A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 18 | No. 22 | 26 MAY - 1 JUN 2015
One Year of Modi Rule:
The Acche Din Hype UnravelsThe self-congratulatory cacophony generated by the Modi government and the BJP to celebrate the first anniversary of Modi's 2014 ascent to power makes us wonder if the BJP believes that time stood still for the last one year. Even as the heat wave claims hundreds of lives across the country, large sections of the people reel under the burden of deepening distress and soaring prices, and the opinion polls reflect growing disappointment of the people who had voted Modi to power a year ago, the BJP propagandists have launched a massive campaign patting their own backs. The government has issued a 180 page booklet listing the government's 'achievements', and in the coming days and weeks the country will be bombarded with 200 rallies and 5000 public meetings. It almost sounds like a rerun of the India Shining propaganda blitz which had boomeranged spectacularly in the 2004 elections.
Modi set the tone of this arrogant and absurd hyperbole when addressing the Indian community during his recent trip to China and South Korea, he said till his government came to power NRIs were ashamed to admit that they were Indian. Indians, according to Modi, used to curse themselves for the sins they must have committed in their previous lives to have merited the shame and punishment of being born in India. Back in India, Modi continued in the same tone. Addressing a rally in Mathura on 25 May, Modi said what his government had already performed was a veritable miracle. Announcing the arrival of 'acche din', he said only looters, thieves and power brokers were complaining of 'bure din' or bad days!
Now in real life, 'acche din' has actually become a joke, a metaphor for the misery that most people find themselves subjected to on a daily basis, whether on account of economic distress, callous governance or dysfunctional basic services. The non-implementation of the tall electoral promises made by Modi and his men has become the talking point among the common people across the country. Even in Modi's own constituency of Varanasi, surveys have revealed widespread disappointment. Apart from some cleaning up operation in two out of Varanasi's eighty-odd ghats, the residents of this VIP constituency have not experienced any improvement in the first year of the Modi government. A few weeks ago, the agriculture minister of Haryana's BJP government, who was earlier president of the farmer organisation of the Sangh Parivar, had dubbed farmers committing suicides as cowards. Now Modi calls people complaining of bad days corrupt!
While the people are waiting for the Modi government to fulfil the basic promises Modi and the BJP had made during the 2014 election campaign, the Sangh parivar is busy advancing what it considers its 'core' agenda. 'Ghar wapsi', 'love jihad', sermons to Hindu women to produce ten children, ban on beef and so on and so forth – BJP ministers and MPs have been working overtime to enforce this agenda. During the election campaign Giriraj Singh had voters who did not want Modi to become PM to go to Pakistan. He has found his place in the Modi cabinet. And now Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, another Modi minister asks those who want to eat beef to go to Pakistan! For other items of the 'core agenda' like Ram Mandir and removal of Article 370, Amit Shah has asked the people to give 370 seats to the BJP so the BJP could amend the Constitution as it wished.
For all the propaganda blitzkrieg of Modi and his men, the actual experience of the first year of the Modi government will go a long way in exposing three mega myths that have played such a central role in making the BJP the number one party in India. Beyond the core support base of the Sangh Parivar, the myth of the Gujarat model and the so-called Modi magic now evokes growing scepticism. The thesis of the mythical metamorphosis of the BJP into a 'normal' rightwing party which will contain, if not shed, the communal agenda is also being questioned by many liberal sections of the middle classes who had thrown their weight behind the BJP in the 2014 elections. And last but not the least, the BJP's 'nationalist' farmer-friendly trader-friendly image has been severely dented with the unmasking of the corporate-encircled FDI-begging real face of Narendra Modi.
For a party like the BJP which has always sought to camouflage its communal agenda as 'cultural nationalism', it is indeed revealing that Modi's first year in office has been overshadowed by the foreign factor – making foreign trips and soliciting foreign investment. As many as eighteen foreign trips claiming two of the twelve months that Modi has been in power have been the highlight of Modi's first year. And on the economic front, Modi has turned out to be a devout worshipper of FDI. Those who argue that 'Make in India' is about creation of jobs and increasing the share of manufacturing in India's GDP do not tells us why FDI has to be at the centre of this strategy. If job creation and manufacturing growth were the real objective, why is the government systematically dismantling the public sector and privileging FDI and private corporate participation to the neglect of the labour intensive small and medium enterprises that can be the real platform for creation of jobs?
