Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Achievements of Left Front Govt are Ineradicable


KOLKATA, 20th JUNE: THE achievements of the Left Front government of West Bengal, made during its 34 years long journey, are indelible and no amount of slander can wipe them off. This was the opinion several eminent speakers voiced in a seminar that was organised in Kolkata to commemorate the day of establishment of first Left Front government in West Bengal in June 1977. The seminar, organised by the Left Front, turned into a huge gathering at Nazrul Mancha.

C P Chandrasekhar, an eminent economist, tracked the policy perspective of successive governments in India after independence and identified the alternatives thrown up by the Left led governments. According to him, the Left Front government of West Bengalwas a manifestation of these alternative policies in action, though within structural limitations. Chandrasekhar said the most glaring success of that government was the land reforms through which the agrarian crisis was addressed. Despite initial backwardness and stagnation in the seventies, West Bengal recorded evident successes on social indices including infant mortality, maternal mortality and education. 

N Ram, distinguished journalist, recalled the days of semi-fascist terror in West Bengal in the seventies, and commented, “Many friends in media chose not to know or not to inform.” He said the Left Front assumed office in a terrible situation when the youths were frustrated, education was in a doldrums, and democracy was in peril. The Left Front government then brought about a social security.

Ram emphasised that land reforms not only ensured distributive justice, they actually empowered the peasantry and contributed in the growth of production. Those successes are now in danger under the new regime. Already 61 farmers have committed suicide in West Bengal. Any attempt to reverse the land reforms in the state would invite disasters.

Ram lauded the role of the West Bengal’s Left Front government in poverty reduction, decentralisation of power through panchayats and, on top of everything, the defence of democracy. The civil liberties and democratic rights of the people were safeguarded under the Left Front government. “The initial trends of the new government have sent ominous signals of intolerance,” he said. Ram then added, “Left Front leaders have soberly accepted the defeat in the elections and have reacted with patience but there should be serious watch that the rights of people are not lost.”

Ashok Mitra, the finance minister of first Left Front government, sharply criticised those who talk of so called ‘misrule’ of the said 34 years. Maitra said the ‘misrule’ was that more than 60 per cent of land distribution in the entire country took place in West Bengalalone. The Left Front government ensured the minimum wages for the agricultural workers, established three tier panchayats, and ensured democratic rights of the working people including government employees.

Mitra said it was known to the Left parties and their activists that no fundamental transformation of the society would come through a state government. The aim was to rush whatever relief was possible to the people within the constitutional limitations. Tremendous successes was achieved though there were mistakes. The task of the Left is to overcome those mistakes and go forward with Leftism.

Biman Basu, chairman of Left Front, said that one of the major tasks of the first Left Front government was to restore democracy. In 1977, just after the Left Front government was formed, Comrades Jyoti Basu and Promode Dasgupta gave a call that no political retaliation should be carried out. The government freed all political prisoners.

The first Left Front government fulfilled 28 tasks of the 36 it had promised declared in election manifesto. The new government in the state which assumed office in 2011 has declared that they had already done everything that could have been done in 10 years. Let the people of West Bengal judge such unfounded proclamations.

The seminar was moderated by Professor Shobhanlal Datta Gupta.

On this occasion, the Left Font also brought about a book on the real situation of the state at present. The book, titled West Bengal: Which Way was formally inaugurated by former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.  

Left Front leaders paid floral tributes at the Martyrs’ Column before the programme.

People's Democracy, June 24, 2012

Friday, June 8, 2012


KOLKATA, 5th June: ELECTIONS to six municipal bodies in West Bengal, which was marked by terror, reflected signs of discontent against the TMC government.

It was particularly manifest in Left Front’s win in Haldia in East Midnapore district. It was here that the anti-Left Front anarchy reached its crescendo since the days of Nandigram. Trinamool Congress wrested East Midnapore district council in 2008, won the parliamentary seats in 2009 and all assembly constituencies of the district in 2011. Right from 2009, incessant attacks have been launched against CPI(M) in Haldia. After 2011, the trade unions in this industrial and port town were made a special target. CPI(M) offices were destroyed or captured, hundreds of workers were chased away from their workplaces. The reign of terror was led by TMC Lok Sabha member Subhendu Adhikary who proclaimed that there would be no one in Haldia to hold Red flags. Frontline CPI(M) leaders were jailed under false cases.

