(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
November 09, 2008
Massive CPI(M) Rallies Mobilise Over One Lakh People
OVER one lakh people were mobilised by the CPI(M) in four impressive political rallies addressed by Party general secretary Prakash Karat in Thane and Nashik districts on October 19 and 20, 2008. These rallies marked the culmination in Maharashtra of the first phase of the nationwide political campaign against the imperialist-dictated policies of the UPA regime, against communal and terrorist conspiracies and for the forging of a Left and secular third alternative. A report of the earlier August rallies which together mobilised over 50,000 people in the other districts appeared in these columns last month.
The two biggest rallies in this round were those organised by the CPI(M) Thane district committee at Dahanu in Dahanu tehsil on October 19 and by the CPI(M) Nashik district committee at Abhona in Kalwan tehsil on October 20. Both these rallies mobilised around 50,000 people each. The majority were Adivasis who came from over 10 tehsils each. There were over 20,000 women each in both these rallies. These were by far the largest rallies organised by the Party in its two rural bastions during the last few decades.
It is in these two districts that the CPI(M) will contest two Lok Sabha seats in the coming elections – Palghar (ST) in Thane district and Dindori (ST) in Nashik district. In the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, the Party had garnered over one lakh votes each in both these seats, fighting largely on its own independent strength against both the BJP-Shiv Sena communal combine and the Congress-NCP alliance. However, the delimitation of constituencies has resulted in as many as four new assembly segments coming in the Palghar seat and two new assembly segments coming in the Dindori seat.
The other two impressive urban rallies were the 5000-strong public meeting in Nashik city and the 1000-strong public meeting in Vasai town in Thane district. The Nashik meeting was organised jointly by the three Left parties – CPI(M), CPI and PWP – and this was also the biggest Left rally organised in Nashik city in recent times. Party work in the Vasai area is new but growing. Here the meeting was organised by the CPI(M) and it was the first big public meeting organised by the Left in the Mira Road-Virar urban belt.
All the four rallies were well-covered by both print and electronic media. Prakash Karat also addressed the press in both Thane and Nashik districts and he spelt out the Party stand as regards the current political challenges.
CALL FOR A THIRD ALTERNATIVE
In all the four rallies, Prakash Karat began by lashing out at the communal and terrorist forces that were conspiring to destabilise the country through communal riots, bomb blasts and attacks on minorities. He denounced the BJP-RSS and the Sangh Parivar which were in the forefront of this cynical drive. He sharply castigated Islamic terrorism for engineering many of the bomb blasts that had killed hundreds of innocent people. But, as shown in Malegaon and Modasa and even earlier, Hindutva fanatics had also got into the terrorist act and this too needed to be roundly condemned. He attacked the forces of regional chauvinism like the MNS in Maharashtra who were pitting people of one state against the others. He called for an uncompromising struggle against all these divisive forces in order to protect national unity and the unity of the working people.
Speaking of the unprecedented financial crisis in the United States which has assumed the form of a global financial crisis, Karat asserted that it was the Left that had for four years prevented the UPA regime from going full steam ahead with financial liberalisation in the banking, insurance and pension fund sectors and also in the case of capital account convertibility. That was the main reason why India had been saved to some extent from financial collapse, and the credit for this must, therefore, undoubtedly go to the Left.
The surrender to American imperialism of the Manmohan Singh regime in the nuclear, defence, economic and foreign policy areas, said Karat, was ruining our country and our people. Recalling the Enron fiasco in Maharashtra, he said, “It is well-known that the Enron deal destroyed the entire power sector in Maharashtra. Then how much destruction will the nuclear deal, which is the equivalent of 30 Enrons, bring to the country?”
Rubbishing the Congress claims of providing cheap and abundant power through imported nuclear reactors, Karat asserted that nuclear power would be four times more expensive. Even now, an agreement has been signed for the purchase of nuclear reactors that will provide only 10,000 MW of power, and the government will be shelling out a whopping $70 billion, which comes to over three lakh crore rupees! The nuclear deal will thus help only the American multinationals, not the people of our country.
