ML Update 41 / 2011

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 14, No. 41, 04 – 10 OCTOBER 2011

Dethrone UPA Scamsters, Unmask NDA Pretenders –

Intensify the Battle against Corruption

With Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee formally distancing himself from the March 25, 2011 note sent by his ministry holding former FM P Chidambaram responsible for not stopping the 2G scam, Chidambaram has described the whole thing as a closed chapter. But the Finance Ministry note and Pranab Mukherjee’s subsequent clarification has not only made Chidambaram’s culpability clear but also exposed the complicity of the entire government in the scam as well as in all the ugly cover-up bids that have followed. Pranab Mukherjee has described his ministry’s note as nothing short of an inter-ministerial background paper based on inputs from the law ministry as well as the PMO even though he says he does not agree to all the inferences contained in the note.

The UPA ministers know that they must swim or sink together and so it is not difficult to understand how the instinct of political survival has prevailed over both Mukherjee and Chidambaram prompting them to reach a truce. But the Finance Ministry’s note does not disappear with the Finance Minister personally distancing himself from some of the observations and inferences. From the day the lids blew off the 2G scam, anybody familiar with the parliamentary mode of governance could guess that a scam of that magnitude involving such a key sector and major players could not just be a matter of omission or commission by just the telecom minister alone. It could only be a case of ‘collective responsibility’, the cardinal principle that is so often invoked by governments in parliamentary democracy.

Manmohan Singh always knew that action against any individual minister would trigger a chain reaction. That is why he delayed taking action against A Raja for as long as he could. With Raja in jail, Dayanidhi Maran, his predecessor in the telecom ministry has already followed suit, and whatever Mr. Pranab Mukherjee may now say in defence of his ‘valued colleague’ Chidambaram, we all know it very well that A Raja has also been insisting that Chidambaram be summoned as a witness! Manmohan Singh and his ministers may now bend all rules and subvert all norms of propriety to save their skin, but as far as public perception is concerned the Congress party and the UPA government just cannot go out of the coverage area of the tainted network of 2G scam.

The Congress has just no excuse to extricate itself from the mega scams that have emerged as a veritable hallmark of Congress/UPA rule. Congress leaders seek to argue that the CAG’s projection overestimates the loss as though the scam would have been any less a crime if the projection would have been Rs. 76,000 crore in place of Rs 176,000 crore! Sometimes they say the UPA merely followed the policies introduced and pursued by its predecessor. This too does not absolve the UPA scamsters of their crime. Indeed, the scams are rooted in policies that have been followed uninterruptedly by successive governments since 1991 and it all goes back to the initiation of the policies of liberalization and privatization by a Finance Minister handpicked by the IMF and the World Bank who now happens to be the Prime Minister!

Even as prices soar and scams multiply under the UPA regime, the BJP is making a desperate bid to regain power. While Narendra Modi, the director of the 2002 Gujarat genocide, now talks of ‘Sadbhavna Mission’, Advani talks of ‘clean politics’ even as two BJP chief ministers have had to resign in the wake of disclosure of massive scams. Newspapers are replete with stories of a Modi versus Advani rift brewing in the BJP, with Advani not visiting Somnath on the 21st anniversary of his infamous 1990 Ayodhya rathyatra and Modi terming Advani’s forthcoming rathyatra a futile exercise! Be that as it may, Adavni’s rhetoric of ‘clean politics’ is as spurious as Modi’s new-found rhetoric of ‘sadbhavna’ and secular-democratic forces cannot concede any quarter to the BJP and the NDA, no matter which BJP leader chooses to wear which mask.

It is an irony of history that in 1990 Advani had started his rathyatra from Gujarat and it was in Bihar that his rath was finally stopped. Two decades later, Advani launches his latest rath from Bihar with CM Nitish Kumar flagging it off. It is a grand convergence of political opportunism – while Advani seeks to appropriate the legacy of Jayprakash Narain by launching his yatra on JP’s birthday from his place of birth, Nitish Kumar sees this as an opportunity to project himself as an anti-corruption crusader and push up his brand value within NDA.

This is an outright mockery of the legacy of the 1974 JP movement and an insult to the spirit of the ongoing anti-corruption movement of the Indian people. The JP movement was about dethroning the corrupt and not replacing one set of corrupt with another, and before Nitish Kumar certifies Advani’s mission of ‘clean politics’ he owes an answer to the people of Bihar and India about the credentials of his own government. The treasury fraud has grown to Rs 16,000 crore and the BIADA land allotment scam has just hinted at the kind of corruption and nepotism that is thriving under Nitish Kumar.

While intensifying the battle against the scamsters of UPA, consistent fighters against corruption will also have to reject the BJP-NDA politics of pretension and hypocrisy with the contempt it deserves.

