A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 19, No. 01, 29 DEC 2015 – 04 JAN 2016
Defend Democracy, Resist the Fascist OffensiveIf there is one message that resonated across India all through 2015, a resonance that can only grow in the coming days as the Indian people battle their way against the continuing assault of the Modi government, it is the resolve to save democracy and save India. Only nineteen months ago Modi had flown from Ahmedabad to Delhi in that private aircraft of Adani after winning an unprecedented majority for his party in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. According to the mythology propagated by Modi and his bhakts, these nineteen months were supposed to have heralded the much promised 'achchhe din', but instead of the much awaited 'good times' what India got has rekindled the memories of the nineteen months of the infamous Indira era Emergency.
As during the Emergency, personality cult and sycophancy once again reign supreme. 'Modi-fication' is the keyword in every sphere of governance. Newspapers and television channels are full of propaganda about the leader who very much believes that the post-Independence history of this vast and diverse country was actually barren till he leapt out of the pages of mythology with his grand 'rescue mission' and 'digital vision'! And while there is no explicit media censorship today, there is veritable voluntary censorship, with large sections of the mainstream corporate media systematically reducing news to advertisement and eulogy of the ruling establishment, giving a complete go-by to the critical role of investigative and interrogative journalism in speaking truth to power and subjecting the state and the ruling dispensation to a degree of public accountability.
There are of course a couple of crucial added dimensions to the ongoing 'elected' tyranny of the Modi rule compared to the 'constitutional' Emergency of the mid-1970s. Under Modi, India has now become a key ally of the US-led world order on both domestic and foreign policy fronts, subjecting India to an unprecedented level of predatory corporate plunder and strategic imperialist intervention and yoking India firmly to the vagaries and horrors of the Western war of neo-colonial occupation and domination camouflaged as a 'war on terror'. And then there is the vicious RSS agenda of subverting the ideas and institutions of modern India to subject the country to its vision of Hindutva majoritarianism, which the RSS and its innumerable affiliates and allies are now brazenly enforcing with total impunity and complete complicity of the Modi government.
2015 has however made it abundantly clear that the people of India are not amused and are determined to resist the calamitous Modi misrule with all their might. No government in recent memory became so hugely unpopular in such a short period of time. Peasants have already forced the government to withdraw the land acquisition ordinance, workers have gone on a massive countrywide strike against the proposed anti-worker labour law amendments, students are uniting against cutbacks in scholarships and the WTO-dictated commercialisation of higher education, and in an unprecedented show of collective assertion, prominent writers, scientists, film-makers, historians and other intellectuals, have indicted the government for promoting a climate of intolerance, bigotry and fear in the country. And the protests and resistance of the people have begun to find emphatic expressions in the electoral arena as well, delivering blow after blow to the BJP's ambitious expansion plans. From Delhi to Bihar and UP to Gujarat, this has been the real big story of 2015.
We thus have a challenging stage set for 2016 to confront the Modi government with more determined opposition on every front and defeat the Sangh's design of orchestrating communal hate and turning India into a laboratory of aggressive majoritarianism. The BJP has ambitious expansion plans for the states that go to the polls in the first half of 2016 – Assam, West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu – and it will be important to check the party in each of these elections. The BJP story of the last thirty years tells us two things – that wherever the party gets hold of political power, it uses it to the hilt to advance the RSS agenda, and also that the party keeps coming back to power by exploiting every hint of political vacuum. The challenge therefore is to build on the growing anger and disillusionment of the people and the multitude of ongoing struggles against the Modi order, and shape a powerful Left resurgence.
Protest in Karnataka against Communal Organisations
The CPI(ML) and AIPF units in Karnataka have strongly condemned the threat issued by the communal fascists, and have demanded from the State's Congress Government to take urgent action against those threatening Vidya Dinker. Party and AIPF have also demanded swift action in all pending cases of communal violence and intimidation in Mangalore and Karnataka.
Vidya Dinker, a social activist and one of the National Campaign Committee member of the AIPF has lodged a police complaint against Bajrang Dal and other Sangh Parivar members for preventing the screening of a film (Dilwale) in Mangalore. After this he started receiving threats. VIdya Dinker has received similar threats in the past also for opposing the fascists and communal forces. The Congress Govt has not taken any action against the goons so far.
This is yet another instance of Congress condoning communal incidents in Karnataka, in effect, trying to appease the communal forces in the state. The incident also reflects the complete ineffectiveness of the state government and growing saffronisation of police machinery in the State and particularly in Dakshin Kannada district. CPI(ML) (Liberation) and AIPF have decided to organise protests against the growing acts of communal intolerance and intimidation in the state, including extending unflinching support to protest actions in support of Vidya Dinker.
Jharkhand Panchayat Elections
CPI(ML) Emerges as the Biggest Party in Terms of Seats in Giridih District
The three stage panchayat elections in Jharkhand concluded on 12 December and results were out by 24 December. CPI(ML) candidates secured total 14 Zila Parishad seats including 11 in Giridih, 1 in Koderma, 1 in Dhanbad and 1 in Jamtada, but in terms of votes and seats-wise performance our party's profile has certainly improved from the last time.
