Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Removal of Honduras President

June 30, 2009


Press Statement


The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued
the following statement:


The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly condemns the coup against the
elected President of Honduras Manuel Zelaya and the forcible removal
from his country. It expresses its solidarity with the people of
Honduras. It is reported that military forces are acting in collusion
with vested interests who opposed the reforms of the country's
constitution to bring it in line with people's aspirations, needs and
fundamental right. The coup took place on the eve of the proposed
national referendum on these issues. The military has surrounded the
houses of important ministers including the Foreign Minister Patricia
Rados and other officials.


Given the international condemnation of the naked attacks on democratic
rights of the people of Honduras, steps should be taken to ensure that
President Zelaya is allowed to return to his country and reinstated in
his position as President. The United Nations should intervene in the
matter.

BENGAL LEFT FRONT CALLS FOR STATEWIDE POLITICAL CAMPAIGN AGAINST ANARCHY, DISCORD

Kolkata, June 29: Bengal Left Front met on 25th June at the Muzaffar Ahmad Bhavan in Kolkata. Biman Basu, chairman, led the discussion. Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was present. The meeting conversed in discursive detail the outline of a political campaign across Bengal touching the issues that concerned the mass of the people. The meeting as usual specified the details of the campaign. Biman Basu later briefed the media in some detail.



The LF leadership in attendance at the Front meeting earlier took up the issue of violence committed with impunity on the people by the goons and professional hoods in the pay and protection of the Bengal opposition, especially the Trinamul Congress, the Pradesh Congress, and the self-styled ‘Maoists.’ The attacks and assaults have been an unpleasant if ongoing feature of opposition ‘politics’ from the time of the parliament election. The aggression intensified following the publication of the Lok Sabha results.



Campaign-movements

Political programmes have already taken place at the initiative of the LF in major cities and townships of Bengal, and this programme has to be made situation specific and with increased and intense mass contact. Biman recalled that the Front meeting after the election results had been announced called for an intensification of people-oriented political campaign work. The bond with the masses must be further improved, the Front had then already decided.



The present meeting dwelled on the mapping out of a precise scenario where the political campaign had the participatory presence of the people themselves, irrespective of their electoral inclination. ‘Common people,’ or ‘sadharan manush,’ were the two important words in the resolve that the experienced Front leadership chose to focus the political highlight on, in the meeting and later at the proscenium of the masses.



COMMON PEOPLE TO THE FORE

The Front chose to stress on such particular programmes touching the sadharan manush in the townships as amongst the hamlets as the rectification of anomalies in the BPL listings; the extended implementation of the NREGA, the work of furnishing of fertilisers (the Front had always particularised bio-fertilisers, one recalls), supply-side qualitative and quantitative improvements in pesticides, higher-yield and pest-resistant seeds-seedlings and so on. The district-specific issue again touching the people are to be identified and implemented appropriately at the level of the district LF.



Taking up the BPL issue the LF leadership felt that the factor of correct identification of people eligible to be brought in the purview of BPL contained lacunae. A section of the impoverished faced problems of livelihoods-- and of lives because of the anomalous situation. Inclusion in the BPL list, Biman pointed out, entailed the cascading benefits of free healthcare as well as of PDS-supplied essential goods of daily consumption at a lower array of prices.



BPL, NREGA ANOMALIES

There was an associated problem to which Biman drew the attention of the media. There remained a plethora of districts in Bengal where the number of counterfeit ration cards proliferated and continued to do so. There are districts where the number of ration cards exceeded the estimated population. A vice versa has prevailed in some other districts. In such clearly anomalous cases as these, the Front’s suggestion to the administration was the cancellation of the ration card and an issuance de novo of such cards to the people. This could be done after the BPL list has been made to stand corrected.



Dwelling on the NREGA, the Left Front thought that weaknesses persisted in the implementation of the programme. Biman would mention ‘various difficulties,’ that would seem to have set the programme back a while. The LF leadership agreed that it must be probed how newer projects could be included in the NREGA programme without flouting or causing anomalies to occur in the concerned central government act. Citing examples, Biman mentioned the task of erecting bunds, earthen or otherwise, in the districts affected by the recent and devastation-causing cyclonic storm.



Bengal must rise above the national average of employment rate of people under this scheme, which is at 60% at the all-India level. The LF leader pointed out that in invoking newer schemes, the evolving situational reality of the Bengal countryside and the principal rural characteristics of the state must be recalled. During the ‘off’ season in the agricultural belts when work is hard to come by for the khet mazdoors and the itinerant farm workers, the NREGA projects could come in very handy for this section of the rural poor. The NREGA could also be used to employ gainfully those of the agri-labour who found it tough going even in the ‘on’ season of sowing, growth, and harvest.



FARM WORK TO BE ACCELERATED

Noting specifically the shortcomings in the supply of farm ‘productive collaterals’ like seeds, pesticides and fertilisers, Biman noted a few precise points in this connection. The senior CPI(M) leader noted that supplies often failed to turn up in good time. In the case of seeds and seedlings, errors of choice have turned up again -- and then once again. Citing instances Biman said that to the astonishment and often dismay of the farmer, the seeds purchased proved to produce crops of a variety different from that anticipated.



The district units of the Left Front have been asked to meet and put on motion a wide-ranging political campaign on all the issues. The campaign-movements will take place in seriatim, at the levels of the blocks, the sub-divisions, and the districts, with each tier of movement climaxing with organisation of deputation to the concomitant levels of state administration. The matters touching the people’s peace and security would be placed before the various levels of the police administration at the same time. Rallies would be organised in a lengthy schedule all over Bengal-- on the developmental and people’s security-related issues, Biman Basu assured the media.



DEVELOPMENT OF THE LATERITE ZONE

Biman also dwelled on the issue of development of the western part of Bengal, an issue that the Front leadership had taken up. Earlier, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee reported on the recent developments taking place at Lalgarh and adjoining blocks of Midnapore west. The report made it clear that with 30, 000-odd people ejected out of home-and-hearth in the jangal mahals by the aggression of the ‘Maoists,’ the fa├žade has been ripped away and the real anti-people face of the marauders exposed in the pitiless light of facts, hard facts. The forcible push forward of the innocent women and children to form human barricades to daunt the security forces has been another example of the barbarity perpetrated by the ‘Maoists’ and their allies, the Trinamul Congress.



LF leadership focussed on the need to speed up development further in the laterite zone of Bengal where most of the poor villages of the state are located. The majority of the Gram Panchayats and the Panchayat Samities of the blocks affected with ‘Maoist’ depredations, e.g., Binpur I and Binpur II, are controlled for some time now by an ally of the ‘Maoists,’ the Jharkhandis. The decentralised plans and programmes were deliberately not implemented in these blocks by the forces of division.



ANTI-PEOPLE JHARKHANDIS, ‘MAOISTS’

Biman mentioned a case that he knew of to exemplify the anti-poor behaviour of the Jharkhandis. At the village of Amlasole, there is an acute water crisis, especially of potable water, come the cruel and unproductive summer months. The need is to dig a large pond where rainwater and sub-soil water will accumulate and filtrate to create a perennial source of water. Since the excavation will endanger the anti-Communist propaganda of both the Bengal opposition and their belligerent cohorts in the big media, the pond never materialised. Finally, it was Dr Pulin Behari Baskey, the present MP and then Zillah Parishad chairman, utilised ZP funds to have the pond dug.



Much in a similar vein, the ‘Maoists’ have indulged in acts of commission including blasting of land mines to destroy both roads and road-making machines. Government offices and tourist bungalows, one recalls in this connection, have been blown up, repeatedly. Road rollers have been set a-fire, and cement mixers have been dragged off into forests and systematically dismantled. Communication network has been torn down for communication is something of which ‘Maoist’ is always afraid. The LF urged upon the state government to add a further and fresh impetus to the ongoing developmental work in the laterite zone of Bengal in particular.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

TRIPURA TO START EMPLOYMENT SCHEME FOR URBAN POOR

Agartala, 20th May
Setting another precedence of its pro poor stance the Left Front Govt of Tripura has decided to start empolyment gurantee program for the urban poor of the state. Unique in its kind all over the country the program coined as Tripura Urban Employment Program will be effective from July 2009. Under the program people living below poverty line in the urban areas of the state will be provided 50 days of work per year. In the 1st phase the program will be implemented in Agartala Municipal Council and the 15 Nagar Panchayats of the state.
The Left parties particularly CPI(M) has all along been demanding that the centre should introduce Employment guarantee schemes for the urban poor following the model of NREGA since in the urban areas too the number of poor people is on the rise. But even after repeated demands the Centre has chosen to turn a deaf ear to this urgent and legitimate demand .So implementing its own promise in the current state budget the state govt has decided to give the much awaited urban employment project a green signal.Because of paucity of funds the number of mandays will 50 as against 100 in NREGA,nonetheless the state has become the trendsetter in introducing such a program for the urban poor.
Just like in NREGA people applying for job under TUEP will also be provided with job cards.People holding BPL cards and those who are enlisted as BPL if not having a card will be entitled to apply for and get a job under the new scheme.One person above the age of 18 years from each family shall be eligible for getting job.
The whole project will be financed by the state govt and initially an amount of rupees 15 crores has been allocated for the purpose.

Politburo Communique on Lok Sabha Polls

The 15th Lok Sabha elections have resulted in the success of the Congress and its allies and they are in a position to form the government. The Congress party has won 61 more seats than the 2004 elections and has got an increased vote share of around 2 per cent according to provisional figures. The BJP has suffered a comprehensive defeat after failing for the second successive time in its bid to come to power with its allies. The BJP tally has come down by 22 seats and its vote share has fallen by over 3 per cent. Thus the loss suffered by the BJP vote share has more or less gone to the Congress. It should be noted that both the parties together have polled less than 48 per cent of the vote, which is less than the 2004 elections.

