces have actually raided CPI(M) offices, the relief camps of homeless people, houses of CPI(M) leaders and activists for last few days. TMC even submitted a ‘list’ of places to be searched in Kolkata High Court and the court supplied the list to security forces. More than 80 places have been thoroughly searched. The IG, CRPF, T G B Rao has told the media that no arms have been found in these searches of CPI(M) places. Interestingly, there was no resistance from CPI(M) in any place during the raids. The question arises: why were the security forces challenged and blocked in Midnapore TMC camp?

However, after the incident in Netai on 7 January, 10 CPI(M) activists have been killed in renewed attacks by ‘Maoist’-TMC combine. Many houses have been burnt and destroyed by blasts.

Reminding about these incidents and the arrest of ‘Maoists’ from the TMC camp, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and MP, Sitaram Yechury, in a letter addressed to union home minister has stated, "One cannot escape an uneasy feeling that the noise over the 'armed camps' has helped the brazen activities of the Trinamul-‘Maoist’ nexus."

Does Mr Chidambaram need more evidence?

Left states top MNREGA chart

Prasad Nichenametla, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 03, 2011

Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act is showing better success of creating assets — ponds or roads — in the two Left ruled states.

BJP-ruled states Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are laggards, but some Congress states such as Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan, too, are at the bottom.

“Real successes of MGNREGA is when land resources are regenerated letting lakhs of marginal farmers go back to agriculture — bringing down the need of the programme,” PM Manmohan Singh said during the fifth anniversary of MNREGA on Wednesday.

Even as the PM was stressing on delivering durable assets and new employment avenues in villages through the scheme, the reality is quite different.

Against 68 lakh works taken up this fiscal, only 3.1 lakh — under 5%— are completed so far (latest as per MNREGA site). The works range from digging water harvest pits to building rural roads.

The mammoth target, ministry officials say includes a huge spill over of work — at various stages, some yet to start — from previous years and a result of less than 50% achievement in 2009-10 and 2008-09.

“Works are planned at village level and their completion depends on availability of workers,” said Vilasrao Deshmukh, rural development minister.

But against the national average of 4.63%, the two Left-ruled states Kerala and West Bengal are topping the work charts with 31% and 20.3% of their works done till now.

“Success of Kerala and West Bengal is not surprising as they have got strong gram panchayats — the back bone of the scheme,” a ministry official said.

BK Sinha, secretary, rural department admits the drawbacks, a point also made by the PM. He said, “There is lack of planning at ground level and added to that is the dearth of expert human resources. A major concern when we aim creation of lasting impact on rural economy.

Success stories, in pockets such as in Rajasthan’s Banswara district where barren hills are turning green with Jatropha plantation under the scheme, are few. Planners want such activity in all 625 districts.

“Lot needs to be done to increase capacities of panchayat raj institutions so that they tackle responsibilities,” Singh said.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Left Front government appreciated in World Bank Report


Published by WORLD BANK

Page 103-104

Chapter 5

Inequality and investment

“Both Banerjee and Duflo (2003) and Voitchovsky (2004) conclude that there is no reason to give one of these sets of results priority over the other. Indeed, both could be right. For example, in the short run, policies that allow large cuts in real wages might encourage investment, but in the long run, the consequent increase in poverty might make it harder for the population to maintain its human capital. Or both could be wrong. Most important among the many reasons for both the cross-sectional and the time series evidence to be misleading are the following: the possibility of a nonlinear relationship between inequality and growth, problems with comparability of cross-country data, and the difficult question of identifying the direction of causality when both variables are likely to influence one another.

This lack of clear-cut results is perhaps disappointing, but it is worth emphasizing that our focus here has been on redressing specific inequalities in productive opportunities rather than some overall measure of inequality. Despite the great attention devoted to the question of a systematic relationship between overall inequality and growth at the country level, the body of evidence remains unconvincing. But there clearly are situations in which there is a strong presumption that reducing a specific inequality would promote better investment.

