Sunday, November 17, 2013
EDITORIAL OF PEOPLE'S DEMOCRACY: A BIG hue and cry has been raised over the central Election Commission’s exercise of seeking opinion of all political parties on the question of banning opinion polls before an election. The principal opposition party – the BJP – and sections of the media are terming this exercise as an outrageous attack on the freedom of speech and media freedom. In this context, it is necessary to consider certain points.
THIS writing is about the rapid and vast industrial transformation that took place in the Soviet Union after the death of Comrade Lenin and in the period of the First Five Year Plan, 1928-32. It was a momentous event, along with the simultaneously promoted collectivisation of agriculture, comprised what is usually known as Stalin's revolution from above. Stalin took over this task after Lenin’s death. Stalin's industrial revolution embodied a special vision of the October Revolution – the creation of industrial base for socialism, a system supplanting to capitalism. The slogan of October Socialist Revolution was, ‘Overtake and Surpass’ the Advanced Capitalist Countries’. The Bolsheviks had long been fascinated with the most advanced technology and scientific management (Fordism and Taylorism) in Western countries, the adoption of which in the Soviet Union, they believed, was a prerequisite to socialism. The possibility of building socialism in one country was taken with full conviction and the very survival of the country was believed to depend on rapid industrialisation.
In his impassioned speech in February 1931, Stalin spoke of Russian history as one of continual beatings due to backwardness, ‘beatings by the Mongol khans, the Swedish feudal lords, the Polish-Lithuanian pans, the Anglo-French capitalists, and the Japanese barons,’ and he declared: ‘We are fifty to one hundred years behind the advanced countries. We must cover this distance in ten years. Either we do this, or they will crush us’. The sense of international isolation and an inevitable international class-war contributed to the breakneck speed of Stalin's industrialisation. It was conceived as a great leap from a relatively backward country to an ultramodern industrial power.
This leap reflected the contradiction of the October Revolution itself: a proletarian revolution in a predominantly peasant country, or "revolution against Das Kapital" in Antonio Gramsci's famous expression. Because Karl Marx assumed that socialism would be built on the basis of the productive capacity of advanced industrial capitalism and so the Bolsheviks believed that a historically unprecedented leap would be necessary to build socialism in the Soviet Union. The decision to take the leap in the late 1920s was preceded by a heated theoretical debate on industrialisation, with theoretical disagreements often developing into certain political dissension also within the party.
Almost all participants in the debate assumed, however, that investment of capital for industrial development had to be somehow generated from the agrarian sector (whose population still accounted for over 80 percent of the total population of the country in 1926), because there were no other sources. The Soviet Union neither expected to obtain necessary aid from the Western capitalist countries nor possessed external colonies to exploit, which is how capitalist countries developed. (In any case, the exploitation of colonies, a capitalist method, was ruled out.) The debate revolved mainly around how to extract the resources without breaking civil peace with the peasantry.
However, the burden of industrialisation weighed heavily on the entire population, affecting different social groups to different degrees.
Bolshevik Party led government’s industrialisation, however gained impressive achievements at the expense of certain amount of suffering by the population; it laid the foundations for the post World War II rise of the Soviet Union to a world power. In discussing Stalin-led industrial revolution, Soviet historians tend to emphasize its dazzling accomplishments and its unavoidable costs, while western historians tend to do just the opposite. Even when the western historians appreciate both the achievements and costs, they seem to be preoccupied with the question of whether the former were worth the price paid, or whether the revolution itself was really necessary according to their own capitalist class point of view.
In 1921, during Lenin’s period, there was an important change of policy. The Bolsheviks war communism was replaced with the New Economic Policy (NEP) to restore both the economy and civil peace with the peasantry. NEP reinstated market relations between town and country and forsook most of the characteristics of war communism, thereby allowing the private sector to revive. This was a period of Civil war when Soviet Russia was attacked by indigenous class enemies along with foreign invasions.
The economy's "commanding heights" (large-scale industry, banking and foreign trade) were kept in the hands of the State. To promote overall economic planning, Gosplan, the State Planning Commission, was founded in 1921. The activities of these institutions were monitored by Rabkrin, the People's Commissariat for Workers' and Peasants' Inspection, which was created in 1920 and soon became a powerful apparatus through the merger in 1923 with the Central Control Commission of the Communist Party. Rabkrin was aided in its work by the GPU (or OGPU), the State Political Administration, which grew out of the state security police, the Cheka, borne by the October Revolution and bred by the civil war. All these institutions, developed during Lenin’s time, were to play a prominent role in Soviet Union’s industrialisation drive under Stalin.
The policies adopted for agricultural prices and for deliveries of industrial products to the peasants, particularly of products which they needed to develop their production in 1927, ended in a fiasco over the procurement of cereals by the State (and also by the official cooperatives). The leadership of the Party decided at the beginning of 1928 to take "urgent measures," which were regarded as the only measures that were practicable. In accordance with these measures, the peasants had to deliver to the State the grain which they held and for this they received a considerably low official price according to the procurement policy of the Party. If the peasants responded with a refusal, the authorities had recourse to "exceptional measures," which, in particular, allowed them to act under Article 107 of the Penal Code (of the RSFSFR); that is, they could seize, the assets of the peasant and confiscate them. These confiscations were carried out with the help of numerous officials and of "worker brigades" sent from the towns. In principle, these measures of coercion were only applied to the kulaks and also other independent peasants. These measures were carried out strictly especially after the spring of 1928, when famine began to be seriously felt. From that time the poor peasants, who more or less had upheld the exceptional measures during the winter months, became hostile and the end of the spring almost all the peasants were clearly against the policy adopted for the villages. In the middle of June 1928, MI Frumkin wrote, in a letter addressed to the Central Committee: "The village, apart from a small section of the poor peasantry, is against us."
Discontent was also felt in the towns. The Soviet Union at the time experienced the most serious social and political crisis since the Kronstadt uprising. In July, the Central Committee decided to annul the "exceptional measures," which it emphasiSed were "temporary," and condemned those applications of them which had given rise to "violation of revolutionary legality," to illegal searches, and to administrative arbitrariness, etc. Thus the Central Committee made the necessary correction in their procurement policy.
