Kolkata: Veteran CPI (M) leader and former Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar addressed a massive rally in Burdwan on February 2 as part of the Left parties’ and Congress campaign to highlight people’s issues in election-bound West Bengal.
Addressing the huge crowd of nearly one lakh people who had gathered at Burdwan’s Town Hall Maidan, Sarkar exposed the assaults launched on democracy in Tripura by the Bharatiya Janata Party ruled government in the state, which is affecting all sections of the people in Tripura.
Highlighting the burden on workers in Tripura, he said that the number of working days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) which was earlier 100% percent, has now come down to 40-45 days under the BJP-led government. The Tripura Urban Employment Programme, an initiative of the earlier left government in the state, is also suffering from a similar fate now, he added.
In that context, Sarkar said, the elections in West Bengal are crucial to ensure that BJP is not voted to power. It is only the Left and the Congress alliance in the state which can make sure that Bengal is on the path to progress.
The rally was also addressed by Communist Party of India (Marxist) member Abhas Roychoudhury and state secretary of All India Kisan Sabha, Amal Halder.
Tuesday’s rally is one of the array of programmes taken up in West Bengal by the Left parties along with the Congress in the run up to the Assembly elections. At a time when the media is focusing on defection of political leaders in the state, the opposition alliance is trying to bring the focus back on the people’s issues in rural as well as urban areas. The major issues which have taken centre stage in their election campaign include price hike, non-availability of adequate trains to commute to office, farmers being unable to get the right price for their produce and hike in electricity prices.
Two farmers’ jathas, led by All India Kisan Sabha members, were organised in Tarkeshwar in Hooghly district and Barasat recently, highlighting the plight of farmers in the state and to mobilise support for the ongoing farmers’ protests.
LEFT AND CONGRESS IN DHARNA BEFORE NEW SECRETARIAT
On the same day as the programme in Burdwan, the alliance of Left parties and Congress held a dharna in front of the New Secretariat in Kolkata to create awareness about the issues that people are suffering in the state.
Speaking at the programme, Left Front chairman Biman Basu highlighted that the price hike of essential commodities is affecting all sections of people, however, both the central and the state government are busy in politicking for their personal gains. He added that in the process of the politicking by the ruling parties, the marginalised people are getting neglected.
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CPI (M) state secretary Suryakanta Mishra also addressed the dharna in Kolkata where he said that “the making of a world of lies” is in progress. While the Centre has been harping on about self reliance, the Union Budget shows that it is not at all committed to this, he added. “Instead,” the veteran CPI (M) leader said, “the current political leadership of the ruling party can be compared to fascist leaders. PM Modi himself is following in the footsteps of Benito Mussolini’s Guru Sir Julious Evola.”
“While the corporates are taking over the country, those at the Centre are aiding them instead of helping the people of the country,” Mishra said.
Questioning the Trinamool Congress-led West Bengal government, he said, “Our state was at the forefront in agriculture and a leading producer of foodgrains in the country under the Left Front government. If the government of Kerala can provide the adequate minimum support price to farmers even amid the pandemic, then why is the government in our state unable to do so?”
He also announced that there will be a march to Nabanna (secretariat) organised by youth organisations including the Democratic Youth Federation of India on February 11.
Leader of the Opposition, Abdul Mannan of the Congress, who was also there at the dharna in Kolkata, said that the Union Budget presented this year is “frivolous”. He added that the Mamata Banerjee-led government is no better than the central government, which is dividing people in the name of religion to reap political gains.
Nationalist Congress Party leader Amitabha Dutta, Communist Party of Bharat leader Barnali Mukherjee, Revolutionary Socialist Party leader Ashok Ghosh, Forward Bloc leader Hafiz Alam Sairani, CPI state secretary Swapan Banerjee , Revolutionary Communist Party of India leader Mihir Baine were among the speakers at the dharna programme organised by the Kolkata district Left Front and was presided over by district convenor of the Left Front, Kallol Majumdar.