January 31, 2009



KOLKATA(INN):In its three-day meet at Burdwan Township in the district of Burdwan, Bengal’s rice bowl, the state unit of the AIKS called for agricultural growth at a faster pace. It also heralded a call for industrial growth. Both agenda looked at increased figures of per capita employment as part of the pro-poor developmental perspective of the CPI (M), the Left Front and the Bengal LF government.

The open rally was a ‘mere’ assemblage of six lakh for the district membership of the AIKS itself exceeds 25 lakh. Lest my friends in the corporate media, sorely disappointed at the recent turn of political events in Bengal (more of which in a separate article), jump in glee with both feet in, and label the conference a boycott by the district AIKS, we may hastily posit that only the leadership level cadres were rallied on the occasion. The reason why is to be found in that ever elusive thing in Burdwan – open, uncultivated space.

The final choice fell on a broad swathe of a kilometre-long sandhead on the shores of the now quiescent but otherwise torrential river Damodar, an area of hard-packed gravel that could accommodate but five-odd lakh of people. That an additional one lakh turned up did not quite leave the question dangling of any disciplinary action. The all-India AIKS leadership present was overwhelmed at the response – that was the outcome of strong political drive for, and relentless organisational dedication to the cause of social change.

In an attractive speech delivered in simple but evocative language, Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said that a challenge faced Bengal. The challenge comprise making the stat come to the very fore of the country’s states in terms of development of agriculture, industry, education, and health. Buddhadeb was full of praises for the Bengal AIKS for the role it had emoted right from the days of the nation’s freedom struggle to stand by the side of and lead the kisan, the humble tiller of the earth, organising them into a weapon of social change.

The concluding part of the speech of the CPI (M) Polit Bureau member basically dwelt on the land reforms movement and the role of the AIKS in assisting the two UF governments of the late 1960s and then of the Left Front government from 1977 in the process of redistributing land made khas by the political will of the Bengal administration. The lone statistics he mentioned was this, telling as it was in its impact: more than 84% of the 1.35 lakh agricultural land of Bengal belonged to poor and marginal farmers. The state also leads the list in production of rice paddy, vegetables, and jute.

All-India AIKS leader K Varadarajan detailed the horrific picture of the condition of the kisan and of the agrarian scene at the national plane. He reminded the massive assemblage that the AIKS had prevailed upon the central government not to go in for a policy of liberalisation fifteen years ago – and the advice was just put in the back burner. There was collective sigh from the rally when the AIKS leader pronounced that until date, no less than 1.75 lakh desperate kisans, thrashing about in the pangs of abject poverty had preferred either to swallow pesticides or to hang themselves. Was the central government moved by this? No, has been the answer until today, assured Varadarajan. The causes of the mass suicide were market orientation of commodities, lack of good procurement prices, want for viable loan components, and the credit entrapment by the sahukars and the mahajans among others.

Polit Bureau member of the CPI (M) Nirupam Sen who dwelt on the imperatives of pro-employment industrialisation, and veteran AIKS leader Benoy Konar who spoke feelingly on the ‘two nations existing within one nation, the rich and the poor segments,’ also addressed the gathering.

In the wake of the delegate session where there were 525 delegates and observers out of a total of several crore of AIKS membership, a new leadership was elected. Madan Ghosh is the president, Tarun Roy is the secretary, and Achintya Roy is the treasurer of the Bengal unit of the All-India Kisan Sabha.


1.Condolence resolution
2.Struggle against imperialism, terrorism, religious fundamentalism, and separatism
3.Against anarchic attempts to crate chaos in Bengal
4.Industrialisation for the interest of the kisans themselves
5.Organising the khet mazdoor struggles in a multifarious stream of movements
6.Against river erosion, and in favour of extension of irrigation
7.Early completion of the Teesta scheme
8.Early implementation of the Subarnarekha river bund project
9.Strengthening the AIKS and the kisan movement farther
10.Augmenting and accelerating the cooperative and the self-help movements
11.Build up each Panchayat as a Red bastion for the safeguarding of democracy
12.Defend and secure the right of the forest dwellers and forest resources
13.Against the Israeli attack on the Gaza strip and against Palestinian people in general
14.In demand of accelerated process of rural electrification
15.Onwards to the Lok Sabha election coming up

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