Thursday, April 30, 2009
Centre for Indian Trade Unions
On the occasion of May Day – 2009, the day of the international solidarity and unity of the working class,the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) extends warmest revolutionary greetings to the entire working class and the toiling people of the country and the world as a whole. The CITU re-affirms its commitment to class struggle and complete emancipation of the human society from all forms of exploitation.
The CITU conveys its fraternal greetings to the working class of the socialist countries for holding high the banner of socialism.
The CITU also greets the working class of the developed capitalist countries for their grim battle for right to employment, right to higher living standard and in defence of trade union rights
The CITU conveys greetings to the working class of the developing countries for their struggles against of imperialist machinations against their nations and the people abated by the ruling polity of the respective countries.
The CITU extends solidarity with the Agricultural Workers in their struggles for achieving for better wages, right to land and livelihood throughout the year and comprehensive social security and welfare measures. The CITU also conveys fraternal support to the poor and middle Peasants in their struggles for right to remunerative prices, institutional credit at low interest and infrastructural and input support through massive public investment in agriculture. The CITU appeals to the working class to stand by the masses of peasantry and strengthen worker-peasant unity for conducting united struggles against the anti-people policies of the neo-liberal regimes.
50 years of Cuban Revolution & Latin American Countries
The Cuban Revolution continues to be a beacon of hope for the toiling people all over world .The saga of 50 years of the Cuban Revolution is saga of a constant battle against the US imperialism. The Cuban experience conclusively demonstrates that the fight against imperialism and the fight for socialism cannot be separated.
Socialist Cuba continues to be the source of political awakening of the people in the entire Latin-American continent. The electoral defeat inflicted on the pro-US ruling polities one after another in the countries of Latin America by the people under the leadership of the Leftist Forces have delivered a severe blow both to the neo-liberal economic policies..
Fight the Imperialist Machinations
On this May Day the CITU condemns the aggressive hegemonic machinations of the imperialist forces led by US imperialism. Iraq and Afghanistan continues under US military occupation. While in Iraq resistance is growing from within, the US occupation of Afghanistan is contributing in deteriorating political situation in Pakistan.
Israel continues to occupy Palestinian and Arab territories. The recent Gaza massacre by Israeli military forces is the latest examples of imperialist brutality against humanity. Moreover, the US is continuing with its conspiracy to attack Iran, Syria, DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).
On the issue of deployment of Missile Defence System in Europe, contradiction between USA and Russia is getting aggravated despite change of guard in US Administration.
Special Significance of This Year’s May Day
This year’s May Day shall be observed by the working class all over the world at a time when neo-liberal economic ideology under finance capital driven imperialist globalization has collapsed and the world is in the grip of a worst ever capitalist economic crisis since the Great Depression of 1930s. According to Cuban President Fidel Castro, “But it is not the usual crisis that happen every certain number of years, or even traumatic crisis of 1930; rather, the worst of all since the world started to pursue this model of growth and development.”
True, neo-liberalism has been totally exposed and “the crisis has certainly destroyed the credibility of the neo-liberal ideology.” The neo-liberal policies must be reversed and the struggle must march forward towards the ultimate goal of a new people oriented progressive social order. We must understand that the birth of a new social order over the graveyard of neo-liberalism is not automatic but depends on how far the working class movement would successfully organize the fight against the system in strict adherence to ideology of class struggle.
Impact of the Crisis on Working People
According to a ILO forecast in January this year, by the end of 2009 world unemployment could increase by 5 crore (50 millions) over 2007 alone reaching to 23 crore (230 millions) and besides that the number of working poor increasing by 20 crore (200 millions). Closure, lay offs, retrenchment, wage freeze, withdrawal or reduction in social security measures etc has been pushed to a dangerous dimension by the employers’ class. Already 3.8 crore (38 millions) people have lost their jobs over last couple of monthswhereas job creation is going to be far below compared to what it was two years ago.
Private business houses are given huge financial support at the expense of Government exchequers in the name of bail-out packages. Huge concessions are doled out to the capitalist class through repeated reduction in capital cost, interst-rate, tax cuts etc. instead of job protection and employment generation. Around 32 governments, which had spent about 1.19 trillion US dollars on stimulus packages, had spent a meager 9.2 per cent on relief to suffering people. The so called stimulus packages are mainly aimed at heating the financial markets for the benefit of the speculation and finance capital and the amount flowing for real economy are a meager less than one fifth of the total financial bailout packages. The Director General of ILO has commented, “People, Families and Communities did not create the crisis and yet they carry the highest human costs. And they are legitimately protesting.”
World-wide Wave of Strikes
The world is reverberating with Strikes and militant Street Demonstrations as well as different other forms of struggles participated by millions and millions of worker to protest against brazen neglect of toiling people by the Governments in handling the economic crisis. It is a situation of “billions for banks, pennies for people.”
The countries under the European Union have witnessed the maximum protest action. Eight national Federations of Trade Unions of France have jointly organized two giant strikes in quick succession. On 29th January and on 19th March this year hundreds of thousands of French workers
marched through the streets of the cities of France including Paris. The next action is on the May Day in which ten lakh (one million) workers will take out 200 rallies all over France.
On 13 February the Metal Workers’ Union had strike work in Italy. In solidarity with the strikers, “In Rome 700,000 blue and white collar workers marched side by side, in a unity that has not been seen in Italy for some time.” Russia also witnessed militant street rallies in almost every major city in January. In Britain sectoral strikes took place in different industries. More than one hundred thousand workers
from different Eurepean countries jointly staged millitant demonstration in London on 2nd April 09 at the venue of meeting of G-20 leaders including Obama, Gordon Brown, Sarkozy, Manmohan Singh.
Shocking Acts of the UPA Government
In our country the neo-liberal policies were introduced by the Congress Party-led Government headed by late Narsimha Rao with Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister. And the BJP-led NDA Government pursued the same policies more vigorously and caused maximum damage to the economy. During NDA regime, many blue chip capital rich CPSUs were sold out almost free of cost and involving deep corruption. After the defeat of BJP-led NDA in the hustings, the Congress party-led UPA Government that followed thereafter also tried to follow the same path leading to the present crisis.
In India the export-oriented sectors like textile and apparels, information technology and ITES segments, gems and jewelleries, leather, tea, automobile parts, construction, aviation etc. have already been seriously affected. Moreover Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) have been hit hard. There has been full or partial closure of industrial units, particularly the export oriented ones, then cut in production in the industries due to down turn in the market and resultant retrenchment, lay off etc. The official figure of job losses so far is only five hundred thousand but the actual figure of job-losses are many times more and this is increasing by leaps and bounds every day.
The bail-out packages of the UPA Government are still prioritizing on pumping funds to financial market to allure foreign and Indian speculators and not at all on protecting employment, promoting public investment in agriculture, infrastructure, public services and material production and expanding social security and public distribution system – which alone can improve purchasing power of the people, expand domestic market and save the national economy and the mass of the people from the onslaught of the crisis. By their perverse actions, the Congress led UPA has clearly demonstrated that their commitment is not to the people and the country’s interest but to the big Corporates and their strategic partners in the imperialist block.
The Ongoing Parliamentary Elections
This year May Day is being observed by the Indian working class in the midst of the on going parliamentary elections. The political parties in the electoral fray are mainly identified into three combinations. A major set back suffered by the UPA and the NDA led by the Congress party and the BJP respectively is that some of their major constituents have deserted them. On the other hand the Left parties have succeeded in launching the Non-Congress non-BJP Third Alternative. Reckoning fact is that the right from the inception the Third Alternative is continuously strengthening with support from different political parties. With every passing day the possibility of formation of an Alternative Government without BJP or Congress party at the centre after the elections is becoming more and more brighter.