Release and Protect Sanjiv Bhatt

CPI(ML) condemns the arrest of Gujarat IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt. The arrest is nothing but an act of intimidation and victimization of a police officer who has blown the whistle on the complicity of the Modi Government in the communal genocide of minorities in 2002 as well as in acts of murder and custodial fake encounter.

Sanjiv Bhatt is a key witness in the Zakia Ahsan Jafri case who has put on record detailed evidence that threatens to indict the Modi Government and Narendra Modi himself for facilitating the communal violence of 2002. He has also put forward evidence suggesting that former Gujarat Miister Haren Pandya was killed by Tulsiram Prajapati (who was then killed by Gujarat police in a fake encounter). He had, in an affidavit in the Gujarat High Court, stated that the CM and his former Home Minister Amit Shah had pressurized him to withdraw his report and destroy evidence to this effect.

Bhatt’s arrest only shows that the Modi Gvernment has reasons to fear, discredit, and silence Bhatt. CPI(ML) demands that Sanjiv Bhatt be released forthwith and provided sufficient protection as a key witness in several cases of national significance.

Condemn the Intimidation of PUCL Activist

The police raid by the Chhattisgarh Special Task Force in collusion with Rajasthan police on the Jaipur home of human rights activist and PUCL General Secretary Kavita Srivastava is a condemnable act of intimidation.

It is clear that the Chhattisgarh police has not learnt its lesson even after being thoroughly exposed and discredited in its framing and incarceration of Binayak Sen. The witch-hunt of activists continues, and the Congress-ruled states like that of Rajasthan as well as the Central Government continue to collude with the extra-constitutional acts of the BJP’s Chhattisgarh Government and police force.

CPI(ML) stands in solidarity with Kavita Srivastava in the face of such acts of intimidation, and calls to intensify the protest against the witch-hunt of human rights activists.

CPI(ML) Observed National Protest Day on 30 September Against Rs. 25 a Day Definition of Poverty

Rs 26 / Rs 32 Poverty Line is a Starvation Line

Party Demands Resignation of Manmohan Singh and Montek Singh Ahluwalia

On 30 September 2011, CPI(ML) held protests and condemned the Planning Commission’s affidavit, approved by the Prime Minister’s Office, to the Supreme Court, laying down the norms for identifying BPL households, according to which anyone who spends more than Rs.32 in urban areas and Rs.25 in rural areas will not be considered poor and hence excluded from the BPL list. The Party had called for nationwide protests that culminated on 30 September in an all-India Protest Day demanding redefinition of poverty to automatically include all occupations coming under Minimum Wage Act and casual/contract/honorarium based workers and universalisation of social security and social benefits as well.

The Planning Commission and the Indian Government are headed by the World Bank’s favourite Indian economists- Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Manmohan Singh respectively. According to them, a person in a city is not rich if he/she spends, per day: Rs 5.5 on food grains / Rs 1.02 on pulses / Rs 2.33 on milk / Rs 1.55 on edible oil / Rs 1.95 on vegetables/44 paisa on fruits / 70 paisa on sugar / 78 paisa on salt and spices / Rs 1.51 on other foods! For rural centres, naturally, the amount would be even less. What about the sky-rocketing prices of each of these food items, which the Government is unable (or unwilling?) to quell?! If a family is forced to spend a paisa more than these ‘generous’ amounts on its members, it must not be listed as a BPL household according to the UPA Government!

New Delhi: A large number of protesters- construction workers, street vendors, domestic labourers and slum dwellers gathered at Jantar Mantar and marched towards the Yojana Bhavan (Planning Commission office) holding banners of CPI(ML), AIALA, AICCTU, AIPWA and AISA. The heavy barricading at Parliament Street was challenged by protesters and one cordon was felled also. Police tried to arrest and the protesters sat there and held an hour long meeting. Delhi State Secretary Comrade Sanjay Sharma and AIALA’s National President Comrade Rameshwar Prasad addressed the meeting among others. He said that the PM, Manmohan Singh, is ex-officio Chairman of the Planning Commission, and therefore directly responsible for this utterly callous mockery of the poor millions in India. A memorandum was also given to the Planning Commission.

Patna: Protest march was held in different blocks of Patna district on 25 September. Roads were blockaded and effigies of Manmohan Singh and Nitish Kumar were burnt at Fatuha, Sampatchak, Dhanarua, Masaurhi, Dulhinbazaar and Naubatpur. At some places the programme was disrupted due to rain and at Fatuha the protesters did not let ruling party MLA Anant Singh break the road blockade.

