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Saturday, April 30, 2011
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) issued the following statement on April 25, 2001.
THE arrest of Suresh Kalmadi, Congress MP, for corruption associated with the Commonwealth Games, is a welcome step, though it is much delayed. Apart from the instances of corruption indulged in by the Organising Committee of the Commonwealth Games, there is the large scale misuse of funds for the games by other agencies and authorities in the Delhi government and the central government. Some of these have been enquired into by the Shunglu committee.
The CBI should forthwith take steps to lodge cases and prosecute those who were responsible for the expropriation of public funds.
BUDDHADEB AT MEET THE PRESS: 'FOOD, EMPLOYMENT AND PEACE WILL BE TOP PRIORITIES OF 8TH LEFT FRONT GOVT'
LOOKING a bit surprised at the absurdity of charges levelled by prime minister Manmohan Singh against Left Front government in his election speeches, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya wondered: “I do not know from where prime minister has discovered that nothing is happening in Bengal." Pointing out the falsity of PM's charge, he pointed out progress made in industrialisation effort itself. He reminded that country's biggest steel plant has come up at Shalboni and that too in private sector. Buddhadeb was addressing a ‘Meet the Press’ at Kolkata Press Club on April 24, 2011 afternoon.
Buddhadeb was even more surprised at prime minister's claim that compared to Bengal, Muslims were better off in Gujarat. Reminding that for Minorities, security is the biggest issue, he could not understand prime minister making such a claim after 2002 anti-Muslim carnage under the present Modi government of Gujarat. Buddhadeb expressed confidence that nobody is going to believe such claims of prime minister. He also pointed out that according to central government itself, in the matter of utilisation of Minority student's scholarships, Bengal tops the list even today. Similarly debunking claims of Bengal being kept behind by Left rule, Buddhadeb reminded that while national literacy rate is 74 per cent, Bengal with 77.1 per cent is much ahead of many other larger states.
To a volley of questions from media regarding praise showered by PM on Buddhadeb and his government publicly in the past and his denunciation now, the Bengal CM responded saying this question can only be addressed by the PM. Being further pressed for reply specially hinting at compulsions of coalition politics, he only said that he does not hold to that view. In the election campaign, many things would be said by those opposing us. Buddhadeb closed this topic by saying that ultimately what matters is what people say and think of us, not what PM thinks.
In this connection, a confident and relaxed Buddhadeb categorically claimed a comfortable win for Left Front in current elections. Cutting short a question about 'doubts' Buddhadeb repeated that he did not have any doubt, "We will get a comfortable majority." Buddhadeb began his brief address to press by underlining top four priorities of his next government: strengthened and universalised PDS, creation of employment through industrialisation, improving life of marginalised sections, ie, tribals, poor Muslims, unorganised sector and establishing peace and tranquility. Later on, he further summarised top priorities of the 8th Left Front government as: ‘Food, Employment and Peace.’
Answering questions, the Bengal CM also tried to dispel the notions that post-Singur industrial expansion has stopped in Bengal. He drew attention not only towards major developments on industrial front including an electronics complex at Siliguri, but also towards the fact of investment worth Rs 15,000 crore made in 2010 alone. He also drew attention towards the successful acquisition of 8,100 acres of land for purposes of industrialisation. On relationship between opposition combine and threat to peace in the state, Buddhadeb pointed out the TMC's hobnobbing in hills with GJM demanding division of state and its alliance with Maoists specially in Jangal Mahal. He underlined that these are not issues of intra-party clashes and these sources of violence have to be defeated to protect the peace in the state.
In the morning, Buddhadeb led a huge padyatra through three assembly constituencies of Kolkata city—Chaurangi, Shyampukur and Jodasanko. Thousands from all sections of society participated with much enthusiasm in these programmes. Most of the three and a half kilometre long stretch also had thousands lined up on both sides of the path to see, welcome and even join the procession. The procession started from Mohmmad Ali Park and concluded at Baag Bazar.
Flower petals were repeatedly showered over the procession at various junctions. All along the way, people on rooftops, balconies and their windows also waved their support to the CM and the Left Front. The CM and candidates from three constituencies—Janaki Singh of CPI(M) from Jodasanko, Jeewan Prakash Saha of Forward Bloc from Shyampukur and Bimal Sigh of RJD from Churangee—along with CPI(M) Central Committee and state secretariat member Md Salim, travelled on decorated open jeep.