The country needs a Government at the centre that would completely reverse the economic policies which have created the crisis and adopt new policies concretely directed to address the
sufferings of the people inflicted by the economic crisis. Need of the hour is protection of jobs, generation of new employment, stimulating domestic market by empowering
the people economically. Speculative economic activities must be rejected. In other words, not only dismantling of public sector must be stopped but further strengthened by fresh investment by Government.
This year’s May Day calls for intensified campaign by working class to fight communalism and religious fundamentalism. The BJP-led NDA is dangerous for their rabid communal and divisive agenda. The election manifesto of BJP has revived its ‘hindutva’ agenda and made the ‘Ram Mandir’ an
election issue. The Gujarat and Kandhmal (Orissa) carnage apart, communal riots has become the hall mark of the BJP ruled states. The BJP’s game plan is to divide the working class and divide the people.
Moreover, the fight against terrorism and the casteist forces are also very much important. On this May Day the working class of India has to take the pledge to relentlessly fight the forces pausing serious threat to national integrity, communal amity and unity of the working class till these forces are decisively defeated.
On this May Day let us remember that crores of Indian worker participated in 12 nation-wide general strikes, scores of industry-wise strikes and innumerable agitations, demonstrations and other forms of action against neo-liberalism in the country. But for these struggles of the Left Parties against UPA Government’s move to privatize banking sector and opening up insurance sector to foreign insurance companies, privatize the pension and social security funds etc, the impact of the meltdown of stock market and consequent financial crisis would have been much more severe than what the country is experiencing today. Enactment of PFRDA Bill aimed at facilitating speculation with pension funds could be stalled by the Left Political Parties and Left Trade Union movement and has saved the social security savings amounting to thousands of crores of rupees belonging to lakhs of workers from the great risk of being wiped out anytime due to down turn in stock market, as has happened in USA and European countries. Unfortunately access to Provident Fund money has been granted to private mutual funds including Reliance Capital by the UPA Government. The working class will have to fight to reverse the decision.
This May Day enjoins upon the toiling people of the country a vital responsibility to ensure the defeat of the Congress-led UPA and the BJP-led NDA in the on going parliamentary elections. At the same time the victory of the Left, Democratic and Secular Alternative must be ensured so that an Alternative Government is formed after this elections at the centre.
The Pledge of May Day 2009
This year’s May Day pledge must be to intensify class struggle at the level of nation states and to consolidate the international unity of the working class to fight the menacing burdens of the economic crisis – principally, job losses, wage freeze, casualisation of employment, deterioration in quality of employment, social security, protection of the rights of migrant workers.
Long Live International Solidarity of the Working Class
Down with Imperialist Globalisation
Down with Neo-liberal capitalist Path
Down with Capitalism
Forward to Socialism
Workers of the world, Unite! .
Prakash at Kanchipuram Meeting.
CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat began his campaign in Tamilnadu for the candidates of AIADMK led alternative front yeterday. He addressed a massive rally at Kanchipuram, which was organised by CPI(M) Kanchipuram district committee in support of AIADMK candidate Dr.E.Ramakrishnan as well as May Day fest.
After this meeting , Karat addressed a huge public meeting at Vellore , in support of AIADMK candidate Vasu.
Comrade Prakash Karat is addressing today evening a massive rally in Madurai for the Party candidate P.Mohan .
On May 2nd, he is going to attend a massive meeting at Marthandam in Kanniyakumar Constituency in support of AV.Bellarmine, CPI(M) candidate.
He will address in Cuddalore and Pudhucherry on May 5th and in Udumalpet and Coimbatore(South) on May 6th.
Photo1: People voting in Darjeeling
Photo2: People voting in Jhargram
Photo3: People voting in Gangarampur
Kolkata, 30th April- Incidents of violence, Maoist terror and intimidation marred the voting process in some parts of West Bengal, in the first phase. 14 seats went to polls on Thursday,in northern and western part of the state. The general voting trend was, however, peaceful and large number of voters exercised their right in most of the constituencies.
Maoists called for vote boycott and to enforce this created an atmosphere of terror in remote villages of Purulia district. In the morning, landmine blasts created panic in some areas of Bandwan and Balarampur areas resulting in low turn out. Two Border Security Force jawans were injured in the blast triggered by at Biramdih in Purulia district.
In Lalgarh and Shalboni, the areas seized by the Maoist-backed forces, election commission and administration arranged buses to carry voters in the four centres as determined. But the Maoists have not allowed the voters to come and there was very low turnout. In these areas as many as seven CPI(M) leaders and activists were killed during election campaign.
In three sub divisions in the hills, the polling was not free and fair in many areas due to intimidation by Gorkha Janamukti morcha in support of BJP candidate.
The polling was otherwise more or less peaceful in most of the constituencies. There was no major incident in Midnapore, Bankura,two seats in Maldaha, Coochbehar, Balurghat.In Ghatal, where CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta is contesting, Trinamool Congress candidate slapped a polling official.
“The people of the state braved the terror and voted in a determined fashion,” Biman Basu, Chairman of Left Front said at a press conference in this evening.
Discussing about a range of issues in the midst of the Lok Sabha elections, Sitaram Yechury said that there is a real yearning among the people of the country for a non-Congress and non-BJP alternative. It is such an alternative that can shift the current policy orientation to that of a pro-people centered paradigm, committed to improve the quality of life of the people.
Asked about the CPI (M)’s prospects in the current elections against the general predication that the Left may not get the same number of seats as the last time, Yechury said in India, it is never the case that an absolute strength in parliament that matters, but it has always been a question of relative strength. Asked about the possibility of forming a government without the Congress, he said that there are objective basis to that possibility. There has been a marked shift in Indian politics. In 2004, both the Congress and BJP together got less than fifty percent of votes. In the Lok Sabha, both the Congress and BJP together were less than the majority. This effectively means that there is already a non-congress and non – BJP platform that is in the majority within the Parliament. Despite such factors, any decision will be taken after the elections, based on concrete situation.
Responding to a question on why does the CPI (M) think allies of Congress party will leave and move over and what is it that they are offered, Yechury said that the offer is to form a coalition government, in which they will be part of. Notwithstanding this is also the fact that the mass following of these parties does not want any tie up with the Congress or the BJP, anymore. There is a pressure from below, on these parties not to ally with the Congress or the BJP as it has happened in the case of the AIADMK, the TDP and the BJD.
Asked about the nature of the policy changes post-elections, Yechury said that the priority is to deal with the current economic crisis that the country is facing. Both the Congress and the BJP are in a denial mode vis-à-vis the economic crisis. What it requires is a huge surge in public investment, which neither the Congress nor the BJP are committed to. The commitment so far made by the Congress led government is far too insufficient to deal the crisis of this magnitude. While the requirement is at least government spending of not less than 10 percent of the GDP, what we have witnessed so far is far too less, when compared to countries like China. While monetising deficit is important, it is also important not to forget the lessons of history, which is, no recession can be dealt without deficits.
Answering to a query if the CPI (M) would still be opposed to disinvestment, in the context of ‘slowdown’, Yechury asked if there is any real basis to the idea that such disinvestment will help bring in more investment. The task at hand to the contrary is to build and create assets, along with a concerted commitment to create more jobs. Creating employment to large sections of the people that will spur real demand should be the objective, he said. Asked about the issue of bringing in illegally stashes money from abroad, Yechury said that the issue was first raised by the CPI (M) on 23rd February, 2009. This is not to claim ownership of the idea, but to point out why we are skeptical about the concern of the BJP in brining up the issue. What made such huge chunk of money flight from the country in the first place, are the policies pursued by the BJP when in power. Removal of FERA, emphasis on the Mauritius route, removal of long terms capital gains tax and permitting participatory notes in stock markets. These contributed in a very large way to the phenomenon of tax evasion, not to mention the fact that taxation has been looked mainly as a source of revenue and not so much as a regulating mechanism too. So, unless these policy measures are reversed, mere talk of brining in money from abroad would not be meaningful, he argued. He also added that this is the best opportunity for India to breach secrecy and therefore the necessity for India to join the queue along with other countries like the USA and the UK.