So, Lenin-led NEP postponed war on the market forces for an unspecified period, and instead declared competition with them. Skillful price maneuvering in the markets was assumed to ensure the accumulation of the capital necessary for industrialisation at the expense of peasant income but not of civil peace. Throughout NEP, however, the fear that the markets would take the upper hand haunted the Bolshevik government. Price maneuvering in the markets, politically necessary as it was, was seen by many Bolsheviks as an un-heroic business, as attested to by the fact that during NEP the years of war communism came to be nostalgically remembered as "the heroic period of the great Russian Revolution.”
The Bolsheviks did not indiscriminately distrust the "bourgeois" specialists, nor did the Bolsheviks blindly trust them. Rather, before 1928 the Bolsheviks expediently assumed that NEP had allowed the majority of the "bourgeois" specialists not to be actively hostile to the Soviet government.
At the sixteenth party conference in April 1929, a Rabkrin reporter declared that the time had come for war and that "we have already become engaged.
This piecemeal study of industrialisation does not dismiss the notion of "revolution from above," but challenges some assumptions implicit in it, thereby supplementing the findings, and supporting the most important implication, of recent western works on other aspects of Stalin's revolution. The revolution appears in these works not merely as a revolution from above but also as one that was to some extent politically pressed and supported "from below." So uncritically have western historians assumed that Stalin intimidated and terrorised the whole society that the question of popular support has largely escaped them. The concept of class war itself was in fact intended to gain the support of the working c1ass. In this article we discussed the extent and mode of both workers' resistance and support, and suggest that workers' support provided the basis for the survival of the Soviet regime under Stalin, after Lenin’s death, that emerged from the revolution.
We conclude by asserting that this rapid industrialisation of Soviet Union, though some time became very harsh, provided the necessary industrial base for producing the indispensable heavy armaments for Soviet Union after Lenin’s death to crush the fascist forces and save the world from the onslaught of German/Japanese fascism, which no body can deny.
THE serial blasts that rocked Patna during the so-called Hoonkar rally of the Bharatiya Janata Party, snuffing out five lives and injuring around 70, has diverted the whole debate and added further ammunition in the communal arsenal of the BJP to polarise the masses on communal lines. Just after the serial blasts, which have been criticised by all the political parties, the RSS-VHP propaganda machines were quick in painting the whole Muslim community as terrorists because the investigation agencies found clues about involvement of Indian Mujahiddin in this inhuman act. Though pushing quite divergent agendas, terrorist outfits like the Indian Mujahiddin and organisations like the RSS, Bajrang Dal and VHP do have something in common --- they all are working overtime to bury the secular character of the Indian state and make it something like a clone of Pakistan.
The Bihar government has rightly been criticised for not taking extra precaution for securing the law and order situation in the highly charged political atmosphere. After their bitter divorce on the eve of the 2014 parliamentary elections, the BJP has now found a new stick to beat Nitish Kumar with. The billowing smoke at the blast sites in different localities of Patna has spread enough poison of hatred and this poses a great challenge to all the Left and secular forces that they must take the communal bull by its horns and see that such forces never reach the seat of power.
The much hyped Hoonkar rally and its live broadcast by almost all the corporate controlled TV channels has firmly established how Modi is assiduously being projected as one who would assume the reins of power at the centre and finish the unfinished neo-liberal agenda ushered in by the Narsingha Rao and Manmohan Singh led Congress regimes.
The BJP and RSS have particularly targeted UP and Bihar to maximise their parliamentary seats in order to reach within the sight of power --- to a point where they may cobble together an opportunist coalition so as to form a government at the centre.
Since the break-up of the BJP-JD(U) alliance, the BJP’s aim was to prove its organisational might by organising this Hoonkar rally. They poured crores of rupees to ferry people from the remotest corners of Bihar by booking eleven trains as well as hundreds of buses, cars, SUVs etc. They painted entire Patna in bhagva colour and put up giant size posters, banners, buntings in every nook and corner of the town. Thus a crassest display of money power and high-tech extravaganza marked the Hoonkar rally. Thus they were able to mobilise thousands of people but this also proved that the BJP enjoys the support of a vast chunk of feudal forces that still possess considerable influence in the vast hinterland of Bihar.
Nitish Kumar has to answer one disturbing question: Why he kept his eyes closed when the BJP and RSS were striving to spread their tentacles in different part of Bihar by fomenting communal tension? If only he had been alive to the situation, he would have implemented the in-themselves-modest recommendations of the Bandyopadhyay Commission on land reforms and moved Bihar on a different trajectory of development, thus weakening the feudal hold in rural Bihar. But it was not to be. Can he take on the feudal forces who are lining up behind the BJP? Going through his past seven and a half years of rule, he has sought to portray himself as a good boy in the eyes of the ruling classes of this country but certainly he cannot beat Narendra Modi in this race.
Coming back to the Hoonkar rally, one can only say that one hour and 15 minutes long speech of the BJP’s projected prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had nothing new to offer to the common people of Bihar or the country at large. Political rhetoric and doublespeak with caste appeal were the sum and substance of his speech. His history started with invoking Sita Maiya and Hanuman and came to an end with the end of the Hindu empires. He mentioned the glorious past of Bihar’s Maurya empire, Ashoka the great, Chanakya, Chandragupta, Mahavira, the ancient republic of Vaishali, and the universities of Nalanda and Taxila. So much for his knowledge of history of Bihar: it is Vikarmshila in Bihar and not Taxila which is located in Pakistan! In a passing reference, he briefly touched upon the contribution of Mahatma Gandhi and J P Narayan as well. But he kept totally silent on the great sacrifices of common people against British imperialism, cutting across the caste-communal divide, to make India free and make it a secular republic. His silence was not unexpected. As the chosen prime ministerial candidate of the RSS, he knows that the RSS did not play any role in the national movement; rather since its very inception it embarked on the path of divisive politics and thus facilitated the divisive Muslim politics to grow, leading to the division of this great land. This prime ministerial candidate of the BJP has neither a sense of history nor a vision for the future. His appeal to the Yaduvanshis (Yadav community) by invoking Lord Krishna, that they must cast their lot with the BJP, was the crudest form of casteism and vote bank politics.
Modi came down heavily on Nitish Kumar whom he portrayed as a great betrayer to his bid to assume power at the centre. He said Nitish betraying the BJP was not surprising as he had betrayed JP too and was now hobnobbing with the Congress party. This one liner aptly described his frustration, accusing Nitish Kumar and his ilk of taking opportunist positions in the recent past.
