October 25, 2006 11:34:18 pm
This is with reference to the report of the press conference I addressed in Dehra Dun, published in The Indian Express of October 25. The report does not reflect what I said about my party’s stand on the forthcoming elections or the other issues I raised.
The Uttaranchal assembly has no representation at present of the Left. The energies of my party, the CPI(M), would be directed first and foremost to win representation in the assembly in alliance with the Left parties, primarily the CPI. Together the Left parties will strive for an understanding with regional parties like the UKD. The dismal record of both the Congress and the BJP in Uttaranchal makes it essential that secular and democratic parties, basing themselves on alternative policies, should increase their presence in the assembly.
On being asked about an understanding with the Samajwadi Party, I said I had read their statements that their campaign in Uttaranchal was to be based on a platform for the “return of Hardwar district and Uddhamsinghnagar to Uttar Pradesh”. We do not share this view. As far as elections are concerned, there has been no discussion with them. At no point in the press conference was there any discussion about “any pre-poll or post-poll alliance with the Congress” as mentioned in the report. On the contrary, there was strong criticism of the misrule and rampant corruption under the N.D. Tiwari government. I had also reiterated my party’s focus against the communal forces led by the RSS-BJP and said that they had utterly failed to raise any single issue of importance to the people of the state in the last five years. Their only success was to try and fan communal flames, as in Chamba in Tehri district. If the BJP is in a position to try and stage a comeback in Uttaranchal, it is entirely because of the wrong policies of the Congress.
A better part of the press conference was on the issues the CPI(M) has been taking up in the state, including those of BPL cards, land rights, rights of Dalits. I spoke of the five conventions held of Dalits which highlighted the different methods of untouchability being practised against them in some areas, including the infamous two-glass system of separate glasses in tea shops for Dalits and non-Dalits. The Party has also taken up the issue of thousands of families who are sought to be displaced by so-called development projects, the fruits of which are not intended for the local people. My emphasis was on the dismal situation in the Hills, particularly for women whose traditional rights to forests are being denied by Government and forest officials.
I discussed in some detail our opposition to the methodology of poverty estimates which were less to do with understanding the extent of poverty and more to do with axing the rights of the poor of their share in national resources.
The writer is a CPI(M) politburo member and MP
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