It is significant that while the BJP leaders were busy congratulating themselves on the first birthday of the Modi government, peasants, workers and students were out on the streets against the government's policies. The people's experience of the first year of the Modi government will be the biggest ammunition as we take on the corporate-communal offensive of the BJP in the coming days.
Comrade Prabhat Kumar and Com. Dhirendra Jha, on behalf of the CPI(ML) Politburo, made a solidarity visit to Nepal, that is struggling to recover from the quake of Himalayan proportions. During the visit, they attended a volunteer training convention that had been organized by the CPN (UML) and presented a cheque for 1 million INR towards the natural disaster relief fund to CPN (UML) Chairman KP Sharma Oli and Party General Secretary Ishwarchandra Pokhrel.
The disastrous earthquake on 25 April caused indescribable havoc in Nepal. 75 districts including Kathmandu have suffered terrible loss and damage. 8519 lives have been lost and even today 500 people are missing. 638 people were killed in the second quake on 12 May. Most of the dead are women and children. More than 2 lakh buildings have been damaged. Historical heritage sites are in ruins. Cracks are visible in the Army HQ, Rashtrapati Bhawan, PM's house, Parliament, and most government buildings.
The UML Party office has suffered huge damage and has been declared abandoned. The office now functions in a small building, although even this has cracks. Essential work is also going on in tents put up on the campus.
Heavy damage has been suffered by Nepal's oldest school Durbar school (established in 1854) and Trichand College. Around 7000 school buildings are unfit for use. This devastating earthquake occurred on a Saturday which happened to be a holiday in Nepal and the schools and colleges were closed; otherwise, the loss of lives would have been even greater. The regular aftershocks occurring in Nepal are terrifying for the people.
Kathmandu appears to be a city of tents. The road sides and maidans are lined by long rows of blue tents. Water supply has been regulated to an extent and electricity has been restored.
Heavy destruction has occurred in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bharatpur, Gorkha, Chadig, Rasua, Nuakot, Sindhupal, Dolkha, Kabhi, Ramechhap, and other districts. Important tourist destinations such as Langtang and Bhaili have been totally damaged. More than half the people in these areas have been killed. Heartrending scenes of destruction due to landslides can also be seen at Sindhupal near the Tibet border.
The CPN(UML) has formed a coordination committee for relief and rehabilitation, under the leadership of the General Secretary, which includes Party leaders as well as leaders of mass organizations. This committee started immediate relief operations, playing a significant role in rescuing trapped families, taking the injured to hospital, arranging food, water, and medicines for affected families, and making funeral arrangements for the dead. The Party has taken initiatives to form different groups to attend to arrangements for food, sanitation, medical aid, rescue, damage assessment, and other such tasks. Area wise survey teams have been formed for damage assessment. This survey report will be submitted to the district administration as well as to the national disaster committee formed by the government.
The rainy season is imminent. A large portion of the population continues to remain bereft of shelter, and most buildings are damaged. In this situation, providing permanent or temporary accommodation for such a vast number is a big challenge. The CPN(UML) plans to press 10,000 volunteers into service in 50 constituencies of 14 districts with the express task of providing shelter. Work in this direction has already started. Money and resources are being collected.
CPN(UML) has already collected more than Nepali Rs 1 crore. In our presence, the Nepali Trade and Industrialists Association donated a cheque for Nepali Rs 10 lakh. Various organizations and people from unaffected areas are contributing generously.
Talking informally, several Nepali intellectuals, journalists, and social activists said that the immediate cooperation and help from India was very heartening. However, they said their self-respect was hurt by the attitude of some of the Indian media and the publicity war in connection with aid to Nepal.