In responding to query about the future of the nuclear deal after the elections, Yechury said that real objection to the deal, as far as the CPI (M) is concerned is the fact that stringent extraneous conditions were attached to the deal in the name of nuclear commerce, involving threats to the pursuit of an independent foreign policy. The CPI (M) will never compromise on the issue of pursuing an independent foreign policy and if there is a possibility that the deal can be reworked without involving any external conditionalities, then there are possibilities. With the change of guard in the US, which is precisely what the CPI (M) argued during the debate on the nuclear deal that India should press the ‘pause’ button and not go ahead with the deal then. With the democrats in power in the US, who are known for their commitment to non-proliferation, there exist concrete possibilities to rework the agreement, he said.
Asked if the CPI (M) will still be opposed to foreign investment, Yechury said that the CPI (M)’s stance on this is linked to three factors: that any investment should augment the productive capacity of the economy; increase technological capabilities and transfer and produce gainful employment. But this is not what we have witnessed, as in the case of foreign investment in the retail sector for instance. In times of financial uncertainty, it is important that any foreign investment caters to the real concerns and priorities of strengthening our economy, he added.
India News Network, New Delhi
April 30, 2009
A quarter century ago, Rajiv Gandhi, as India's prime minister, had infamously commented, “Calcutta is a dying city”. This affront against all that Bengal had contributed to the building of modern India and all that it stands for today has been rebuffed by the people of Bengal at every opportunity during this quarter century.
Today, his son, and Congress general secretary, echoing his father says: “This Communist government has forgotten the poor. And, instead of taking the state ahead, in the past thirty years, it has taken it at least thirty years backward”. He proceeded further to compare the levels of poverty in Bengal with those in Kalahandi in Orissa, parts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Such absurd assertions can only come from those who pay a breezy whistle stop daylong tour by helicopters without planting their feet firmly on the ground. The ground realities of Purulia, the area in Bengal referred to, compare more favourably, not only to the places referred to in Orissa, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh but also with Rae Bareily and Amethi, represented by the Congress president and the general secretary.
The Congress president, in turn, made disparaging remarks about the misuse of central funds in Bengal, levelling charges of corruption and diversion of such funds. Strange, that such charges come from the leader of the party that indulged in the worst form of political immorality with the unprecedented display of currency notes in the parliament used for buying votes to win the trust motion of the Manmohan Singh government after the Left withdrew support with the UPA's surrender to US imperialism on the nuclear deal!
A common refrain has been that the Left Front government in Bengal had not efficiently utilized the funds allocated under the National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme. The Bengal Left Front government had written to the central government that the works permitted by the NREGA were designed primarily for the arid and semi-arid areas in the country and are, therefore, not suited for such places like Bengal which have very high rainfall. The West Bengal government, therefore, had asked for permission to employ people under this scheme for works that are already permitted under various centrally sponsored schemes. This listed special irrigation and land improvement packages that include land levelling, farm bunding, fruit trees and fodder plantation, creating farm ponds, producing low cost mud bricks etc. Such works are more suitable for climatic conditions of areas like Bengal. The central government, however, refused to permit the West Bengal government from undertaking such works under the NREGA. It is the UPA government, therefore, which is responsible for not permitting the efficient and exhaustive usage of the NREGA funds in Bengal. Thus, despite the unsubstantiated attacks by the Congress leaders that the Left Front government did not give `job cards' to “lakhs of poor farmers”, the fact remains that the West Bengal government has, by now, given 95 lakh job cards to deserving poor people. All over the country, so far only 4 crore job cards have been given. In other words, West Bengal, which accounts for 8 per cent of the country's population, has distributed 25 per cent of all job cards distributed in the country.
Let us take a look at the canards being spread against the Left Front on the issue of economic development in the state. In the period of neo-liberal economic reforms, during the decade between 1993 to 2003 (the last year for which authoritative data is available) the average growth of net state domestic product was 7.10 per cent – the highest amongst the sixteen big states in India. This is well ahead of the media favorites like Maharashtra (4.74 per cent), Gujarat (5.87 per cent), Karnataka (6.27 per cent) Andhra Pradesh (5.27 per cent) and Tamilnadu (5.24 per cent). This is from a study done by the Centre for Policy Alternatives quoting statistics from the Central Statistical Organisation, the Economic Survey and RBI bulletins. Studies by the World Bank and by the deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, earlier, corroborate such findings.
In terms of per capita income, West Bengal has registered an average growth of 5.51 percent as opposed to the national average of 4.01 per cent. This has happened despite the fact that the annual population growth was 1.64, much higher than the highflying states like Tamilnadu (1.06). The study notes “without doubt, the seemingly uncontrollable and unabated migration, particularly from Bangladesh but also from Nepal and neighbouring states like Bihar and Orissa, has contributed to this relatively high growth of population. Whatever are the reasons for this we can only surmise that the rise in per capita income could have been higher if there had been no population influx into Bengal.”
The more significant aspect of West Bengal’s performance is the fact that this is a growth led by agriculture in complete contrast to the national experience, thus making it the most effective example of `inclusive growth'. Land reforms are often seen purely from the humanitarian aspect of providing a source of livelihood for those who otherwise have none. This is definitely an important aspect. But a proper rational land distribution also contributes to a growth in productivity (both land and labour) and enhances the purchasing power in the hands of a vast majority of the people who are otherwise excluded from the market. All these three aspects are visible in Bengal today. Nearly 13 lakh acres of agricultural land was acquired by the Left Front government and distributed to the landless poor (This process continues even today). Nearly 25 lakhs of people have benefited as a result. Even if one were to assume the value of one acre of land to be a conservative Rs 10 lakhs, then this land distribution amounts to Rs 1 lakh 30 thousand crores of worth of resource transfer from the rich to the poor. Such a massive redistribution of wealth has contributed to making West Bengal the fastest growing rural economy today. In addition, nearly 20 lakh sharecroppers have been recorded; meaning that the landlord cannot now evict them. They have also been conferred hereditary rights to cultivation. Combined, these two measures have radically transformed the lives of nearly 50 lakh individuals or nearly two and half to 3 crores of people if we include their families.
West Bengal is the third most intensely agricultural state in India with 76.61 per cent of its land under cultivation. However, only 28.1 of this is irrigated, unlike say Punjab which has 89.72 per cent, thanks to central projects like the Bhakra Nangal dam, the like of which are denied to Bengal. Despite this, Bengal today has the third highest average yield in India and its volume of foodgrains production is also third after Punjab and Uttar Pradesh (undivided; because of its sheer size not productivity). Today it is the country’s largest producer of rice. In the early eighties the per capita net agricultural product in West Bengal was 18 per cent lower than the national average. Today it stands over 10 per cent higher than the national average.
Despite such hard facts which explain the reality why the people of Bengal continue to repose faith in the Left Front in over seven general elections over the last three decades, the Congress leaders, in their legally new-established company with the Trinamul Congress, continue to parrot the so-called `misrule' of the Left Front. In any democracy, the people will elect that political party, which, in their opinion, is best, suited to improve their quality of life. By this yardstick, the unprecedented re-election of the Left Front in Bengal, for over three decades, must inform all of us that the people continue to repose faith in the Left Front because of the improvements that they have seen in their quality of life.
