Eastern Jatha reached Lucknow today crossing more than 275 kilometers through central Uttar Pradesh. The journey started from Varanasi, where a big public meeting was held last night. The meeting took place in Kacchibagh area, commonly known as Bunkers’ area. It is here the artistry of famed Benarasi saris have flourished. Both handloom and powerloom weaving are being done here in almost every other house. Weavers, numbering almost 50,000 in Varanasi, are facing multi-dimensional crisis for last few years. The problem is more acute for the handloom weavers, who, by the way earned their skills through generations. Benarasi saris had to be made with intricacy and needs long hours to complete one. Handloom weavers are facing challenges from powerlooms, while in the later, workers or the actual weavers are not paid their fair share.
Weavers have formed their organization and are fighting a difficult battle for survival of the trade and their own demands. CPI(M) has strong influence among Bunkers which was reflected in the meeting on Monday evening which went on for hours. Mostly from the minorities, the weavers gathered and listened to CPI(M) leaders explaining how centre’s policies were ruining the livelihood of the people.
On Tuesday, jatha on its way was warmly received in three places in Jaunpur district. At the entrance of the district, a street corner meeting was addressed by Prakash Karat. In Jaunpur town, an unscheduled meeting had to be conducted as people were eagerly waiting with enthusiasm.
The public meeting in Sultanpur was not only quite a large one, but reverberated with enthusiasm. Peasants and agricultural workers from nearby villages attended the meeting. Most notably, students and youth participated in good numbers. Students' front is active in Sultanpur town and in the district. Many teenagers, with both red flag and flag of the student front came to listen to the leaders. They continued slogan shouting as long as the rally continued. Dalits and minorities were present in good numbers.
By evening the Jatha reached Lucknow. A public meeting was held in the field adjacent to CPI(M) state office on Vidhansabha Marg. As soon as the Jatha reached the border of Lucknow city, poor women virtually blocked the bus and garlanded leaders. In the public meeting, student and youth front activists raised slogans and sang songs with gusto.