A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 18, No. 27, 30 JUNE – 06 JULY 2015
Tainted BJP Ministers Will Have to Go
orruption is once again turning out to be a great leveller in the Indian Political League of ruling class parties. Only a year ago Narendra Modi had stormed his way to power riding on the wave of anger against corruption. Repatriation of black money and transparent governance had figured high on his list of promises. The promise of repatriation of black money has already been buried by Amit Shah with his candid confession that the whole thing was meant to be just poll rhetoric to garner votes. Yet on the first anniversary of the Modi government’s ascent to power, Modi and several other senior BJP ministers and leaders claimed credit for delivering scam-free governance. Now the claim is being washed away by a virtual flood of corruption cases surfacing almost on a daily basis.
The shadow cast by the damning disclosures on Lalitgate is getting darker with every passing day. What initially appeared to be a case of impropriety and conflict of interest on the part of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has now been exposed to be an intricate and intimate multidimensional nexus involving Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje and her son Dushyant Singh who is also a BJP MP. The clout enjoyed by Lalit Modi grew through the earlier term of Raje as Rajasthan CM with state property being clandestinely converted into lucrative private property and Lalit Modi expanding and consolidating his business interest with the launch of the money-spinning annual inter-city cricket carnival called IPL.
The Congress is now revelling in the revelations of the Raje-Modi nexus. But it is common knowledge that the rise of Lalit Modi as the IPL czar owed no less to the blessings of powerful Congress/UPA leaders. And as far as the issue of private appropriation of the controversial Dholpur palace is concerned, the Congress cannot absolve itself of its past complicity and silence. The Ashok Gehlot government had done nothing to undo this illegal appropriation, rather it validated the wrongful appropriation with payment of hefty compensation to Dushyant Singh for land utilised for road construction. The power wielded by the likes of Vasundhara Raje, Dushyant Singh and Lalit Modi is no aberration in today’s India; it is typical of the crony capitalism that has evolved on the feudal soil of apparently abolished landlordism and princely status.
Rajasthan is not the only BJP-ruled state where corruption has become the talking point. In fact, corruption is fast becoming the common characteristic of every BJP-ruled state. Take the case of Madhya Pradesh where the BJP has been uninterruptedly in power for more than a decade. The government here is overshadowed by the Vyapam (the board that conducts all tests in the state for admission and recruitment in various services) scam with senior RSS functionaries alleged to have been manipulating the recruitment process in connivance with ministers and bureaucrats. This systematic manipulation has not only promoted financial corruption but also ensured that the professional network is filled overwhelmingly by loyal pro-RSS people. The MP government has been brazenly suppressing the scam since it got exposed a few years ago, and more than thirty people from among the accused and witnesses have already died under suspicious circumstances.
Two ministers of the Maharashtra cabinet – women and child welfare minister Pankaja Munde and education minister Vinod Tawde – also stand accused of major irregularities, ordering purchases at excessive prices without issuing public tender. Dubious deals with business houses – the so called sweet deals between business and politics – remain an open secret in states like Gujarat and mineral-rich Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. Then there are the Smriti Iranis who are stubbornly continuing in office despite having been exposed to be guilty of submitting anomalous affidavits in elections.
Modi and the BJP used to blame Manmohan Singh for his silence even as the UPA government got embroiled in scam after scam. Modi had sarcastically renamed Manmohan Singh as Maunmohan Singh for his notorious silence. But ever since he became Prime Minister, Modi too has been practising selective silence. His silence on the issue of communal hate speeches delivered by his colleagues has been as ominous as his own hate speeches in the wake of the Gujarat genocide in 2002. And now even on the issue of corruption charges concerning his own government and party, he has become conspicuously silent. In his latest Mann Ki Baat (straight from the heart) radio speech, he talked about yoga and encouraged his listeners to send him selfies taken with their daughters, but remained absolutely tight-lipped about the scams involving his own party and government.
