CPM takes politics to the masses
With the Jathas, the CPM hopes to widen the movement and bring new sections into the class and mass organisations
Sadiq Naqvi Delhi
“We have seen in the past how rath yatras have been used to divide the nation. We plan to do something entirely different. That is why the Jathas,” says Arun Kumar, a CPM functionary while informing that the western and southern Jathas have merged in Bhopal yesterday. “The idea is to project alternate policies for the country,” Kumar says. “Land, employment, food security, price rise and corruption are some of the issues that we are focussing on,” he adds.
The Jathas, started on the February 24 when the first Jatha was flagged off by party General Secretary Prakash Karat in Kanya Kumari. This Southern Jatha lead by Politburo member S Ramachandran Pillai travelled through Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, among other states and finally merged with the Eastern Jatha at Bhopal. En route, it took up local issues and interacted with the local communities. “It interacted with the textile workers in Tirupur, the bidi workers in Armoor, the Kolam and Gond tribals around Adilabad who are being forced out of their own land,” Kumar says. Likewise, the Eastern Jatha lead by Karat started from Kolkata in West Bengal and travelled through Jharkhand and Bihar and is currently in UP. It will reach Delhi on March 14. The Western Jatha lead by Sitaram Yechury started from Mumbai and travelled through Vidarbha and is currently in Madhya Pradesh. The Northern Jatha started from Amritsar under the leadership of Politburo member Brinda Karat.
Bruised and battered after its loss in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections followed by a rout from the Writers’ Building in Kolkata, the CPM is trying hard to regain lost ground. The Jathas are seen as a step to take the politics again to the masses. The largest Left party of the country has its base among the poorest of the poor and the working class population of the country. “The Jathas activised the Party units and enthused the supporters in Bihar and Jharkhand. At the same time, we became conscious of how many areas and sections of the people are outside the ambit of the Party and the organised Left. Hopefully, the Jatha will provide the impetus to widen the movement and bring new sections into the class and mass organisations,” wrote Karat.
“The response has been tremendous. So many people are coming to us with their grievances. The response from the state units too has been good,” Kumar says. A public meeting is planned on March 19 at the Ramlila grounds in the capital.