It’s back to the basics for Bengal’s Left Front and its principle component, the CPI(M). Nearly six years after Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee threw them out of power by hijacking the land issue that has been integral to Left politics, CPI(M) has decided to bank on land struggles to revive organisation at a time the party is fast losing its support base to Trinamool Congress and BJP.
Not only has the Left Front extended its support to small land agitations that spontaneously broke out in different parts of the state over the past six months, but All India Krishak Sabha, the CPI(M)’s peasant wing, has also called for a farmers rally to march to the state secretariat on May 22 to demand the government agrees to the agitators’ demand.
“Land struggle is central to Left politics. We have decided to organise land struggles all over the country against forceful acquisition of land and forced eviction. We have also asked our organisers in West Bengal to initiate land struggles and participate in the land agitations led by other Left or democratic forces,” Hannan Mollah, the general secretary All India Krishak Sabha, country’s largest farmers’ organisation, told HT.
“More than two lakh farmers from different districts of the state are expected to participate in the march to Nabanna, which is being co-organised by 10 other farmers’ organisations,” Mollah said.
The CPI(M) demands the provisions of the land acquisition Act of 2013 has to be strictly adhered to.
Despite the Mamata Banerjee government’s sensitivity to the land issue and the policy of zero land acquisition for private industrial projects, a number of land agitations have broken out in West Bengal over the past six months and all of them are against central or state government projects. These movements were primarily organised by small Naxalite outfits and human rights organisations but the CPI(M) has rushed to express solidarity and lend support.
“Land struggle has been central to the Left’s political programme and will always be. The reason behind land agitations during Mamata Banerjee regime is the policy vacuum on land acquisition, which has allowed land sharks a free hand,” said CPI(M) MP and politburo member Mohammad Salim.
The movements include the one at Bhangar in South 24-Parganas district against the setting up of a power grid by the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd, at Goghat in Hooghly district against the filling parts of a century-old 27-acre pond for a railway project and in North 24-Parganas against the expansion of National Highway. Small land agitations have also broken out at Aushgram in Burdwan and Bolpur in Birbhum district.
Party workers will participate in land-related agitation, with the party’s flag and without it.