February 15, 2010


SILIGURI, 14th February, 2010: Over the past week, Bengal chief minister and CPI (M) Polit Bureau member, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has addressed a series of rallies in north Bengal, at Siliguri, Coochbehar, and Falakata in Jalpaiguri. Each of the rallies was packed with people from all sections of the society with women present in notably large numbers. They hung to Buddhadeb words of hope, of development, of poverty alleviation, of peace, and of units of the masses and lustily cheered his simple approach to the issues of the day. 12 February was the date of the assemblage.

The Siliguri rally was held under the auspices of the Darjeeling Left Front. Speaking strongly for the unity and integrity of the nation, Buddhadeb pointed an accusing finger at the separatist moves initiated by the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha (GJMM), and said that there must not be a separate carved out of Bengal, reminding the mass rally that these were the words that he had earlier communicated to the Union Home Minister when the latter had come Kolkata to discuss the ‘Maoist’ issue with chief ministers of the eastern region.

Buddhadeb recalled that the present set up where the three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong, and Kalimpong were under the Hill Council, more power could be transferred to this autonomous body. That did not mean that there would be separate state, especially obnoxious and cunnings the idea being floated in separatist and divisive circles that a part of the dooars and terai, too, must be included in the ‘hill council.’

Buddhadeb reminded the big audience that whenever there had been attempts, in the past and more recently to divide up states along lines of language or other regional predomination feature, the political parties of the ruling classes themselves had split in a dangerous and fissiparous move. Buddhadeb exhorted upon the people of the plains and the hills to remain united and to work for the development of the region for the purpose of which a divisive move would be disastrously counter-productive. Other speakers at the rally included CPI (M) leaders Sandopal Lepcha, Ashok Bhattacharya, and Jibesh Sarkar.

The basic theme on which Buddhadeb wove his address at Coochbehar was the need, now and here, to organise mass protest against the evil acts of commission by the violent thugs in the pay and protection of their chieftain. The rally was another mammoth affair as people streamed in from far corners of the district on to the big sized Rashmela maidan. This was on 13 February.

While bitterly critical of the anti-people Trinamul Congress and its rainbow coalition of lackeys, Buddhadeb also commented on the separatist groups like the ‘greater Coochbehar,’ and the KLO-KMP, reminding the people how these oppressors could be made to go far back into the oblivion of history as the people’s protest and resistance mounted across the districts and elsewhere. Buddhadeb also briefly summed up the [principle points of attack on the central government on the issue of price rise, point of debate that must be taken to the masses wide and deep -- in order to strengthen the ongoing struggle against the UPA rĂ©gime up in Delhi. Buddhadeb recalled how the Bengal LF government despite adversarial circumstances could keep the price of a few basic commodities to a reasonable bind over the years, Rs 2 per kilo rice being a prime example.

Next whistle stop for the rallying chief minister was the Falakata town maidan where he addressee yet another big gathering on 14 February. Here he was seen and heard to launch another stinging attack on the union government for the hiking of prices. Buddhadeb explained in detail the need for the mass of the people of the country to descend on Delhi before the parliament come 12 march. This was necessary to let the ears of the central be filled with a roar of protest against all its anti-poor moves.

Buddhadeb repeatedly called for a greater and yet bigger unity of the masses of stand against the policies of union government, the depredations of the separatists, and the conspiratorial moves of the divisive forces. CPI (M) and LF constituent leaders of the district addressed the rally that was preceded by a cultural programme(INN).


KOLKATA, 12th February, 2010: The Bengal-wide one-day strike of casual and thika workers has been a grand success. The strike was a CITU workers’ action on a big scale. Months back preparations had started in the way of propaganda and campaign among the unorganised workers who comprise close to 90% of the total work force.

CITU Bengal general secretary Kali Ghosh clearly stated during the campaign that both the state sector (in the guise of central government institutions) and the private sector, especially the MNCs routinely continued to flout the contract labour act which stated inter alia that marks out the advantages of continuing employment of contractual work force, especially at the time of renewal of contract.

The entire informal sector struck work in Bengal. The bourgeois media propaganda notwithstanding a successful strike was seen in the IT sector, the BSNL, the VSNL. Mobile tower employment sector, banks, ATMs, petrochemical, power, steel, coal, and in the myriads of state and central government departments and branches, both in the urban areas and in the mufussil struck work during the hours as applicable.

The principal demand of the CITU is that perennial employment must be ensured for jobs of a perennial nature. Until such permanence is set in, the casual workers must be provided with employment benefits due to permanent workers. Another demand of course is the long-standing on of equal pay for equal work.

Kali Ghosh has assured that if the management fails to implement the contract labour act properly, the CITU will go in for bigger movements and struggles in the days to come.