Ironically, while Modi practises silence on charges of communal hate and corruption, the things he talks about – yoga and ‘selfie with daughters’ for example – are also being used by BJP/RSS leaders, activists and many of those who proudly proclaim themselves as Modi Bhakts to target conscientious citizens and entire communities and ideological currents. Vice President Hamid Ansari was targeted on the issue of yoga by BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav, while CPI(ML) leader Kavita Krishnan was singled out for a campaign of vile abuses on social media for raising the well documented issue of the Gujarat government under Modi snooping on a young woman architect.
The Modi government and the BJP must not be allowed to get away – neither with their selective silences nor with their vicious hate campaigns – and must be held accountable for every scam, every act of communal hate and violence and every assault on the livelihood and liberties of the people. Rajnath Singh has brazenly said that NDA ministers will not resign. This arrogance of power must be defeated and the democratic opinion of the country must press ahead with the demand for resignation of tainted BJP ministers.
AIPF, CPI(ML) organize Anti-Emergency Programmes on 26 June
On 26 June 1975, the Indira Gandhi led Congress government had imposed Emergency in India. On 26 June 2015, to mark the 40th anniversary of this day, AIPF and CPI(ML) held anti emergency programmes in different parts of the country.
In Delhi, an evening of protest was organised at Jantar Mantar to voice protest against the ‘Emergency then and now’. The programme was conducted by Com. Kavita Krishnan. Activist and lawyer, N. D. Pancholi, talked about the Rss & BJP leaders’ apologies offered to the government during the emergency and their cowering before Indira Gandhi, quoting none other than current BJP member, Subramanian Swamy. He quoted excerpts from a write up by Subramanian Swamy, published in The Hindu in 2000 that showed how the then RSS chief, Balasaheb Deoras, wrote several apology letters to Indira Gandhi from inside the Yerawada jail in Pune and also on how Shri. Atal Behari Vajpayee had written apology letters to Indira Gandhi where after he remained on parole. The evening also saw protest songs sung by Sangwari and a beautiful rendition of ‘Bol ke lab azzad hai’ by Roma Malik. She also spoke about the struggles being fought by the adivasis to keep their land from being forcefully grabbed. Shabnam Hashmi sang a song composed to mock Indira Gandhi during the emergency. Prof. Atul Sood of JNU spoke about the undeclared emergency that the country was facing today. Poems were read out by Viren Dangwal and Vishnu Nagar. A ragini on Modi was performed by Satbir Shramik. Select film clippings were also presented by Sanjay Joshi, national convenor of Cinema of Resistance during the programme.
In Patna, an AIPF organized an evening of protest on ‘Emergency then and now’ in Gandhi Maidan in Patna. CPI(ML) General Secretary, Com. Dipankar addressed the gathering and cautioned them regarding the signs of emergency that could be seen and heard in today’s context. Programmes were also organized in Bhagalpur and several other places in Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh where anti-emergency rallies were held protesting against increasing assaults on people’s democratic rights and livelihood in current times by the incumbent government.
Bihar ASHA Worker’s Strike Ends After Receiving Assurances on Major Demands
The ASHA workers union in Bihar (Gope group) had started a state wide strike on 21 June 2015. Though the ASHA workers form the backbone of the various health care programmes in India, there has been no attempt by the governments to address their essential concerns. Denied monthly honorarium, regularisation, basic facilities such as toilets and changing rooms in work places and subjected to continuous harassment by hospital doctors and staff, more than 15000 ASHA workers joined the strike bringing the rural health care services to a standstill.
During the period of strike, several demonstrations, marches and other programmes were undertaken. However instead of responding to the demands of the striking workers, the state government initially chose to respond by way of threats and oppression. There were concerted efforts to break their spirit by way of spreading several rumours and misinformation. However, undeterred by these threats and newer assaults, the ASHA workers continued to fight for their rights including- fixing a minimum of Rs. 15,000 as monthly honorarium, regularisation and dignified working conditions. AIARLA also extended support to the strike and announced effigy burning of the CM in front of various block headquarters between 23-25 June. A letter of demands was submitted to Health Department officials by Com. Shashi Yadav, CPI(ML) central committee member and the state president of ASHA workers union.