This fact was often sought to be negated in the past by hurling charges of `scientific rigging'. Succumbing to such unfounded charges, the Election Commission in the 2006 elections to the state Assembly, decided to conduct them in five phases by drawing security forces and electoral personnel from outside Bengal as the local people were allegedly `pro-CPI (M)'. At that stage, we had told the Election Commission that as long as they do not bring voters from outside Bengal, no one could defeat the Left Front! The 2006 results hailed by all, including the Trinamul chief Mamta Banerjee as being completely free and fair, gave the Left Front a larger than two-third majority in the Assembly.
Thus, saying that the Left Front subjected Bengal to a three-decade long misrule is tantamount to insulting the people of Bengal and the electoral choices that they have made on the basis of their experiences. Bengal's electorate, shall, once again, reply to such insinuations in as appropriate a manner as they had done in the past.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Rajender Sharma reports from Supaul:
SUPAUL is the headquarters of one of the three districts that fall in the Kosi division of Bihar. But what distinguishes this decrepit town from other district headquarters is the District Jail here. It is another thing that this prison house is just an old-style though specious building. You have to visit this jail if you want to meet Balram Singh Yadav, the CPI(M)’s candidate for the Supaul Lok Sabha seat. Moreover, here you can only see him from the other side of the iron bars in a barrack type room, from 11 a m to 12.30 p m. The room is full of visitors in this period everyday and you can meet Yadav only when these regular visitors vacate this place on the consideration that you have come from afar to meet Yadav.
Yadav was arrested just outside the District Election Office when he came out after filing his nomination papers. Unlike Varun Gandhi of the BJP, he was not involved in inciting the basest feelings against a particular religious community. Nor was he accused of breach of social peace. Yet he is behind the bars for over a month and a half, and the probability is that he would not be allowed to come out at least till the polling is over. It is obvious that even the highest court of the land is not going to allow this militant communist leader to come out on parole.
Yadav faces the charge of dacoity under Article 395 IPC, in connection with the Raghopur incident, along with as many as 32 more CPI(M) and Kisan Sabha workers. In fact, these other workers are in jail for about four months.
The case pertains to the situation in all the three districts of the Kosi division – Saharsa, Supaul and Madhepura – after the breach in the Kusaha dam on the Kosi river in Nepal. Though the breach caused devastating floods in these districts, the state as well as the central government displayed extreme callousness towards the agony of the flood victims. The floods have worsened the already huge problem of endemic migration of people from this district. If anyone came forward to fight for these poor and hapless flood victims who had lost everything, it was the workers of the CPI(M) and the mass organisations led by the Party.
Though the Nitish government of Bihar promised to provide foodgrains to the flood victims for one year, it refused to do so just after one month. The CPI(M) then came forward to give expression to and mobilise the flood victims’ agony and anger. There were gheraos of the tehsil and district headquarters, curfews imposed by the flood victims and other militant actions, causing desperation to the JD(U)-BJP government. In Raghopur, tens of thousands of people gheraoed the government godown to demand implementation of the chief minister’s promise of grain distribution, and government officials simply ran away in face of the people’s fury. The agitating flood victims then distributed the grains among themselves.
At the behest of the state government, then, the administration and the police implicated more than 500 persons including prominent CPI(M) leaders in a case of dacoity. Though Balram Singh Yadav was nowhere near the spot on the day and was addressing a mass meeting in far-away Balua Bazar town at that time, he too was implicated in the case.
It is not surprising that Yadav’s appeal to the people, for their support in return for his sacrifices, is touching the people’s sentiments. He is undoubtedly a fighting and reliable leader of the area. He is pitted against the sitting MP, Mrs Ranjana Yadav, who deserted the LJP to land in the Congress camp, and against the LJP candidate Suryanarayan Yadav who was involved in the parliamentarians bribery case during the P V Narasimha Rao regime. The JD(U)-BJP alliance has put up Vishwamohan Kumar, an MLA, who Nitish Kumar had ousted from his ministry for poor performance.
However, despite his popularity among and support from the people, the incarceration of the CPI(M) candidate and dozens of Party workers is posing a severe problem in the way of mass mobilisation during the poll campaign. Can the Party overcome this obstacle before the April 30 polling? This was the basic question facing the Party in Supaul.
--- Rajendra Sharma from Supaul
ADDRESSING a crowded press conference at Patna on April 28 afternoon, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury appealed to the secular parties to unite for the formation of a secular, non-Congress government at the centre. In this context he reminded that all the governments formed at the centre since 1996 have been coalition governments. This press conference was the last item in the CPI(M) leader’s three-day election programme; soon after the election campaign for the third phase of polls in the state also ended.
Earlier, Yechury made an appeal to the people, through another press conference, to send the CPI’s nominee to the Lok Sabha from Begusarai. The appeal underlined the mutual understanding reached by the Left parties in the state. It is because of this understanding among the CPI(M), CPI and CPI(ML) that Shatrughna Prasad Singh, a veteran CPI leader, was reportedly having an upper hand in Begusarai, giving a tough time to the JD(U)-BJP as well as the RJD-LJP candidate.
The appeal made by Yechury on the eve of the last phase of polling in the state, though it involved a change in the CPI(M) leader’s pre-planned itinerary, added to the enthusiasm with which the Left cadre were running their poll campaign in the state.
Polling would take place for 11 seats in the third phase (April 30), while the last three seats would go to polls in the fourth phase (May 7). Polling had earlier taken place in 13 seats in the first and second phases each.
Out of the five seats the CPI(M) is contesting in the state, two would go to polls in the third phase. These are Bhagalpur and Supaul.
Yechury’s itinerary in the state started on April 26, from Bhagalpur. Former Lok Sabha member and an important kisan leader, Subodh Rai, is the CPI(M) candidate here. Rai represented the seat from 1999 to 2004 while he was at second position in the 2004 polls, with more than 30 per cent of the votes polled. The area has been an old mass base of the Communist Party, with a tradition of land struggles. While the CPI(M) has its organisation in a large part of the rural areas here, the CPI too has its presence in some pockets. The understanding reached among the Left parties has, therefore, enhanced the chances of the CPI(M) candidate’s victory this time. The coming together of the Left parties has also enthused the weavers of this traditional textile centre. These people, most of them Muslims, have been facing a severe crisis for years together.
In Bhagalpur, the BJP has again put up Shahnawaz Hussein, known as the Muslim mask of this communal party. He was the lone Muslim among the BJP members in 14th Lok Sabha. In 2004, he had promised to make Bhagalpur a secure city and ensure the availability of power and civic amenities, among other things, but he did precious little to fulfil his assurances, which has angered the people of the area. The RJD-LJP alliance has put up Shakuni Chaudhari who is notorious for petty politicking and jugglery, just what his name suggests. In contrast to both, the CPI(M)’s nominee is known for his clean and fighting image, and his stint in Lok Sabha further added to this image. Not surprisingly, Rai is giving both the alliances a tough fight.
On April 26, in support of Subodh Rai, Yechury addressed mass meetings at the headquarters of the Kahalgaon and Nathnagar assembly segments of Bhagalpur Lok Sabha seat, appealing to the people of Bihar to make their precious contribution to the political change the whole country is waiting for. He pointed out that there is no guarantee of implementation of alternative pro-people policies if a secular, non-Congress government is not installed at the centre. This demands that a large number of representatives of the Left are sent to the Lok Sabha.