Modi also sold his poverty, took pot shots at the Congress but did not present a critique of the neo-liberal policies being pursued by the Congress party at the centre as it would have unmasked his own party. No wonder all the corporate houses have ganged up behind him.
The profile of the gathering in Gandhi Maidan in Patna clearly showed that feudal forces are the most vocal supporters of BJP today. They want to regain their upper hand in Bihar politics by espousing the BJP’s communal politics.
One may, however, be sure that Bihar, with its long history of fighting the communal politics, will checkmate this menace and that the anti-feudal and secular masses would rise up in the months to come.
SFI Congratulates Students for HCU Victory THE central executive committee of the Students’ Federation of India, in a statement issued on November 1 congratulated the student community for voting in large number in support of the SFI panel in the recently concluded students’ union elections in the Hyderabad Central University, despite the unprecedented campaign of lies and slander, by the united opposition consisting of all political shades. SFI registered an emphatic victory, winning all the major executive posts. This is the fourth consecutive time that the student community of HCU has stood behind the banner of “Independence, Democracy and Socialism”. Sirisha V (pursuing Integrated Masters in Economics) became the first ever woman president of the Students’ Union in the history of HCU by defeating the nearest rival candidate of ABVP by more than 90 votes. The post of general secretary was won by another SFI candidate Sandeep Kumar (pursuing MCA). He won the post with a margin of more than 50 votes. Aditya Harish contesting from SFI panel won the post of joint secretary by defeating the nearest candidate of ABVP by more than 90 votes. This is a translation of solid commitment of the SFI unions over these four years to the needs and aspirations of the student community, while not wavering even for a moment from the larger goal of aligning with the broader movement for the social transformation. SFI approached the students’ union election with a clear cut manifesto upholding its uncompromising stand against the commercialisation, privatisation of education and communal politics while upholding the commitment for social, economic and women’s empowerment. HCU unit has played a creative role in redrawing the political contours of HCU, which hasn’t remained aloof from the neo-liberal onslaught on the public education as seen throughout the country. Whether be it the attempts of fee hike, imposition of service charges, handover of the university land to land mafia, moral policing and restrictions on mobility of girl students - SFI has thwarted all regressive attempts of the administration over these years. The CEC is confident that the newly elected union under the leadership of Sirisha will not only take this legacy forward, but will take it to newer heights. It congratulated the SFI unit committee of the Hyderabad Central University and the Andhra Pradesh state committee for the excellent results in the elections. The CEC has reasserted the fact that in the past few months, student community of the country has wholeheartedly supported SFI in most of the places, where elections to the colleges and universities have been conducted. Rajasthan, Himachal, Kerala and Tripura are testimony to this glaring fact. It particularly highlighted the experience of Tripura, where SFI candidates have emerged as victorious in all the seats, for which elections were conducted. It underscored the need to carry this crimson red flame of ‘Study and Struggle’ forward to those parts also where the neo-liberal onslaught on education, livelihoods and social justice still remains unabated.
SFI Congratulates Students for HCU Victory
THE central executive committee of the Students’ Federation of India, in a statement issued on November 1 congratulated the student community for voting in large number in support of the SFI panel in the recently concluded students’ union elections in the Hyderabad Central University, despite the unprecedented campaign of lies and slander, by the united opposition consisting of all political shades. SFI registered an emphatic victory, winning all the major executive posts. This is the fourth consecutive time that the student community of HCU has stood behind the banner of “
, Democracy and Socialism”. Sirisha V (pursuing Integrated Masters in Economics) became the first ever woman president of the Students’ Union in the history of HCU by defeating the nearest rival candidate of ABVP by more than 90 votes. The post of general secretary was won by another SFI candidate Sandeep Kumar (pursuing MCA). He won the post with a margin of more than 50 votes. Aditya Harish contesting from SFI panel won the post of joint secretary by defeating the nearest candidate of ABVP by more than 90 votes. Independence
This is a translation of solid commitment of the SFI unions over these four years to the needs and aspirations of the student community, while not wavering even for a moment from the larger goal of aligning with the broader movement for the social transformation. SFI approached the students’ union election with a clear cut manifesto upholding its uncompromising stand against the commercialisation, privatisation of education and communal politics while upholding the commitment for social, economic and women’s empowerment. HCU unit has played a creative role in redrawing the political contours of HCU, which hasn’t remained aloof from the neo-liberal onslaught on the public education as seen throughout the country.
Whether be it the attempts of fee hike, imposition of service charges, handover of the university land to land mafia, moral policing and restrictions on mobility of girl students - SFI has thwarted all regressive attempts of the administration over these years. The CEC is confident that the newly elected union under the leadership of Sirisha will not only take this legacy forward, but will take it to newer heights. It congratulated the SFI unit committee of the
and the Andhra Pradesh state committee for the excellent results in the elections. Hyderabad Central University
The CEC has reasserted the fact that in the past few months, student community of the country has wholeheartedly supported SFI in most of the places, where elections to the colleges and universities have been conducted. Rajasthan, Himachal, Kerala and Tripura are testimony to this glaring fact. It particularly highlighted the experience of Tripura, where SFI candidates have emerged as victorious in all the seats, for which elections were conducted. It underscored the need to carry this crimson red flame of ‘Study and Struggle’ forward to those parts also where the neo-liberal onslaught on education, livelihoods and social justice still remains unabated.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
THE Students’ Federation of India has once again emerged victorious in the Students’ Union elections of University of Hyderabad (UoH) for the year 2013-14. This is the fourth consecutive victory of SFI in the university. Sirisha V, who secured 1197 votes, has been elected as the first ever woman president of Students’ Union of the university. SFI has also bagged the posts of general secretary and joint secretary, which were won by Sandeep Kumar and Adithya Harish respectively.
This victory has been secured in the midst of the joint anti-SFI campaign launched by all other organisations in the campus, foregoing all ideological barriers. The corporate bourgeois media also joined hands with them by unleashing baseless slanderous campaigns against SFI. The NSUI exposed its pseudo-secular face by resorting to rampant cross voting in favour of ABVP. The mandate in favour of SFI, despite all such efforts from the part of the anti-SFI camp, is indicative of the acceptability and faith that the student community has invested in SFI.
SFI approached these elections with a clear-cut manifesto, upholding its unflinching fight against communal politics and commercialisation of education. The promise to continue its steadfast struggles for social, economic and gender justice was well received by the student community.