Finally the concerned authorities were forced to respond and talks were held between the Principal Secretary of the Health Department and a delegation comprising of Com. Shashi Yadav, leader of Gope group federation, Com. Rambali Prasad and AICCTU leader Ranvijay Kumar. The Principal Secretary assured of concrete steps towards fixing of a monthly honorarium and regularisation of ASHA workers. The delegation was also assured the cases filed against the ASHA workers and the disciplinary actions on the striking workers will also be taken back.
AIPF’s Statement of 30 June on the Arrest of Activists by UP Govt
The AIPF condemns the arrest today of AIPF Campaign Committee Member Roma Malik and AIYUWP leader Sokalo Gond in Sonbhadra. The arrest took place this morning, the same day that a rally of the All India People’s Forum (AIPF) was planned in Sonbhadra. The rally was held to culminate the country-wide 100-day Land Rights Labour Rights campaign by the AIPF and raise the question of undeclared Emergency and the climate of fear and repression in India and in Uttar Pradesh. The police also detained others including a District Committee member of the CPI(ML) Bijan and NTUI leader Avijit, but released them in the evening.
In spite of the efforts of the administration and police to disrupt and terrorise the participants in the rally, the rally took place. Thousands gathered and assembled on the street itself and held the ‘sabha’ without a mike, with defiance and determination. The sabha was addressed by Sandeep Pandey of Socialist Party India, Ashok Choudhury, All India General Secretary of the AIUFWP, CPI(ML) Central Committee member and AIPF Campaign Committee member Mohd. Salim, AIUFWP leaders Mata Dayal and Sanjay Kumar from Bundelkhand, All India Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM) leaders Jeera Bharti, Om Prakash Singh and Bhakt Prakash Srivastava, and activists Shankar Kol, Vijay Kol and Shahjehan. The meeting was conducted by CPI(ML) Central Committee member Sudhakar Yadav.
The arrests of Roma Malik and Sokalo Gond is the latest in a series of repressive actions by the Sonbhadra district administration to crack down on activists resisting the grab of forest land and for rights and dignity of the adivasis and the rural poor. The enthusiastic participation in the rally sent a message that the people’s struggles would not yield to terror tactics by the Government.
The AIPF demands the release of Roma Malik and Sokalo Gond, and an end to the harassment of activists in the region.
CPI(ML) Activists Lathicharged and Arrested for Attempting to Stop Demolition Drive Targeting Poor in Chandigarh
Dhanas is a small colony situated in the Union territory of Chandigarh and it also houses several workers living and working in the city. Since last few years there have been concerted efforts to demolish the houses of the poor in Dhanas. CPI(ML) has been waging a determined struggle to safeguard the interests of the poor residing in Dhanas and has successfully managed to stall several such attempts to displace the people living there. A few days back, while no legal notice was served to the people, it came to the notice of CPI(ML) and Inaquilabi Naujwaan Sabha (INS) activists through various newspapers and administrative personnel that a demolition drive was being planned on 30 June. It may be noted that this is a month of incessant rains. Also, the colony also houses several Muslim families who are observing Ramzaan fasts this month. The very plan to carry out demolition at such a time reeks of heightened insensitivity. In light of the impending threat on the shelter of several hundreds, CPI(ML) and INS activists decided to take immediate steps to ensure that people were not forced out of their homes. They decided to call for a dharna outside the DC’s office. However, not only did the DC refuse to meet the protestors, a lathi charge was ordered on the people and used tear gas to try and to disburse them. However, hundreds of people continued to protest and in the process were also injured. CPI(ML) and INS leaders Com. Kanwaljeet, Com. Eisha, Com. Navkiran, Com. Jyoti and Com. Hasmeet were arrested and continue to be in custody. Angered by the response of the authorities, hundreds of people blocked the sector 16 road. About 100 people were arrested while blocking the road. A protest day has been called in Punjab on 30 June to carry on the struggle and protest against the atrocities carried out on the protestors and the arrests made.