What stood the Congress in good stead were some of the measures adopted by the UPA government like the NREGA, the Forest Tribal Act and other social welfare measures which were pushed through under Left pressure.

The Congress party also gained more support amongst the minorities and sections of secular minded people who were keen to ensure that the BJP does not make a comeback.

The BJP has been rejected by the people as it could not offer anything beyond its communal agenda combined with rightwing economic policies which the people had already spurned in 2004. The rabid communal rhetoric of the likes of Varun Gandhi and Narendra Modi dominated its election campaign.

The Left parties had allied with certain non-Congress, non-BJP parties in various states. This was required so that a secular electoral alternative emerged. However, these alliances forged in some states on the eve of the elections were not seen by the people as a credible and viable alternative at the national level.

The serious reverses suffered by the CPI (M) and the Left parties in West Bengal and Kerala are of deep concern. The CPI (M) has lost 25 sitting seats from these two states. The CPI (M) has won 16 seats with a vote share of 5.52 per cent, which is marginally less than the 5.66 per cent it got in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. There should be a serious
examination of the reasons for these reverses. Both national and state specific factors are responsible for the poor performance. A self-critical review will be conducted by the concerned state committees and the Central Committee, which should form the basis for corrective steps. The Party will make all out efforts to regain the support and confidence of those sections of the people who have been alienated.

The Polit Bureau congratulated the people of Tripura for giving a massive victory to the two CPI (M)-Left Front candidates for the Lok Sabha. It is remarkable that the Left Front could establish a lead in all the 60 assembly segments of the state.

Accepting the people's verdict, the CPI (M) and the Left parties will work as a responsible opposition in parliament. The country is faced with serious economic difficulties, which have a direct bearing on the people's livelihood and well-being. The new government has to address this issue urgently and squarely. The CPI (M) will be vigilant in defending the interests of the people. It will work for strengthening the unity of the Left parties and will continue the cooperation with other secular parties in the opposition.
eom

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Joint Statement by Left Parties on LS Elections

Press Statement
The leaders of the Left parties, the CPI(M), CPI, AIFB and RSP met in New Delhi and have issued the following statement:
The Left parties will work as a responsible opposition in parliament. The Left parties will continue our cooperation with the non-Congress, non-BJP allies. In the light of the Lok Sabha election results, it was decided that each party individually would review the reverses suffered in the elections. Following this, the Left parties will come to a collective assessment on how to overcome the shortcomings and move ahead.

The meeting was attended by A.B. Bardhan, Prakash Karat, Debabrata Biswas, T J Chandrachoodan, Sitaram Yechury, S Ramachandran Pillai, D Raja and G Devarajan.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

On Lok Sabha Election Results: CPI (M) POlitburo

From India News Network (INN)

New Delhi, May 16: The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

ON LOK SABHA ELECTION RESULTS

The elections to the Lok Sabha have resulted in a victory for the Congress and its allies who will be in a position to form the new government.

The CPI(M) and the Left parties have suffered a major set back in these elections. This necessitates a serious examination of the reasons for the Party's poor performance.

The CPI(M) will continue its cooperation with the non-Congress, non-BJP secular parties with whom we have been working.

The CPI(M) assures all those who have reposed faith in the Party in these elections that we will continue to champion the interests of the working people, national sovereignty and secularism.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lengthening Shadows Of Global Recession

Weekly Editorial

THE country is paying a very high cost for the state of denial of both the Congress and the BJP on the impact of the global economic recession. Mired as they are in the neo-liberal mindset, both are living in an illusion that the current recession is a case of the normal rise and fall of the capitalist business cycle. The current recession, as we had repeatedly shown in these columns, is caused by the structural inadequacies of the capitalist system and is, therefore, a crisis of capitalism and not due to lack of or faulty regulations or excessive greed by a few captains of international finance.

World Bank's Global Economic Prospects (GEP), 2009 says: “What began six months ago with a massive de-leveraging in financial markets has turned into one of the sharpest global economic contradictions in modern history”. It continues to say: “Global GDP is expected to contract by 1.7 per cent in 2009 which would be the first decline in world output on record”.

“The deceleration in economic growth in low-and middle income countries as a group is expected to match the deceleration in high-income countries. The developing world is anticipated to see growth fall from 5.8 per cent in 2008 to 2.1 in 2009, a drop of 3.7 percentage points, similar to the fall in high-income economies (drop of 3.7 per cent from 0.7 per cent to minus 3.0 per cent). This highly synchronous growth collapse cannot be solely explained by trade linkages, but illustrates also that developing countries have been directly hit in their domestic economies by the financial crisis. The reversal of capital flows, collapse in stock markets, and in general the deterioration in financing conditions have brought investment growth in the developing countries to a halt, and in many developing countries investment is sharply declining.” (emphasis added)

This is precisely what we had analysed and anticipated in these columns in the past. On this basis, we had argued that unless there is a quantum leap in public investments, domestic demand and employment cannot be shored up. Without this, the economy cannot be stimulated for growth and to prevent the slide to recession. Unfortunately, the Manmohan Singh government has paid little heed to this. We had even stated both on the floor of the parliament and outside that the general elections cannot be used as an excuse to postpone such a decision as this would have damaging and possibly irreversible impact on our economy.

Given their state of denial, this refusal to sharply increase public investments has had its inevitable effect in the sharp drop in our industrial output. India's industrial output dropped to an alarming minus 2.3 per cent growth in March 2009. Of this, the manufacturing sector, which has nearly 80 per cent weightage in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) fell by a whopping minus 3.3 per cent.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India has been estimated to have dropped by over 55 per cent – from $4.4 billion in March 2008 to $2 billion in March 2009. India's exports have declined for the seventh consecutive month in April 2009 amounting to a fall of 33 per cent. Similarly, imports contracted by 35 per cent. While this may narrow the trade deficit, the export targets for 2008-09 are much less than even the revised scaling down done by the commerce ministry.

Notwithstanding the bombastic claims made regarding India's GDP growth rates by the government, the GEP has estimated the current growth rate this year to be 5.5 per cent projected to fall to 4 per cent next year. Apart from having a devastating impact on employment (with reports of various agencies indicating that over a crore of jobs have already been lost and many lakhs returning from foreign lands having lost jobs there), this sharp fall in the growth rate has increased the level of poverty in India with the GEP estimating that we are now only ahead of Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of population below the poverty line with over a quarter of Indians “living in extreme poverty” living on less than $1.25 a day. In terms of purchasing power parity, this tallies with the estimation of the Arjun Sengupta Report of 78 per cent of Indians living on less than Rs 20 a day.

Given this reality check of our economic fundamentals, it is clear that the Indian people need to brace themselves for much harder economic conditions in the near future. This can be prevented only by the new government substantially hiking public investment that will generate both employment and demand while, at the same time, building the much needed economic and social infrastructure in the country.

People Demand Relief: Sitaram Yechury

AS we go to press, the last vote in the 15th general elections should have been cast except in such cases where the Election Commission may have ordered for a re-poll. This, however, has not happened in one constituency – Mathurapur – in West Bengal where due to faulty electronic voting machines, polling will now take place on May 14 in 101 polling stations. This constituency will, thus, be subjected to undue influences as the exit polls have been aired under the presumption that the voting has been completed on the 13th. All pleas to the Election Commission to postpone the exit polls till after this have fallen on deaf ears. Would this have been the case, if the concerned constituency was not in a Left-dominated West Bengal, but Advani's Gandhinagar or Sonia Gandhi's Rae Baraeli?

Be that as it may. A long and grueling election campaign has ended. Unlike fools who rush into places where angels dread to enter, we refrain from making predictions on the outcome. This, in any case, would be known by the time we reach you. But certain observations would be in order.

Campaigning for over six weeks from Darjeeling to Kanyakumari, from Sikar in Rajasthan to Barpeta in Assam, the one dominant feature that was obvious was that people everywhere were seeking relief from their day-to-day burdens. Growing unemployment as a result of the global recession (see editorial) accompanied by spiralling prices of essential commodities have been subjecting the people to a double whammy onslaught. How such a relief could be provided was, of course, left to the political parties and their candidates and to the new government that will assume office.

WIDE
DISCONNECT

This may sound to be at complete variance from large sections of media reporting, particularly by the electronic media. Given their proclivity for sensation and, hence, the emphasis on the inane and the trivial, they have tried to project these elections as one without any issue.

In a sense this reflects the wide disconnect between the `shining' and `suffering' India. The bulk of the viewership of the English news channels comes from the elite sections in the metros, where majority of the population did not vote. The bulk of those who have voted must, surely, belong to the working sections servicing the needs of this elite. This is unfortunate for the future of our democracy where there is a growing distinction between the `voter' and the `people'.

Returning to the campaign, it is clear that the people expect of the new government that assumes office to take urgent measures to provide relief. This, however, can only be done if there is a radical shift in the policy direction which puts people before profits. As argued in these columns on many occasions, only a government that has the courage and commitment to hugely enlarge public investments, which generate both employment and domestic demand, can meet the current challenges and provide relief to the people. Let us hope that such an alternative secular combination that can undertake this urgent task will form the government following these general elections.