During the elections to the municipal body, CPI(M) and Left Front could not conduct peaceful campaign even for a single day. Candidates were threatened with dire consequences, their families attacked. As Congress had no alliance with TMC, their candidates and potential candidates were also attacked. Congress candidates had to withdraw nomination after their family members were kidnapped. Left Front conducted determined, door-to-door campaign. Even on the day of elections, TMC hoodlums raided different areas to threaten people, though they faced resistance from the poorer sections.   

The people of Haldia rebuffed the TMC and the Left Front retained the municipality with a 15-11 margin. Out of these, 14 were won by CPI(M) and 1 by CPI. In three wards, Left Front candidates were defeated narrowly, with margins of 40 to 52 votes only.  Left Front chairman Biman Basu congratulated the people of Haldia and said that they have silently rejected the politics of terror.

The dejection of the TMC with the defeat in Haldia was very much evident. Immediately after the results were declared, TMC activists attacked the car of Tamalika Panda Seth, CPI(M) leader and outgoing chairperson of the municipal body. CPI(M) activists were attacked in different places. CPI(M) local committee office in Haldia was ransacked.

In nine wards of Durgapur Municipal Corporation, TMC went into full-scale terrorisation.  CPI(M) booth camps were attacked. In many wards, TMC activists entered into booths and took control of EVMs. CPI(M) polling agents were not allowed to enter. Booth capturing took place in many wards. TMC activists started terrorising the people from the night before. They threatened voters not to come out of houses, particularly in areas where Left has a strong presence. In some wards, police helped TMC and chased away voters from the queue. Practically, Durgapur witnessed a serious attack on the democratic rights of the people.

The Left Front has demanded repoll in 29 booths in Durgapur where CPI(M) polling agents were chased away and voters were dispersed by TMC anti-socials brought from outside the city. TMC won this corporation with 29 seats while Left Front won in 11 seats. The Congress and BJP won a seat each, while an independent won a seat.  

In Panshkura, the atmosphere was vitiated. There also Left Front cadre and even Congress cadre were not allowed to campaign freely. TMC threatened to ‘whitewash’ the opposition. TMC retained the municipality winning 12 seats while Left Front bagged 5. CPI(M) won 3 seats while CPI bagged 2. TMC’s outgoing chairman was defeated by CPI candidate. Congress failed to get any seat here.

Another setback to the TMC occurred in Congress’ hand at Coopers Camp when the latter won 11seats out of 12. Congress maintained their hold on the notified area body despite all out aggressive campaign against them by their partner in the state government. Top leaders of the both the parties were engaged in bitter exchange in Coopers Camp as well as in Nalhati in Birbhum district. TMC retained this board with thin margin, winning 8 seats while Left Front won 3, Congress 3 and BJP 1. Here too TMC’s outgoing chairman was defeated in two seats despite every attempt to get him through. In a ward, Left Front candidate was even arrested the night before the voting day and was freed on bail only in the next afternoon that too after a rebuff from court. Widespread discontent was reflected in Nalhati.

Left Front suffered defeat in Dhupguri in Jalpaiguri district. Election process was more or less peaceful here. But TMC took no chance and just before the elections they admitted Kamtapur Peoples’ Party leader Mitali Roy in their fold. KPP is a secessionist party demanding separate Kamtapur state for quite long time. TMC won 11 and Left Front 4 seats while BJP won in a ward.

Biman Basu alleged that in many areas of these six municipalities, people were terrorised and normal democratic atmosphere was lacking. TMC unleashed violence before and even after the declaration of results. This was an ominous sign for civil rights in the state.

Suryakanta Misra, leader of opposition, termed the entire results as ‘Yellow card’, a warning to TMC and its government. “If they do not mend their ways, people will show them Red card in the future”, said Misra. He also alleged that the ruling party has started fearing people within a year of assuming power. This is the reason behind their terror tactics in civic elections.

People’s Democracy
10th June, 2012