Tuesday, April 7, 2009

CPI (M) campaign in Assam

CPI (M) is contesting in three seats in Assam, Barpeta, Silchar and Tezpur.Durge Deka, Deepak Bhattacharya and Jiten Sundi will be our candidates respectively. In all three constituencies, CPI (M) has organized struggles on issues of the peasantry, employment, and against terrorist violence and communalism. Recent campaigns were based on issues related to improvement of agriculture and irrigation facilities, river erosion and rehabilitation of the affected people. In Barpeta and Tezpur, Kisan Sabha organized relay sit in strike for 3 days on immediate issues of the peasantry. Issues of tea garden workers were taken up at Tezpur. Party and mass organizations have also taken up issues of atrocities against women in these areas. In Barpeta and Tezpur constituencies the party and mass organisation (K.S.) have taken up the issues of proper implementation of NREGA and Forest (Tribal) Rights Act. In Barpeta and Silchar constituencies we also have fought for development of road and rail communications. The Party has consistently stood for protection of minority rights and campaigned against communalism and terrorist violence.

Campaign Issues in Assam

* Infrastructure development and creation of job opportunities for the youth.
* Expansion of educational facilities
* Development of agriculture and irrigation facilities, control of flood and erosion, floods in Assam to be addressed as a national problem.
* Proper implementation of NREGA and Forest (Tribal) Right Act. Stoppage of irregularities and corrupt practices in NREGA implementation and Rs. 120/- as the wage per day for the workers engaged in NREGA schemes.
* To fight terrorism and communalism. To hold dialogue without conditions with the extremist outfits, rehabilitation of surrendered extremists.
* ST status for the six communities — Koch Rajbongshi, Matak, Moran, Chutia, Tai Ahom and Tea garden communities.
* More power and resources to the State.
* Unity of Assam and protection of identity of ethnic groups and nationalities.
* Improvement of road and rail communication. More bridges over the river Brahmaputra. Facility for double track railway line.

The Congress-BPF coalition is running the state government. The main opposition party in the State Assembly is the Asom Gana Parisad. The State of Assam, backward economically and socially, has been rocked for many years by extremist violence and ethnic conflict. There is no industrial development in the state, the majority of state PSUs being wound up or sold to private companies. In tea gardens too, permanent employees have been retrenched. Agriculture development has shown negative growth rate for the last few years. Unemployment is growing in the state and many youth have migrated to other states for jobs. Corruption has reached unprecedented levels in recent times. It is reported in local media that development funds have been diverted to extremists. Extremist outfits continue to indulge in extortion of money, kidnapping and bomb blasts. The extremist outfits may, in some places, influence the present LS elections in the state. Ethnic conflict has grown sharper. Different ethnic groups actively are campaigning on their various demands. The six backward communities — Koch Rajbangshi, Matak, Moran, Chutia, Tai Ahom and the tea communities — continue demanding scheduled tribe status.Communal forces like the RSS-BJP have grown taking advantage of the ‘foreigner’ sentiment and are active in rousing communal passion against the Muslim community. Muslim fundamentalist forces are also active in the state. A potentially explosive situation prevails in the state. The Lok Sabha elections are held in such a situation.

This time, Congress is contesting 13 constituencies giving Kokrajhar LS seat to its coalition partner, BPF (Bodoland People's Front). In Mongaldoi constituency both Congress and BPF are in a 'friendly contest'. AGP and BJP have allied not only for the parliamentary elections but also announced to ally for 2011 Assembly elections. BJP is contesting 8 seats and AGP contesting 6 seats. This alliance of AGP-BJP will give a tough fight to the Congress-BPF alliance. AUDF (Assam United Democratic Front), a newly formed party particularly active in minority areas, has set up candidates in 8 seats. Ealier, AUDF sought adjustment of seats and held talks with NCP, CPI, CPI (M) and BPPF (Bodoland Peoples' Progressive Front) and had adjustments in 4 seats. But later, it violated the understanding. Party has understanding with CPI, NCP and BPPF. CPI is contesting 3 seats (with clash in one seat with NCP); NCP contesting 3 seats (with clash in two seats with AUDF and CPI); BPPF contesting 2 seats (with clash in one seat with AUDF). CPI has full understanding with AUDF. Our party is contesting 3 seats where AUDF also has fielded its candidates. CPI (M-L) Liberation is contesting 5 seats.

In the 3 parliamentary seats we are contesting, Assembly level and area level election committees have been formed and works planned. Election committees in each Assembly segment have tried to constitute booth committees as far as possible and to organize ground level campaigns. The committees are also organizing funds for elections. Election meetings are being held and central leaders of the party are addressing these meetings. An election declaration by the party state committee has been released.

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