UNPRECEDENTED
USE OF MONEY POWER

Another feature of these elections has been the unprecedented use of money power in many parts of the country. Phenomenal expenditures have been made. It is, indeed, ironic that general elections coming in the context of the global recession may be fortuitous. The expenditures could well provide a much-needed stimulus. It is true that during elections, every strata – from rag pickers to corporate executives – find gainful employment. The budget has allocated Rs 9700 crore for these elections (This, as is the general practice, may well increase substantially). While the expenditure limit prescribed by the Election Commission is Rs 35 lakh for a candidate in a constituency, there is no limit on the expenditure incurred by the parties or by their friends and well-wishers (For instance, the BJP has reportedly paid Rs 72 lakh for a helicopter for its president to campaign for just six hours!). Given the current profligacy, the major parties are estimated to spend anywhere around Rs 10 crore per candidate. Various independent estimations suggest that on a very conservative basis, the expenditures would be over Rs 25 crore by all candidates in a constituency. Added to the budgetary allocation, this means that at the very minimum at least Rs 30,000 crore would be spent. Additionally, illegally accumulated monies will also be laundered. During the recent Karnataka assembly elections, according to media reports, the police had impounded two cars stacked with gunny bags loaded with Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes. No one owned up to these crores of rupees. In Andhra Pradesh alone, the police is reported to have seized over Rs 40 crore while this was being ferried to various constituencies during these elections.

In the midst of this, the Indian voter has turned out, as always, to be more intelligent. Money has been taken from all those who are distributing it. Thus leaving in grave doubt as to whom they have voted for! No wonder, that pollsters continue to be bewildered in their projections.

Mercifully, all efforts to sharpen communal polarisation by the BJP and its candidates have not yielded the desired results for them. Practicing the worst form of `vote bank politics', the BJP had tried to whip up communal passions. While the communal undercurrent will always there, it failed to reach the levels of a crescendo that the BJP was hoping for.

While the Left has assiduously worked for the formation of a non-Congress, non-BJP alternative secular government which can bring about a radical shift in the policy trajectory in the country, it is clear that a new alignment of parties that will form the government is bound to take place after these elections, as has been the case in 1996, 1998 and 2004.

Whichever government assumes office, it has to, by necessity, urgently tackle the economic situation in order to provide relief to the people. If the new government refuses to do this, or, is simply incapable of meeting this challenge through adequate policy measures, then the popular struggles must be intensified to make the government act in the interests of the country and the people.

Do Not Meddle in Our Internal Affairs: Yechury Warns the US

THE CPI(M) has said that if reports appearing in the media about US Charge d'Affaires A Peter Burleigh seeking to influence the decisions of political parties ahead of government formation are true then it would be a "gross interference in our internal affairs".
CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury speaking to newspersons said that the imperialist character of US has once again come through such brazen interference in the affairs of an independent country.
He was responding to questions from reporters regarding the recent meetings of US ambassador with BJP prime ministerial candidate L K Advani and earlier with TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu and Praja Rajyam Party chief and film star Chiranjeevi in Hyderabad.
Yechury said if the meetings were merely to know or understand the political scenario then there would be no problem. But if as sections of media have reported, these meetings were aimed at preventing third front government then it is nothing but gross interference in our internal affairs.
(INN)

Peaceful Polling in West Bengal

Kolkata,13th May- The last phase elections in West Bengal passed off peacefully barring stray incidents of violence. As reports are trickling in , more than 75% voters have cast their vote. Stream of people began to stand in line from early morning and long queues were seen throughout the day in a keenly fought battle.
Trinamool Congress planned attacks on booths and signs were visible from last night. Many miscreants , including persons fron Nandigram were arrested last night in and around Kolkata. An ambulance, ferrying arms was spotted by police. TMC miscreants attacked some booths in Joynagar, Jadavpur, DumDum but generally they were resisted by the people. There was wide cover of central forces too.
However, TMC assailants killed CPI(M) leader and elected member of the Panchayat Samiti , Jainul Mollah in Canning, part of Joynagar. He was severly attacked with sharp weapons when returning after casting his vote.
Left Front Chairman Biman Basu congratulated the people of the state for exercising their democratic rights in a peaceful manner.
In 101 booths of Mathurapur constituency voting will take place tomorrow as EVM machines generated technical error last night. Torrential rains caused this damage. Left front Chairman expressed his surprise over this incident.

Non Congress, Non BJP Parties To Meet On May 18

The non-Congress, non-BJP parties are to meet in New Delhi on May 18 to take stock of the election results and decide on government formation in mutual consultation. The BSP would also be taking part in this meeting.
This was decided after consultations among the leaders of AIADMK, TDP, Biju Janata Dal, Janata Dal (Secular) and BSP. The meeting will explore all avenues for the formation of an alternative secular government.
CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat made this announcement to media persons today at AKG Bhavan. He also announced that a meeting of the Left Front would be held on May 17 to take stock of the results. The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) would meet on May 18, followed by Central Committee on May 19 and 20 to take a view on these issues.
Referring to rumours about disarray in third front, particularly about likely desertion of TDP, Karat said it was Chandrababu Naidu who has asked him to convey about the decision of holding of the meeting of non-Congress non-BJP parties. Karat debunked these reports saying Naidu is the main mover of the third front.
Asked about JD(S) leader Kumaraswamy meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Karat said Deve Gowda has clarified that they continue to remain in third front. On TRS attending NDA rally in Ludhiana, he said that they seem to have found a new home.
(INN)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Biman Basu Statement

Biman Basu, Secretary, West Bengal State Committee, CPI (M), has issued the following statement:
The comments made by Com. Subhash Chakraborty in an interview to a private news channel yesterday evening, has no connection whatsoever with the political positions of the CPI (M). His assessment of the Congress Party goes against the understanding of our Party. What he has said regarding the decision of not joining a Congress led Government in 2004 is contrary to the resolutions of the Central Committee and the Party Congress. Support to the Congress led Government was withdrawn by the Party in July 2008 on the basis of a unanimous decision by the Central Committee. Had we not withdrawn support, it would have meant our acceptance of the Congress Governments’ surrender before US imperialism. Our Party is firmly anti-imperialist and therefore we could not accept Congress Governments’ surrender before US imperialism. The Central Committee of the Party took these decisions in keeping with the line decided by the last Party Congress.
The initiative to work for a non-Congress, non-BJP secular alternative Government, which will adopt pro-people policies and pursue an independent foreign policy, was taken on the basis of a unanimous decision by the Central Committee. Discussions with various parties were held with the above objective. Discussions with BJD leader Naveen Patnaik was also held as a part of this understanding. The BJD has severed its links with the BJP and NDA. The CPI (M) is confident of formulating a minimum programme with these parties, which will comprise of pro-people economic policies, secularism, genuine federalism and independent foreign policy. A third front government formed on that basis will enjoy huge mass support, and peoples’ struggles will ensure the stability of that Government.
During the period between two Party Congresses, it is the Central Committee of the CPI (M) that takes political decisions on the basis of its assessment of national and international developments. The day to day activities of the Party in different States are guided by those Party decisions.

CPI (M)'s VIGOROUS ELECTION CAMPAIGN IN PUNJAB

MOHAMMAD SHAHNAZ GORSI, CHANDIGARH reports:
The CPI (M) ran a vigorous election campaign in Punjab where its candidate Mahan Singh Rori is contesting from Anandpur Sahib (General) Parliamentary Constituency. The Campaign began with state level General Body meeting of its cadres at Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahar) on 14th February’ 2009. The meeting was addressed by CPI (M) Central Secretariat member Comrade Nilotpal Basu and Acting State Secretary CPI (M) Comrade Charan Singh Virdi. Over 500 party cadres attended the General Body meeting.

The Punjab State Committee of CPI (M) met on 7 and 8 February’ 2009 which was attended by Comrade S. R. Pillai Polit Bureau Member and Comrade Nilotpal Basu Central Secretariat member. The two days State Committee meeting of the party did the work division among the state Secretariat members, State Committee members and District Committee members. The meeting chalked out plan of election campaign and gave a state vide fund call.

To publicly kick start the election campaign and to announce the name of the CPI (M) candidate from the Anandpur Sahib Parliamentary constituency a mass rally was held at Balachaur on Ist March’ 2009, which was addressed by General Secretary of CPI (M) Comrade Prakash Karat and Central Secretariat member Comrade Nilotpal Basu and Acting State Secretary, Punjab State Committee of CPI (M) Comrade Charan Singh Virdi. The name of the CPI (M) candidate was announced by Com. Prakash Karat on behalf of Central Committee of the party. The mass rally was attended by about 7 thousand people, majority of them were from the Anandpur Sahib parliamentary constituency.

The State Committee published eight booklets in Punjabi each numbering 2,000, which were translated from the English pamphlets sent by the Polit Bureau titled such as (1) Price Rise, Hunger, Malnutrition : Congress led Government’s Gift to Aam Aadmi, (2) Workers’ Chargesheet against Congress led Government, (3) Lies, Deceit and Demagogy : The UPA Report Card in Agriculture, (4) The Global Economic Crisis and India : Need for Alternative Pro-People Policies, (5) In Defence of Rights of Minorities, (6) Defeat the Communal Forces, Unite against Terrorism, (7) Education : Congress –led Government Fails the Test, (8) Health Sector : Trail of Broken Promises. These booklets were distributed in all the nine Assembly Segments which make the whole Parliamentary constituency. In addition to this joint appeal was translated from English to Punjabi and 2,000 copies were got published and distributed among the masses. Another booklet ON WOMEN was also translated from English to Punjabi and 2000 copies were published and distributed among masses especially among women.

