As we near the 2024 General Elections, Modi regime wants to use Ram Mandir and the RSS's idea of 'Hindutva triumph' to alter the democratic and constitutional moorings of the country towards a Hindu Rashtra. The issues of people's rights and livelihood are being made secondary in this plot. Amid this diversionary tactics by BJP-RSS forces to aggressively mask the burning issues faced by the people under the drape of Ram Mandir, the ranks and file of CPI(ML) and mass organisations in tandem with civil society has been steadfastly intensifying the struggle on-ground to foil this nefarious agenda.
With the clarion call to save the democracy and constitution, strengthening social justice, people’ rights and livelihood, and ensuring 'jobs-healthcare-education-living wages for all', mass campaigns and struggles are being organised across the country.
The CPIML’s call of ‘Save Constitution - Save Democracy, Oust BJP – Save the Country’ was carried forward with the statewide Jan Sankalp Abhiyan padyatra (march) from Karpurigram in Samastipur, the birthplace of eminent social justice crusader and ex-CM of Bihar Karpuri Thakur, on 24 January 2024. This campaign was inaugurated by party’s General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya. He addressed the huge mass gathering assembled at Samastipur bus stand along with many other leaders. Hundreds of people marched on foot from Samastipur to Karpurigram where floral tributes were offered on the statue of Karpuri Thakur.
Comrade Dipankar said that this Jan Sankalp Abhiyan is being launched to uphold the idea of a secular democratic republic which is the basic spirit of our constitution and this very idea is today under attack of fascist forces. Karpuri Thakur had little time to implement his idea of social justice as chief minister, but he used it very efficiently. We know him today for his efforts made to uplift the downtrodden, deprived castes, and release of political prisoners. He had been a very powerful and effective leader in the opposition for a very long time. We know that politics of the poor don’t go along with those in power, instead it is strengthened with people’s struggles. Karpuri Thakur is also remembered for his honesty and simplicity in politics, he added. He is now being awarded with the Bharat Ratna which had for a very long time been a demand from socialist and communists in the country. We must also not forget that castiest, communal feudal forces in Bihar have always opposed Karpuri Thakur’s politics of reservation and social justice, and that these feudal communal forces are backed by BJP-RSS. People of Bihar will never forgive or forget the crimes perpetrated by them.
Among other prominent leaders present on the occasion were CPIML’s Bihar state secretary Kunal, Dhirendra Jha, Mina Tiwari, Shashi Yadav, KD Yadav, Mahboob Alam, Satyadev Ram, Sandip Saurav and ex-MLA Manju Prakash.
The Jan Sankalp Abhiyan will conclude on 30 January, the martyrdom day of Mahatma Gandhi who fell to the bullets of first terrorist of independent India and Hindutva proponent Nathuram Godse on this day.
On 22 January 2024, as the BJP-RSS combine sought to ignite the nation into a fascist frenzy, students, youth, and the working class in West Bengal assembled in Kolkata to resist. The Fascibad-Birodhi Mohasommelon (Grand Convention Against Fascism) was organised by over 200 socio-political and mass organisations from all over West Bengal.
The program started with a mass rally from Subodh Mallick Square to the Netaji Indoor Stadium, where the convention was held. The event was attended by noted human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, former justice BG Kolse Patil, anti-communalism campaigner Harsh Mander, scientist and poet Gauhar Raza, historian Maroona Murmu, civil society activist Sujato Bhadra, and CPIML General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya among many others.
Speaking at the convention comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya noted that the issue of debate is not between a Mandir or a Masjid, but the use of religion to fundamentally transform the democratic nature of the state. He noted that while the state is withdrawing from its responsibilities for providing education, healthcare, or employment, it is increasing control over the private and personal lives of citizens by intervening in religions. Narendra Modi is subverting the constitutional order and creating a proto-monarchical system where he claims to be divinely ordained in his role.
Prof. Maroona Murmu reminded the convention of the prophetic words of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar on how ‘Hindu Raj’ would be catastrophic for the Dalit and Adivasi people of the country. Harsh Mander spoke on Mahatma Gandhi’s own struggle to establish communal peace in Kolkata during partition. Teesta Setalvaad said that the ruling dispensation has declared a war on the working class, peasantry, and minorities. The cruel policies taken up by the government has killed hundreds of farmers and workers. The use of state institutions and laws are being used to subvert the constitutional rights of the people. She urged the people to reject the BJP-RSS regime from the gram panchayat to the Lok Sabha.
