Ouster of BJP from Power in Bihar a Positive Development for the Entire Country
Addressing a press conference in Patna on 13 August, CPIML General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya said that the ouster of the BJP from power in Bihar is a positive event for the entire country. The formation of a non-BJP government in Bihar is a step in the right direction to rid the country of the BJP's politics of conspiracy and disaster and generates fresh hope in forces fighting against attacks on the Constitution and democracy.
CPIML will not join the Nitish Kumar’s cabinet, but will support the government, noted Dipankar Bhattacharya, and added that “We hope that the new government will move forward with a positive attitude and against the repression by the BJP rule on the civil society and people’s movements. Our party will play an important role in building a meaningful dialogue between civil society and the government. The state government should take effective administrative and legislative steps against the BJP's conspiracy to turn Bihar.”
CPIML General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya along with a Party's Bihar State Committee delegation met Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The delegation included State Secretary Kunal, Politburo member Dhirendra Jha, Rajaram Singh, KD Yadav, leader of legislative group Mahboob Alam and deputy leader Satyadev Ram, Meena Tiwari and Shashi Yadav.
Comrade Dipankar congratulated Nitish Kumar on the formation of a non-BJP government in Bihar, and said that we will remain outside the Cabinet, but give the government full cooperation. The change in Bihar has given relief to forces fighting against attacks on the Constitution and democracy.
A letter with following suggestions was given by CPIML to the new government:
- At a time when the BJP is running a nationwide drive to escalate the politics of hate, violence, lies and communal polarization, inflict a single party system on the country, impose an undeclared Emergency and establish Bulldozer Raj in Bihar on the lines of Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, its ouster from power in Bihar is a necessary and very positive event not only for Bihar but for the whole country. This has generated a new hope for forces fighting against the BJP's relentless attacks on the Constitution and democracy. This change can definitely provide a new direction for politics across the country. Not only us, but the whole of Bihar expects that the new government formed by you will take administrative and legislative steps to effectively curb the actions and conspiracies of the BJP to turn Bihar into a laboratory for frenzied fanaticism and riot-mongering and identify and act against such organizations and persons so that an atmosphere of communal harmony is maintained in the state. There are many examples of the BJP misusing power to try and saffronize government institutions, the removal of the word 'Bihar' written in Urdu on the newly built state symbol in the Vidhan Sabha being a case in point. It is necessary to roll back all such steps so that Constitutional values are maintained in the state and our tradition of composite culture and shared heritage is carried forward strongly.
- During the previous government there were large scale evictions of the poor, whether in the name of Smart City or government schemes like Jal-Jeevan-Hariyali. Homes of common people settled on lands for long periods were demolished. The new government should stop such actions immediately. We want the government to take initiatives to form a new housing policy within a time-limit based on a comprehensive survey of people settled on land, to ensure guarantee of housing for all the poor. The new government should also guarantee that not a single home will be demolished in the name of Smart City without prior arrangements for alternative housing. During the Bihar Assembly election 2020, jobs were an important part of the Mahagathbandhan manifesto. We hope that the new government will take prompt steps to fill all vacant posts. Appointments for all candidates who have cleared TET and STET and fulfilment of the promise of 19 lakh jobs should be among the priorities of the new government.
- The need is to correct without delay those steps of the previous NDA government that have shown deep ill-effects on Bihar. The scrapping of the APMC Act has consistently worsened the condition of farmers in the state. There is no guarantee of government procurement and neither do the crops fetch a proper price, resulting in further worsening of the agrarian system which is, even today, the sole means of livelihood for a large part of Bihar's population. The government should reconsider this matter and our opinion is that the APMC Act should be reinstated.
- When you first came to power in 2005 you had constituted commissions for land reform and education for pro-people development of Bihar, but due to pressure from the BJP, the work that should have been done still remains undone. Now the time has come for the government to act on the recommendations of both these Commissions. Immediate and concrete steps need to be taken to allot land to the landless poor, guarantee of registration and all agrarian development facilities to sharecroppers, construction of the Kadvan reservoir and repair of the Son and other nahar-payan (canal) systems.
- The education system in Bihar is going through a period of great decline. Anarchy in education is at its peak. Privatization has taken education out of reach of common people. Through the Governor the BJP has made universities a hub of looting and scams. The new government should make an effective work-plan for reform and change in the education system and limit the role of the Vice-Chancellor. The movement for Central University status for Patna University needs to be intensified.