The CPI (M) Election Manifesto for the 15th Lok Sabha 2009 was translated in Punjabi and 5,000 number of copies were printed and distributed among the voters of the constituency.
At least 700 Booth Committees were organized to streamline the election campaign of CPI (M) candidate, Election offices were opened in all the Assembly segments and zones, which were under the control of State Committee members.

The main political opponents of our candidate are Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combination which is part of NDA and Indian National Congress candidate and BSP candidate on the other side. Our election campaign was directed against both Congress led UPA and BJP led NDA and their disastrous anti-working class and anti-national economic policies, for independent Foreign policy and against Nuclear Deal. The specific issues which were focused were the NREGA, Price rise, breakdown of the PDS, malnutrition, recession, unemployment, plight of the peasantry and suicides due to indebtedness, power scarcity and neglect of Kandi area, Beet area and Chunger area which are neglected areas and are parts of this constituency, by different Governments since independence.

In the constituency total around 25,000 big posters and 2.28 lakh hand bills were printed and distributed in the whole Parliamentary constituency. Thousands of CPI (M) activists and activists of the mass organizations from whole of Punjab ran a village to village, street to street and a door to door campaign for over a month in the whole constituency, held group meetings, disbursed voter slips and did everything else that was possible to take the message of the party to the people. Women activists and youth took part in the election campaign in a big way. Selected party activists from state cadres were given special responsibilities to run the campaign in a better way.

For the purpose of introducing the party candidate to the public, the election campaign was divided in three phases. In the first two phases public meetings were addressed and in the third phase road shows were organized. The first phase of the election campaign was completed before 20th of April’ 2009, the day of filing nomination papers. A massive rally was held at Bhasin Bhawan, Ropar and impressive procession was taken out in the city of Ropar before filing the nomination papers. The second phase of electioneering was organised from 21-04-2009 to 02-05-2009 and the third phase from 03-05-2009 to 08-05-2009. In the first phase the candidate and party state Secretariat members addressed more than one hundred public meetings/rallies and in the second phase about 150 public meetings/rallies were addressed. During these meetings and rallies there was great enthusiasm among the party cadres and other workers.
We had a joint campaign along with CPI and Lok Bhilai party. The CPI candidates contested from two seats i.e. Bathinda and Faridkot ( SC ) whereas Sh. Balwant Singh Ramoowalia of Lok Bhilai party contested from Sangrur constituency. Elsewhere in the state and Chandigarh we casted our votes to vialable secular candidates generally BSP candidates.

Campaign Trail of Dr Onkar Shad, CPI (M) candidate in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh

Tikender Singh Panwar reports:


Dr Onkar Shad the CPIM candidate from Mandi parliamentary seat in Himachal Pradesh has become the first candidate in the state to reach the maximum number of electors in the constituency. According to the assessment made by two local dailies namely the Tribune and Hindustan Times he has been able to put a considerable impact on the electorate by directly meeting them which has forced the other contestants as well to change their tactics from just holding public rallies to real intervention. The campaign was started in the month of February. A large number of meetings were organized in the entire constituency which happens to be the largest in the state and covers almost half of the geographical area of Himachal Pradesh. Initially the issues raised pertained to demands of the people that include rights over forests, questions of rehabilitation and compensation in the project affected areas, saving the crops from wild animals , raising the support price of milk and other horticulture produce and so on. This helped in activating the party and other mass organizations leadership in the area . From March onwards the party campaign was unleashed with a target of at least a rally in each assembly segment of the parliament. There are 17 assemblies in Mandi parliamentary segment. Organizationally the constituency was divided into Mandi, Kullu, Sundernagar, Rampur zones. All these four zones were further divided into constituency wise responsibilities. From a meeting in the zones several meetings of constituencies were further fixed. Initially the candidate of the party traveled on foot for almost a fortnight in his native area where his team was able to cover almost 10 panchayats and the move was from village to village. This helped in enthusing party sympathizers which later helped in generating confidence amongst the common people of the area who took a position of supporting Onkar irrespective of their political affiliations. Similarly campaign was unleashed in other parts like Rampur, Kinnaur, Jogender nagar, Karsog, Kullu , Balh. The next target was to mobilize for the nomination . The nomination was done in Mandi on 20th April which was attended by A Vijayraghwan and Tapan Sen from center. A large number of people attended from different parts and largest from Anni which is the native assembly constituency of the candidate. The public meeting was addressed by A Vijayraghwan, Rakesh Singha , Dr Onkar and Tapan Sen. Taking a dig at the so called development in the state of which both the Congress and the BJP are claiming to be champions he said that this development is just an eye wash and is actually development of few individuals and companies and not of the common man. While describing the condition of the schools he said the situation is such that almost 20% of the schools are on the verge of closure in the state as the required number of teachers are not available.
The issues of the constituency and that of the state
The state of Himachal was carved out because of the aspirations of the people and was heavily dependent upon central assistance. Besides, the only wealth that the state used to get was from forests that was abruptly ended in 1980 after the forest conservation act. In lieu the state was accorded a special category status . This status helped the state to develop some infrastructure in the state, because of which schools and health infrastructure could be developed. The services sector was also developed with a strength of over 3 lakh employees in the state. But this special category status was snatched by the 9th finance commission. Then under the liberalization era the successive state governments of both the BJP and the Congress have blatantly and profusely bled the people of their savings and have sharply restricted the scope of investment in the social sector . Even before the FRBM was passed in the state which both the parties vehemently welcomed, a MOU was signed with the central government thereby applying the conditional ties of the FRBM through the backdoor. This is the major issue of the state.
Secondly the only other viable source for mobilization of resources is water ie the hydel projects in the state. The state has an immense potential of generating over 23000 MW electricity through the hydel projects.But due to the policies of crony capitalism and of hoodwinking the people by robbing them of their share and interests this issue has become the second major issue in the state. The land is being acquired in the interests of big business , be it for cement plants eg in Sundernagar , or Lafarge in Tatta pani or Jaypee in Bagha or acquisition of land for hydel generation in either the Satluj , Ravi or Beas basins. These projects are having multiple impacts on the common people and the state as a whole. Firstly the interest of the state in not being protected. The power companies producing electricity both in the private as well in the public sector have not been asked to give their due to the state. For example there is an utmost demand that the share of the state should be 15% distress cost and 30% equity in all the projects . But both the BJP and the Congress have failed to protect this and in projects like Parvati with a capacity of 2020 MW , the state has no share at all. Similarly in the private BOT (Built Operate and Transfer ) projects the state has no share. The second issue arising out of these projects is a contradiction emerging out of this development. Since the governments allowing these projects or signing these projects do not even have an iota of interest to protect the share or the interests of the common people, the affected inhabitants are the suffered most. For example in the ongoing Wangtoo karcham 1000 MW hydel project the people of the adjoining villages were opposing the project for the settlement of their demands like rehabilitation, compensation, pollution and most importantly employment. But the then Congress government instead of dealing with the agitation used force and fired at the meeting in which several were wounded. Now since the project is half way over, cracks have appeared in the house that are atop the hill underneath where the head race tunnel is being dug. Now the company is not even prepared to listen to the woes of the distressed people. Similar kinds of problems are faced all over the state. The third important issue pertains to the continuous increase in the cost of production of horticulture produce in the state. The entire hilly terrain is horticulture oriented that produces apples. Since last many years especially after the liberalization spree , the government has sharply reduced the subsidies provided for fungicides, insecticides and other medicines, also the cost of fertilizers has gone up substantially. Compounding this, there is not intervention in the market and the apple and potato producers are forced to sell their produce even at a loss to the Commission agents. Last year in Kalpa in Kinnaur district that produces one of the finest quality apples , the apple orchardists were not even able to pay back their loans taken from the Commission agents because of fall in the market . Another important issue pertains to the cuts in social expenditure especially on health and education. The condition of schools is such that a 10 class school in a majority of places is being run by either 3 or 4 teachers, out of whom 2 are regular employees and 2 on contract , here it is called under various name like PTA (parents teachers association), which is a new form of a user charge in education, Vidya Upasaks and so on. Similarly , the health is in shatters. The health centers have turned into money generating enterprises with user charges being levied on every step. Not just that here there is a very glaring example of PPP(Public private partnership). The state government has allowed to attach three district hospitals to any private medical college entrepreneur who opens in Mandi, hamirpur and Una. Thereby meaning that the private college would mint money from the students and the hospitals made out of public money would also be laid out for the private players.
Then there are several other demands like the proper implementation of the NREGA, the forest tribal act, employment to the local youth in the coming up projects in the state , demand for drinking water, schools, and so on.

Post Nomination period
Immediately after the nomination of the candidate, rallies were planned in all the constituencies. The biggest rally took place in Sainj where over 4000 workmen gathered on May day. This rally was addressed by Onkar Shad. The other important rally was in Anni on 7th May which was also well attended and the main speaker in the rally was A VijayRaghwan and Rakesh Singha. Besides public meetings were addressed by the candidate and other leaders of the party from the state and the center , the details are as:

23rd April Bharmour Onkar Shad
30th April Patlikuhl Onkar Shad
1st May Rampur Pushpender Garewal
4th May JogenderNagar Rakesh Singha
4th May Jarol (Sundernagar) Kashmir Singh Thakur
5th May Jhanjheli Onkar Shad, A Vijayraghwan
6th May Garagushaini(Mandi) Onkar, A Vijay Raghwan
7th May Anni A Vijayraghwan and Rakesh Singha
8th May Karsog Suneet Chopra and Kuldeep Singh
8th May Machial (JNR) Pushpende Garewal, Asha Lata& Kushal 8th May Nirmand Rakesh Singha & Onkar
9th May Rampur Suneet Chopra, Rakesh Singha& Onkar
11th May Manali Pushpender Garewal & Prem Gautam
11th May Nankhari Onkar

Besides , a road show was also organized in Kinnaur district which was led by Onkar Shad and Tikender Singh . This show started from Bara kamba then enroute Chaura, Nigulsaari, Kache, Thanang , Baro the last meeting was held at Ponda. Despite inclement weather and snow the people braved it and participated in large numbers.
On the last day of campaigning there were several meetings in Nankhari, Urni and Chagaon. On the 12th once again door to door campaign was unleashed where contacts were consolidated .