Kolkata, April 24
"The Left Front government in Bengal is a government for people's unity, people's prosperity and democracy for the people." Thus summarising the basic role of Left Front government, chief minister of Tripura and CPI (M) Polit Bureau member, Manik Sarkar reminded people of Bengal of the need and necessity of forming Eighth Left Front government in Bengal.
After extensively campaigning outside metropolitan city, in his first mass meeting at Kolkata on Sunday evening, Tripura CM underlined that an Eighth Left Front government is not only need of the people of Bengal, but also a crying need of working people of the entire country suffering the disastrous policies of Cong-TMC combine at the national level. He emphasised that Left is the only hope for suffering people and Bengal being its mightiest contingent, Eighth Left Front government is a must for an effective intervention to save people. Tripura CM also pointed out how it's only the three Leftist governments — of Bengal, Kerala and Tripura — that have resisted, disastrous policies imposed on whole of the country by Cong-TMC combine's government at the centre.
In this connection, Manik Sarkar drew the receptive audience's attention towards destruction of PDS, job opportunities, public sector, public education, public health etc by the current rulers of nation and their shocking corruption scandals. He pointed out that the same forces are now demanding a ‘change’ in Bengal, to bring all these to Bengal also. Sarkar discussed in detail the achievements of 34 years of Left Front rule in Bengal in fields such as ensuring more equitable, rapid development in agriculture that has laid the basis for rapid strides in industrialisation; taking democracy to grassroots through panchayati raj system and giving it real powers of decision making regarding development programmes; ensuring democratic rights to all working people and deprived sections; developing education, health, infrastructure and other basic sectors; providing relief specially to poor and unorganised and defending unity and secular fabric of society.
Claiming that in his extensive campaigning in different districts of the state he has seen overwhelming support for the Left Front, Manik Sarkar said that unlike what media assumes, the people of Bengal are intelligent enough to see the reality of ganging up of all national and international forces of reaction behind the facade of paribartan. Sarkar also underlined the significance of Left Front’s promise of continuing efforts for industrialisation and a universalised PDS in state. Referring to repressive and violent years of 1970s, when he himself was a student at Kolkata, Manik Sarkar also underlined that people do not want a return of those black days.
This meeting held at Kaurgachi under Maniktala assembly constituency was also addressed by CPI (M) candidate Rupa Baxi and Sukumar Mukherjii, Minister for relief in the LF government. Famous swimmer Bula Chaudhary and renowned actor Arindam Seel also addressed the gathering and appealed vote for Rupa Baxi and Left Front.
TODAY, I am here in this state that is so famous for its sons and daughters who stood and continue to stand for their progressive thoughts. Well, I am here to honour my commitment given to those party-persons who asked me to come for campaigning in the elections. How could I, who is regarded as an 'efficient, intelligent, industrious and suave person', refuse? And how could I, when I was called to carry out one of my favourite jobs – bashing the Left, that too, in its own bastion!
My day started with a press conference. I was told beforehand that the media here is quite friendly to us and they ask no embarrassing questions. I was also told that they would lap up what all I say, add their ingenuity and spice up the story. True friends indeed! I used the press conference to warn the Left, through the media. I roared, 'If the CPI (M) thinks that we don't record what is happening in West Bengal, it is wrong. We know what has happened and what has been happening in the last 34 years in the state'. That was enough to make the banners or headlines. Thundering, I also added, 'I have been carefully watching the situation in West Bengal. For two and a half years, I have been keeping record of law and order in the state'. Thank god, experience has taught me that having good language skills and a stern, intellectual look are more than enough to carry the message through. What would I have done if somebody asked me about the 'records' maintained by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)?
I know, that if somebody quoted from the NCRB report 2010, I would have been in a soup. Because according to it, on many counts West Bengal stands last. Andhra Pradesh tops in murder and its attempt, culpable homicide not amounting to murder, kidnapping and abduction, hurt and causing death by negligence. Even in other crimes, like dowry, molestation, sexual harassment, Andhra Pradesh is at the top. And Bengal is at the bottom. In the incidence and rate of crimes committed against Scheduled Castes during 2009, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, stood first second and third respectively. West Bengal once again is at the bottom at 25th position. Isn't standing last, wrong? Weren't we told to be first on all counts and were you not scolded for not being first. That is what I too had done. There is a political secret (Andhra Pradesh is a state ruled by our party and even in Rajasthan and Maharashtra it is our party that is in power. How can I betray our party?) Moreover, did I tell clearly what I was 'watching' and what were the records I am maintaining?