On the road from India to Nepal via Janakpur, and back from Kathmandu to India though the difficult hilly roads via Veerganj, it felt as if not only the earth has been shaken, but the people themselves have been left shaken. The beautiful valleys of Kathmandu are in mourning. Nepal faces the dual challenges of making its Constitution, as well as the difficult task of rebuilding the country.
A series of farmers' suicides has begun in Patna district in Bihar. Most recently two farmers, Gajendra Singh and Ramesh Singh, who were reported to be heavily in debt, were forced to commit suicide in Maner and Naubatpur respectively. During the course of the movement launched under the banner of 'Peasants affected by the Mega Technological Park', to demand compensation for the survivors of the farmers who had committed suicide, the peasant leader Kaushal Baba also passed away. Agitated and enraged by the death of Kaushal Baba, increasing spate of farmers' suicide in Patna district and the continued apathy of the central and the state governments, a massive bandh was called by the CPI (ML) in Naubatpur and Bihta. Protest demonstrations were also held in Paliganj. The main demands raised included waiving off the debts of the farmers and compensation for the family of the farmers who have died. CPI (ML) leaders while addressing the protestors highlighted the increasing agricultural crisis in the country and the increasing incidents of farmers' suicides. They pointed out how the policies of the current Modi government such as 'Make in India' and 'Land Acquisition' had added to the woes of the farmers. They questioned if the Modi government that had recently announced a channel for the farmers or the Nitish government in the state will only confine themselves to rhetoric on the issue of farmers' suicide while continuing to remain apathetic to their state, or will they dare to show some concrete action on ground.
Reeling under the anti-people policies of the central government, farmers, workers, and small retailers in Punjab came together on a united platform to raise their voice. The "Kaarobaar Bachao, Rozgaar Bachao (Save business, save employment) conference was organized on 12 April, 2015 at Manasa in Punjab by the Mazdoor-Kisan-Dukandar-Karmchari Sangharsh Committee. The conference was addressed by Punjab Kisan Union State President Raldu Singh, Kirana Association (Manasa) President Suresh Nandgarhiya, Aadhati Association Secretary Ramesh Tony, CPI-ML (Liberation) Punjab State Secretary Rajvinder Singh Rana, and Mazdoor Mukti Morcha State President Bhagwant Singh.
Speaking on the occasion, Com. Rajvinder Singh Rana said that the people must once again unite to rid the country of the second Company Raj that the governments are trying to inflict upon them, and this effort is an initiative in that direction. The special guest at the conference, Dr. Baldev Singh, an economics professor in Punjabi University Regional Centre Talwandi Sabo, explained in detail how the green signal for FDI in retail is accelerating the process of destroying small shopkeepers and traders.
PKU State President Raldu Singh welcomed the coming together of workers, farmers, small shopkeepers, traders, and karmacharis to protect their rights against the government's destructive policies. He stated that through this united struggle they would stop the homes, shops, and livelihoods of recession-affected shopkeepers and traders from being seized or auctioned,
Kirana Assocation President Suresh Nandgarhiya said that the homes and shops of several shopkeepers (who are unable to repay loans) in danger of imminent auction can be saved through the leadership of this joint committee. Retailers' leader Ramesh Toni said that the governments of the country are responsible for looting and ruining the retailers. Prof. Bikarjeet Singh Sadhuwala of the Educational Reforms Committee pointed out the loot being perpetrated by private school owners and called upon the people to participate in the ongoing struggle against this loot. The conference was also addressed by Bhagwant Singh Samaon, Sikandar Singh Gharangana, Darshan Singh Khiyala, Vijay Nandgarhiya, Vir Singh Bhasse, Advocate Balkaran Singh Balli, Vasudev Garg, Sukhdarshan Singh Natt, and Sukhbir Khara.
As part of the National Protest Day against these policy offensives on higher education by the central government, AISA held a protest demonstration in front of the MHRD in New Delhi and submitted a memorandum.