Campaigning for the Last Phase in West Bengal Concludes

West Bengal Left Front Chairman Biman Basu cautions the voters to be alert in order to exercise their voting rights on the last phase of Elections in West Bengal.
Kolkata 11th May- Amidst all the slanderous campaigns and provocative attempts of the West Bengal‘s opposition, Kolkata today saw unprecedented waves of people draped red in different parts of the city and in the mofussils. Thousands of onlookers stood patiently with most of them waving to Mahamichils or padayatra that crisscrossed the city roads amidst the burning asphalts under the hot summer sun. From the early hours of the morning parts of Kolkata South constituency witnessed Rabin Deb, the Left candidate of Kolkata South constituency with Brinda Karat CPI (M) politbureau member being the star attraction in the rally . The rally started from Hazra, Mamata Banerjee’s stronghold in South Kolkata constituency and traversed through Khidderpore and Mominpore where the onlookers were seen clicking photographs with their mobile camera’s.
In Kolkata North Constituency a huge rally was organized with MD Salim, candidate for the Kolkata north constituency leading thousands of Left workers which was also joined by eminent artistes and citizens In Dumdum Constituency Amitava Nandy traversed his constituency and spoke in many small road meetings which were overflowed by people. Sougata Roy, the TMC candidate from the Kolkata North constituency was seen traversing Dumdum with a group of about 100 supporters visiting the inner parts of the para’s or the localities. While Tapan Sikdar former union minister took out a road show and emphasized his belief that he too is in a good position to win this again which he once represented in the parliament. In Barasat Sudin Chattapadhya the Left Front candidate was seen addressing path sabha (ie small road side meetings) in Madhyamgram area in the outskirts of the city.
However the highlight of the last day’s campaign in Kolkata was definitely the huge procession that took place in Jadavpore constituency where the Left Front Chairman Biman Basu himself walked in a padayatra along with Sujan Chakraborty the Left Front candidate from Jadavpore. Khokan Ghoshdastidar, district secretariat member of the CPI(M) south 24 district committee , too walked the entire path though his wife and CPI(M) leader Chandana Ghoshdastidaar is admitted in the hospital injured in the viscious attack unleashed against her by Trinamool hooligans in Falta . Tens of Thousands of Red Flags waved making it a spectacular sight in Jadavpore. Their along the more than a kilometer long Padayatra greeted the residents of the area in the morning. In Jadavpore, the mood of the party workers was that of hate and contempt towards the Trinamool goons who had injured their leader Chandana. Women too, walked along the entire stretch in large numbers as thousands of people were seen giving slogans in large numbers.
Noted Film director Raja Sen, former Cricketer and former BCCI selector Sambaran Bannerjee walked the entire stretch in the eastern fringes of the city in Jadavpore. When asked about his possible prediction about the elections he told that “No match in Jadavpore, Sujan is a winner- it is the question about how Mamata Banerjee can retain his seat. The people of West Bengal is being fed daily by a dosage of lies, half lies and full lies accompanied by a section of the media and the vested interest s . There ultimately will be a boomerang as people of the state will not under any cost let the state to fall in the hand of anarchists. When confronted as to ‘Why are u talking like a Leftist He told that the anarchists are leading the state to a pandemonium and any sane man will support the Left in west Bengal - he quipped . This feeling perhaps was portrayed by the people of Kolkata who draped the city red today prior to last phase of the polls in the city . All together in the last phase of elections in West Bengal in the remaining 11 Loksabha constituency area the Left is sure to retain its stronghold if participation in political rallies and overwhelming response can be thought to be determining factor in gauging the people’s mood in the last phase of the elections . The only question of doubt that remains is of the terror tactics of the opposition that has made the left leaders, a bit tense just before the elections.

Trinamul Trying to Bring Back Seventies in Bengal: Buddhadeb Bhattacharya



Photo 1: Buddhadeb Bhattacharya meets the press in Kolkata.
Photo 2: Brinda Karat leads a campaign march in West Bengal.

Kolkata,11th May- West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya has alleged that Trinamool Congress was trying to bring back the days of seventies in the state. Bhattacharya categorically castigated Trinamool for the violence in last few days while participating in the ‘Meet the Press’ programme at Kolkata Press Club today. The election campaign ended this afternoon in the state.

In the 1970-s, West Bengal faced a semi-fascist terror and worst kind of political violence. Reminding the history, Bhattacharya said, from 1972 to1977 West Bengal witnessed terror and murders everywhere. After the Left Front government assumed responsibility in 1977, the situation gradually changed. That was because we wanted that political language will be the term, not the language of violence. The atmosphere of violence once again started to emerge after the birth of Trinamool Congress. They are now trying to change the atmosphere in the state. They are trying to bring back the days of seventies.

Answering questions on Nandigram, Bhattacharya said, in the name of resisting land acquisition, violence was planned in Nandigram from January 2007. We had categorically said that there would not be any land acquisition there. What is the motive of maintaining a “Bhoomi Ucched Protirodh Committee” there? Even Maoists from outside were brought to create violence there. We admit mistakes. On 14th March 2007, police was sent to Nandigram to reconstruct roads. We asked for cooperation from the opposition parties too. But ultimately there was a clash. We never want death by police firing, it is not congruent to our political- ideological understanding. If I had any inkling that such a thing would occur I would not send police in the first place. The families of all those killed have been given compensation, police officers were also transferred.

Bhattacharya said, CPI (M) is trying to defeat Congress and BJP in the elections. Our target is to form a non-Congress, non-BJP secular government at the centre. It has to be seen who supports whom only after the elections. In 2004, there was no scope for the third force. We therefore were forced to support Congress to keep BJP away from power. But the situation is quite different this time. We will be able to form a government of third forces. CPI (M) may join such a government if we can play an effective role .The question is open.

Buddhadeb Bhattacharya in Meet the Press

Kolkata,11th May- West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya has alleged Trinamool Congress was trying to bring back the days of seventies in the state. Bhattacharya categorically castigated Trinammol for the violence in last few days while participating in the ‘Meet the Press’ programme at Kolkata Press Club today. The election campaign ended this afternoon in the state.
In the 1970-s, West Bengal faced a semi-fascist terror and worst kind of political violence. Reminding the history, Bhattacharya said, from 1972 to1977 West Bengal witnessed terror and murders everywhere. After the Left Front government assumed responsibility in 1977, the situation gradually changed. That was because we wanted that political language will be the term, not the language of violence. The atmosphere of violence once again started to emerge after the birth of Trinamool Congress. They are now trying to change the atmosphere in the state. They are trying to bring back the days of seventies.
Answering questions on Nandigram, Bhattacharya said, in the name of resisting land acquisition, violence was planned in Nandigram from January,2007. We had categorically said that there would not be any land acquisition there. What is the motive of maintaining a “Bhoomi Ucched Protirodh Committee” there? Even Maoisists from outside were brought to create violence there. We admit mistakes. On 14th March,2007, police was sent to Nandigram to reconstruct roads. We asked for cooperation from the opposition parties too. But ultimately there was a clash. We never want death by police firing, it is not congruent to our political- ideological understanding. If I had any inkling that such a thing would occur I would not send police in the first place. The families of all those killed have been given compensation, police officers were also transferred.
Bhattacharya said, CPI(M) is trying to defeat Congress and BJP in the elections. Our target is to form a non-Congress, non-BJP secular government at the centre. It has to be seen who supports whom only after the elections. In 2004, there was no scope for the third force. We therefore were forced to support Congress to keep BJP away from power. But the situation is quite different this time. We will be able to form a government of third forces. CPI(M) may join such a government if we can play an effective role .The question is open.

Yechury Ends campaign in Kanniyakumari


Sitaram Yechury addressed a public meeting at Kulasekaram in Kanniyakumari constituency in support of CPI(M) candidate AV.Bellarmine on Monday afternoon.

Sitaram Yechury campaign in Tamil Nadu / VICTORY IN TAMIL NADU WILL CREATE ANEW HISTORY

By N.SIVAGURU
-------------------
CPI(M) Polit Bureau Member Sitaram Yechury did hectic campaign in Coimbatore, Mayiladuthurai, Nagapattinam, Trichy, Dindigal, Madurai and Kanyakumari Parliamentary counstituencies.
Starting his campaign, from Coimbatore for the CPI(M) Candidate P.R.Natarajan he accused the long led UPA of not implementing pro-people schemes instead followed policies which led to unemployment, agrarian crisis, price rise, industrial slowdown.
Addressing huge gathering in Mayiladuthurai, Nagapattinam in support of AIADMK&CPI candidates respectively he reitrated that it who only because of the presure of left parties the UPA came out with NREGA scheme and various other pro-people policies.
Braving scorching Sun, thousands gathered in Trichy to hear the speech of Com Yechury in which he said that the directionless foriegn policy that made Sri Lankan Tamils issue a volatile situation. He said the new 3rd Front Govt. to be formed at the centre after the elections would take a logical stand to end the crisis.
Addressing a messive public meeting in Dindigul, in support of AIADMK candidate it was the anti people policies of UPA Govt and the erstwhile central Govt.s that has made Indian Women anaemic and to birth of malnourished children still today. He came down heavily on the corrupt UPA Govt which did not spend on public sectors and said this situation will reversed after the election.
Campaigning for CPI(M) candidate P.Mohan in mammoth meeting in Madurai he lambasted the DMK of using money and all power to defeat the CPI(M) but he expressed confidence over Madurai voters that the evil designs will be thwarted.
He alleged that there were two Indias today ,one a shining India in which there are people who are crorepathis who coustructs houses valued upto Rs. 400 crore but a dark India where the people are unable to get wages of Rs.80 a day.
He also said that today even developed country like Japan do not have billionaires as that of India. He also added that today people in India want a change from their grief.
He them addressed a huge rally at Kulasekaram in Kanyakumari counstituency for CPI(M) candidate A.V.Bellarmine.