Yechury forcefully rebuffed the criticism that attempts to form a secular, non-Congress alternative go in the favour of the BJP only. He reminded that it was only the Congress party’s omissions and commissions which brought the BJP to power in several states since 2004. on the contrary, the BJP has been unable to open its account in the three states which are the Left strongholds. It is only because the Left is able to provide a secular alternative to the Congress in these states.
Another oft-repeated criticism is that the politics of a third alternative involves political instability. Rebuffing this criticism, Yechury pointed out that it was the supporting parties that destabilised the third front governments in the past. That is why the CPI(M) has appealed to the people to give a decisive mandate for a secular alternative this time.
CPI(M) candidate Subodh Rai and its state secretariat member, Sarvodaya Sharma, also addressed these meetings.
On April 27, Yechury had had, in a sense, road shows in the Bepur and Gopalpur assembly segments in the same Lok Sabha constituency. He addressed five meetings while passing through these assembly constituencies. The latter were recently added to Bhagalpur Lok Sabha seat.
Yechury’s next programme was in the Supaul constituency in Kosi division, where he addressed mass meetings at Jadia, Chhatapur and Triveniganj in favour of the CPI(M)’s Balram Singh Yadav, widely known as a militant kisan leader.
Supaul is distinct from other Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar and has an importance of its own. The reason is that here the CPI(M) candidate, supported by the entire Left, is contesting from behind the bars. Balram Singh Yadav was arrested as soon as he came out of the Election Office after filing his nomination papers. Then the state administration tried all means at its disposal to ensure that he could not come out of jail before the polling ended. It is another thing that the ruling coterie is unable to face the wave of opposition that this conspiracy of somehow keeping Yadav in jail has evoked.
After the devastating floods in the Kosi river last year, the victims were unable to get the relief that had been announced by the central as well as state government, and the people’s mobilisation for the announced relief led to a gherao of the government’s foodgrains godown in Raghopur by tens of thousands of people. But when the administration still failed to come to its senses, the agitating people invaded the godown and distributed the grains among the flood victims. It is in that case that a criminal case was filed and more than three dozen leading CPI(M) and Kisan Sabha workers have been kept in jail for more than three months. Though Yadav was not in Raghopur on the day the said incident occurred, he was implicated in it under a well-thought out conspiracy, and later arrested and jailed in mid-March.
However, Yadav’s role in the whole struggle for flood relief is well known in the constituency and his candidature for the Lok Sabha has given a boost to the agitating flood victims’ morale. It is now being viewed as a part of the peasant population’s struggle here, and as a symbol of resistance to the whole cycle of the Nitish government’s repression. Yadav’s candidature is also posing a challenge to the ruling class politics of opportunism which today the wife of Pappu Yadav, a notorious criminal, represents here. It is known all over that this lady is nothing but a mask for her husband’s political ambitions. Incidentally, Pappu Yadav’s wife was last time elected from Supaul on the ticket of the Lok Janshakti Party of Ram Vilas Paswan, but the couple deserted the latter on the eve of the latest poll process and joined the Congress.
It was therefore in the fitness of things that the series of CPI(M)’s mass meetings in this important Lok Sabha constituency concluded with one addressed by Yechury.
Earlier, CPI(M) central committee member and All India Democratic Women’s Association president, Subhashini Ali, addressed five mass meetings on April 14 and 25, in favour of the party candidate here. Before her, on April 21, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat had addressed election meetings of the party in Kumarkhand and Singheshwar.
Guwahati, April 29, 2009
The election scenario in Assam has been hazy and the prospects of the contending parties are still unpredictable. It has been a seemingly waveless election and the campaign largely media driven. There was, however, perceptible anti-incumbancy sentiment, if not wave, sweeping across the state.
Sporadic incidents of extremist violence and subversive activities became a cause of worry on the eve of the elections. The stepped up extremist offensives of the banned outfits in Karbi-Anglong and North Cachar vitiated the atmosphere and affected electioneering in the two hill districts. In the Brahmaputra valley, too, the situation was not quite condusive, free and fair. Stray but frequent incidents of bomb-blasts and extremist attacks left several persons dead in the run-up to the elections. In the capital city of Guwahati alone, at least 10 persons were killed since the announcement of the poll schedule.
Of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Assam, the ruling Congress put up its candidates in 13 seats leaving one seat — Kokrajhar to its coalition partner — the Bodo People's Front (BPF). However, the BPF has fielded its own candidate in Mangaldoi LS constituency against the Congress nominee and the two parties are engaged in 'friendly' fight in the seat. In the 2006 Assembly polls, the Hagrama Mahilary-led BPF won 11 of the 126 seats and extended support to Mr. Tarun Gogoi-led Congress-BPF coalition government.
Although the BJP has been licking its wounds inflicted by its former allies in most States, it has been able to thrash out an alliance with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) in Assam. The AGP has been forced to become a junior partner by getting only six of the 14 LS seats. The regional party has still been facing hit from a substantial section of its workers and supporters who were angry with the leadership for joining hands with the communal BJP. The AGP is on the backfoot for the unholy alliance and the issue has virtually become a thorn in the flesh of its leadership. Although it has stitched up an alliance with the BJP, the regional party still maintains that it is not a constituent of the BJP-led NDA.
The Rabiram Narzary-led Bodo People's Progressive Front (BPPF) has snapped its ties with the AGP on the eve of the elections. Cracks had appeared in the two party alliance after AGP joined hands with the BJP and decided to put up its own candidate for the Kokrajhar seat. The unprincipled alliance and opportunistic position of the AGP harmed secular-unity in the State.
Barring the left Parties and the relatively new Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF), the non-Congress and non-BJP opposition Parties have little presence and influence in the State. The CPI(M) is the strongest among the left in terms of organisation and influence, area and base. The party tried to consolidate the left unity and to work out seat-sharing arrangements with other secular parties to ensure the defeat of the Congress-BPF and the BJP-AGP combines.
The non-BJP and non-Congress parties, popularly called third force, represented by the CPI(M), CPI, NCP, AUDF and BPPF have tried to build up unity and enter into electoral adjustments. Several rounds of bi-lateral and multi-lateral discussions were also held and it had evoked wide response among the voters who were disenchanted with the ruling Congress-led dispensation and who were not willing to go with the AGP-BJP combine. The seat sharing arrangements, however, could not be properly and smoothy materialised. The big-brotherly and intransigent attitude of the AUDF was largely responsible for the crack in unity among the parties. The unilateral declaration of candidatures by the AUDF before the finalisation of the seat sharing deal hampered the prospects of the third force.
The CPI(M) decided to contest in three seats — Barpeta, Tezpur and Silchar. While the talks were in progress, the AUDF unilaterally fielded its own candidates in all the three seats claimed by the CPI(M). In the Guwahati seat, too, despite a formal agreement to leave the seat to the NCP, the AUDF hurriedly decided to put up its own candidate at the last hour of filing nomination papers. However, despite the internal contradictions and fragile unity, the emergence of the third force has made the contests triangular.
The CPI(M) has put up candidates in three constituencies. It has fielded Durge Deka for the Barpeta seat, Jiten Sundi for the Tezpur seat and Deepak Bhattacharyya for the Silchar seat. Twice represented by senior party leader Uddhab Barman, in 1991 and 1996, the prestigious Barpeta seat is presently represented by the Congress. In the 2004 elections, the Congress candidate A.F. Golam Osmani, who passed away on March 31 last following protracted illness, won the seat. The Tezpur seat is presently held by M. K. Subba of the Congress and the Silchar seat is represented by Union Minister and Congress leader Santosh Mohan Dev.