The Students’ Union election results of this year are of historic significance since the University has elected its first ever woman president, Sirisha. The candidature of Sirisha has been a bold step taken by SFI to strengthen its fight for a gender sensitive society. Her candidature has been revelatory in various respects. It revealed the depth and influence of patriarchal values in the campus. It also exposed the gendered prejudices upheld by certain forces on campus. Posters and banners with Sirisha’s pictures were torn down by certain conservative groups showing their intolerance towards the participation of women in public life. This was nothing but an alternative manifestation of the patriarchal intolerance displayed by the conservative patriarchs of the RSS and other religious fundamentalist groups. The mandate in favour of SFI by the politically conscious students of UoH is a strong blow to the lumpen elements.
LEGACY OF STRUGGLES
The clear mandate secured by SFI must be read in close connection with the uncompromising stand taken by the organisation against the implementation of neo-liberal educational policies in the university. The struggles of SFI and the SFI-led Students’ Union (2012-13) against the imposition of hostel fee hike in the form of service charges to the tune of Rs 6000 upon the student community, reinforced the SFI’s staunch opposition to the neo-liberal policies being followed by the UPA government.
The organisation could also effectively thwart the move on the part of the administration to scrap the fellowships provided to the students of the university. These struggles, aimed at preserving the rights of the socially and economically backward sections of the student community, have to be seen in the larger context of socio-economic justice. The mandate is also a recognition of the pertinent role played by SFI in the struggle against the allocation of university land to corporate houses. SFI could also resist the well-crafted plans of the gender-biased administration to impose restrictions on the mobility of girl students. Thus the mandate, in short, is the student community’s recognition for the relentless struggles waged by the organisation against the corrupt, neo-liberal, gender-biased system.
We are well aware of the fact that the path ahead is tough and the journey arduous. We are conscious of the enormous responsibilities vested on us as the torchbearers of the progressive Left student movement of the country. We are solidly committed to carry forward the legacy of the struggles upheld by our dear comrades, Sudipto, Rohit, Sajin Shahul, Fazil and many others who sacrificed their lives in the fight for campus democracy, gender justice and secularism. We stand in militant solidarity with our dear comrades of Pondicherry University who are engaged in a staunch fight against the gender-biased decisions of the administration.
Our fights shall continue. We shall fight! We shall win!!
(The writer is secretary, SFI-HCU Unit)
MAHARASHTRA: Massive Martyrs Day Actions in Thane Nearly Half a Lakh Tribals Mobilised
EVERY year for the past several decades, thousands of adivasis march on the roads in Thane district with red flags on Martyrs Day, October 10, reasserting their determination to continue the struggle for emancipation against exploitation and injustice, to build a world free of poverty and hunger – a struggle that was begun by their forefathers nearly 70 years ago, in 1945. This year, on October 10, over 47,500 people came to the roads at seven tehsil centres in Thane district, under the banner of the CPI(M).
October 10, 1945 was the day when the first five martyrs of the renowned Adivasi Revolt, including Comrade Jethya Gangad, were killed in wanton firing by the British police who were in collusion with the landlords. The firing took place at Talwada, a village which is now just across the border in Gujarat. After that, there have been a total of 60 martyrs of the Red Flag in Thane district.
The last martyr of the tribal movement in Maharashtra was a woman activist of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), Comrade Mathi Ozare, who was brutally killed on February 27, 2012 by BJP goons, only because she campaigned sincerely for the CPI(M) in the local body elections.
October 10 is also observed as the death anniversary of the legendary CPI(M) and AIKS leader, Comrade Godavari Parulekar. She actually passed away on October 8, 1996, but was cremated at Talasari in Thane district on October 10.
Last year, on October 10, 2012, the CPI(M)’s Maharashtra state committee meeting concluded at Talasari with a massive districtwide rally of 50,000 people; it was addressed by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury, Central Secretariat member Nilotpal Basu, Central Committee member and Gujarat state secretary Arun Mehta, and by state party leaders. On the same day, the Comrade Godavari Shamrao Parulekar Bhavan, the new spacious office of the CPI(M)’s Thane district committee, built with generous contributions from the people, was inaugurated by Sitaram Yechury.
The foundation stone for this office had been laid by Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar on Martyrs Day, October 10, in 2010, followed by another huge mass rally. Two years before that in 2008, the massive Martyrs Day rally in Thane district had been addressed by CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat.
With the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections due in 2014, the party this year decided to replace the central districtwide rally with large rallies at the tehsil level on burning issues of the people. Over 47,500 people, an overwhelming majority of them adivasi men and women, participated in these rallies in strength. Mass organisations like the AIKS, CITU, AIDWA, DYFI, SFI and the newly-restarted AIAWU worked hard for the success of all these rallies. The massive participation of women --- over 23,000 --- was a distinctive feature.
State leaders of the party addressed the various tehsil level rallies. The largest 12,000-strong rally at Dahanu was addressed by CPI(M) state secretary and Central Committee member Dr Ashok Dhawale, state secretariat member Dr Kishore Theckedath and state committee member Edward Vartha.
The 10,000-strong Talasari rally was addressed by CPI(M) Central Committee member K L Bajaj, state secretariat members Mahendra Singh, Rajaram Ozare (MLA) and Mariam Dhawale, and state committee member Barkya Mangat.
The 9,000-strong Vikramgad rally was addressed by CPI(M) state committee members Lahanu Kom (former MP and former MLA) and Kisan Gujar.
The 7,000-strong Jawhar rally was addressed by state secretariat member J P Gavit (former MLA) and state committee member Ratan Budhar.
The 3,500-strong Shahapur rally was addressed by CPI(M) district secretariat member Sanjay Bhole; the 3,000-strong Wada rally by state committee members L B Dhangar and Sanjay Thakur; and the 3,000-strong Palghar rally on October 11 by Mariam Dhawale and Edward Vartha.
These rallies were well covered by the media. Peasants, agricultural labourers, workers, women, youth and students participated in them in large numbers.
BURNING ISSUES BEING TAKEN UP
There has been a total neglect of the tribal areas with hardly any development. Poverty and backwardness are major issues in the tribal areas. Basic needs like adequate food, drinking water, land, homes, education, healthcare, etc are beyond the reach of a large number of people. There are few sources of employment in the region. This results in thousands of families migrating for six to nine months a year in search of livelihood. “We migrate just to keep alive” --- this statement is often heard in the tribal areas. There are regular reports of severe malnutrition and starvation-related deaths of small children. The Party and the mass organisations took up some of these major issues in these rallies.