The protest was held at MHRD, because there is a clear attempt to impose such policy change as the CBCS by the MHRD and several notices are being sent to universities across the country. The protest was also held at a time when the DU administration is once again showing hurriedness in introducing a fundamental change in the course structure without taking the opinion of academicians, teachers and students. The admission process has started in DU; and yet till now, no one, neither the new students and their parents nor the teachers are clear about what would be the curriculum for the upcoming session. Moreover, there is no clarity about the syllabus that will be taught in the upcoming session. Addressing the protest Om Prasad, Delhi State Secretary, AISA said, "Senior DU officials are telling the media that they are waiting for UGC letter to implement CBCS from the next semester. We would like to ask them, will a directive from the UGC or the MHRD solve the problem of complete unpreparedness of the DU administration to introduce such a policy change? Where is the syllabus that will be taught? Where is the infrastructure needed to ensure 'mobility' of students under CBCS? Where are the classrooms and the teachers required, if real 'choice' is to be offered?" A memorandum raising these concerns was also submitted to the MHRD and the delegation met the Jt. Secretary Mr. Mohanty and shared the concerns.
Niraj Kumar, VP, Delhi AISA, said at the protest, "Enough ill-conceived experiments have already been done with DU students through FYUP. When more than 50 staff associations, the DUTA and several students groups have rejected the implementation of CBCS, why is the DU administration and MHRD so desperate to go ahead with CBCS? CBCS is nothing but FYUP brought in through the backdoor, as the course structure aimed at dilution of academic content is the same in CBCS as was in FYUP." A memorandum was also submitted to the MHRD.
In parts of the country too AISA activists held protest demonstrations and in some places effigy of Modi in whose prime ministership these onslaughts have been unleashed with renewed vigor, was also burnt.
The 5th district conference of Nainital unit CPI (ML) concluded on 24 May in Ambedkar Hall in Laalkuan. The session began by observing a minute's silence to remember the comrades who had been martyred in the time period between the last conference and the ongoing conference. Addressing the inaugural session of the district conference, the state secretary of CPI (ML) - Uttarakhand , Com. Rajendra Pratholi said that on the completion of the first year of the Modi government, even as the government was aggressively engaging in proclaiming false achievements all over the media, the truth was that the first year of the Modi government was spent in implementing anti-peasants and anti-workers' policies and serving the corporate masters. He added that the peasants and workers had been regularly organising and agitating against the anti-people policies of the Modi government and that a movement founded on a broad unity among peasants and workers alone can provide a new direction to this nation. Only this unity can destroy the corporate-fascist agenda of the Modi government and its' efforts to re-establish company raj in this country. Speaking about the Harish Rawat government at the state, he said that the state government too following the steps of the central government was busy in looting the land of the people and Bindukhatta was a clear example of this. Despite the fact that the residents have time and again thronged the streets to reject the declaration proclaiming Bindukhatta to be a municipality, the state government under the influence of the land mafia has become deaf to the demands of the people.
The conference resolved to double the membership by the next conference. A 7 member district committee was also founded with Com. Kailash Pandey as the secretary.
The Nainital district conference of the AICCTU affiliated ASHA health workers' union concluded in the Press Club in Nainital on 21 May 2015.
Addressing the conference, the national Vice President of AICCTU, Com. Raja Bahuguna said that the central government wanted to pulls its hand off the responsibility of the ASHA workers who formed the axis of a fundamental sector such as the health sector. By putting the entire responsibility for ASHA workers on the state, the centre government was creating crisis for the ASHA workers. He added that the governments in this country had only one slogan for the women workers- "Jam kar lenge pura kaam, nahin milega pura daam" (Will fiercely take full work, and not give full wages). The leaders speaking at the conference pointed out that the Uttarakhand government was a pro-mafia government that sacrificed the interests of the workers at the behest of the mafia and hence a united women workers' movement should be built and intensified in Uttarakhand so that that government can be forced to work on our agenda. The state President of Uttarakhand ASHA Health Workers' Union, Kamla Kunjwal said that it was only by building a unity among the union members and developing a feeling of a collective leadership that we could fight the- anti women policies of the state and the central governments. She added that it was on the basis of unity and struggles of the union that the state government had been forced to provide an annual incentive amount and in future also, on the basis of this we could win the fight for the monthly wages. A new district team of ASHA workers' union and office bearers were also elected during the conference.