West Bengal education minister Bratya Basu, TMC Rajya Sabha MP Samirul Islam, and Party of Democratic Socialism leader Samir Putatunda expressed their solidarity with the convention as well. The convention will continue its programme till 25th January at Subodh Mallick Square.
On 16th January, 2024 which marked the 19th martyrdom day of popular CPI(ML) leader Comrade Mahendra Singh, the CPI(ML) launched a state wide ‘Jan Sankalp Abhiyan’ (Mass Pledge Campaign) from Bagodar, Jharkhand with the clarion call to defeat the communal-fascist BJP regime in Elections 2024. The memorial meeting was held in Bagodar at the bus stand near GT Road crossing while dozens of marches were taken out in different parts of the state to pay homage to Comrade Mahendra Singh. Thousands joined the event and steadfastly resolved to carry forward the flame of resistance lit by martyr Comrade Mahendra Singh against BJP-RSS rule of terror.
Addressing the rally, Com. Dipankar, General Secretary of CPI(ML) said that Comrade Mahendra Singh's legacy of people's awakening and assertion against every oppression and injustice remains an enduring source of energy and inspiration in today's battle for justice, democracy and social equality.
Comrade Mahendra Singh was born in 1954 in Khambra village, Bagodar thana of Giridih district, Jharkhand. He was the architect of a social and political experiment of organising various sections of rural society in addition to agrarian labourers. This effort bore results that remains stable. Even today, not only agrarian labourers, but also a considerable section of the rural lower-middle class, especially minorities and even the poor from upper caste communities, continue to identify with the CPI(ML) movement. In 1990, he was elected as the MLA from the Bagodar Assembly constituency.
On January 16th, 2005 a day after he had filed nominations to contest for a fourth term in the Assembly elections, he was assassinated during the election campaign. His murder has not only robbed the CPI(ML) of an incomparable leader, it has impoverished the entire democratic movement of Jharkhand.
Com. Dipankar added that the Jan Sankalp Abhiyan is a clarion call to defend the democracy and constitution and put the issues of people at the forefront as envisioned by Comrade Mahendra Singh. The BJP regime is running away from all the burning issues faced by the people and instead diverting the focus towards Ram Mandir. Our freedom fighters had envisioned an India where politics and religion will be separate realms, and warned against the attempt to mix both, which would bring disastrous consequences to the integrity and harmony of the Indian society. But this Modi government, jettisoning the ideals and principles of our freedom fighters, has turned the inauguration of Ram Mandir into an aggressive path towards attainment of absolute political power.
Com. Dipankar said that Jan Sankalp Abhiyan is initiated in the backdrop of the upcoming general elections, which is only a few week away. The 2024 elections must be fought on the issues of the people like price rise, unemployment, lack of wages and social security, closing down of small and medium industries, privatization of people’s resources and increasing violence against women, Dalits, Adivasis and minorities. BJP wants to destroy Ambedkar’s Constitution and impose the rule of Manusmriti.
“Let us resolve to steadfastly defend our democracy, constitution and people’s rights” added Com. Dipankar.
Remembering martyr Comrade Mahendra Singh, CPI(ML) MLA from Bagodar Com. Vinod Singh said that he was widely acknowledged as the bold and assertive parliamentary voice of the streets, leaving an impact on the entire politics of Jharkhand, and emerging as a shining example of how well a revolutionary MLA can use the Assembly in the interests of the proletariat and the masses, and can ruthlessly expose it too.
The rally unanimously passed following three resolutions:
To protect democracy and the Constitution and for employment for all, the ‘BJP Hatao, Desh Bachao’ [Remove BJP, Save the Country] Jan Sankalp campaign will be carried out from 16th to 30th January 2024. The campaign will be carried out widely by the rank and file of the party and the message will be taken to every village and every home.
Condemn the Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza and the massacre of children and women. The Modi government must take the initiative against Israel’s Netanyahu government in international forums instead of expressing supporting in carrying out the genocide.
