The results in the recent Panchayat election in Bengal do not truly reflect the verdict of the people as the entire election process had been vitiated with booth capturing, rigging, violent attacks on opposition etc, said CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat in Hyderabad today. He called upon people outside Bengal to extend full support and solidarity to the heroic fight of Bengal comrades to defend democracy and rights of the people.
Karat was addressing a solidarity meeting with Bengal Left Front organised by the CPI(M) Andhra Pradesh state committee. The meeting held in Sundarayya Vignana Kendram was presided over by CPI(M) state secretary B V Raghavulu. Among those who spoke included CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury, CPI state secretary K Narayana, RSP secretary Janakiramulu, Forward Block general secretary B Surender Reddy and CPI(ML) Liberation leader Uday Kiran. Although CPI(ML) could not send its representative to the meeting, it sent a message expressing solidarity with the fighting comrades of Bengal. CPI(M) central secretariat member V Sreenivasa Rao was present on the dais.
Karat in his speech depicted the grim picture of Trinamool violence in Bengal during the recent panchayat polls. He said it was during the Left Front regime of 34 years that Panchayat system in Bengal came into existence and became an important instrument of empowering the poor peasants, agricultural workers and others in running the affairs of panchayats. This had resulted in a big change in rural Bengal. The main aim of Trinamool behind this violent campaign to sieze the Panchayats is to undo this empowering. They do not want the poor to have any say in deciding finances and other aspects of panchayat rule, he said. 4470 booths were openly rigged, counting process was also manipulated in many areas to ensure victory of TMC candidates. He cited how TMC goons threw bomb and killed the husband of CPI(M) candidate Manwara Biwi in the presence of TV crews for daring to contest the elections.
Karat said he did not agree with those who cite these results to say that TMC has gained strength in rural areas. “Trinamool Congress won these Panchayat elections on this false basis. If they think they can continue to dominate the people of Bengal in this violent manner, they are wrong. There is plenty of evidence in the recent polls that people have begun to fight against this goondaism.
Yechury in his brief speech in Telugu said what is happening in Bengal is a serious class struggle. The TMC government is bent on reversing the land reforms programme of the Left Front by which over 11 lakh hectares of land was transferred from the rich to the poor. There would be more efforts in this direction in the coming period, he felt. The violence and undermining of democracy in Bengal if not checked, would result in undermining of democracy at the all India level, he warned. In this connection he drew a parallel with the events of 1967, 1972 in Bengal and the imposition of emergency in 1975. “We had warned then also that it is not just an attack on Left but an attack on democracy itself. Now also it is an attack on democracy and the rights of people. We have to learn lessons and prevent the danger”, he said. Yechury also called for widespread solidarity actions. Earlier, a booklet brought out in Telugu detailing the present situation in Bengal was released by Yechury on this occasion.