In Giridih CPI(ML) emerged as the single largest party and won 11 Zila Parishad seats. The party has won 6 out of 9 seats in Bagodar, while it was second on two seats and third in one seat; In Dhanwar we have won 3 of the 9 seats, second by a narrow margin on 4 seats and third on 2 seats; and won 2 seats in Jamua, and lost by narrow margin on 3 seats, and were in contest in the remaining 4 seats too. In the 3 assembly constituencies of Giridih CPI(ML) was emerged as the leading party both in terms of seats as well as total votes, and as the biggest party in Giridih.
In the Dhanbad district's Nirsa constituency we have won on one seat whereas we are second on 2 seats, while won on one seat in Koderma, and lost on one by a narrow margin.
Party candidates have secured more than 20 thousand votes only from two council seats in Koderma. In Barkatta, we have got more than 10 thousand votes. We were in contest on 3 of the 8 seats contested in Panki of Palamu district and here too more than 10 thousand votes.
In the three-tier panchayati system in Jharkhand, the lowest tier is that of panchayat whose elected candidate is called a mukhiya. As a continuation of ruling class parties' political culture of money-muscle power, highest aspiration has been seen in this tier only regarding getting elected as a mukhiya. Barring a few exceptions, this post has seen most rampant corruption. The Party, on the contrary views these elections as an opportunity to transform the panchayati system into a people's welfare forum, by simultaneously using it as a platform of sharpening the struggles of rural poor against the existing political hold of the vested interests. At this level various kinds of power brokers and government officials form a nexus for corruption to flourish. CPI(ML) encourage mukhiyas to publicy declare their commitment towards fighting corruption. A strong presence or our control in panchayat samitis helps people in sharpening the struggle against corruption.
The panchayat and zila parishad (district council) elections in Jharkhand are officially not conducted on political party banners. This gives ample space to allow money power to be able to wrest control on important posts. The candidates elected by the people for panchayats, vote further to elect District President and Block Pramukh. These posts should also be demanded to be voted for directly by the people. Though not overtly violent, the stakes in these elections of vested interests have resulted in reports of arson, murdering opposing candidates and even few incidents of rape of the children of candidates as per reports from the State.
CPI(ML) candidates tried to present a wholesome agenda for the entire panchayats. This emphasis was most successfully manifested in Giridih poll outcome where it has won 101 panchayat samiti seats and is now hopeful of successful contests towards block pramukh posts in Bagodar, Birni, Dhanwar and Ganwan. The BJP is trying its bit to foil people's manifested unity and rising aspirations at panchayat level.
The Party has registered itself as a winning, second or third force in about 300 panchayats. People's expectations from us have increased. Now we have to utilize all this experience in expanding the Party and making local committess a well-functioning Party structure.
This panchayat election too reflects the overall negative mood for the BJP as it had to suffer defeat in various districts. In Giridih and Koderma, from where the BJP has both the MPs and some MLAs, it has become a third or fouth force in these panchayat elections. The anti-BJP mood was reflected in Lohardaga Assembly by-election also.
CPI(ML) in UP Panchayat Elections
In the panchayat elections held from October to December in Uttar Pradesh, the Party has won one zila panchayat member, 14 BDC and 12 village pradhans. The districtwise tally is like this - Deoria – 1 DDC, 2 BDC and 2 pradhans; Gazipur – 6 BDC and 1 pradhan; Lakhimpur Khiri – 2 BDC, 1 pradhan; Sonbhadra – 1 BDC and 1 pradhan; Chandauli – 3 pradha; Gonda – 2 pradhans, one BDC each in Balia, Maharajganj and Faizabad, and one pradhan each in Ambedkar Nagar and Jalaun.
Besides these, the party candidates were on 2nd position on four seats; two in Deoria, and one each in Sitapur and Pilibhit.
Now the indirect election will be held to elect zila panchayat president and block chiefs. The Party has campaigned for establishing the role and agendas of the poor in panchayat elections, rallying the people against money and muscle power, it will similarly ensure that its elected candidates will keep their vote secure and will not let it be influenced by money and muscle.
18 December Pledge Day
Comrade VM's 17th Smriti Diwas
Uttar Pradesh: 18 December was observed as Pledge Day in UP in memory of Comrade Vinod Mishra. On this occasion cadre meetings were organised in different districts of UP. The Central Committee's Pledge Day call was read in the meetings everywhere and discussions were held after paying tributes to Comrade VM and observing two minutes silence in his memory.
At Allahabad a Pledge meeting was held on the day which was attended by party members and many people from intelligentsia and student-youth of the city along with the members of party State Commitee who had been there to attend the State Committee meeting. The meeting was addressed by Party's General Secretary Comrade Dipankar.
