First, it was revered condolence. For Hugo Chavez, who ignited million of minds in a far off continent. The huge gathering in Begusarai, Bihar on Wednesday afternoon started with a minute of silence in memory of a revolutionary. Biman Basu moved the resolution and thousands of people stood in unison to pay homage to a person, whom many of them never heard of, but who, they understood, was one in their struggle.
Then, it was thunderous applause. Again for some struggling people who are far away from them, but an inspiration to them. The seventh Left Front government took office today in Tripura. This was announced with joy in the meeting and ‘Tripura ko lal salam” was heard from every corner.
The meeting in Begusarai was the biggest public gathering so far in the route of Eastern Jatha. This district of Bihar is a land of great struggle, particularly land struggle. It has elected CPI(M) and left representatives time and again to assembly and parliament. The fight to defend the lands of the peasants is still going on. The fight for irrigation, housing sites for the poor, fight against government apathy have made CPI(M) popular.
That the response to Jatha would be enthusiastic was evident when a large number of people received the Jatha on the Rajendra Setu, the bridge on the Ganga itself. The Jatha was brought to Begusarai town with a motorcycle procession from there itself. In the town, gates were erected in the name of leading lights of communist movement in India- Jyoti Basu, HKS Surjeet, B.T.Ranadive, EMS. Namboodripad, P.Sundaraiah. The maidan was nearly full even before the Jatha reached there.
A pandal was erected but it could accommodate only a section of the rally. According to estimates, nearly ten thousand people attended the rally. In fact, the entire town was reverberating with the slogans of the jatha. Daily wage earners, agricultural workers, poor peasants, scheme workers were overwhelming majority in the gathering.
Biman Basu was the main speaker of the meeting. He explained that the goal of this Jatha was not elections, but to develop mass movements all over the country. West Bengal Left Front chairman reminded the people that Left Front in Bengal was not born as an electoral alliance. It fought for three decades on peoples’ issues and then the Left Front government came into being. His assertion that despite horrific situation in the state the Left movement in Bengal would go on fighting was received with warm clapping.
Joginder Sharma, Subhashini Ali, Gyanshankar Majumdar and Bijaykant Thakur also addressed the rally. Earlier, a meeting was held in Rajgir this morning. Prakash Karat and others addressed it briefly. The Jatha team visited 'Marxbadi Nagar', a colony of 200 poor families, mostly dalits in Rajgir. This colony was built after the land was seized by the landless dalits led by CPI(M). Till this day, this habitat of the poor is a red fort.