Sitaram at Madurai Rally



Sitaram yechury, CPI(M) state secretary N.Varadharajan, candidate P.Mohan, AIADMK secretary Sellur K.Raju, JD(S) leader Jhon Moses and othr leaders of the alliance parties in a massive rally held at Madurai, on Sunday night.

Tamil Nadu people’s verdict crucial: Yechury


Sitaram with media persons at Nagarcoil.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TIRUCHI/ NAGARCOIL:

The verdict of the people of Tamil Nadu in the Lok Sabha elections will have an important bearing on the formation of a non-Congress, non-BJP secular alternative government at the Centre, said Sitaram Yechury, Rajya Sabha MP and Polit Bureau Member, Communist Party of India (Marxist).

"It will be crucial and that is why we are appealing to the people of Tamil Nadu to give a sweeping verdict in favour of the AIADMK-led alliance," he said addressing press conferences at Tiruchi and Nagarcoil on Sunday and on Monday.

Only a non-Congress, non-BJP coalition at the Centre could provide an alternative policy direction that the people of the country were looking for.

"We will discuss the post-poll situation and possibilities based on the actual position after May 16. But our objective as decided by the party Central Committee is to form a non-Congress, non-BJP government," he said answering a query on the possibility of the Left parties supporting a Congress government. He expressed confidence that the alternative government could be formed without the support of BJP and Congress.

Yechury maintained that the Left parties were responsible for all the pro-poor measures initiated by the United Progressive Alliance government, including the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and the loan waiver scheme for farmers. "The Congress is claiming credit for the schemes now. But why did the party fail to implement such pro-poor programmes when they were ruling the country by themselves in the past," he asked.

The Left was also responsible for stopping the UPA government moves on financial liberalisation that could have had disastrous consequences on the country in the wake of the global economic slowdown.

"We stopped moves to bring in capital account convertibility, privatisation of pension funds, increase in foreign direct investment in insurance sector and the takeover of domestic private banks by foreign banks," he said.

On the Sri Lankan issue, he said that the CPI (M) favoured complete autonomy for the Tamils. Ensuring the safety and dignity of the Tamils was non-negotiable. But this can be achieved only if there was a policy change.

Third Front is Now a Reality

Change at the Centre becomes the motto of rallyists at a huge rally in the South Kolkata constituency today morning in support of Rabin Deb, Left front’s candidate for Kolkata south constituency

Kolkata 10th may – Change of guard at the Centre and not anarchy and blood shed in the state as preferred by the West Bengal’s opposition became the mainstay of thousands of Rallyists at the Kolkata South constituency which was attended by Left Front Chairman Biman Basu,West Bengal’s chief minister Buddha Bhatttacharya and chief minister of Tripura, Manik Sarkar. From the wee hours of the morning thousands of onlookers were mesmerized by the wave of red flags making waves at the South Kolkata localities where CPI (M) candidate Rabin Deb is leading a valiant fight against the Trinamool supremo herself. At the end of the rally in Deshapriya Park of south Kolkata,West Bengal’s CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharya told the rallyists that chances of BJP coming to power has been minimized and Congress too will be defeated in the ongoing Loksabha elections. In the centre opportunities has been created that a new pro people government may be formed at the Centre which will work with pro people policies. Mounting criticism on the opposition of West Bengal he outlined the role of the opposition keeping mum to wherever the CPI (M) workers are slaughtered. Even the nefarious incident of slaughtering of the Physician and nurse by the Maoists had never been condemned upon by the West Bengal’s opposition. He said that ultimately the people’s power will defeat the forces of anarchy in the state. He told that a pro people government at the Centre can only work towards taking pro people measures that will be aimed at the masses of the country. He harped that the destructive politics of the opposition will not find takers in the state. Our dream for singur is not over.
Earlier the rally was inaugurated by the Left Front Chairman Biman Basu at Jagubabur Bazaar. Their he told that the Leftists had got the experience of Governance and it is for the sake of the national unity that a government of the third front will have to be formed at the centre He said that a government of the third front can only ensure development and progress for the country. Besides thousands of citizens of south Kolkata eminent film director Tarun Majumdar, famous magician PC Sorcar junior , ex international soccer player Shivaji Banerjee EX BCCI selector Sambaran Banerjee , handicapped swimmer Masudur Rahman along with actors of the Bengali film industry Arindam Sil, Biplab Chatterjee, Sankar Chakraborty film director Anindita Sarbadhikary along with numerous Left front leaders Like RSP’s Khiti Goswami , MFB’s Pratim Chattejee, and Srikumar Mukherjee of CPI took part in the procession along with Candidate Rabin Deb .
Taking part in the procession, Tripura’s chief minister Manik Sarkar told that Third front is now a reality and every day numerous party’s including NDA’a allies are willing to take part in the Third front. The attack on the Leftists in West Bengal should be seen as a reflection of this development at the Centre. It is not an isolated incident and to reduce the strength of the Left Front inside the parliament different foreign powers has aligned with the reactionary forces of the country to eliminate the role of the leftists in the parliament as a determining force. .
The huge walkathon created flurry of interests amongst the onlookers and at places women were seen throwing flowers to the rallyists who waved the red flags of their hands to honour the assembled crowd. The mood of the rally was also for a change. That change was of which the people of the country is looking at to make at the Centre in the aid of millions of toiling Indians. Braving the hot summer sun, thousands of Padayatri’s took part in the rally , resulting in a red wave across the 3 km stretch .

The Third Front will capture power at the Centre : Sitaram Yechury




NAGAPATTINAM:

The Third Front will capture power at the Centre and a non-Congress and non-BJP alliance Government will be formed without outside support after the elections, said Sitaram Yechury, Polit Bureau member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), here on Saturday.

Addressing an election meeting campaigning for M. Selvaraj, the CPI candidate of the Nagapattinam Lok Sabha constituency, comrade Yechury said that the Third Front had a number of competent leaders and the Congress and the BJP need not worry about the Prime Ministerial candidate if alternative alliance came to power.

“We do not want to announce a Prime Ministerial candidate now like the BJP projecting L. K. Advani. The people will choose the Prime Minister through their elected representatives,” he said.

Referring to the view of the Congress and the BJP that the third front was an unstable alliance, Mr. Yechury accused both the parties of causing instability at the Centre by withdrawing support to two Governments of alternative alliances and pointed out that the V.P. Singh’s National Front government fell because of BJP’s withdrawal of support and the Congress withdrew its support to the United Front government later.

Foreign and economic policies





Earlier, addressing an election meeting at Sembanarkovil in Mayiladuturai Lok Sabha constituency, campaigning for the AIADMK candidate O.S. Manian, Yechury stressed the need for changes in India’s foreign and economic policies for solving several problems, including Sri Lankan Tamils issue.

The CPM leader pointed out that the country did not witness major developments due to wrong policies adopted by the UPA Government. He said that the BJP had been playing communal politics.

Yechury appealed to the voters of Tamil Nadu to repeat the sweep of the 2004 elections this time in favour of the alliance led by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).

Saturday, May 9, 2009

2009 is not 2004, Karat reminds Congress

2009 is not 2004, Karat reminds Congress
Kolkata, 9th May- CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat has reminded Congress leadership that it is 2009, not 2004.This time Congress has to decide whether they will support a secular government at the centre, not the other way round.
Karat addressed massive rallies in Kolkata this evening.
Referring to Prime Ministers’ comment that the third front is a non-starter, Karat said, the allies of Congress have openly admitted that there would not be any government without the Left. Congress has already lost allies and UPA is non- existent. May we ask with whom Congress will form the government? Their new-found ally in West Bengal Trinamool Congress has a record of somersault and there is no certainty that they would remain with Congress after the elections. In fact, Trinamool will leave Congress as soon as they will not be able to muster a majority.
On the oft-repeated comments of Congress leaders on Left’s support to a Congress-led government after polls, Karat said, “It is 2009, not 2004. Five years ago, in the face of grave challenge from the communal forces, the Lefts supported Congress to form a government at the centre. We did so even after 54 of our 61 members in the parliament were elected after fighting Congress. This time there will an alternative secular formation and the secular credential of Congress will be tested. Congress will have to decide whether they will support such a secular formation or not.
Karat asserted that in last two months it has been proved that a third way is possible politically, socially and on the question of economic policies.

Sitaram Yechury at Mayiladuthrai


CPI(M) polit bureau member Sitaram Yechury addressed massive public meeting at Mayiladuthurai constituency in TN in support of AIADMK candidate O.S.Maniyan. After this meeting , he attended a huge rally at Nagapattinam , a strong bastion of Communist movement ,in support of CPI candidate M.Selvaraj.

