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How it?s Red between the lines

Times, clearly, are not e-changing for the CPI(M). Far from the hi-tech campaigns launched by the BJP and Congress, the Marxists have stuck to the time-tested wall-writings.
PTI | By Sandip Chowdhury, Kolkata
PUBLISHED ON APR 10, 2004 05:16 PM IST

Times, clearly, are not e-changing for the CPI(M). Far from the hi-tech campaigns launched by the BJP and Congress, the Marxists have stuck to the time-tested wall-writings.

There’s though one difference — this time the party apparatchiks have brought out a booklet containing 27 cartoons lampooning Vajpayee, Advani and, of course, the CPI(M)’s bete noire Mamata Banerjee.

“This is the first time we have issued a booklet with cartoons drawn by eminent cartoonists such as Chandi Lahiri and Sufi. These cartoons will be replicated in wall writings along with our slogans all over the state,” said party state committee member Sukhendu Panigrahi.

The panel of cartoonists, apart from Lahiri and Sufi, are Indranath Bandopadhyay, Rabin Dutta, Kumar Chakraborty, Ashis Gupta, Manish Deb, Soumen Ray and Anup Bhowmick. The preface in the 30-page booklet declares that the cartoons have been commissioned by the CPI(M) state committee to unmask the “shamelessly false” campaign launched by the BJP, the Trinamool and the Congress to “mislead the people of this state and country”.

The booklet informs voters that even Rabindranath Tagore had drawn cartoons on Mussolini. But claims that the CPI(M) was the first to use cartoons as a tool to carry a political message.

The 27-odd cartoons, it adds, are designed to expose the misrule, opportunism, corruption and lack of principles” of the three rival parties.

The sharpest criticism in the preface is reserved for the Trinamool and the BJP. It repeats the CPI(M)’s strong diatribes against these two parties.

The cartoons lampoon the BJP’s India Shining and feel good campaigns, the policies of liberalisation that the party claims have pushed many into poverty, the BJP’s alleged communal and separatist policies, the party’s flirtation with anti-national elements, the anti-people policies of the NDA, the “dance of death” with the US and the primacy given to the World Bank and the IMF.

Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee, takes up a lot of pages as expected and is dwarfed by a caricature of Vajpayee, save for a couple, where she’s shown as a canine straining on Vajpayee’s leash. Though Mamata is turned out in saris in the cartoon, one that could draw her ire depicts the Trinamool chief, clad in skimpy western attire with a trishul  and rifle under her belt, shaking her legs with Vajpayee and Bijoy Hrangkhwal, the chief of a disbanded militant outfit of Tripura.

Thousands of copies of the booklet have been already distributed to party workers across the state. Panigrahi said that instructions have been issued to district leaders to refer to the booklet while commissioning wall writings.

For the non-Marxists, the booklet is available for Rs 10 at the National Book Agency. Expectedly, the sales figures of this low-priced booklet are far from exciting.

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