The CPI (M) has extended support to the CPI candidates in Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur LS seats. It has also supported the Forward Block candidate for the Nagaon seat. The Party had decided to back the NCP candidates in Guwahati and Autonomous District (Diphu) seats while extending support to the BPPF candiates in Kokrajhar and Mangaldoi seats. For the remaining three seats at Dhubri, Karimganj and Kaliabor, the CPI(M) appealed to the voters to cast their votes in favour of non-Congress secular parties.
The AUDF has put up candidates in nine of the 14 LS seats with its president Badruddin Ajmal contesting from two seats — Silchar and Dhubri. Perfume baron Ajmal's brother Sirajuddin Ajmal is also contesting from two seats of the Nagaon and Kaliabor. Both the brothers are presently members of the Assam Assembly. The AUDF with a sizeable minority support base has emerged as a threat to the poll prospects of the ruling Congress in Assam. The State, a traditional Congress bastion has nine MPs from the ruling party. But the emergence of relatively new AUDF since the last Assembly elections in 2006 has made the going difficult for the Congress and it wil certainly spoil the chances of the Congress candidates in a number of seats. The Congress has alleged that the AUDF had entered into a 'secret understanding' with the AGP-BJP combine to defeat the ruling party in the parliamentary polls.
Issues Ignored by Major Parties
The performance of the Tarun Gogoi-led coalition government in Assam has been disappointing. The neo-liberal economic policies of the UPA government has been spelling disaster in the backward State. Now the Congress has been facing a challenging task as most of the 14 LS seats are set to witness triangular contest involving the Congress-BPF coalition. BJP-AGP combine and the Parties of the third force.
In the 2004 elections, the Congress won nine seats while the AGP and the BJP captured two seats each. One seat went to an independent candidate, backed by the All Bodo Students' Union, who later joined the BPF. The Congress secured 35.07 per cent of votes, the BJP 22.94 per cent and the AGP 19.25 per cent.
The run-up to the Lok Sabha elections has made many in the State question the stances of major parties vis-a-vis crucial issues which they believe should have been in the centre of political debate and discussions, but which have either been marginalised or simply ignored. The Congress, BJP and the AGP were least concerned with the issues concerning people and were indulging in mud-slinging and petty quarrels.
The AGP-BJP combine had little in common on the issues confronting the State. The BJP's views on issues like illegal migration, re-structuring of centre-state relations etc. are not similar with the views expressed by the AGP. On the development of Assam, too, the six-year rule of the BJP-led dispensation had done precious little. The BJP leader L. K. Advani had choosen Kheroni in Karbi-Anglong as the venue of his first election rally in Assam and said, his Party was sympathetic to the demand for the creation of two autonomous districts of Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills as an Autonomous State within Assam under the provision of Article 244-A of the Constitution. This would, in fact, mean another division of Assam. The BJP's stance on this issue exposed its oppotunistic readiness to make any compromise to win power. It is widely believed, BJP's money power had a big role in stitching up an alliance with the AGP. The alliance, however, suffered a jolt when the nomination of the BJP candidate for the Dhubri constituency was rejected on the ground that he had not submitted the mandatory A-B forms along with the nomination papers.
BPF chief Hagrama Mahilary has stated that the extremist outfit NDFB, currently under ceasefire agreement, helped some Congress candidates for the current Lok Sabha elections in lieu of money. Interestingly, the BPF is a coalition partner of the ruling Congress. Mr. Mahilary, who is also the chief of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), accused the NDFB of helping some BJP and AUDF candidates in the elections in lieu of money. He also revealed that he himself had paid money to the NDFB in 2004 LS polls. The extremist outfit, too, issued statements and admitted that it supported Congress candidate at Tezpur and BJP candidates at Mangaldoi and Guwahati for the current elections. However, the Congress, the BJP and the AUDF are yet to make any official reaction to the accusation that the NDFB helped some of the candidates of the respective parties in exchange of money.
CPI(M) Highlights People's Sufferings
Apart from popularising the national issues incorporated in the CPI(M) Manifesto, the State unit of the Party also published an appeal to the electorate and focussed on certain state-specific issues the people are confronted with.
The State-specific issues were : speedy development of Assam with priority in infrastructure and employment generation, rapid industrialisation on the basis of huge natural resources, solution to the problems of floods and erosion and expansion of irrigation facilities, sealing of Indo-Bangla border and updating of the National Register of Citizenship (NRC), proper implementation and expansion of the NREGA schems, solutions to the problems of terrorism and extremism etc.
The CPI(M) Polit Bureau members, Sitaram Yechury and Brinda Karat adressed a number of well organised election rallies alongwith the state-leaders in Tezpur and Barpeta constituencies. CPI(M) central secretariat member Nilotpal Bosu and central committee members Badal Chaudhury, Tapan Sen and Noorul Huda also participated in electioneering in the three constituencies where CPI(M) has fielded candidates. Similarly, former M.P. Deepankar Mukherjee, Rajya Sabha member Moinul Hussain and DYFI General Secretary Tapas Sinha addressed election meetings in the state.
A day after Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat hit the roads to campaign for the CPI(M) candidates for the Barpeta and Tezpur constituencies, Sitaram Yechury addressed two election meetings at Manikpur and Bongaigaon on April 19 in support of the party nominee Durge Deka.
Addressing the huge gatherings, Sitaram Yechury said, "for the sake of Assam's development, I request you all to usher in a change in the political scenario by voting for the CPI(M)". He further added, the third forces had put its full strength and effort to bring the real issues — growing job losses, agrarian crisis, price rise and corruption — before the people and it was finding growing support among the people. He asserted that only a third alternative could ensure India's political, social and economic transformation.
Brinda Karat, addressing rallies at Dhekiajuli, Balipara, Jamuguri, Tezpur, Chamata and Pathsala under Tezpur and Barpeta LS seats on April 17 and 18 exuded confidence that the third forces were all set to form an alternative government at the centre. Warning that the continuance of the Congress government would spell doom for the whole country, Brinda urged the people to vote for the CPI(M) and the secular forces which aimed at protecting the farmers, working class, rural people, women and youth.
CCM Tapan Sen addressed meetings at Bahari in Barpeta and at Tezpur on 30-31 March. Ex-MP Deepankar Mukherjee campaigned at Bongaigaon, Kayakuchi, Kalgachia, Mandia , Pathsala and Barpeta Town on 3-5 April. Nilotpal Bosu addressed well-attended meetings at Dhekiajuli, Rangapara, Biswanath Chariali and Tezpur on 8-9 April. The Silchar constituency in Barak Valley was covered and election meetings were addressed by Tripura Minister and CCM Badal Chaudhury, CCM Noorum Huda and DYFI General Secretary Tapas Sinha. Rajya Sabha member Moinul Husain addressed meetings at Kalgachia, Barbala, Palhaji etc. under Barpeta seat on April 19. Most of the meetings were also attended and addressed by senior state leaders of the Party including the two CCMs — Uddhab Barman and Hemen Das.
Polling By And Large Peaceful : Stray Incidents of Violence
An estimated 69.51 per cent votes were cast for the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Assam. The two phase elections, scheduled for April 16 and 23, came to a close when polling for the second and final phase was over on April 23. There were 1,74,68,958 electors for the 14 seats. A total of 158 candidates were in the fray.
In the first phase of polling in three constituencies that went to polls on April 16, 64.37 per cent votes were cast in Karimganj LS seat, 70.60 per cent in Silchar seat and 69.36 per cent in Diphu seat. The polling was marred by sporadic incidents of rigging and snatching of EVMs. There were reports of clashes between the workers of the Congress and the AUDF at North Hailakandi under Karimganj LS constituency. Polling was by and large peaceful in the two hill districts of Karbi-Anglong and North Cachar under Autonomous District (Diphu) constituency that witnessed a spurt in extremist violence during the run-up to the polls.