The AIKS has been constantly waging a battle for stringent implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) and against the land sharks who have been trying to grab the land that is in the occupation of the tribals for generations. Due to its proximity to Mumbai, the land mafia has been eyeing the tribal areas of Thane district. False land records are prepared in connivance with the revenue officers to evict the tribals. Courageously facing police repression and the goons of this land mafia, thousands of tribal men and women with red flags in hand, in various villages in the above tehsils, are unitedly saying, “We will not give up even an inch of our land.” Hundreds of CPI(M) leaders and cadres are being implicated in false cases since they are vehemently opposing the land mafia.
Work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) with fair wages; urgent issues of irrigation and power; water for drinking and agriculture from the various dams in Thane district to be given to tribal areas on a priority basis --- these demands were also raised in these rallies. Many of the dams in Thane district have been constructed with tribal sub-plan funds, and yet the tribals have been consistently denied access to water for drinking as well as for irrigation. Large-scale displacement with poor rehabilitation has led to increased impoverishment of tribals in the dam areas.
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) has been taking up the issues of the Anganwadi, ASHA and other sections of unorganised workers. Keeping their factories closed, all the workers led by the CITU in Thane district participated in these rallies in large numbers.
The AIDWA has been taking up the issue of inclusion of the poor in the below-poverty-line (BPL) lists; universalisation and strengthening of the public distribution system (PDS); starting of the doorstep ration scheme; demands related to water, education, employment and health; and the question of roads, infrastructure and other issues of development.
A month-long programme of village-level women’s meetings in Thane district was independently organised by the AIDWA in September as preparation for the October 10 rallies. A total of 63 village meetings in seven tehsils were held, with 4,107 women activists present. Many local problems of supply of ration grains, issuance of caste certificate, ill-treatment of patients in primary health centres (PHCs) and rural hospitals, implementation of the Indira Awaas Yojana, repairing of wells and bore-wells, issues of atrocities on women etc were taken up in these meetings. This enthused the women, resulting in their massive turnout in the rallies. Due to this campaign, AIDWA membership in Thane district has crossed the 20,000 mark.
The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) has been in the forefront of the struggle against corruption and black-marketing of ration grain and kerosene. Keeping a day and night vigil on the movement of trucks transporting these items, DYFI activists caught them red-handed when they were going to the black-market. Thousands of quintals of grain and lakhs of litres of kerosene were confiscated. Leaders of the BJP and NCP who were involved in these scams were arrested. The Students Federation of India (SFI) has been fighting on the various problems of students concerning education.
On all the above issues, memorandums were submitted to the subdivision officers (SDOs) and tehsildars. Due to mass pressure of the rallies, the authorities were forced to concede and to begin the implementation of many of the local demands.
The speeches of the party leadership combined the burning issues of the people with the political challenges of the day, like the neo-liberal policies of the UPA regime at the centre and the Congress-NCP regime in the state, the stench of the massive corruption scandals in the country and their dire impact on the lives of the people, the anti-national conspiracies of communal forces led by the RSS-BJP-VHP combine, their shameless projection of the ace rioter Narendra Modi as a future prime minister, the threat of imperialism to our country, the defence of the Left in Bengal, the big struggles led by the Left in Kerala and the sterling work for tribals carried out by the Left Front government of Tripura.
DISTRICT WORKSHOP FOR POLL PREPARATIONS
The CPI(M) has decided to hold a workshop for Thane district at Talasari on November 14-15, 2013 to prepare for the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections. This workshop will be attended by around 300 leading activists of the party and mass organisations. It will be attended by Nilotpal Basu and Dr Ashok Dhawale. The workshop will also seriously take up the implementation of the party state committee’s call to collect a Struggle Fund from party members as well as common people --- on the lines of the inspiring Kerala fund drive in September.
9TH STATE CONFERENCE OF TRIPURA KHET MAZOOR UNION (AN AFFILIATE OF AIAWU) HELD FROM 26TH TO 28TH OCTOBER IN BELONIA, THE DISTRICT HEADQUARTER OF SOUTH TRIPURA.
Intensify Struggle against Neo-liberal Onslaught on Agriculture
THE crisis facing the agricultural workers is a direct fall out of the neo-liberal economic policies being pursued by the ruling classes. The neo-liberal onslaught on agriculture and the overall agrarian crisis have resulted in increase in the number of agricultural labourers on the one hand and worsening of their living conditions on the other. Hence for their survival the rural proletariat must intensify struggles against the neo-liberal policies and strive for alternative policies.
This was in brief the message emerging out from the 9th state conference of Tripura Khet Mazoor Union (an affiliate of AIAWU) held from 26th to 28th October in Belonia, the district headquarter of South Tripura.
The conference got underway with the ceremonial hoisting of the union’s flag by its president Bhanulal Saha in presence of AIAWU general secretary A Vijayraghavan and CPI(M) Tripura state committee secretary Bijan Dhar. The conference flag was brought from the martyrs’ ground of Birchandra Manu, where 13 comrades were brutally murdered by the Congress goons on 12th October, 1988 during the Congress-TUJS jungle rule. The conference venue of Town hall was rechristened as Comrade Brajamohan Jamatia Nagar, one of the witnesses of that ghastly massacre and a valiant fighter in the glorious land struggles waged by CPI(M) and GMP in the undivided Belonia subdivision during 1960s. The conference hall was named after comrades Badal Sarkar and Abani Dutta, both state council members of the union who have died in the aftermath of the 8th state conference.
The entire town of Belonia wore a red look to celebrate the conference. This is the sub division where maximum numbers of political murders took place during the 1988-92 period. 7 martyrs’ corners were built at different places of the town. Replicas of the permanent martyr statues of the Birchandra Manu, Nalua, Debdaru, Jolaibari and other martyrs’ grounds were placed in those corners.
CPI(M) state secretary, Bijan Dhar, inaugurating the delegate session of the conference said that during the period of semi-fascist terror of Congress-TUJS era the attacks were fiercest in the areas where the agricultural workers are organised and it is these agricultural workers who have remained in the forefront of the struggle of establishing and safeguarding the Left Front governments in the state. He reminded that in the long and arduous struggle of social transformation in India, the agricultural workers representing the rural proletariat are the closest ally of the working class. So TKMU has to be more active for further organising the agricultural workers and at the same time strive for achieving a broader class unity of the poor and toiling masses in the villages, drawing in the fold the poor and marginal peasants, artisans, unorganised workers, plantation workers.
