CPI (M) is contesting the only seat of Andaman & Nicobar in the union territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Com. Tapan Bepari, state secretariat member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and former president of the state unit of the All India Kisan Sabha is the candidate for this seat. Com Tapan belongs to the weaker section of the settlers’ family. He is a lawyer by profession.
This constituency has about 3-4 lakhs of voters. Nicobar group of islands is predominantly a tribal dominated area with about 20 thousand registered voters. The Andaman group of islands is largely populated by settlers. It can be divided into north, middle and southern parts. While Bengali speaking people dominate in north and middle parts, Tamil speaking people dominate the southern part. The southern part of Andaman also has people having Telugu and Malayalam as their mother tongue. The city of Port Blair lies in the south.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has been waging important and crucial struggles in the state for last several years. One of the main issues that the party has been fighting for some time now is to have own assembly for Andaman and Nicobar. In the absence of people’s representatives in the territory, bureaucracy runs its writ there without any accountability. Corruption is rampant. The governor lives and behaves like a king. So, it is absolutely necessary that Andaman and Nicobar must have its own assembly to run its daily affairs just as other people in the rest of the country have.
Majority of Bengali speaking people who migrated here actually belong to Scheduled Castes. However, they have been denied this status. A substantial number of tribal population migrated from Jharkhand. However, they have not been given Scheduled Tribes status. OBC list has not been expanded here.
The entire territory is living in hardships. There is practically no industry in the area. Andaman was famous for plywood industries, which were closed down after SC order banned them. Unemployment is rising. Party has also demanded construction of a shipyard in the territory. It’s being announced that NREGA in Andaman and Nicobar will be implemented from this year. There is no facility for irrigation. Most of the agricultural lands are suitable for single crop in a year. PDS lies in shambles. Common people do not have access to drinking water facility in the territory.
Party has been raising all these issues in its election campaigns. Party has already covered a large area by organizing street corners meetings and public meetings at different places. Party committees at Panchayat and booth levels have been formed. Door slips at many places have been distributed. Election In Andaman and Nicobar will be held on 16 April. A big public meeting will be held on 3 rd April, which will be addressed among others by Com Sudha Sundaraman, the All India General Secretary of AIDWA. Party is confident of making crucial inroads in the elections.