69.82 per cent votes were cast in the second and final phase of polling on April 23 for the remaining 11 seats. However, 12 booths under four LS constituencies of Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur, Dhubri and Tezpur recorded nil polling with the voters boycotting to register protest against local problems. The second phase of polling, too, was by and large peaceful barring stray incidents of violence, rigging attempts and group clashes. In one incident of violence on the polling day, miscreants hacked to death a district leader of the AUDF at a place under Mornoi police station of Dhubri LS constituency. A host of senior Bodo leaders, including sitting MP and candidate for the Kokrajhar constituency S.K. Bwismuthiary, ducked indiscriminate bullets and escaped as miscreants fired on a convoy near Panbari under Gosaigaon P.S. in Kokrajhar district on April 24, a day after the polling.
The repoll in 14 polling stations under Kokrajhar, Mangaldoi and Jorhat parliamentary constituencies passed off peacefully on April 26 with an estimated 64.66 per cent polling amid tight security. Repoll was also held in five booths where first phase of polling was held.
New Delhi, April 29: We are releasing herewith a letter addressed to the Chief Election Commissioner by Prakash Karat, CPI(M) General Secretary, on the situation prevailing in the Madurai Parliamentary Constituency in Tamilnadu where the CPI(M) candidate P. Mohan is pitted against the DMK candidate and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's son M K Azaghiri.
Text of the Letter
April 28, 2009
The Chief Election Commissioner
Election Commission of India
Dear Shri Chawla,
I am writing to you regarding the situation prevailing in the Madurai Lok Sabha constituency in Tamilnadu. Our Party candidate, Shri P. Mohan, is contesting this seat. The DMK has put up M.K. Azhagiri, who is the son of the Chief of the state. The past few weeks have witnessed gross misuse of the official machinery and an unprecedented use of money and goods to lure voters. There have been physical attacks against the CPI(M) workers including an MLA.
In a recent by-election to the legislative assembly in Thirumangalam in Tamilnadu, there was an unprecedented use of money power. What we are witnessing in Madurai is Thirumangalam on a larger scale.
I am enclosing a note listing out the complaints made by our Party and the candidate's election agent. No effective and serious steps have been taken to stop the malpractices and ensure a free and fair poll.
I urge you therefore to intervene in the matter and see that the District Election Officer, the City Police Commissioner and the Public Relations Officer are immediately transferred out of their present responsibilities. Impartial offices must be assigned poll duties. The Commission should send special observers to see that there is no misuse of the official machinery and the blatant violation of the Model Code of Conduct is put a halt to.
I wish to emphasise that immediate action needs to be taken if the polls are not to be vitiated in Madurai.
encl: Note on the situation in Madurai Parliamentary Constituency
NOTE ON MISUSE OF OFFICIAL MACHINERY, VIOLATION OF MODEL CODE, ADOPTING UNFAIR/UNLAWFUL METHODS FOR SOLICITING VOTES AND FAILURE OF THE DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION TO STOP ALL THESE ACTIVITIES IN THE GENERAL ELECTIONS (2009) FOR THE MADURAI PARLIAMENTARY CONSTITUENCY IN TAMILNADU
The Communist Party of India (Marxist), which is contesting the 15thGeneral Elections (2009) from the Madurai Parliamentary Constituency has been continuously bringing to the knowledge of the Chief Electoral Officer, Tamilnadu about various forms of malpractices and misuse of official machinery by the ruling party to influence the voters in the elections. Though various well meaning warnings had been issued by the CEO it had little effect on such nefarious activities of the ruling party and its leaders here and such activities are on the increase as the date of election draws closer. The ruling DMK and its candidate had invented new forms to bribe the voters and influence their decision. The District administration instead of intervening for the conduct of free and fair elections is aiding and abetting the unlawful methods adopted by the DMK candidate. The instances listed below explain the nature of such complaints given by the District Secretary, MLA and Election Agent of our party and other wings of the party.
1. Complaint against distribution of consumer goods to voters by the DMK (dated 03.03.2009)
2. Complaint against conducting Medical camp in the name of birthday celebration of the DMK candidate (dated 03.03.2009)
3. Complaint against the District Election Officer for not taking action against violation of model code of conduct (dated 05.03.2009)
4. Complaint against bulk applications for inclusion in the voters list (dated 20.03.2009)
5. Complaint against distribution of cash, sarees etc to the voters by the DMK and distribution of cash to self help groups (dated 28.03.2009)
6. Complaint against distribution of money to the voters by the DMK (dated 31.03.2009)
7. Complaint against using the marriage halls for preparing pockets of cash by the DMK (dated 03.04.2009)
8. Complaint on utilising places of worship for electoral campaign by DMK candidate (dated 08.04.2009)
9. Complaint by Nanmaran MLA (CPI –M) for changing the District Collector of Madurai for his partisan behaviour (dated 15.04.2009)
10.Complaint of inaction by the police against the murderous attack on Mr.Vijaya Rajan party member (dated 15.04.2009)
11.Complaint against disruption of CPI (M) election meeting by DMK men (dated 16.04.2009)
12.Complaint against misuse of police machinery to arrest our cadres on false complaints by the ruling party (dated 16.04.2009)
13.Complaint against inaction by the police against the murderous attack on Mr.Nanmaran.MLA (dated 17.04.2009)
14.Complaint against misuse of office by the Public Relations Officer for electoral campaigns of the DMK candidate (dated 18.04.2009)
15.Complaint against distribution of ‘tokens’ to the voters by the DMK men in Madurai Lok Sabha constituency (dated 22.04.2009)).
Many of these complaints were handed over to the Chief Electoral Officer in the state then and there. In spite of bringing these things to the notice of the authorities in time, no serious action for stopping such activities has been taken so far. This had strengthened the hands of the perpetrators of such unlawful electioneering methods. If the District Election Officer, City Commissioner of Police and the PRO are not immediately transferred out of their present assignment, the election in Madurai Parliamentary constituency would become a farce.
We urge the Election Commission to take immediate measures to stop the gross malpractices occuring in this parliamentary constituency. We request you to post honest and impartial officials for poll duties in the constituency. We also request you to send special observers in view of the blatant use of illegal money power and misuse of official machinery.
People of Bihar would also vote against the Congress and BJP as in the rest of the country –Sitaram Yechury
Sitaram Yechury sharply attacked Congress and BJP for their pro-US economic and foreign policies. He asserted that it was due to the unvarying resistance of the left parties both inside and outside the parliament that the full impacts of the worldwide economic recession could be avoided in this country. He said that the people of Bihar would also vote against the Congress and BJP as is the case in the rest of the country.
He addressed several meetings in Nathnagar, Kahalgaon, Thana Bihpur, Gopalpur in Bhagalpur constituency and in Jadia, Chhaatapur, Triveniganj in Supaul constituency. He came down heavily on government for putting Balram Singh Yadav, CPI(M)’s candidate in Supaul in jail just before elections. Yechury said that it was ironical that convicted criminals are roaming free and organizing anti-social elements for the Congress (I) whereas Balram Singh Yadav who fought for the people and ensured that flood victims get adequate relief is still in jail. He appealed to the people to give fitting rebuffs to the criminal-politicians nexus of the Bourgeoisie political parties by voting in favour of Balram Singh Yadav and making him victorious.
He addressed a crowded press conference on 28th April in Begusarai and appealed to the people of Begusarai to make the CPI candidate in Begusarai victorious as has been the traditions of Leningrad of Bihar.