Bijan Dhar said, the agrarian crisis in the country is due to the neo-liberal policies being pursued by the UPA government. This crisis is adversely affecting the agricultural workers as well since with farming becoming unviable the days of work in the farm sector is also sharply declining. The promises of land reforms have been betrayed. On the contrary, thousands of hectares of farmland are being handed over to corporates, evicting the real farmers. Subsidies on agricultural inputs are dwindling, prices of essential commodities are skyrocketing, corruption has broken all records, industrial production is falling and economy as a whole is in severe crisis. The solution to these problems lies in a total change in the policy trajectory for which a prolonged and unified struggle is called for.
The solution to this crisis lies in implementing an alternative set of policies, as shown by the Left Front government in Tripura. Today, Tripura tops the country in literacy, MNREGA implementation, FRA implementation and in a number of social security schemes. That is why its per capita income is rising, state GDP is increasing while the country’s growth rate is on the decrease. For strengthening this alternative approach, new friends are to be won over, unity of the masses has to be further cemented and a strict class outlook has to be maintained so that the fruits of development reach the most deserving poor people, irrespective of political affiliation. That will help attract more and more people in our fold for a class unity of the poor which is essential in this struggle for alternative policies, he said.
After the inaugural speech, TKMU state secretary Babul Bhadra placed the draft report of the state working committee for discussion in the delegate session. In the same evening, the conference adopted some resolutions including one demanding 250 days of work and 300 rupees as wage in NREGS.
Greeting the conference on the second day AIAWU general secretary A Vijayraghavan said, after 20 years of pursuit of neo-liberal policies, we are again back to the pitiable condition we were at the outset of this policy regime. Moreover, what little rights and advancements were achieved prior to liberalisation, are also being taken away from the toiling masses. He charged the UPA government of total apathy to the miseries of aam admi. It announces 16 flagship programs, but spends only 30 per cent of the required amount. In NREGS, only 37 workdays could be generated nationally because of paucity of funds. The government shows GDP figures to prove that the country is moving forward. But the fruits of increase in GDP remain confined to the handful corporate houses. BJP or the other regional parties are also determining their policies in favor of the corporates.
So, to change these ruinous policies we have only one way, that is of struggle and only one weapon that is organisation, said Vijayaraghavan. Describing the experiences in AP, Tamilnadu, Karnataka and UP, he said that wherever we could organise movements, our union has emerged stronger. In Tripura too we need to further intensify our struggles on the demands relating to NREGA.
A total of 41 delegates took part in the discussion on the report of the secretary for almost 5 hours. They stressed on strengthening the organisation, intensification of movement against neo-liberal economic policies, impediments created by the new directives of MNREGA, problems faced by workers in getting payment due to BC model of banking and the menace of chit funds and micro finance groups. The delegates hailed the decision of the Left Front government to provide homestead land and housing to all landless and homeless families within 5 years and demanded that the proposed amendments to the Tripura Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act 1960 be passed expeditiously so that ceiling surplus land could be recovered and allotted to the landless agricultural laborers. They noted that despite its limitations the Left Front government. is trying to shield the poor from the onslaught of neo-liberal policies. They stressed on involving more and more women in the struggle, elevating them to leadership, local movements and struggles based on local demands. The delegates warned against the divisive slogans of bifurcation of the state and vowed to strengthen people’s unity.
Addressing the delegates, peasant leader and state finance minister Badal Chowdhury said that Congress stands no chance of getting back to power in 2014 due to its anti-people policies. Neither BJP, which follows the same economic policies, can be an alternative. Further, its projecting Modi as PM candidate is a signal of their putting fundamentalist agenda to the fore. As such the country needs an alternative government which could only be formed on the basis of an alternative set of policies. Tripura has shown what that alternative could be. This alternative has to be highlighted before the people of our country.
AIKS state secretary Narayan Kar too addressed the conference. He said undoubtedly today TKMU is a strong organisation in rural Tripura. But the strength cannot be measured by just the number of its members. The yardstick of strength should be the extent of consciousness of the members, the actual number who could be mobilised in movements and their ability to acknowledge what lies behind their miseries and who are responsible for them. The union must strive hard for this purpose. The khet mazdoors, including the poorer sections in the villages, have played a key role in the formation of the seventh Left Front government. So their expectation from the government is not unjust. But at the same time it should also be borne in mind that this government is not a revolutionary government. It has to work within the State structure of the bourgeois-landlord State system which is intrinsically opposed to the interest of the poor. As the severity of the agrarian crisis increases, the agricultural workers cannot escape its onslaught. They can overcome the miseries of their life by waging a united struggle against the policies of the centre, which are at the root of this crisis, said Kar.
The conference unanimously accepted the report of the secretary. It also elected a new state council consisting 81 members. The state council elected a 26 member working committee and 9 office bearers. Among the 9, Bhanulal Saha and Babul Bhadra were re-elected as the president and secretary of the state council. The conference adopted a 10-point charter of demands for next movements.
The conference concluded with an impressive mass meeting at BKI school ground, Belonia. The meeting was presided by Bhanulal Saha. Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar was present as the chief orator. A Vijayaraghavan, Badal Chowdhury and Babul Bhadra too addressed the mass meeting. Manik Sarkar said that all over the country the agricultural workers are reeling under severe crisis. The central government is apathetic towards their problems. He said people of India will not forget this UPA government for its record in corruption. It has reached the peak of Mount Everest in corruption. The ship of UPA is sinking. The captains of the ship Dr Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi are helpless as their partners are deserting one by one. Even the BJP is losing allies. The secular minded people of India will not accept Modi as prime minister. The Vikash Purush (Modi) is in reality Vinash Purush to the majority of Indians, he said.
In such a situation, Manik Sarkar felt the chances for the formation of an alternative platform to form the next government at centre are present. Such a platform can emerge even in the post-poll scenario. There is dissatisfaction among the regional parties about the Congress for depriving the states. If these forces can join hands with the Left, democratic and other secular forces, such an alternative platform can be formed. But that platform can emerge only through movements for the people’s causes and demands against price rise, corruption and communalism. For this to happen, a unified movement of the people is necessary. We in Tripura too have to give momentum to these struggles to enthuse and encourage the movement all over India.