Rajasthan: Raising slogans like “Shameless Manmohan Singh Stop Snatching Food from the Mouth of Poor”…etc, spirited demonstrations were held at 8 centres in Jaipur- that includes 5 district HQs and 3 Sub-divisional offices on 30 September.

In Jaipur demonstration was hled at the Statue Circle led by CPI(ML) CCM and AIPWA’s National President Comrade Srilata and Party’s State Secretary Comrade Mahendra Chaudhary. In Udaipur district the activists handed over a memorandum to the DC at Udaipur and to the Sub-Divisional officer at Salumber sub-division. More than hundred participated here led by Comrade Gautam Lal Moreela. Local Congress leaders, their agents and State Govt officials are openly demanding bribes of Rs.1000-5000 for distributing pattas of forest land and NREGA work. At Pratapgarh district HQ scores of protesters demonstrated led by Comrade Sambhu Lal Rawal at DM’s office. Comrade Bhanwari Bai led the protest at Ajmer’s DM’s office.

Maharashtra: A dharna was held from 8 am- 11 am on 1st October outside Boisar Railway Station, led by Comrade Shyam Gohil, Secretary of CPI(ML)’s Mumbai-Thane Committee. Dalits and tribals from adjacent Jobhlepada, Vavey, Kurgaon, Ambaatpada etc. participated in the dharna. Boisar is a large industrial area of Maharashtra where massive number of workers comes daily from various places to work. The dharna was held outside the Station to address these workers.

WFTU’s International Day of Action organized in India

On the call of WFTU (World Federation of Trade Unions), International Day of Action was organized in India including Delhi on 3rd October 2011, by Left trade unions which are its affiliates or friendly organizations. On this historic day in 1945, WFTU was founded in Paris.

The historic 16th World congress of WFTU organized at Athens, Greece, between 6-9 April 2011 had given this call. International Day of Action was organized throughout the world on following demands: lGovernment funded Social Security for all, lRight to form trade unions and Right to collective bargaining, lBetter wages for Decent living, lWorking hours – 7 hours per day, 35 hours per week on a five day week, lSolidarity with the people of Palestine, lFreedom to the 5 Cubans who are illegally kept in US Jail on false charges.

In Delhi a workers’ convention was organized at Rajendra Bhawan by all Left trade unions. It was addressed by Swapan Mukherjee, General Secretary of AICCTU, H. Mahadevan, Deputy General Secretary of AITUC and WFTU, A.K. Padmanabhan, President of CITU, RK Sharma, Secretary of AIUTUC, Abani Roy, Secretary of UTUC and PN Diwedi of TUCC. Vote of thanks was given by Swadesh Dev Roye, Secretary CITU and secretariat member of WFTU. On behalf of AICCTU Rajiv Dimri, Secretary, was in the Presidium.

Comrade Swapan Mukherjee in his speech emphasized upon the need of strengthening the coordination among left unions in the present situation of turmoil. He said that the coordination among left unions should be strengthened in line with the WFTU’s anti-imperialist orientation, and this will sharpen the ongoing joint trade union movement against the Government’s imperialist-dictated policies of globalization, privatization and liberalization.

Odisha: AICCTU, along with CITU, AITUC, AIUTUC observed the International Action Day on 3rd October at Bhubaneswar.

AISA Wins Students’ Union Election in Odisha

The All India Students’ Association (AISA) registered its first electoral victory in Odisha by winning four Students’ Union posts in Gunupur College. Gunupur is also the hometown of Comrade Nagbhushan Patnaik.

AISA won on the posts of President (Biswanath Dandsi), General Secretary (Jaganath Panigrahi), and secretaries of Drama Society (Deepak Patnaik) and Literature Society (Regula Vinod) of the College. Holding a students’ rally after the victory, AISA activists and students resolved to strengthen and spread the organisation all over Odisha. AISA has been mobilising students in the State in support of people’s movements like anti-Posco struggles apart from students’ issues.

CPI(ML) Organises Protest on 17th Anniversary of Muzaffarnagar Incident

The Party observed 2nd October as protest-day in Uttarakhand on the 17th anniversary of Muzaffarnagar events. In 1994, when the activists for separate statehood of Uttarakhand were proceeding to Delhi for demonstration, the police of Govt headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav had brutally assaulted young and old and committed mass rapes of women activists. The DM Anant Kumar and DIG Bua Singh who led the whole assault are still unpunished. Even after the new State was formed, contrary to people’s expectations, these officials were not only not prosecuted, they have been promoted by the SP, BJP, Congress and BSP govts.

The protests were held at Lalkuan in Nainital district, Bhikiyasainne in Almora and Karnaprayag in Garhwal region. The protesters observed two minutes silence to remember the martyrs of separate statehood movement.