Sitaram Yechury later addressed a press conference on the same afternoon in Patna at the state committee office of the CPI (M). He appealed to all secular parties to join in post-poll efforts to form a non-Congress and non-BJP government at the center. He also criticized Congress and BJP for projecting PM before the elections as this was contrary to the spirit of the Constitution as in parliamentary democracy people first elect their representatives who in turn elect the leader of the Lok Sabha who then becomes the Prime Minister. Yechury cited the example of Late. Indira Gandhi who lost her elections in Rae Barelliy in 1977 thus loosing any option to become the PM. He called such attempts as insult to the people of this country.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Congress leader Mr. Rahul Gandhi has criticised the Left Front government for lack of development in West Bengal during his election campaign in the State. He has said that the situation in Puruliya is even worse than Kalahandi. The prince of Congress himself is an M.P. from Amethi in Sultanpur district in Uttar Pradesh. The Amethi and the Raebareli constituencies by virtue of traditionally being the constituencies of Gandhi family have got an undue favour from the central Government. Yet, the data says that these constituencies are closer to Kalahandi vis-a-vis underdevelopment instead of Puruliya, as Rahul Gandhi would have us believe. In certain aspects, they are even worse than Kalahandi.
If we look at the index of economic and social development, Puruliya is way ahead of Raebareli and Amethi. These indices are constructed by national sample survey, ‘Bharat Nirman’ project, department of rural development etc. Indices regarding health, education, infrastructure are taken from household and facility survey-3 of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. Even from the constituency level data given in the website of Indicus Analytics, it is clear that Mr. Rahul Gandhi, or his team of political advisors, has not done minimum ‘homework’ before speaking in public.
Raebareli – Amethi – Kalahandi versus Puruliya Constituency: Some Indicators
Puruliya Amethi Raebareli Kalahandi Indices 2004 2008 2004 2008 2004 2008 2004 2008 BPL Population (%) 24 20 47 44 53 58 57 59 Literacy Rate (%) 59 63 59 64 58 63 49 53 Urban Population (%) 10 11 7 7 10 10 7 7 Immunized children (%) 71 84 20 16 20 16 42 41 Under 5 Mortality Rate (%) 9.8 8.9 17.8 16.0 17.6 15.6 19.7 17.8 Infant Mortality Rate (%) 4.9 4.6 8.8 8.3 8.6 7.9 9.8 9.4 Households with Electricity Connection (%) 23 29 27 14 22 26 17 24 Houses with Landline Phone (%) 4 6 5 6 4 4 4 6 Annual HH Income (Rs.) 76349 82939 48666 51447 44139 46912 44486 49004 Per Capita Expenditure (Rs) 11382 13091 11274 6156 10141 6050 7840 10662 Work Participation Rate (%) 45 45 34 34 36 36 47 47 Female Work Participation Rate (%) 37 37 22 24 24 26 38 40 Agricultural Employment (%) 67 63 73 67 77 74 80 75 Secondary Sector Employment (%) 15 18 14 20 11 13 10 14
BPL Population (%)
Literacy Rate (%)
Urban Population (%)
Immunized children (%)
Under 5 Mortality Rate (%)
Infant Mortality Rate (%)
Households with Electricity Connection (%)
Houses with Landline Phone (%)
Annual HH Income (Rs.)
Per Capita Expenditure (Rs)
Work Participation Rate (%)
Female Work Participation Rate (%)
Agricultural Employment (%)
Secondary Sector Employment (%)
If we consider the proportion of population below poverty line, during 2008 in Puruliya constituency it was 20% population whereas that was 44% in Amethi,58% in Raebareli and 59% in Kalahandi. In puruliya, the proportion of the BPL population is reduced by 4% during last 4 years, whereas it has gone up in Kalahandi and Raebareli. The annual average household income has been Rs. 83 thousand in Puruliya as compared to Rs.51 thousand in Amethi, 47 thousand in Raebareli and 49 thousand in Kalahandi. Average annual Per capita consumption expenditure has been Rs. 13 thousand in Puruliya as compared to Rs. 6.2 thousand and Rs. 7.8 thousand in Amethi and Raebareli respectively which are lower than even Kalahandi (Rs. 10.7 thousand).
A district-wise study by Choudhary and Gupta (EPW, 2009) which is based on NSSO consumption survey of 2004-5 tells us that average per month per capita consumption expenditure in rural areas has been Rs. 304 in Kalahandi and Rs. 461 in Puruliya district, but for Raebareli district this was only Rs. 385. In urban areas per month per head expenditures have been Rs. 846, Rs.741 and Rs. 699 in Puruliya, Kalahandi and Raebareli respectively. According to this study the percentage of poor population in rural areas has been 70.5% in Kalahandi, 54.4% in Raebareli and 31.2% in Puruliya. The percentage of poor population in urban areas has been 60.3% in Kalahandi, 40.5% in Raebareli and 36.9% in Puruliya district. Therefore, it is clear that the poverty situation is much worse in Raebareli district than Puruliya and the former is comperatively closer to Kalahandi and not the later. However, indicators in Sultanpur district are much better, where part of the Amethi constituency is located.
According to the constituency-wise indicus data, the proportion of urban population is highest in Puruliya among Kalahandi, Amethi, Raebareli and Puruliya. The proportion of households having electricity is also heighest in Puruliya among these four constituencies during 2008. In Amethi, the work participation rate is only 34% and that in Raebareli only 36% as compared to 47% in Kalahandi and 45% in Puruliya. Work participation rate among women in Amethi is only 24% and that in Raebareli is only 26% as compared to 40% and 37% in Kalahandi and Puruliya respectively. Primary sector employment (i.e. agriculture and allied) is lowest in Puruliya during 2008 among these four constituencies. The infant mortality rate is 46 per thousand live births in Puruliya, whereas that is 83 in Amethi, 79 in Raebareli and 94 in Kalahandi. Under 5 years mortality rate is 89 per thousand in Puruliya as compared to 160 in Amethi, 156 in Raebareli and 178 in Kalahandi. Vis-a-vis immunization, Raebareli-Amethi are in medieval age - 84% children in Puruliya are fully immunized whereas only 16% children in Amethi and Raebareli are fully immunized. This percentage have come down during 2008 than 2004 for Amethi and Raebareli and it is even much lower than the Kalahandi (41%) constituency.
Raebareli – Kalahandi versus Puruliya District: Some Select Indicators(as % of the population)
have electricity connection
live in a pucca house
use piped drinking water
% children fully immunised
per capita consumption expenditure(rural)
per capita consumption expenditure(urban)
Percentage poor population (rural)
Percentage poor population (urban)
Note: Indicators 1 to 5 are for 2007-08 and are taken from the District level health survey of Minsitry of health. Indicators 6 to 9 are from Choudhary and Gupta (2009) which is based on the NSSO consumption expenditure survey of 2004-05.
The district-wise DLHS-3 data for 2007-08 shows that 27.5% households have electricity connection in Puruliya as compared to 18.3% in Kalahandi and 23.1% in Raebareli. 17.1% people live in pucca hoses in Puruliya as compared to only 1.9% in Kalahandi and 16.7% in Raebareli district. 11.3% people have access to safe piped drinking water in Puruliya district as compared to only 3% people in Kalahandi, 2.7% in Sultanpur and 9.1% in Raebareli district. 40% of total deliveries takes place as institutional delivery in Puruliya district, whereas only 27.3% in Kalahandi, only 24.3% in Raebareli and 36.6% are institutional deliveries in Kalahandi, Raebareli and Sultanpur districts respectively. In Puruliya district 84.3% children are fully immunized, whereas only 43.2% in Kalahandi, 33.1% in Raebareli and 45% children in Sultanpur district are fully immunized. Despite the presence of many remote places and substantial proportion of tribal population in Puruliya, Puruliya is far ahead of Amethi-Raebareli in respect of health service delivery.