AIPWA-CPI(ML) Organize a Memorial Lecture on the 8th Death Anniversary of Comrade Jeeta Kaur in Mansa
A memorial lecture was organized by AIPWA-CPI(ML) on 8 June 2015, in Mansa (Punjab) to mark the 8th death anniversary of the national leader of AIPWA and CPI(ML), Com. Jeeta Kaur. The topic of the lecture was – ‘Policies of the Modi government and the situation of women’. Several hundred women attended this memorial, organized by the Mansa district unit of AIPWA in Bachat Bhawan. The lecture was chaired by noted playwright and daughter of thinker Gurusharan Singh, Dr. Areet. Others in the chairing committee included Prof. Kanwaljeet Kaur Dhillon, Harbans Kaur Acharwaal, tej Kaur Bhupaal, Beant Kaur Taamkot. Referring to the Badal Govt and family that has been running the State Govt, she said that not only had they sidelined the humanitarian ideals propounded by the various Sikh gurus, they had also pushed the women of the state towards seeking refuge in paraphernalia and superstitions.
The chief speaker on the occasion, Prof. Kanwaljeet Singh Dhillon, who has been active in movements for women rights since very long, said that acting on the directives of the RSS, the Modi government was trying very hard to propagate a culture that is against the women, dalits and the religious minorities. She said that because of the pro-corporate policies of the government, in Punjab as also in the rest of the country, the incidents of honour killing, female foeticide, violence against women, and sexual assaults against women had been increasing. She emphasised on the need for women to be educated by saying that literacy was the first step towards awakening and uniting. The other leaders who also spoke on the occasion invoked the women to join the struggle since the women will themselves have to enter the struggle for social, economic and political equality.
Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Mahasabha District Conference in Nainital
The third district conference of the Nainital district unit of Akhil Bhartiya Kisan Mahasabha was held on 21 June at Bindukhatta, Nainital. The chief guest of the conference was the national secretary of the Kisan Mahasabha, Com. Puroshotam Sharma. Inaugurating the conference, Com. Puroshotam said that today through the land acquisition ordinance, the Modi government wanted to snatch lakhs of acres of land from the farmers across the country and hand it over to the big corporate houses. He pointed out that even in Uttarakhand, in the name of urban development, and for establishing 100 new towns, a conspiracy is underway to evict farmers from their lands. By making the laws for purchase of land in hilly regions and for change in land use, the Harish Rawat government had opened the gates for land grab in the state. The farmers of the region will give a befitting response to such moves.
Several political resolutions were passed at the conference. The key resolutions included- (i) demand for a CBI inquiry into the corruption in management of relief funds that were received post the 2013 calamity; (ii) rehabilitation of all the people affected by the 2013 calamity; (iii) revoke the decision to turn Bindukhatta into a municipality and give ownership rights of the land to the farmers; among others. It was also resolved that on the day of the inauguration municipality office in Bindukhatta, a protest will be staged in which thousands of farmers will march to the municipality office.
The Conference also elected a 31 member district council and a 9 member district executive. Comrade Bahadur Singh was elected as the district President and Com. Rajendra Shah was elected as the district secretary. Comrades Kamalpati Joshi, Captain Shankar Singh Chufaal, Ghulam Nabi, Hayaat Ram and Pushkar Ram were elected as district Vice Presidents, while Com. Vimla Ronthan was elected as the Joint Secretary.
