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.