Thankfully, nobody asked me. As I said, the media is very friendly and can silence one or two question-popping journalists, who try to embarrass with facts. Then, I went to some public meeting. Any way, I do not expect big crowds for my meetings (Remember, even Madam and Sir too did not draw huge crowds). Public meetings of our party are nice. We 'bring' people, using the same tactics, either in Tamilnadu or here, but the best part is, you can speak whatever you want and rush away in a hurry. People will not question you – because they are kept far away and also we 'rush away', giving an impression that we are busy in our campaign.
In one such meeting, I said, 'For too long you had a government that neglected governance. West Bengal is the worst-governed state in the country...I am constrained to say that sub-standard administration exists in West Bengal whose financial health is precarious...In this part of West Bengal, there is no road, no electricity, no primary health centre, schools, no infrastructure for development. There has been no development after Independence'. Of course, without expecting an answer, I questioned in my usual inimitable style, 'Who is responsible for these ills?'
I know that critics will come out with many facts countering my allegations, but who cares, didn't I have my moment of glory? Yes, they quote from authentic Central organisation's figures, to show: West Bengal’s agricultural growth remains higher than national average (The growth rate of agriculture from 2006-07 to 2009-10 was 2.18 per cent in India, while it was 3.19 per cent in West Bengal); in physical infrastructure, the road length per 100 sq km area in Bengal in 2008 was 238.61, while in India, it was 96.57; the non-electrified villages in Bengal were 407, while in India they were 28,824 (March 2011); the proportion of households having access to improved source of drinking water in West Bengal, as percentage is 94, while for India it is 88 (2005-06).
I am aware that they also can prove: improvement of infant and maternal mortality rate in West Bengal between 1997 and 2009 was the second fastest in the country; literacy rate in Bengal is 77.1 per cent, while it is 74 per cent for the country; female literacy is 71.2 per cent compared to 65.4 per cent for India; the sex ratio is 947 for Bengal and for the country it is 940; the child sex ratio is 950 for Bengal and for India, it is 914. In healthcare, West Bengal ranks first in the country in the number of government allopathic doctors; the average population served per government doctor in West Bengal is 9953, while it is 13,119 in India; the average population served per government hospital bed in West Bengal is 1604, while it is 2105 for India; 73 per cent of all patients in West Bengal undergo treatment from the public health system, which is much above the national average of 40 per cent.
Because of my earlier experiences, I know some truths about the state of finances of many states too. Yes, it is true that West Bengal’s debt-GSDP ratio is steadily improving. It is also true that Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have higher debt/GSDP ratios than Bengal and that West Bengal’s total outstanding liabilities of Rs 198195 crore are much lower than that of Uttar Pradesh (Rs 234581 crore) and Maharashtra (Rs 236526 crore). I know that even the central government’s total outstanding liabilities in 2010-11 are Rs 3568709 crore. But, who cares for these figures. Don't you remember, statistics are always boring and by the time somebody from the Left start reeling these statistics and figures of truth, I am sure people would fall asleep. I myself who dwelt with so many numbers for so many years am yawning while writing all these. Even Mark Twain had said, “Figures often beguile me”. So, I am sure my criticism, wrong it might be, will stay in the minds of people and win us some votes.
Taking a more aggressive posture in another meeting, I squarely blamed the CPI (M) and its cadres for 'procuring arms and spreading violence and turning the state into a killing field'. I know that there were no arms recovered in many searches conducted by the central forces in the Lalgarh area from the CPI (M) offices. But I should not state those facts here, as it might anger my colleague who is known for mercurial temperament (to put it conservatively). Moreover, I should also please my hosts who have called me exclusively for this purpose. I can say with confidence, that I fulfilled my role with aplomb.