One such example comes from Operation Barga, a tenancy reform in the Indian state of West Bengal in the late 1970s and 1980s. It has been known, at least since the work of the great Victorian economist Alfred Marshall, that sharecropping provides poor incentives and discourages effort. In such an environment, a government intervention that forces the landlords to give their sharecroppers a higher share of the output than the market would give them should increase effort and productivity.

This is exactly what happened in West Bengal, India, when a Left Front government came to power in 1977. The tenant’s share of output was set at a minimum of 75 percent as long as the tenant provided all inputs. In addition, the tenant was guaranteed a large measure of security of tenure, which may have encouraged him or her to undertake more long-term investments on the land. Survey evidence shows a substantial increase in both the security of tenure and the share of output going to the sharecropper.

The fact that the implementation of this reform was bureaucratically driven, and proceeded at different speeds in different areas, suggests the possibility of using variation in the implementation of the reform to evaluate its impact. The evidence suggests that there was a 62 percent increase in the productivity of the land.”

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sitaram Yechury’s Letter to Home Minister on TMC-Maoist Nexus

Date: 1 February 2011

CPI(M) Polit Bureau Member and Rajya Sabha MP, Sitaram Yechury, has in a letter written to the Home Minister, Shri P Chidambaran drawn attention to yet another serious development regarding the Maoist-TMC nexus in West Bengal. The full text of the letter is given below:

February 1, 2011

Shri P. Chidambaram
Minister for Home Affairs
Government of India
New Delhi

Dear Shri Chidambaramji,

In continuation of our communication on behalf of the Left parties and other secular opposition parties with you on January 6, 2011, I am compelled to draw your attention to yet another serious development regarding the Maoist-TMC nexus in West Bengal.

Yesterday, January 31, the police forces in West Bengal had raided the so-called relief camp run by the Trinamul Congress at the Municipal Guest House in Midnapur town of West Midnapur district. Two Maoist squad members – Amiya Mahato and Asim Mahato – were arrested. Both these have several cases against them. Particularly, both of them are said to have been involved in the attack on the EFR camp in Silda where over two dozens of EFR jawans were gruesomely murdered by the Maoists. One of them also was very close to Kishanji and acted as his personal guard and courier.

More startling is the fact that the Trinamul Congress leadership with its local activists tried their level best to stop the police in their action to nab the wanted Maoist squad members. Not only that, your colleague the Hon’ble Railway Minister has tried to trivialize the Silda massacre in her effort to shield these Maoist killers by disputing their Maoist credentials.

In the run-up to the coming Assembly elections, the Maoist-TMC nexus has become brazenly pronounced. Today, we have heard you speaking out against the Maoists underlining the danger they pose to democracy, peace and people’s right to life. You have also mentioned the ghastly Gyaneswari episode which claimed 150 innocent lives. Trinamul’s vile attempt to defame the CPI(M) for the tragedy is repudiated by CBI chargesheet making clear how the nexus operates. Couple of days back, in a meeting organized by the TMC, some of the Union Ministers like Shri Shishir Adhikari were also present. The media has reported the presence of PCPA activists – their banners and flags in the meeting. We would like to recollect that on the floor of the Rajya Sabha itself, you had designated the PCPA as a front organisation of the Maoists.

In the background of all this, yesterday’s incident sends out a chilling message that one constituent of the ruling coalition at the Centre is in league with the Maoists. So much so that the highest leadership of that party is doing everything to aid, abet and facilitate joint operation with forces that the Prime Minister designates as the `single biggest threat to internal security’.

Further, the CRPF search operations in all those so-called “armed camps” as listed by the opposition in the court have revealed no “arms”. But only people who have been evicted from their home and hearth were found in those camps who are being listed by the security forces.

One cannot escape an uneasy feeling that the noise over the “armed camps” has helped the brazen activities of the TMC-Maoist nexus.

This is for your kind information.

Anticipating your response.
(Sitaram Yechury)
Member, Polit Bureau
MP, Leader, Rajya Sabha