He said that Comrade VM along with several comrades mobilised lots of people in giving birth to various people's movements and building the Party in the process. He also said that enthusiasm generated among our supporters after Bihar election verdict must be utilised in expanding the Party as only an expanded and bigger Party can effectively counter communal and capitalist forces. Comrade Dipankar also answered questions from the students-youth attending the Pledge meeting.
Comrade Pranay Krishna, General Secretary of Jasam (JSM), commented on the returning of awards by a wide range of writers, cultural personalities, scientists protesting intolerance, he said that it has happened for the first time in history that such a large number of renowned intellectuals all across the country have returned their awards. The programme was conducted by UP State Secretary Comrade Ramji Rai.
Jharkhand: The Jharkhand State Level Cadre Convention concluded with the pledge to transform the Left movement in the Country into a powerful communist-led nation-wide movement and political force. About two hundred Party activists from districts of Jharkhand attended the convention and Pledge Day and reiterated their resolve to strengthen the communist movement and place the Party firmly in command of the political situation.
Some of the senior leaders present in the convention were Comrades Swadesh Bhattacharya, Politburo member, State Secretary Janardan Prasad, CC members Subhendu Sen and Manoj Bhakt, Vinod Singh, Anant Prasad Gupta, and MLA Rajkumar Yadav.
Addressing the convention, Comrade Swadesh said that the promise of good days by the Modi Govt has been exposed as hollow and empty promises for electoral gains by lying to the people.
Puducherry: Pledge day 2015 was observed in Puducherry and Karaikal regions. The State Committee organized cadre meetings at Puducherry and Karaikal. At Puducherry this was attended by all leading cadres where the State Secretary Comrade S Balasubramanium elaborated on the CC's call for pledge day 2015. Many new members also joined the Party on this occasion.
At Karaikal the meeting was led by A.S. Singaravelu, State Committee member. R. Alagappan, Local committee member explained the CC call to the cadres.
The meetings also resolved to continue the relief and rehabilitation work tirelessly among the people who have been affected by the recent rains and floods.
All India Kisan Mahasabha Uttarakhand State Conference
The AIKM Uttarakhand State Conference was held on 16-17 December at Lalkuan in Nainital district. An impressive rally of peasants was also organised on the inaugural day on 16th as a mark of people's organised assertion and unity.
The rally was addressed by Kisan Mahasabha's all India President comrade Ruldu Singh who strongly criticised government's pro-big capital anti-peasant policies. He said that the government is bringing new schemes every other day to grab the peasants' lands, while farmers' suicides are increasing and the crisis is spreading in the far corners of the country. He also criticised Uttarakhand govt. for not declaring Bindukhatta a revenue village, instead has made it a municipality which will deprive peasants of their due land entitlements.
AIKM's Uttarakhand President Purushottam Sharma demanded to withdraw cases imposed on activists for leading struggles of the Bindukhatta peasants. Veteran revolutionary peasant leader comrade Bahadur Singh Jangi thanked the people who assembled there in large number to express their resentment against state government's decisions and policies.
Comrade Awatar Singh, CPI(M)'s peasant leader emphasised on the unity of the left forces to address today's challenges and said that people's struggles are the key for the greater unity. Md. Yamin 'Binni', a leader of Van Gujjars, a struggling tribe, also spoke in the rally, where he criticised state government for discriminating between hill and terai regions by depriving terai gujjars from cultivation rights. He said that state government is violating Forest Rights Act 2006 by stopping gujjars from cultivation in forest villages on the one hand, and by not rehabilitating them as per the rule. The leader of Winsor Sanctuary movement Ishwar Joshi deplored the fact that in a state which was formed as the result of a strong people's movement is now facing loot of people's precious resources like water, forests and land owing to govt. policies. Many more speakers also addressed the rally which was conducted by Vimal Rauthan and Bhuvan Joshi.
The rally was followed by the delegate session of the Conference. The conference venue was rechristened after comrade Man Singh Pal who was a leading piller of Bindukhatta land struggle. A draft document was presented by com. Purushottam Sharma. AIKM leader from Punjab comrade Gurnam Singh was the central observer for the conference. He highlighted the need to expand the organisation in state and to learn from the experiences of various peasant struggles.
CPI(ML) Uttarakhand Secretary Rajendra Pratholi addressed the conference and emphasised on the stronger organisation for bigger struggles at a time when peasants and workers are facing attacks on their livelihood. He hailed Bindukhatta's peasant movement which has now become examplary for being vibrant and consistent since last 40 years by incorporating new dimensions in it with changing times.
Raja Bahuguna, CPI(ML) Central Committee member, said that Modi's foreign tour is going on amidst falling exports, ruining economy and growing revenue of capitalists like Adani, who is now 49% richer in just one year. He reminded delegates that the very first blow this govt. received was from the peasants of the country who forced Modi govt. to withdraw the land acquisition ordinance. He also said that the Congress Govt. in state and BJP Govt. in centre are following same pro-corporate policies.
The Conference elected a State Executive and a State Council with Purushottam Sharma as President and Atul Sati as Secretary and Bahadur Singh Jangi as Vice President.