P. Mohan comes home to a rousing reception


MADURAI:

"The people of Madurai will win (in the election)," said Communist Party of India (Marxist) Madurai Lok Sabha constituency candidate, P. Mohan.

Arriving home to a rousing reception at various points here on Friday after being hospitalised in Chennai, he said that the people of Madurai would prove that their Lok Sabha constituency too would go for the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led alliance.

Sixty-year-old Mohan underwent a surgery in Chennai after he developed stomach ache on April 28.

He was hospitalised there for 11 days.

With tears rolling down his cheeks, the two-time MP expressed gratitude for the affection shown to him by the people of Madurai.

"I apologise for being unable to participate in the protests against political rowdyism and distribution of money. I am sure, the people of Madurai will win," he said in a choked voice.

Scores of party men and cadres of alliance parties gathered at Jeeva Nagar to welcome him. Comrade Mohan would resume his election campaign on Sunday, R. Annadurai, district secretary of the party, said.

CPI (M) State secretary, N. Varadarajan, district secretaries, R. Annadurai and V. Sundaram (both CPI-M), K. Raju, M. Boominathan were among those who received him at the airport.

Sitaram Yechury : Third Front has able Prime Ministerial candidates

COIMBATORE:

The Third Front has a number of competent leaders who make Prime Ministerial candidates and therefore the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress do not have to worry about who will be the Prime Minister if the alternative alliance comes to power, Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury said here on Friday.
Addressing a public meeting in support of CPI(M) candidate for Coimbatore constituency PR.Natarajan, he said: "We have Chief Ministers and also former Prime Ministers and Chief Ministers in our alliance. Yet, we do not want to announce a Prime Ministerial candidate now like the BJP has projected Mr. L.K. Advani. We respect the Constitution and the sovereign right provided by it to the people to choose the Prime Minister through their elected representatives." Yechury said projecting a candidate as Prime Minister was fraught with the risk of defeat if there was public resentment towards that person.
He recalled the defeat the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi suffered in Rae Bareilli in 1977 after the Congress declared she would be the Prime Minister if it won the elections.
On the view of the Congress and the BJP that the Third Front was an unstable alliance, the CPI (M) leader accused them of causing instability at the Centre by withdrawing support to two Governments of alternative alliances.
The National Front Government headed by V.P. Singh fell because of the BJP’s withdrawal of support to it over the arrest of Mr. Advani during his rath yatra. The Congress had withdrawn support to the United Front Government later. But, it would not happen this time as the alternative alliance will have the required number of seats to form a Government on its own.
Using a cricket parlance to describe Mr. Advani being projected as the Prime Ministerial candidate, comrade Yechury said: "He is only the night watchman for Narendra Modi."
On the scepticism over an alternative alliance coming to power at the Centre, he pointed out that the United Front was formed after the elections in 1996 and it came to power.
This was the case with the National Democratic Alliance in 1998 and the United Progressive Alliance in 2004. In the same way, a non-Congress, non-BJP alliance will come to power after this election.
Yechury called upon the people of Tamil Nadu to repeat the sweep of the 2004 elections, but this time in favour of the alliance led by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). "The people of Tamil Nadu have a historic role to play in deciding who will come to power at the Centre. We need a policy shift to build a better India. For that you must vote for the AIADMK alliance."
The global economic crisis had hit India also. Already one crore jobs had been lost and if damage control measures were not initiated now it would rise to five crore in the next three months. There were reports that 71 retrenched workers had committed suicide at Surat in Gujarat and that workers in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu were selling their organs to help their families survive. "We need to bridge the gap between the shining India of millionaires and the suffering India," he said.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Yechury starts campaign in Tamilnadu



CPI(M) polit bureau member Sitaram Yechury addressing public meeting at Coimbatore in support of CPI(M) candidate PR.Natarajan. Yechury will be in TN for next four days.

Third Front poised to form govt at Centre: Prakash Karat

Bhubaneswar, May 8 (UNI) CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat today asserted that the Third Front was poised to make a good and serious bid to form the non-Congress secular government at the Centre as neither the Congress nor BJP would be in a position to get absolute majority in the election.
Mr Karat, who held discussion with Orissa Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik at Naveen Niwas here on the possibility of formation of Third Front government at the Centre, later told newspersons that he was hopeful that other non-Congress and non-BJP political parties will support the Third Front. ''At present we are consolidating our strength with the political parties with whom we had pre-poll alliance and have appealed to all the secular political parties to extend their support to the Third
Front,'' he said.

On being asked whether the Third Front would seek the support of Congress in the event of it falling short of majority, Mr Karat quipped, ''Let us wait for the result.'' He also parried a question when asked whether the Third Front would seek the support of JD(U) supremo and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, saying, ''We appeal to all non-Congress and secular parties to join us.'' On being asked as to whether they would also take the support of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and BSP supremo Mayawati, the CPM leader said nine political parties had met Mayawati in Delhi on March 15 and issued a statement that all would work together post-election.
He said in Orissa the alliance led by the BJD would form the next government and Naveen Patnaik would again become the Chief Minister. Mr Patnaik reiterated his party's stand saying that under no circumstances the BJD would support either the BJP-led or Congress-led government at the Centre. He said several secular political parties were in a good position to come together and form a non-Congress and non-BJP government at the Centre.

Mr Patnaik expressed his surprise when asked to comment on Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit's recent statement that the Congress would hold discussion with the BJD to seek its support. He said this indicated the ''desperation'' of the Congress for seeking support and made it clear that his party would not support
the Congress-led or BJP-led government at the Centre.

Congress, TMC Unleash Violence in Bengal Second Phase Polls

Kolkata,7th May- The second phase polling in West Bengal was marred by violence, unleashed by Trinamool Congress and Congress in some constituencies, resulting in deaths of two persons. The polling was by and large peaceful in most of the constituencies. The polling percentage will cross 75 per cent in the state.
In Nandigram, part of Tamluk constituency, TMC activists captured 58 booths and the entire voting took place in terrorized atmosphere. CPI(M) polling agents were not allowed to enter in the booths.TMC resorted to violence by hurling bombs in Sonachura, Adhikarypara, Gokulnagar, Kendemari . At least 7 CPI (M) workers were injured. Left Front Chairman Biman Basu demanded a repoll in those areas. Already Election Commission has been informed about the violation of democratic rights of the people in Nandigram.
In Khargram, part of Murshidabad constituency, CPI(M) supporter Kashinath Mondal was killed while two of his brothers were grievously injured when Congress workers hurled bombs. The brothers were returning after casting their vote.
In Jangipur, where Pranab Mukherji is the Congress candidate, Congress workers attacked some booths in the morning.
TMC activists captured few booths in Uluberia , where Hannan Mollah is CPI(M) candidate. In Raina, part of Burdwan-East constituency, TMC activists attacked a booth and crushed EVM. In Asansol, TMC activists attacked voters in a booth resulting in a clash. One person was killed there. In Jangipara , part of Serampore constituency, TMC activists attacked in three villages and captured four booths.
Biman Basu alleged that TMC leaders issued threats of violence even before the elections. The democratic people of the state thwarted their attempt in most part of the state. However, TMC and Congress could implement a part of their conspiracy in some constituencies.

Biman Basu Writes to the CEC About Poll Violence in West Bengal

Following the Text complaint by Biman Basu, Secretary, West Bengal state committee of CPI(M) to The Chief Election Commissioner, Election Commission of India New Delhi.

Dear Sir,

This is to draw your attention to the situation obtaining in the Nandigram area of 210 Nandigram AC under 30 Tamluk PC in West Bengal. There have been widespread violence under Gram Panchayat areas of Sonachura, Kendurmari, Mohanpur, Boyal – II, Gopalpur.

It is very unfortunate that this has happened despite our prior information on 26.04.09 to the CEO, West Bengal (copy attached). In 42 polling booths, CPI(M) polling agents have not been forcibly allowed to enter the designated booths and the CPI(M) candidate of the constituency Shri Lalxman Seth has already demanded repelling in 50 polling booths (copy attached). Report of escalation of violence in 12 more polling station areas leadding to deadly injuries inflicted on several other CPI(M) workers have just received. I have earlier written to CEO, WB on 29.03.09 seeking his intervention to ensure return of the voters forcefully driven out of the area. Sri Kanu Sahu, secretary, Purba Medinipur district committee of our party had also written to CEO in several occasions explaining the pre-poll situation in 50 polling stations in this constituency and requesting his intervention to ensure free and fair election in this area. There have been also reports on attack on media persons and a BJP MP couple of days back in the Sonachura area.

We would like to request you to urgently intervene and order the repolling to rectify the situation where clearly free and fair election has been completely undermined.

Thanking you,

With regards

Following is the complaint by Lakshman Seth Contesting Left Front candidate for 30 Tamluk PC letter to Chief Election Commissioner.

Sir,

Sub: Capture of booths of 210 Nandigram AC under 30 Tamluk PC by Trinamool Congress.

With grave concern I like to draw your kind attention to the above noted matter.

Today from the early morning Trinamool Congress led rowdies have captured the following booths with arms. Our polling agents have been unable to enter into polling stations due to their threats. Many polling agents have been forced to leave polling stations. Trinamool Congress rowdies have broken up covered area of polling stations. They are pressing button openly in the symbol of Trinmool Congress.

Therefore it is apprehended that there will be false voting. It is also reported that Trinamool Congress is forcing voters under arms to cast their vote in favour of Trinamool Congress by capturing polling stations. Presiding officers and polling staff are forced them to remain silent.

Under the above circumstances, there will be no free and fair election.