Delhi State Conference of Construction Workers’ Union

Construction Workers’ Union (or Building Workers’ Union) held its Delhi State Conference on 2nd October at Mandawali in Delhi. This is the first conference that is being held after crossing membership strength of twenty thousand. 85 delegates representing 11 committees spread in seven Assembly constituencies participated. The main resolution that was adopted is that the issue of socio-economic conditions of the construction/building workers will be raised prominently. The main demands are the formation of a board for construction workers and workers’ representation in the board. Comrade Swapan Mukherjee (AICCTU General Secretary) was the main speaker. A 41 member State Council was elected at the end of the Conference with Comrades Om Prakash Sharma, Ram Abhilash and VKS Gautam as Executive President, President and General Secretary respectively.

Protest on BIADA Land Scam in Bihar

A dharna was held at Fatuha and Bihta block HQs in Patna district on 16 September under the banner of Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM) to demand return of BIADA land back to the peasants or compensate them at the rate prevailing currently. The dharna also demanded withdrawal of LARR bill.

AIKM’s Demonstration and Dharna in Lucknow

Hundreds of peasants under the banner of All India Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM) from various districts of Uttar Pradesh held a march and dharna in Lucknow on 30 September against fertiliser crisis and its blackmarketing. The dharna also demanded scrapping of anti-peasant Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill 2011, and adequate compensation to the farmers ruined by the recent floods and heavy rains in eastern UP, among other important demands pertaining to MSP for cane etc. The programme was led by Comrade Ishwari Prasad Kushwaha, Statte Convenor of AIKM. The peasants came from Gazipur, Chandauli, Mirzapur, Azamgarh, Gonda, Pilibhit, Lakhimpur Khiri, Sitapur among other districts.

AIALA’s 4th Bihar State

Conference Held

All India Agricultural Labourers’ Association (AIALA) held its 4th Bihar State Conference on 26-27 September at Comrade Ram Naresh Ram Nagar (Purnia). Gareeb Ekjut-ta Rally (unity rally of the poor) was organised on 26 September which was addressed by CPI(ML) General Secretary. The Conference was based on the achieved membership strength of 8,60,139 and 761 delgates plus 42 guests-observers from all 35 districts of Bihar participated in the Conference. Women delegates numbered 65. The Conference elected a 103 member State Council and 31 member EC. Comrades Satyadeo Ram and Birendra Gupta were reelected President and Secretary respectively. Main demands are fulfilment of all promises made to the poor, scrapping the BPL limit proposal of Montek- Manmohan, land to all landless people, legislating new sharecropping act, CBI enquiry of AC-DC Bills and BIADA land scam. The delegates also resolved to give a befitting reply to the increasing attacks on poor and dalits.

AIPWA’s 3rd Conference in Ajmer

All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) held its 3rd Ajmer District Conference on 22nd September. Hundreds of women from Ajmer and its vicinity participated in the Conference. A seven member EC was elected. The demand for punishing the killers of Bhanwari Natt, curb price rise and corruption, NREGA programme for urban areas, removing the conditionality of 25 years for pension schemes etc. were the main demands.

Tribute

Comrade Gursharan Singh

Upholder of Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s legacy in the field of art and culture, renowned cultural personality of Punjab and founding President of Jan Sanskriti Manch, Comrade Gursharan Singh breathed his last on 28th September 2011 (incidentally also the birth anniversary of Bhagat Singh) in Chandigarh at the age of 82. Bhagat Singh was his biggest inspiration and he invariably depicted the Shaheed-e-Azam’s life and ideals quite invigoratingly through his plays.

Comrade Gursharan Singh took the membership of Communist party at a young age of 16 and remained committed to communist ideals throughout his life. He never compromised with any regime, nor wavered even momentarily from his principles. He played important role in Bhakra Nangal Dam while working as research officer in Punjab Govt’s irrigation dept. It was during his tenure here that he started his journey in 1956 of revolutionary plays. All family members including his daughters would get involved in the plays. He staged thousands of plays nationally and internationally. Staging plays with very less resources, he brilliantly potrayed and spread awareness among people with his every subject- feudal oppression, capitalist loot, repression, imperialism.

He never limited himself to Punjab and played a crucial role in the founding of Jan Sanskriti Manch in 1985, an organisation primarily centred in Hindi-Urdu regions. He never shied away from participating in active politics. He was founder of Punjab Lok Sabhyachar Manch and Inquilabi Manch, and was also a member of advisory council of the IPF. He remained a close sympathiser of CPI(ML) and always participated in its programme with all enthusiasm.

A huge number of common people and cultural activists were present during the funeral. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and his entire revolutionary legacy.

Red Salute to Comrade Gursharan Singh!

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

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