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West Bengal: Left Parties Join Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra

Anirban Dey |
CPI(M) calls for unity of like-minded parties to defeat those “mixing religion with politics.”
Left and congress workers jointly welcome Rahul Gandhi to Murshidabad district

Left and congress workers jointly welcome Rahul Gandhi to Murshidabad district

Berhampur (West Bengal):  Amid reports of friction in the Opposition INDIA bloc in West Bengal, the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Naya Yatra saw the Left and Congress come closer in West Bengal.

State CPI(M) secretary Mohd Salim and other party leaders met the Congress leader at Jangipur and expressed their party’s solidarity. After the meeting, Salim said:

“There should be unity between the Left and the Centrist parties to counter the rise of the Right wing in the country. Those who are mixing politics and religion should be stopped”. 

During the Nyay Yatra, the West Bengal Congress leadership, led by Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, has been quite vocal against state administration and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee's role regarding the Yatra. Banerjee, who is part of the INDIA bloc, has also announced that her party would fight the Lok Sabha elections on its own.

Talking to reporters, Chowdhury said, "The state government is obstructing the Yatra. No meeting permission being given. The Congress planned that Rahul Gandhi would stay at Berhampore Stadium but the administration has refused permission". 

On Wednesday, Banerjee had blamed the Left for TMC’s deteriorating relations with the Congress.

Commenting on this, Salim told reporters that “this is not a triangular love story. This is hard politics. TMC was never consistent about fighting BJP.”

Rahul Gandhi with Cpim leader MD Salim and other leaders

Rahul Gandhi with Cpim leader MD Salim and other leaders

On Thursday, the Nyay Yatra entered Murshidabad. Since its entry into the state, the Yatra has been getting huge support from the public. At Jangipur, Lalgola and Bhagabangola, a huge number of people gathered to welcome it. 

At Suti, Rahul Gandhi stopped the Yatra and entered a house to meet beedi workers, who shared their woes and demands with him. 

"We roll a thousand beedis which takes one and half days, and after that we are paid Rs 150. How will we survive?” this is what we told Rahul", said Elima Khatun after the meeting.

The wages of beedi workers are fixed through bipartite meetings between labour unions and the merchants association. The last such bipartite meeting was held on September 28, 2021 at Murshidabad’s Aurangabad Biri Merchants’ Association’ Conference Hall.

In the meeting, both parties agreed that beedi workers would be paid Rs178 for rolling 1,000 beedis. But, workers complained that they were not getting that amount.

As per the state government declared rate, beedi workers of Murshidabad, Bankura, Birbhum and North Bengal are entitled to get Rs. 267.44 for rolling 1,000 beedis.

However, after the meeting with Rahul Gandhi, the workers said they were hopeful that he would speak up for beedi workers. A worker said the Congress leader also rolled a beedi with the workers while talking.

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