I therefore demand re-polling in the following booths.

List booths:-

45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 160, 160-A, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 165-A, 166, 167, 168, 168-A, 169, 171, 171-A, 172, 172-A, 174, 175, 175-A, 176, 176-A, 177, 177-A, 178, 180, 182, 183, 191, 191-A, 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 198-A.

CPI (M) Demands Repoll in Tamluk LS constituency, West Bengal

Press Release
Shri Jogendra Sharma, Member, Central Secretariat of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met the Dy. Election Commissioner Shri Balakrishnan this afternoon to appraise him of the incidents of rigging in the Nandigram area of 210 Nandigram AC under 30 Tamluk Parliamentary Constituency in West Bengal.

He handed over a memorandum listing out 42 polling booths that were forcibly captured by hoodlums belonging to the Trinamul Congress. CPI(M) polling agents were not allowed to enter these booths. Several CPI(M) workers have suffered injuries in the attacks. It was also pointed out that the Biman Basu, Secretary of the West Bengal State Committee of the Party and the Secretary of the Purba Medinipur District Committee had written to the West Bengal CEO on several occasions detailing the situation and seeking his intervention to ensure free and fair polls in the constituency.

The Party has demanded repoll in 50 polling booths in the Tamluk Parliamentary constituency.

Manmohan led an unclean Government : Prakash Karat

Coimbatore:
The General Secretary of Communist Party of India (Marxist), Prakash Karat, on Wednesday accused the Union Ministers from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) of corruption and added that Dr. Manmohan Singh, said to be a "clean Prime Minister," was heading an "unclean Government."
He addressed public meetings at Udumalpet organised by the CPI (M) in support of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) candidate from Pollachi Lok Sabha constituency K. Sugumar and in Coimbatore South to campaign for CPI(M) candidate from Coimbatore constituency PR.Natarajan.
He said that the Congress-led Government had been facilitating the transfer of resources to the rich and cited that India had four of the world’s ten richest people.
The Left parties chose to support the UPA to stop the "communal BJP" from coming to power. But from day one, the CPI (M) had to fight against the "anti-people and pro-capitalist" policies of the Congress. The Government failed to even fulfil the promises made in its Common Minimum Programme (CMP), he added.
The only good measure initiated by the Congress led Government was the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), he said and attributed this to the pressure from the Left parties which he claimed were responsible for ensuring one-third of works for women and minimum wages.
He added that if the third front came to power, NREGS would be extended to urban areas, which the Government failed to do resulting in unemployment in urban areas as well.
Karat was confident of secular parties currently with the Congress and the BJP joining hands with the Left to form an alternative "pro-people" government. Even before the polls, the third front was comfortable with a five-party alliance in Tamil Nadu, four-party alliance in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh and a three-party alliance in Karnataka, besides alliances led by the Left in Kerala, Tripura and West Bengal .

Nuclear deal

Prakash Karat accused the Congress-led Government of mortgaging the interests of the country and its people and acting under the pressure from Washington. He said that the Indo-US nuclear deal would cost the country Rs. 2,80,000 crore for installing nuclear reactors, taking the cost per unit of electricity to Rs. 12 to Rs. 15. If the Left-led front came to power it would not allow this to happen, he added.

BRINDA KARAT: VOTE AGAINIST CHIDAMBARAM IS THE VOTE FOR ANTI- POOR AND ANTI-WORKER POLICIES





Madurai:

CPI (M) Polite bureau member com. Brinda karat made a whirl wind campaign in Tamilnadu. She campaigned in KanyaKumari, Madurai & Sivagangai Lok Sabha Constituency.

Addressing Thousands of people in Colachel, Thuckalay of Kanyakumari constituency. She exposed the congress led UPA govt. retrograde economic policies which has affected the common people of the country. She came down heavily on the corruption involved by DMK and the Congress. And said that there was big fight going on between the DMK and Congress in doing corruption. She appealed the voters to vote for the CPI (M) candidate A.V.Bellarmine.

While addressing large gathering in Melur, a important town in Madurai constituency. She exposed the money, muscle powers and misuse of state machinery by the DMK and urged the voters to safeguard the democratic principles by making the CPI(M)'s candidate victorious.

Finally addressing a public meeting organised by CPI (M) in Sivagangai in support if AIADMK candidate who is fighting aganist the Union Home Minister P.Chidambaram, she exposed the economic policies pursued by the then finance minister and explained the sufferings of women working in NRGEA scheme and said that how the minister was irresponsible in not taking any steps to ensure that the women are getting the assured wages. She also said that efforts were made by the women organisations in announcing the pension scheme for the widows who are financially dependant . But still no word is uttered about that scheme. The house hold women who form SHG's are not given loans at lower interest rates but on the contrary big corporate houses are given huge with lesser interest rates . Only the left consistently demanded higher loans for the SHG's, but was not heeded.

She questioned that what spectacles do Mr.P.Chidambaram wear which only looks in to rich mans balance sheet - Bombay stock exchange and problems of big corporate houses but does not look in to common mans plight and problems.

Finally she appealed that the vote aganist Mr.Chidambaram is the symbol of vote for the anti – poor and anti- worker policies. The public meeting was attended by more than 10,000 people.

-N.SIVAGURU

Photos: MA.Prasad and J.Ramachandran

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Realignment Of Forces For A Non-Cong Secular Govt

EDITORIAL

NOTWITHSTANDING the repeated assertions of this column that India's vast social plurality will necessarily manifest itself in a political multipolarity, both the BJP and the Congress began this election campaign asserting with bravado that Indian polity is essentially bipolar with each one of them being the pole around whom all other political parties will necessarily have to choose and align.

This was soon exposed as wishful thinking when many an erstwhile ally of the BJP deserted the NDA. The most `shocking' was the departure of the Biju Janata Dal in Orissa. Many UPA allies who continue to remain ministers in the union cabinet have parted ways with the Congress to form new groupings. Such developments are not, as suggested by some, mere expressions of opportunism and `positioning' by the regional parties but are a reflection of the pressure being mounted on them by their own mass following that is demanding relief from the overbearing economic burdens. This is nothing but the reflection of the fact that people are seeking an alternative. What this alternative is or needs to be has to be defined by the political leadership of the country.

It is only the Left that has consistently articulated the need for an alternative policy trajectory for the country in order to build a better India for its people. Given past experience, such an alternative policy trajectory can only be brought about by a non-Congress, non-BJP political alternative. The need of the hour, therefore, is for the installation of a non-Congress secular alternative government at the centre following these elections. The Left is focussed on pursuing this objective.

Soon after the third phase of the elections were over, the Congress suddenly started speaking in terms of a possible post-electoral understanding with the Left. This is nothing but an admission of the fact that the Congress has seen the writing on the wall that it cannot form the next government along with its existing allies.
The indispensability of the Left in the current Indian political situation has been articulated from other quarters as well. These include the current allies of both the BJP, like the JD(U), and the Congress, like the NCP and others. What is in store for the future, therefore, is a realignment of political forces leading to the emergence of a new secular combination post-elections. This would be nothing new in contemporary Indian politics. As noted in earlier column, the United Front was formed post 1996 elections, the NDA post 1998 elections and the UPA post 2004 elections. So shall be again post 2009 elections.

The Congress's overtures to the Left comes while it simultaneously justifies the India-US nuclear deal as being in supreme national interest. The Left's reasoning for withdrawing its outside support to the UPA government when the latter unilaterally insisted on going ahead with this deal is now vindicated by the latest pronouncements made by the US administration itself. As we go to press, the US assistant secretary of state, Rose Gottemoeller, told the Preparatory Committee for the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference at the UN headquarters that “Universal adherence to the NPT itself – including by India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea – remains a fundamental objective of the US”. Interacting with media persons, she said that, “The India-US civilian nuclear deal along with several other steps taken by New Delhi in the recent past has brought India closer to the NPT”. Bringing India into the NPT, she said, was “an important goal of US foreign policy”. She also showered praise on India's willingness to proceed with a fissile material cut off treaty and also its willingness to pursue the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and other important measures such as export controls on nuclear materials.

India has all along refused to endorse the NPT and the CTBT as these were discriminatory treaties that leave intact the monopoly of nuclear weapons with the P-5 (USA, UK, Russia, France and China) while debarring all other countries from possessing or developing nuclear weapons.

The NDA government led by Vajpayee had compromised India's position by agreeing to endorse the CTBT through a series of secret parleys between India's foreign minister and the US assistant secretary of state. Mercifully, this could not happen because the US Congress itself refused to ratify the CTBT then.

Now it is clear that while cementing the India-US nuclear deal, the UPA government led by Dr Manmohan Singh, has virtually surrendered to US imperialist pressures and committed India to ratify the NPT. This is tantamount to a complete negation of India's traditional proclamations of seeking universal nuclear disarmament and not allowing a discriminatory monopoly of nuclear weapons by the P-5. It was, in fact, under Rajiv Gandhi's prime ministership that India placed a timetable before the United Nations for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons from this planet and announced that India shall not endorse both the NPT and the CTBT till this goal has been achieved. The Manmohan Singh-led UPA government has negated this position of India in its urge to develop a strategic alliance with US imperialism by reducing India as its subordinate ally.

Thus, even on this score of restoring and maintaining India's place of pride in the international community by pursuing an independent foreign policy, the need is for an alternative secular government at the centre, post-elections. Apart from the need for an alternative policy trajectory in economic policies, for ensuring effective social justice and for resolutely combating both communalism and terrorism, the forging of a non-Congress secular combination to form the government at the centre acquires utmost urgency.