A Vijayraghavan in his speech lambasted the UPA-II government. He said we have a government at centre which has given nothing but price rise and corruption for the poor. “They have no money for our food security or social security. Their only aim is to give social security to Ambani brothers, because after the demise of Dhirubhai Ambani, they are the only two orphans that the government knows of”, he said. Referring to the campaign to make people choose between Rahul and Modi, he said both will be equally disastrous for the nation. As such we need a government like Tripura which will think and act for the poor. We must strengthen our movement for changing the present policies and for alternative policies.
WEST BENGAL CENTRAL GOVT EMPLOYEES’ RELIEF MISSION IN UTTARAKHAND
THE Coordination Committee of Central Govt.Employees & Workers Unions & Associations, West Bengal, besides carrying on struggle on various demands of central government employees and joining with the common trade union movement of the country, is also discharging social responsibilities sincerely.
After the deluge in Uttarakhand in mid-June this year, the Coordination Committee decided to physically reach the poor people with whatever relief material it could arrange. Accordingly, Gautam Pramanick, and two other leading activists of central government employees movement in West Bengal reached Ukhimath in Rudra Prayag district of Uttarakhand on 26th October, 2013. Relief materials were procured from Dehradun. Three hundred packets of materials were loaded in a truck. Each packet contained five kg of rice, five kg of atta, one kg of sooji, one litre of mustard oil, half kg of sugar, two kg of pulses, one kg salt, half kg of tea leaves, packets of spices like chilly, turmeric, cumin, coriander, etc. soaps, detergents, toothpastes and also a blanket, a pullover and a cap.
An activist of Uttarakhand central government employees movement and Dehradun-based science movement activist Indresh Notial and Kamalesh joined the team from West Bengal. Starting in early morning on 26th October they reached Phata village in Ukhimath in late evening. On the way they saw horrible sight of debris and ruins of roads and houses. Roadside mandis (markets) and human settlements visible earlier, had completely disappeared. In fact there was no road after Rudraprayag. The truck loaded with relief material and the car carrying the volunteers inched up on avalanches (way on which mass of snow or rock rolled down once). The Hanging Bridge over Mandakini river was also damaged. This is in sharp contrast to the claim made by a spokesperson of Disaster Management Centre, Uttarakhand on 28th August, 2013 that 1967 out of 2302 roads that were totally damaged have been repaired.
It is learnt that the state Public Works Department failed miserably. Only after the union government stepped in with Border Roads Organisation (BRO), repair and reconstruction work started with some pace. But shockingly, as alleged by local people, BRO is working with scant regard to construction and environmental norms. For example construction materials are being thrown into river beds.
Distribution of relief material started in the morning of 27th October, 2013. The team visited three villages. At Sershi, 70 families received relief packets. At Khat village 73 distressed families came to the camp to receive relief material. Last point was Dhargaon Khadia where one hundred fifty seven families received such help. Scene was similar everywhere. Women, children and old villagers came down with cane baskets from the hills. They thanked the activists passionately with inimitable folk style and language. A little conversation with them unfolded stories of unbearable misery and painful memories of the kin lost forever on the fateful day.
Thousands of poneys, mules, road-side tea stalls and other shops were destroyed. Sole bread earners of the family also died with the destruction of means of livelihood. Now, women, children and old, infirm elders are passing days without any definite means of subsistence. Once again their stories sharply ridicule official claims that 90 per cent of compensation claims have been settled.
The main opposition political party was keen on the demand of fast re-opening of worship in Kedarnath temple. The government lost no time to repair and open the temple lest opposition earns some political mileage. Helipads were constructed at different places. Affluent devotees can offer Puja (worship) in temple by paying hefty amount to private helicopter owners. Public-owned Pavan Hans is also happy with the business of helicopter service.
Shockingly, but not surprisingly, below the azure sky and by the side of Alkananda and Mandakini, stories of intense quarrel and in-fight among ministers, MLAs and their relatives on the matter of grabbing contracts and orders are being heard everywhere .
The team was told that the CPI(M) and few other mass organisations with limited capacity are trying to stand by the inhabitants of this region who lost everything. But whatever they could arrange is far from being adequate .As expected inflow of aid is not that inadequate.
The Coordination Committee team returned to Dehradun and finally left for Kolkata on 29th October, 2013. Their heart was filled with the satisfaction of helping the most deserving people. They were touched by the warm cordiality of the activists of the democratic movement of Uttarakhand. But at the same time were saddened with the thought of helpless destitution of thousands of people. Reassuring words came from Vijay Rawat that the CPI(M) is going to initiate movement from mid-November on demands of compensation, road construction, public distribution system, etc.
Our team felt that what happened in Uttarakhand in mid-June was a national disaster. Entire nation stood by Uttarakhand people. Employees and workers remitted crores of rupees to either PM Relief Fund or Uttarakhand CM Relief Fund. Now it is incumbent upon the democratic movement of the country to build up solidarity movement in support of the demands of Uttarakhand people which is more than just.
From Our Special
Correspondent in Kolkata
THE West Bengal Left Front will organise a sit-in demonstration in
on 18th December during the winter session of the parliament. The programme will take place to highlight the incessant attacks on democracy in the state. Left Front has decided to for a massive campaign and movement on the crucial issues affecting the lives of people in the months of November and December. The New Delhi demonstration will be an important part of the movement. Delhi
Left Front chairman Biman Basu, outlining the decisions of the Left Front, said, the democratic rights of the people are in danger in
West Bengal. They can not exercise their democratic rights freely. TMC and its government have initiated an all-round attack on democracy. Left Front will try to raise the issue before the people of the entire country. The Left members of parliament will also raise the issue within the two houses of parliament.
Along with the question of protecting democratic rights and protesting terrorisation, the Left Front will highlight some important issues and burning questions of everyday life of the people of the state. Those include price rise, distress sale of agricultural produces, supplying 35 kg rice per month to every family through PDS, protecting the women from continuous attacks, anarchy in educational institutions etc. Local issues will be added to the campaign programme. The campaign will be conducted from the village level to district and state level. On 29th November there will be a central sit-in in front of the state assembly. After continuing the movement further, there will be a massive rally in Brigade Parade Ground in early next year.