Protest in Phulwaari Sharif Block to Demand Basic Facilities for the Mahadalits Rresiding in the Block
Under the leadership of CPI(ML), a forceful protest demonstration was staged on 18 May by Mahadalits residing in the north of Beur Jail and towards the south of Maila Tanki to demand basic facilities. The demands raised by the included- 5-5 dismil land for each mahadalit family, and provisions of toilets, bathhouses, electricity, safe drinking water and primary education centre (Anganwaadi) in Musahri. The protest demonstration was led by CPI(ML) CC member, Com. Shashi Yadav, CPI(ML) leaders Com. Ramnaresh Yadav, Com. Murtaja Ali and others. Participating in the protest demonstration, hundreds of women, men and children marched from Beur to Phulwaari block. Thereafter a six member delegation comprising of Com. Shashi Yadav, Com. Ramnaresh Ram, Com. Murtaja Ali, Com. Krishna Kumar Sinha, Com. Gorki Devi and Com. Subhash Manjhi held talks with the Block Development Officer (BDO), Circle Officer (CO) and the Child Development Project Officer (CDPO). The zonal authorities assured the delegation that a quick and a significant action would be taken on the issue of providing land to the mahadalit families. They further ensured that letters would be written to the authorities of the concerned authorities on the other demands raised. The CDPO assured that an anganwadi for primary education will soon be established.
CPI(ML) Candidate Wins the Council Election from Ramgarh Camp
Ramgarh is a district town in Jharkhand with a population of about 45 thousand that has been divided into 8 wards. Dozens of tribal and dalit villages have been included in the Ramagrah Camp council. However, nearly 67 years after the independence, the people residing here remain deprived of basic facilities such as education, health, roads, accommodation, and pension schemes for old, widows and the physically challenged. Several areas in the villages have been declared as ‘restricted areas’ as a result of which the villagers cannot build pakka houses. People residing in the Ramgarh camp are required to travel to Patratu block to get caste and domicile certificates and also for the payment of land revenue. However, when it comes to the development of the people, authorities of both the zones shirk of their responsibility claiming that it is the responsibility of the other. When any funds for development are received, the administration head who is a Brigadier, distributes it among army personnel. CPI(ML) has been waging a long struggle over the issues of the villagers and the willfulness of the army. In the elections for ward numbers 1 and 7 of the Ramgarh Camp Council on 17 May, Com. Manita Devi and Com. Prabhu Karmaali fought elections as CPI(ML) candidates. In ward number 7, Com. Prabhu Karmaali received 1043 votes, defeating his nearest rival by 193 votes. An active member of the CPI(ML) since 1982, Com. Karmaali has been active in several struggles fought over people’s issues. Despite the attempts by competitors to spread misinformation about the party, the party is committed to bring together the poor workers, farmers, dalits and adivasis and carry forward struggles on their issues.
CPI(ML) expresses shock and grief over the sudden demise of renowned journalist, noted columnist, anti-nuclear activist and Left political commentator Praful Bidwai. Known to speak truth to the powers that be, he always wrote and spoke what he truly believed in, without fearing the consequences. His particular efforts towards ensuring a world that was free of war and nuclear weapons and energy were reflected in his tireless activism in the anti-nuclear movements, as well as in his writings. He wrote extensively on this subject and also founded founded the Coalition of Nuclear Disarmament and Peace in 2000. A powerful voice for the left in India, he was also consistent in his efforts to fight promotion of prejudice, superstitions and non-scientific thinking in education. Co awarded International Peace Bureau’s Sean MacBride Peace Prize along with Prof. Achin Vinayak, he was committed to a vision of secular, democratic and an egalitarian India. CPI(ML) joins Praful Bidwai’s many friends and comrades in mourning his loss. The demise of Praful Bidwai is a huge loss for the democratic movement in India as people’s movement has lost a consistent champion and friend.
Red Salute to Com. Praful Bidwai
Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication, R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: mlupdate, website: www.cpiml.org