“If women hold the red flag in this country, there is nothing that can stop us,” CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat thundered amidst cheers from thousands of women in Vijayawada on Saturday. She was speaking at the Left parties’ Mahagarjana, a grand public meeting organised to promote an alternative political platform.
The event soaked Vijayawada in the colour red as the meeting attendees held a massive rally in the city with red flags. The meeting was organised to bring out an alternative political discourse ahead of the elections against the Narendra Modi led union government and the Chandrababu Naidu led Andhra Pradesh government.
CPI(M) state secretary P Madhu presided over the meeting, which saw a massive presence of workers and farmers from across the state. Leaders of parties like Jana Sena, Loksatta, CPI(ML) and VCK also participated and expressed their willingness to collectively fight against Modi and Naidu.
CPI National Secretary Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy addressing the gathering questioned the BJP’s policies and widespread corruption.
He said, “They claim they’re clean and corruption free, but BJP president Amit Shah’s son’s assets have increased heavily after it came into power, what will they speak about that? Shekar Reddy whom Chandrababu Naidu gave space in the TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams) committee was caught red-handed, why don’t Chandrababu and Modi seek the nation’s apology?”
He lashed out at the mob lynchings of Muslims and Dalits by cow vigilantes in BJP ruling states, saying, “Out of the 36 killed, 26 were Muslims while the rest were Dalits and other poor, but the Centre is still not bothered to prepare a legislation against such crimes despite Supreme Court orders.”
He urged secular and democratic forces to save the country from fascists, saying, “The country is in peril due to threats from the fascists, this needs to be challenged by the democratic and secular forces.”
CPI state secretary Ramakrishna alleged high-end corruption in the ruling parties and said that this was responsible for the agrarian crisis that is driving farmers and weavers to suicide.
Brinda Karat, who began her speech in Telugu that drew cheers from women workers and cadres, also pointed her criticism against Narendra Modi and Chandrababu Naidu. She alleged that the farmer suicides are result of the Modi government’s neo-liberal and pro-corporate policies.
“Isn’t it a shame that 40,000 farmers took their lives due to the agrarian policies of the Modi government?” she asked.
Brinda said that demonetisation and GST had caused loss of employment and distress for workers across the country, adding that the BJP was using its majority in Parliament to favour big corporate companies. She called the BJP government a ‘pick-pocketing’ government.
She said that the Modi government was working against the spirit of the Indian Constitution and branding anyone who defends Dalits and farmers as anti-nationals.
Equating Chandrababu Naidu’s policies with Modi’s policies, she asked the people to beware of Naidu who she claimed was “showing off” as though he opposes Modi.
“Babu is doing compromise politics as if he opposes Modi, but Modi speaks and Naidu does. Big brother Modi’s words are being acted upon by Chandrababu from Vijayawada, he is speaking about SCS after four years of holding the BJP’s hands.”
Brinda also lashed out at Andhra opposition leader Jagan Mohan Reddy who is on his padayatra, saying that his padayatra was merely a Power Yatra. She alleged that the YSRCP was acting as if they’re fighting for people’s causes whereas they are not in reality.
She questioned, “What were their MPs doing in Parliament when Dalits and Muslims were being attacked? Have they spoken about Modi’s policies? They failed to question when anti-people policies were made.”
She said that the alternative platform’s aim is to defeat RSS-Modi at the Centre and Naidu in the state and pushed for strengthening of the Left.
Jana Sena leader Parthasarathy, who spoke along with other party leaders, said that his party will walk together to unseat the Chandrababu Naidu government for inclusive development.
The meeting clearly indicated a possible alliance of the Left front with Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena in Andhra Pradesh.