THE Bengal Left Front has called upon its workers and supporters to step up campaign among the masses of the people to imprint the essential content of the civic polls – the defeat of the forces of reaction, sectarianism, anarchy, and separatism. In the process, the people must be involved in the struggle for the development of democracy and for peace and amity in Bengal.
This call emerged out of a recent meeting held at the Muzaffar Ahmad Bhavan on May 8 to take stock of the coming polls to 81 civic bodies on May 30. The bodies include both the Bidhannanagar (Salt Lake) municipality and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC).
The Bengal LF and the Bengal CPI(M) have allocated great weightage to door-to-door campaign and on neighbourhood-level smaller meetings rather than big rallies. The main issues that the campaign comprises are:
The anti-people and anti-poor policies of the Congress-run union government of which the Trinamul Congress is a ministerial constituent
The poor state of health of the nation under the present central dispensation
The increase in poverty
The lack of food security
The rise in unemployment
The anti-poor thrust of the general and railway budgets of the union government
The development of Bengal under the LF governance
The need to preserve democracy and allow democratic norms to flourish in the state
The Left Front campaigners have also pointed out that the in the present LF dispensation, the per capita funding of the urban bodies has been upto Rs 1500, a 1500 times increase from the Congress’s halcyon days. Apart from funding, the LF civic bodies have worked for the uplift of the poor, and have ensured balanced development of cities and semi-urban areas. Emphasis has been given to development of small and medium towns. Enormous and planned expenditure is exercised in urban health, water supply, sewerage and drainage, roads, parks and gardens, and lighting. Employment schemes for the urban poor are in place with a budgetary allocation of Rs 250 crore. The metropolis of Kolkata is being given a face-over but without loosing sight of the poor. The fly-overs and the Kalyani expressways have been supplanted in good measure with bustee re-housing and rehabilitation packages for the dispossessed.
Biman Basu has called for the winning of seats in the civic bodies each with more than 50 per cent votes. An intensive campaign has been going on all over Bengal for the past month and the people have responded with a positive attitude to the campaign.
It has already been made amply clear that at the grassroots’ level the two principal opposition parties have come to an understanding with the scale weighed heavily against the thinning support base of the rudderless outfit called the Pradesh Congress. Subrata Mukherjee has gone over to Didi once again, pasty smile at the ready, or rather, yet once and then once again – making the switch over, magician like, for the fifth time. Would anyone care?
The ‘young’ faces that Rahul Gandhi chose to thrust in, some months back, into the morass of rightist Bengal politics, as the eponymous aam aadmi ka sipahis, have chosen to follow suit for, after all, is not the Trinamul Congress the ‘better’ of the two amir aadmi ka party -- with more in the way of muscle-based electoral prospects?
In ward 55 of the KMC, plumb in downtown Kolkata, where we have lived for ages now, the Trinamul Congress candidate would not hide the fact that his was a life ‘dedicated to ensuring a win for the Pradesh Congress candidate,’ and whose alias is ‘the Bomb’ for his explosive ways in his younger days. (BP)