I remember, once in a meeting with police officials in Ranchi, I blamed the state police officers for misrepresenting the facts about the number of police personnel killed in the state due to Left-wing extremism (a nice term, I like it very much). I told them that they should get their facts right, more so when it involves the numbers of those who have lost their lives. But these strictures are for them and not for me. CPI (M) has submitted many a memoranda to me, with detailed lists stating that more than 380 of their cadre were killed by the Maoists and the opposition forces since the last Lok Sabha elections in 2009. Of course, I know that these are genuine lists. But should I acknowledge this fact during my election campaigning? No way. Instead, I cleverly said that opposition parties lost more lives in this period. By the time a rejoinder is issued, I will be far from this state, finishing my job.
Continuing my tirade, I said, 'had it been any other state, the chief minister would have resigned at the failure of the administration to control violence'. I know Buddhadeb is very sensitive. Look at the way he is going around accepting the mistakes. So I wanted to rub it further in. Alas, don't I know my own colleagues involved in more serious offences? Or for that matter, did I resign after what I had done with Andhra Pradesh (ah, that famous December fiasco).
These are elections and I know my duty is to criticise. One of my leaders put it very crudely (of course, my refined senses do not permit me to use the same words but for want of a better alternative I quote them), “It is our duty to spit and his to clean, do not bother about correct and wrong here”. This I did a lot during my short-stay in the state. Do I repent doing it? No. Why should I? Did I repent on the way I had won my election? Did I repent when I was accused of being partisan? No. I am not a communist, to accept my mistakes publicly. My boss does not accept his mistakes. The most beautiful, powerful and idealistic US does not. So why should I? With friendly media, I can escape. Let me retire now, listening to Elvis Presley:
You look like an angel
Walk like an angel
Talk like an angel
You're the devil in disguise
Oh yes you are
The devil in disguise
PS: This is written before the expose on Purulia arms drop. If this expose had come a little earlier, would I have been in a spot of bother? I frankly think, no. With my political experience and legal acumen, I can defend anything. People might not believe it, but who cares!
Kolkata, April 22
"Who are the people buying those paintings (by Mamata Banerjee) for lakhs of rupees? We know that. What is their connection with people having interests in railway tenders? We know that. These are not paintings to feel proud of. These are paintings soiled with corruption."
Pointing out the unethical quid pro quo in various steps of Trinamool Congress, CPI (M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat charged TMC-Congress alliance of bringing black money into Bengal politics.
Brinda also dared Mamata to disclose names of people from Mumbai and Chennai who, according to her own claim, had offered her money to defeat Left Front, which she did not accept. Bringing to attention recent Wikileaks disclosures of US being very keen on Left being ousted from Writer's Building, Brinda Karat asked people to overwhelmingly vote for the Left Front to defeat this conspiracy of all kinds of anti-people and anti-worker forces.
Brinda Karat was addressing a rally at Brahman Pada, under Entally constituency, for Dr Debesh Das of CPI (M) who is also state IT minister. Later in the evening she also went to address a meeting for CPI (M)'s candidate from Ballygunj, Dr Fuad Halim and also party's candidate for Jorashanko.
Brinda Karat began her hectic campaign in the evening by leading a huge padayatra to canvass support for CPI (M) candidate from Kasba, Satrup Ghosh. People in thousands participated in this padayatra.
Questioning the opposition's claims of standing for 'change', Brinda Karat charged that they want to change pro-people Left Front government in order to open retail trade for foreign multinationals, which the Left would not allow. They want to finish off subsidies for the poor, which the Left won't let happen. They want to turn entire Bengal in to a 'mukt kshetra' (free zone) for ‘Maoists’ and all other kind of goons that the Left will not let happen. That's why all such vested interests have united against the Left Front. She also appealed to the people not to allow repeat of violent 1970s.
Appealing for victory of Eighth Left Front government, Brinda said that TMC-Congress alliance in government at the centre and Trinamool in many panchayats and municipal bodies in Bengal itself, has shown people a trailer of their 'paribartan'. People will say a decisive 'no' to suffering their destructive film.
Tikender Singh Panwar
AT a time West Bengal is passing through one of the toughest political battles in its history, all sorts of forces --- ranging from the so-called Left through the centre to the extreme right --- have aligned to defeat the Left. In this battle, the corporate world has also made its entry with black money has now become a prominent issue. In this regard, the people of this state deserve to be heartily congratulated as they have responded positively to this issue which the votaries of neo-liberalism and their hankers-on have always sought to brush under the carpet. Today the effort is, as pointed out by P Sainath in an article in The Hindu, that bribery should be legitimised, and the neo-liberalists seek to underplay this issue that is connected to the people’s life and livelihood.
