The Sangharsh Sandesh Jathas organised by the CPI(M) concluded with a big public meeting organised at the Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on March 19. In an impressive gathering that reflected the diversity of India, the Party gave a call for further intensifying struggles in the coming days on the six basic demands it had raised during the jathas – land to the landless, house to the houseless, ensuring employment, education, health and universal PDS, ensuring social justice and an end to corruption. Between May 15 and 31, for one whole week, the Party had called for picketing of all government offices from block, tehsil, district to the state level throughout the country. This programme will also include actions like breaking the law and resorting to civil disobedience.
Prakash Karat, general secretary of the Party, addressing the rally emphasised that the Sangharsh Sandesh Jatha has been organised not with elections in mind, but to strengthen the struggles for alternative policies. Flanked by all the leaders of the Left parties – S Sudhakar Reddy, general secretary of the CPI, Debabrata Biswas, general secretary of the AIFB and Chandrachoodan, general secretary of the RSP – he called upon the people to join the struggle for an alternative to the policies pursued by both the Congress and the BJP. Criticising the 'Gujarat model' as a model that is beneficial to the rich corporates, he also brought to the notice the communal and authoritarian tendencies of Modi's rule in Gujarat.
The jatha leaders recounted their experiences in the public rally. S. Ramachandran Pillai, who had led the Southern Jatha recalling his experiences said that 32 suicides were recorded in the last 30 days in Yavatmal, Maharashtra, a region through which the jatha passed through. He also mentioned about how he was questioned by some women from the jhuggi jhopris near Nagpur, who wanted to know how their problems could be solved.
Brinda Karat, talking about her experiences in leading the Northern Jatha, particularly mentioned the problems of the peasants in Haryana who were issued kurki (land eviction) notices. She also spoke about how the Haryana government is taking away the BPL cards from many of the poor people in the name of weeding out bogus cards. She said Haryana government is giving away thousands of acres of prime land to industrial houses and real estate agents, and driving out peasants from agriculture.
Sitaram Yechury who led the Western Jatha from Mumbai narrated how his jatha had started from Southern Mumbai, one of the richest areas in India and travelled through Thane, Dhule and Nandurbar, which are among the poor and backward regions of the country. He said that due to the neglect of the governments, peasants in Nandurbar are facing drought. He stated that if the government does not give tax concessions to the rich and corporates, many irrigation projects across the country can be completed, to ensure that there is no drought in the country.
Biman Bose who was part of the Eastern Jatha that started from Kolkata spoke about the experiences of his jatha and criticised the policies of the UPA government that is responsible for the hardships of the people. He said the Left Front in West Bengal was formed through struggles waged on the issues of the people for many years before it had come to power. He said that only struggle will ensure a real alternative for the people.
Manik Sarkar, chief minister of Tripura addressing the rally said the alternative policies which are pro-people that the Left Front government in Tripura pursued has strengthened the progressive forces in the state and paved the way for the formation of the Seventh Left front government in Tripura. He exhorted the people to fight for a better future.