Highlights of CPI(ML) Protest Fortnight Against Price Rise

The CPI(ML)’s fortnight-long all-India campaign against price rise, beginning on 15 April, culminated on May Day with spirited protests all over the country.

‘Bandho mahangi, roko daam’ (arrest inflation, check prices): that was the slogan throughout the campaign in Bihar. On 21 April the All India Students’ Association (AISA) and the Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) jointly held a protest march in Patna shouting ‘UPA-NDA bhai-bhai, Janlewa mahangai lai’ (UPA and NDA are brothers in bringing inflation), and burnt the effigy of PM Manmohan Singh at the ITO roundabout. The Patna city committee of CPI(ML) took out protest marches in various localities of the city on 26 April. All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) also organised protest march in Patna on 23 April. Most of the women were carrying empty containers and cans, empty gas cylinders and vessels shouting “Dilli-Patna ka kaisa khel – assi rupaye sarson tel” (about how Delhi and Patna have conspired to make mustard oil Rs. 80 a kg).

On 28 April, various District committees held dharnas and protest demonstrations at their District Headquarters. On the same day in Patna a big dharna was held at Shahid Bhagat Singh crossing near Gandhi Maidan, in which hundreds of CPI(ML) members and leaders from different villages and towns participated. May Day marked the culmination of the entire series of protests.

In Gujarat, the Valsad District Leading Team of CPI(ML) held a 3-hour long dharna at the District Collectorate on 18 April against price rise. About 100 Party members and people from different talukas of the District participated. The protest exposed the hollowness of Narendra Modi’s anti-inflation campaign and held both the Gujarat and Central Governments responsible for the massive escalation of prices. At Ahmedabad, a dharna was held at the ITO circle on 19 April by CPI(ML) and RYA in which mostly youth numbering around 100 were present.

At Ahmedabad, on May Day, a dharna was organised in front of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly by the CPI(ML) District Leading Team of Sabarkantha and AICCTU. About 700-800 men and women travelled more than 150 kms to participate in the dharna. Apart from PWD and forest workers, a good number of employees working in mid day meal scheme were present. At the end of the dharna a delegation met the Gujarat Governor and handed over a memorandum.

A dharna against price rise was organised at the tehsil headquarter of Kherbrahma in Sabarkantha District of Gujarat on May 15. This was the first Party programme of CPI(ML) in this Tehsil. This whole block is primarily populated by tribal people, and is one of the most backward areas of Gujarat. This region is facing drought and as a result, price rise is having the most adverse effect in this region.

At Andhra Pradesh, on 16th April, a Mandal-level dharna against price rise was held at Anantpuram, Pratipadu, Yelleshwaram, Visaninpeta and other places. On 30th April, a dharna was held against escalating inflation at the collectorate in Kakinada, Yelluru and Vijaywada. On May Day, flags were hoisted at Vijaywada, Vishakhapattinam, Yelleshwaram, Kakinada and Anantpuram.

CPI(ML) activists in Haryana held a protest march against price rise in Gurgaon and burnt the effigy of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after assembling at the Mahavir Chowk. The effigy of PM was burnt at other places also in Haryana and Gurgaon.

May Day rallies, meetings, protests were held in Udaipur, Ajmer, Jaipur, Jhunjhunu, Jodhpur and Pratapgarh. In Udaipur a rally of 250 workers of the unorganised sector took out a rally, held a meeting outside the collectorate and presented a memorandum to the Collector. In Ajmer the CPI(ML) rally forced its way into the Collectorate and held a mass meeting. A memorandum was not only given to the Collector but lengthy discussions were held with him. In Jaipur a public meeting of construction workers was held at Sodala Chhogti. In Jhunjhunu a memorandum was handed over to the collector by a party delegation, while a public meeting was held in Buhana Tehsil. In Jodhpur the Party joined the May Day Rally taken out by over a thousand workers of MCPI's trade union front. In the newly formed tribal district of Pratapgarh a memorandum was given to the collector by a party delegation.

May Day 2008 was observed in Puducherry as an anti-price rise protest in a massive rally and public meeting. Large number of workers from factories, industrial estate, unorganized workers in all walks of work, urban poor, youth and women participated in the rally. The rally started from the statue of Singaravelu who had organised the very first May Day programme in India, and ended with a public meeting near Com. Jeevanandham statue, who had been a veteran communist leader.

At Tinsukia (Assam), around 4000 workers, mostly tea garden workers, observed May Day under the banner of the CPI(ML).

On May Day, the local unit of Sangrami Shramik Union in Sachindra Chandra Tea Estate in North Bengal opened its new office and the annual convention of the workers was organised on the same day. The Convention, held in a lively atmosphere saw many workers actively participating in the discussions. Cultural programme was also held on this occasion. A 25-member committee was elected by the convention which decided to expand the organisation in other tea gardens as well. The convention was presided over by the CPI(ML) CC member and the Acting President of tea garden workers union, Comrade Abhijit Majumdar. 

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