It has appeared in a section of the print and electronic media in West Bengal that there is a rampant flow of black money in the state, with the corporate houses backing the TMC. The revelation made during the burning of fraud receipts has thoroughly exposed the TMC as beneficiary of this massive inflow of black money. In the two phases of elections so far, as the reports go, the TMC had been doling out allurements of umbrellas, CD players, colour television sets and also cash, not to talk of the massive distribution of free liquor in selected colonies along with hard cash. It is not surprising that the US imperialism has set its eyes on the election and is seeking to ensure that the Left is removed from one of the foremost outposts of the struggle against the LPG policies, so that the imperialist agenda of neo-liberalism is carried on unhindered in India.
After all, where all this money comes from?
Gautam Deb, a minister in the West Bengal, has made a scathing attack on the TMC and pointed out some of the sources from where this money is pouring in.
In this regard, one episode was not sufficiently underlined. It is about the person who was caught with Rs 57 lakh in cash while travelling from Assam to Delhi in a chartered aircraft. Somehow he was let off by the concerned authorities though a complaint had been lodged with the Election Commission. This man happens to be the owner of Alchemist and his name is Kanwar Deep Singh or K D Singh. But what is his relation with the West Bengal elections? Apart from having business interests in the region, he is the one who hails from Punjab but became an independent member of Rajya Sabha from Jharkhand. How? It does not require any in-depth description; one can easily decipher the reality. Now the same K D Singh is a member of the TMC. This man, who is now one of the largest sources of black money in the West Bengal elections, has a dubious history and methodology of amassing money while bypassing the law of the land and cheating the people. This reporter can cite a case to the point that connects this man to the former’s home state of Himachal Pradesh.
The state of Himachal Pradesh has a peculiar position in regard to land reforms and tenancy act. Accordingly, what to talk about the non-Himachalis, even a non-agriculturist cannot purchase land in the state. But, eager to expand his business interests, this K D Singh entered an agreement with the management of a prestigious school named Himalayan International School (HIS) at Charabra, just 7 kilometres from Shimla, to buy the school and the 30 bighas of landed property attached with it for a sum of Rs 12 crore. However, as it is not permissible under the provisions of law, a dummy agriculturist in the garb of a buyer was created and a sale deed was registered for Rs 6 crore only; the rest of the amount was given in black. This money was paid from the account of the Alchemist of K D Singh. Immediately thereafter, the school management was changed, with a section of the Alchemist management taking the school over. The first task the new management performed was to shut the school down and ask the parents to withdraw their children, while the teachers and the non-teaching staff were asked to resign as the school was now to be redesigned into a hospitality department, i.e. a multi-star hotel.
However, the parents and other people of the state approached the High Court and it was their intervention that foiled the evil intentions of this TMC MP. The civil writ petition has demanded that the aforesaid property be taken away from K D Singh and vested with the state of Himachal Pradesh as the deal had taken place in contravention of the provisions of HP Tenancy and Land Reforms Act.
The move has thoroughly exposed the sinister designs of the TMC MP. The episode also indicates what the TMC, with such high-profile tagged people in its bandwagon, can offer to the people of West Bengal.
April 23, 2011
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) issued the following statement on April 26, 2011.
THE union home minister, P Chidambaram, has called West Bengal among the worst governed states in the country, during his election campaign in the state. This is a ludicrous statement coming from a person who belongs to a government which is presiding over the most corrupt regime in independent India. Mercifully, West Bengal has been saved from the style of governance that Chidambaram’s party has been practising at the centre. The absurdity of the statement can be gauged from the fact that on the very day when Chidambaram made the statement, West Bengal was given an award for panchayati raj programme rural development by the central government.
It is shocking that the home minister goes to West Bengal and does not speak a word in condemnation of the Maoist violence which has led to the death of 265 cadres and supporters of the CPI(M) and the Left Front since the last Lok Sabha elections. Instead, he has levelled the patently false charge that it is the CPI(M) which is responsible for the killings by presenting wrong figures. By covering up the Maoist violence and the Maoist-TMC collaboration, Chidambaram has betrayed the elementary duty entrusted to him as the home minister of the country. The egregious and partisan manner in which Chidambaram is behaving will only call into question the way he is handling the key office of home minister in the government.