Karat continued, “Today George Bush is the most unpopular man in the United States as a result of the Iraq war and the financial crisis. But our prime minister is in love with him. Not only that, he told Bush that ‘the people of India are also in love with you.’ We told him, ‘Why do you drag the people of India into your love for Bush?’”
Coming down heavily on the anti-people economic policies of the UPA regime, Karat dwelt on aspects like the agrarian crisis and peasant suicides, the dismantling of the public distribution system, the cascading price rise and the refusal to lower diesel and petrol prices despite the sharp fall in international oil prices. The only two good steps that this government took were the enactment of NREGA and the Forest Rights Act, but both these were taken only because of concerted pressure by the Left. He called upon the huge rural and tribal audiences to launch intense and sustained struggles for the implementation of these Acts, and also on the basic issues of land, food and employment.
Prakash Karat concluded his speeches stressing on the need to forge a Left and secular third force which can later become the third alternative in Indian politics. He dwelt on the sterling work done by the Left-led governments in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura. While congratulating the Party activists and the people for organising these massive rallies, he expressed confidence that they would work untiringly to strengthen the CPI(M) and the Red Flag in the days to come.
The Dahanu rally had a particular historical significance. It is held every year on October 10 to commemorate Martyrs’ Day, since it was on October 10, 1945 that the first five martyrs of the famed Adivasi Revolt fell to British bullets. A total of 59 Adivasi martyrs have laid down their lives for the Red Flag in Thane district in the 63 years since then. The rally also observed the 12th death anniversary of the legendary leader, Comrade Godavari Parulekar, who was cremated at Talasari in Thane district on October 10, 1996.
Tremendous preparations had gone towards making all these four rallies a success and thousands of Party activists had put in sustained efforts for days to campaign amongst the people. Over one lakh leaflets, 50,000 plastic Party badges, more than 10,000 posters and scores of hoardings were used to propagate all the four rallies. Leaders and activists of mass organisations like the AIKS, CITU, AIDWA, DYFI and SFI also put in great efforts to mobilise their respective sections for the success of these rallies.
Prakash Karat was warmly welcomed at all four rallies with resounding slogans. At Dahanu, a long line of over 100 Red Volunteers on motorcycles escorted him on a 20 km stretch from Charoti to Dahanu. At the site of the public meeting he was given a spirited and disciplined Red Salute by nearly 3000 Red Volunteers, both men and women, all dressed in red T-shirts and caps with the hammer and sickle and red sarees.
In the Dahanu rally, Karat felicitated the four Party tehsil committees of Talasari, Jawhar-Mokhada, Dahanu and Vikramgad for the highest mobilisation in the district in the rallies held to mark the August 20 all India strike. In the Abhona rally, he felicitated the Peth and Tryambak tehsil committees of the AIKS for completing their membership targets in record time. The Nashik rally had an exceptionally imposing stage, and Karat was greeted by a resounding burst of crackers. And in the Vasai rally, he was warmly greeted by another disciplined group of Red Volunteers.
The Dahanu, Abhona, Nashik and Vasai rallies were presided over by Rajaram Ozare MLA , Jiva Pandu Gavit MLA, Dr D L Karad and Shailendra Kamble respectively. The Dahanu rally was also addressed by K L Bajaj, Krishna Khopkar, Mahendra Singh, Narsayya Adam MLA, Lahanu Kom, Mariam Dhawale and Edward Vartha. The Abhona rally was addressed by Kisan Gujar, Janardan Bhoye, Bhaskar Jadhav, Savliram Pawar, Gunaji Gavit, Hemant Patil and Hemant Waghere. The Nashik rally was addressed by Shridhar Deshpande, Tanaji Jaybhave, Sitaram Thombre, Raju Desle and Keru Patil. The Vasai rally was addressed by Narsayya Adam MLA, Rajaram Ozare MLA, Sayeed Ahmed and K K Prakasan. CPI(M) state secretary Dr Ashok Dhawale, who accompanied the Party general secretary for all the four rallies, also addressed most of them.