Biman Basu has also informed that in the backdrop of rising activities of communal forces in the country, there will be a convention against communalism in Kolkata.
Meanwhile, 27 left mass organisations have started a statewide campaign on 13-point demand. The demands include halt to price rise, PDS for all, decent wages for agricultural workers, minimum wage of Rs 10,000 for workers in unorganised sector, seizure of chit fund finances to compensate the victims, for the defence of women’s security, against communalism, against disinvestment of public sector, defending co-operatives, withdrawal of false cases and restoration of democracy in the state. Conventions at grass root level to district level on these demands have already started.
IN a historic judgement which may have a snowball effect on the politics of Kerala, the CBI special court in Thiruvananthapuram deleted on November 5, 2013 the name of CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan from the chargesheet in the infamous SNC Lavalin case.
While this was an inevitable culmination of the SNC Lavalin controversy in Kerala, it also was one of the many sordid episodes of UDF leaders raking up controversies and hatching conspiracies against the CPI(M) in collusion with an influential section of the mass media in the state.
The controversy arose from the alleged remarks contained in a paragraph of the accountant’s general’s the confidential inspection report. This so called report was selectively leaked to the media in a bid to show that CPI(M) leaders, and particularly its state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan who was electricity minister during 1996-99, have been involved in corrupt deals.
But thrashing a high voltage slander campaign, the court excluded six persons from the case. Apart from Pinarayi, former principal secretary of power K Mohana Chandran, former joint secretary A Francis, former KSEB chairman P A Sidhartha Menon, K G Rajasekhar and R Sivadasan were also excluded from the chargesheet by special CBI judge R Raghu. The court observed that the charge had many flaws and were not sustainable. The prosecution has failed to prove the so called conspiracy, the court said.
Pinarayi had filed a petition for his exclusion from the chargesheet on the ground that Lavalin company had not benefited from the agreement he had signed. Pinarayi was made an accused just before the notification of 2006 assembly elections on the basis of the CBI’s observations. During a hearing of the case on October 11, the prosecution miserably failed to answer the court’s queries.
PINARAYI’S FIRM CONVICTION
At a press conference held at Thiruvananthapuram on the same day, Pinarayi Vijayan reacted by saying that he was happy he had come out of a period of witch-hunt. While interacting with the media an hour after the historic judgement, he expressed heartfelt gratitude to the communist movement and to all those who firmly stood with him in extreme trust while he was made to face a multi-pronged attack.
Through a handout circulated in the press conference, Pinarayi said he was able to withstand the enemy’s pressure with the belief that there is no need to worry if one is innocent. He cited five factors which helped him face the turmoil: (1) steadfast conviction in his unflawed action, (2) resolute support extended by lakhs of people who love and trust him and his party, (3) the conviction that a communist would not get a smooth pathway, (4) strong support from his party which knew him and his background, and (5) the belief that truth ultimately triumphs, come what may.
Many people believed that the case could be dragged indefinitely so that they could keep on attacking the party, but Pinarayi said he had no bitterness against anyone who sought to defame him in order to defame his party. This harassment was natural in case of a party whose many comrades lost their valuable lives for the cause of the people. Pinarayi also recalled how the earlier stalwarts also faced severe and fake allegations from the opponents. P Krishnapillai was termed Themmadikkoottathinte thalavan (leader of scoundrels) and Azheekodan Raghavan was termed Azhimathikodan (Azhimathi means corruption). Pinarayi said he was proud that he received no applause from anti- communists.
The CPI(M) leader said many people motivated him to bravely face the crucial situation. He expressed his unbounded gratitude to such eminent personalities as Justice V R Krishna Iyer, Prof M K Sanu, and late Advocates Kelu Nambiar and G Janardana Kurup. Iyer once categorically stated that the CBI had been misused to tarnish the personal image of Pinarayi’s and to run a slander campaign. Many personalities like late Dr Sukumar Azhikode came forward against the UDF’s move to use CBI for political vendetta.
Pinaray referred to Oommen Chandy’s decision to hand over the case to the CBI as the state vigilance had failed to frame him in the SNC Lavalin case. KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala once said he did not believe Pinarayi Vijayan was a culprit, and former PCC president K Muralidharan once stated that to rake up this case was nothing but diverting the attention of the people.
CULTURE OF POLITICAL VENDETTA MUST GO
On this occasion the CPI(M) leader put forward two points as his opinions: (1) an investigation apparatus should not be used for political vendetta, and (2) the political culture which entangles the persons who give priority to the country’s interests and take initiative for development should change. Saying that such a culture is no good for the state, Pinarayi asked whether anyone would dare take initiative for the development of the state if the threat of a case hovers over her or him. This culture would not help the people and lead to non-development.
Pinarayi Vijayan also said now that the investigating agency has admitted that he did not make any benefit out of the SNC Lavalin deal and the CBI court has acquitted him, Oommen Chandy and his team must realise that a case used wrongly for political feuds would not get any victory ultimately. Mainstream media in Kerala too must introspect on what they did in the course of the case. They alleged that the cash made out of the agreement was deposited in a company named Kamala International in Singapore. They went to the extent of saying that the company belongs to Kamala, the wife of Pinarayi. The government of India wrote a letter to the Singapore government to find out the whereabouts of the so called Kamala International. It sent someone to Singapore too. After these inquiries, the government then informed the court that no such company existed in that country. Yet some newspapers wrote that he had made crores out of the agreement, even though the CBI, the Income Tax Department and Directorate of Enforcement had concluded that the CPI(M) leader had made no money out of the deal.
As for Pinarayi’s query regarding the former principal secretary Varadachari in a file and the involvement of a firm called Technicalia, the investigations showed that he had not made any query about Varadachari in the file related to KSEB and that Technicalia was invited by M V Raghavan, who was minister in the previous UDF cabinet, for a medical college in Pariyaram. Another allegation made against Pinarayi was that he had brought some files to the AKG Centre and scorched them. However, every file was found from the Secretariat. Some newspapers talked of there being some middlemen in the deal and one paper even presented a man who claimed he had witnessed the handing over of money, further claiming that a huge amount of money was withdrawn from a bank on a particular day. These allegations too were proved to be fake and the CBI said so in the court. However, sadly, newspapers never withdraw these kinds of stories even when they are proved false. They printed such stories simply because they had had a political agenda. The CPI(M) leader, however, made it firmly clear that all newspapers did not do so.