Along with EVM votes, the VVPAT slips should also be counted in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
All India Agricultural and Rural Labourers Association (AIARLA) organised mass campaign and marches across 200 blocks in Bihar on January 18 against the Akshata Bhabhut (the 'sanctified' rice and ash from Ayodhya being distributed everywhere by BJP-RSS to mark Ram temple inugration) and demanded for jobs-food-houses for all.
Condemning Modi government 's attack on poor and toiling masses, the AIARLA campaign demanded five guarantees from the government, including Proper houses for the poor, free education and health for the poor and 200 days of work and Rs. 600 per day wages under MGNREGA scheme.
The march also warned the government against the intensifying attack on democracy and constitution and said that working class and toiling masses of the country will always be to resist such attacks and steadfast to defend these principles.
Students across the country under the banner of 'United Students of India' held a parliament march at Delhi's Jantar Mantar on January 12th, 2024. The protest reverberated with the chants rejecting the exclusionary NEP and demanding an end to the anti-student Modi-Shah regime.
Addressing the march, AISA General Secretary Prasenjeet recounted the grand failure of the 10 years of the Modi government and in its response presented 10 questions of the student-youth. He added that under the disastrous Modi government, there is a complete privatization of education under the New Education Policy (NEP) and on the other hand, there is an increasing attack on education, employment, social and gender justice. In every election rally and roadshow, the PM Modi makes endless rhetoric and promises to provide jobs and employment. But after 10 years the facts show how the youth of today are suffering more than ever.
As part of intensifying struggle of students-youth, AISA has been carrying out country wide campaign - 'Modi Sarkar Ke Das Saal, Young India Ke Das Sawaal' (Ten Years of Modi Government, Ten Questions of Young India). The campaign was launched on December 7, with students across the country raising questions about Modi government's policy of commodification of education. Selling off the education sector to corporates has already led to massive fee hikes, wide-spread exclusion of poor and marginalised and rising employment.
The government has quashed the vision of affordable education by introducing NEP 2020 and setting up institutions like HEFA (Higher Education Financing Agency). Under the garb of “autonomy”, the public funded education model (UGC grants) is transitioning to a loan-based model under HEFA. This new model, characterised by a surge in self-financed courses across universities, places an increasing burden on students. Within this HEFA loan-based framework, universities have already incurred substantial loans, to be repaid in the future through increased fees, and we see that in Universities like Osmania (1,000%), Allahabad University (400%), DU PhD (1,800%), there have been massive fee hikes.
Putting forward the clarion call of ousting BJP and saving India from the anti-student and anti-youth Modi regime, the Parliament March resolved to make 2024 as the year where the student and youth will set the agenda of a democratic egalitarian country!
Thousands of rural workers filled the streets in Punjab’s Sangrur on January 5th, 2023 against Modi government and its anti-labour policies. The rally, organised under the banner of CPI(ML) Liberation and Mazdoor Mukti Morcha, condemned the recent move by BJP-Modi government at the centre to link MGNREGA job card with Aadhaar-based payment system and deletion of job cards of around 8.9 crore workers as an assault on the poor and toiling masses.
Com. Purushottam Sharma, CCM, CPI(ML) in-charge for Punjab and AIKM leader, said that with the deletion of crores of MGNREGA job cards, the Modi government has snatched away the lives and livelihood of workers at the behest of corporate cronies. The regime has smashed every hard earned rights of workers, and pushed the workers and farmers of this country into a state of peril and destitution. Thousands of poor farmers and rural workers are now forced to take loans from micro-finance companies, who are part of the exploitative ecosystem thriving under the Modi regime. Many, unable to pay loans with exorbitant interest rates, are forced to die by suicide.
Addressing the rally, CPI(ML) Punjab State Secretary Com. Gurmeet Singh Bakhatpura asserted the need to unite and organise. He added that when few rich people and their corporate companies can ensure a government for their benefit, then millions of workers and farmers, if united and organised can bring a government that is and for the toiling masses.
In every election rally and roadshow, the PM Modi makes endless rhetoric and promises to provide jobs and employment. But after 10 years the facts show how the youth of today are suffering more than ever.
The rally concluded with the resolve to intensify and steadfastly carry forward the struggle against the anti-labour policies of Modi regime and also force the Punjab government to implement the promises it made to people during the election.