- There was a time when the whole of Bihar was troubled by the liquor problem, but prohibition could not solve the problem. Liquor could not be stopped, but poisonous liquor has so far taken hundreds of lives. A large number of poor common people have been jailed under this law. Our understanding is that nothing can be achieved unless action is taken against the liquor mafia. It is necessary to free the persons jailed under this law and rehabilitate them.
- A respectable monthly honorarium should be guaranteed for ASHA facilitators, Rasoiyas, Anganwadi workers and all other scheme workers in Bihar. All trade union laws have been scrapped and the 4 labour codes have been implemented. It is very wrong to extend working hours from 8 hour to 12 hours during the COVID period. These measures need to be rolled back. Many non-BJP ruled states are giving 300 units of electricity free of cost. The people of Bihar are troubled by high electricity bills. In this period of inflation all the needy should be given 200 units of free electricity to give some relief to the poor. A resolution should also be brought against the GST imposed on food items.
- The people of Bihar are feeling the need for the reconstitution of the Commissions for minorities, women, SC/ST and human rights, without any further delay. The BJP model of crushing and jailing voices of dissent is being inflicted across the country. Human rights activists and journalists are thrown into jail for doing their duty. Political-social activists were targeted many times in Bihar also during the previous NDA government. Cases slapped on protesters against Agnipath, NTPC and political-social activists, including movements for employment should be withdrawn. Many political activists jailed under TADA in Arwal district are still languishing in jail despite having completed their sentences. We demand the immediate release of TADA prisoners Dr. Jagdish Yadav, Madhav Chaudhury, Arvind Chaudhury, Churaman Bhagat, Shyam Chaudhury, Laxman Sao and Ajit Kumar.
- We would like a Common Minimum Programme to be formulated for the pro-people development of Bihar and a coordination committee comprising all Mahagathbandhan parties constituted for its effective implementation.
- We hope that the new government will move forward with a positive attitude against the repression by the BJP rule on the civil society and people’s movements. Our party will play an important role in building a meaningful dialogue between civil society and the government. We have full confidence that you will seriously consider the above issues raised by us and take adequate steps. Our party will extend all help to the newly formed government. Despite our party not joining the Cabinet, the government will have our full support for all pro-people measures. We have every confidence that in the days to come we shall succeed in freeing the country from the BJP's conspiracies and disasters.
People Throng Streets in Bihar Against Inflation, Unemployment, Fascism
Massive people’s participation was seen across Bihar in the protest marches called on August 7th at all district headquarters by the Mahagathbandhan against inflation, unemployment, fascism, bulldozer raj, attacks against Muslims and women, and to declare Bihar a drought-affected state. Large numbers of common people as well as activists of CPIML and other Mahagathbandhan parties thronged the streets of the capital city – Patna and other districts – to warn the BJP government that this situation will not be tolerated.
CPIML Bihar State Secretary Kunal thanked the people of Bihar for their historic participation and support, and said that Bihar has once again shown that it stands against the fascist BJP government. CPIML said that this is the first time in history that food items are being taxed. Homes of the poor are being demolished. Relentless attacks are being perpetrated against Muslims and women. It was from the land of Bihar that the revolution led by JP against the dictatorship started in the mid-70s. Now when the country is once again suffering from an undeclared Emergency, the people of Bihar have come out on the streets to challenge the autocracy inflicted by Modi-Shah
The march in Patna was attended by Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav, CPIML MLAs Mahboob Alam, Sandeep Saurabh, Gopal Ravidas and Amarjeet Kushwaha and leaders, including Dhirendra Jha, Meena Tiwari, Shashi Yadav, Rajaram and Abhyuday. After garlanding the statue of JP, the march proceeded to Dak Bangla Chowk where it culminated in a meeting. Activists from RJD, CPIML, Congress, CPI-M, CPI attended the protest march.
CPIML legislative group leader Mahboob Alam said that the report card released by us on June 5th identified the dire condition of Bihar under the BJP-JDU government on all human indices like per capita income, education, health and agriculture. As per the poverty index, 51.9% of the population in Bihar is poor. Bureaucratic loot and institutional corruption are breaking new records daily. Mob lynching, rising crime graph, violence against dalits and women, eviction of the poor, massacres by poisonous liquor, ruination of youth through drugs and other substances, rising unemployment, back-breaking inflation, migration of workers, devastation of agriculture, destruction of environment - these are the truths of Bihar today. Desperate poverty and debt trap have driven entire families to suicide in Vidyapatinagar (Samastipur) and Patepur (Vaishali). These are alarm bells for Bihar, but the government remains blind and deaf. Protest marches under the Mahagathbandhan banner were organized at all district headquarters in the state. All MLAs attended the march in their respective Districts.