Left party wants permission to hold anti-BJP meet in Bengal. Mamata says yes
The Mamata Banerjee administration that is frequently accused of denying permission to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders for addressing public rallies has given its nod to the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (Liberation) to organise a conference at the state’s largest government-owned auditorium. The agenda of the conference is to develop strategies to check BJP’s growth in Bengal.
The conference titled Sanghati Ebong Protirodh (Solidarity and Resistance) will be held on July 30 at the Netaji Indoor Stadium that has a seating capacity of about 12,000 people.
The CPI(ML) Liberation had its origins in the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist), the first ultra-Left party set up in Kolkata in 1969. Popularly referred to as Naxalites and led by Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal, the CPI (ML) advocated armed revolution and urged the people to shun the electoral process. Later CPI(ML) split following which CPI (ML) Liberation was born. In 1992 it came out in the open.
“BJP has launched an attack on Bengal’s heritage and culture. Nationally, the Modi government has already started taking anti-people policies. Checking the growth of the Sangh Parivar is the principal agenda in Bengal. We will discuss the situation to arrive at an effective strategy,” said Kartik Pal, state unit secretary of CPI (ML) (Liberation).
Students, teachers, farmers, industrial workers, cultural activists and tribal leaders from various parts of the state and beyond will participate in the programme. Bengali baul songs composed by 19th century minstrel Lalan Fakir - considered the epitome of religious harmony - will be played at the venue along with tribal and traditional Bengali songs.
Pal said that their political analysis revealed the Communist Party of India (Marxist) made a “blunder” by keeping the BJP and Trinamool Congress in the same bracket. “To be sure, there were grievances against the Trinamool Congress. But the CPI (M)’s policy resulted in public grievance being directed towards the TMC. This is evident from the transfer of traditional Left votes to the BJP’s fold. There can be no doubt that the BJP is the principal force that needs to be resisted,” Pal said.
CPI (ML)(Liberation) leaders have also invited organizations campaigning against the proposed National Register for Citizens (NRC) exercise in Bengal. BJP president and Union home minister Amit Shah has repeatedly stated that an Assam-style NRC would be implemented in Bengal, all infiltrators identified and pushed back.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has repeatedly opposed NRC in Bengal and has vowed not to allow push-back of a single Bengal resident. CPI(ML)(Liberation), too, is opposed to NRC.
Raju Banerjee, a general secretary of BJP’s state unit, said that they are not surprised with the administration’s decision.
“This conference of the Naxalite outfit is definitely taking place with the tacit backing of the TMC. They have the same agenda. Mamata Banerjee came to power with help from Maoists and her party continued to hobnob with the ultra-Left and anti-national elements. This is one more proof,” Banerjee said.
While no TMC leaders agreed to comment, a senior officer at the state information and culture department said, on condition of anonymity, “They sought permission abiding by all norms and got it as per our rules.”
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee herself is in charge of the information and culture department.
Incidentally, in September 2017, the government denied permission for BJP president Amit Shah’s meeting at Netaji Indoor Stadium saying that it was already booked. In October 2016, the authorities cancelled booking of an event where RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat was the chief speaker.