A massive ‘Oust BJP, Save Democracy’ rally in Lucknow called by Left and democratic parties was held in Eco Park on 11 October. People from across the state came to attend this political gathering addressed by CPIML General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, CPIM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI General Secretary D Raja, AIFB General Secretary G Devrajan and Loktantrik Janata Dal’s Javed Raza.
The rally was also addressed by CPIM PB member Subhasini Ali, CPIML CCMs Ishwari Prasad Kushwaha and Krishna Adhikari, CPI’s Girish Sharma and other leaders.
This rally was a culmination of a month-long campaign in Uttar Pradesh against the misrule of the Yogi government. A large number of women, students, youth, peasants and workers came from far away districts with flags and banners.
Comrade Dipankar condemned the Israeli bombing in Gaza and hailed Palestine’s right for a sovereign homeland. He criticised Modi for giving a statement in support of Israel while keeping silent on killings of children, women and innocent Palestinians in Gaza. He said that this is the same Israel who sold Pegasus spyware to the Modi government which was used in falsely persecuting human rights activists, journalists and lawyers in the Bhima Koregaon case in India. India had always stood for Palestinian freedom and sovereignty, and the Modi government must follow the same policy, but the latter has taken an opposite turn and is now repressing peaceful protesters in the country who are coming out in support of Palestinian people. He condemned Modi and Yogi governments for filing cases against students of Aligarh Muslim University who organised a solidarity march in support of Palestine people. Today this is the first and foremost task to save the children of Gaza, he said.
He further criticised Modi for seeking ‘Aapda mein awsar’ during covid crisis by bringing in three farm laws, by privatising and communalising education, by dismantling labour laws, and then constructing a new parliament building where he later installed the Sangole which symbolises erstwhile monarchies. The Modi government passed an ineffective women’s reservation bill which will not be implemented for an indefinite period. This government is callous and incompetent to the extent that it is unable to conduct a Census which has been accomplished by all other G20 nations without making pandemic an excuse. This government uses the census as an excuse for implementing the women’s reservation bill, while this is a fact that we all know that women make half of the population without needing to do a census. Comrade Dipankar demanded reservation for women from backward castes in the women’s bill.
He said that the caste census in Bihar has busted the BJP’s lies of muslim population explosion. The muslim population in Bihar caste census remains around 17 percent. Another important fact that has come up is the population of Other Backward Classes which is actually 63%, while presently it is considered at 52%. He said there should be reservations among minorities and also the upper limit for reservations be increased according to the new figures. He demanded a review of EWS reservations where only 7 percent of the population unfairly enjoys the 10 percent reservation quota.
There is a need to conduct a countrywide caste census to know the correct situation and to reformulate correct policies for development. He also cautioned that the reservations only cannot solve the current crisis in absence of employment opportunities. Moreover, the BJP has hollowed out the reservations policy through its policy of lateral entry in the bureaucracy. The privatisation policy has made reservations totally ineffective. We must fight for the reversal of the privatisation and also for the enactment of constitutional right for quality education and right for decent employment for all.
He reminded the audience of the RSS role in opposing the Indian constitution when it was being enacted after the country gained independence. Now, he said, the RSS is trying to defame Ambedkar's constitution by telling the lie that our constitution is the British legacy. RSS is conspiring to make Manusmriti as India’s constitution and install a permanent dictatorship through a new constitution. This design must be resisted by the people of India and the people of Uttar Pradesh have a major role to play. The Shaheenbagh movement against CAA-NRC to protect citizenship rights had inspired many more movements. Country’s farmers also took energy from the anti-CAA-NRC movement and blockaded Delhi’s borders during the Farmers' Movement forcing the government to withdraw three farm laws. Still, farmers are fighting for the Minimum Support Prices guarantee. Women wrestlers’ struggle also inspired us all. Uttar Pradesh farmers renewed their old slogan to ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Pahalwan!’. Few days back lakhs of employees assembled in Delhi demanding the Old Pension Scheme. Today we need a broader unity of farmers, workers, students, youth and women who are struggling against the Modi government’s anti-people policies. We must stand with women and all people of Manipur.
These times demand a second freedom struggle when the BJP government is following the same path that British colonialists had adopted to oppress the people. BJP is bulldozing all humanity and progress of our country. The NewsClick was raided and journalists who spoke truth to power were branded as terrorists. We have to oppose this and will stand with them.
Comrade Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary of CPIM, said BJP is attacking constitutional rights of people, violating human rights and attacking the media. 45 percent youth are unemployed, corporates’ loan to the tune of 16 lakh crores have been waived. Attacks on women have increased, opposition party leaders are being persecuted. Even the Parliament is being run in an undemocratic way. The rural development resources are being looted. We must save the country by ensuring the defeat of the BJP.
Comrade D Raja, General Secretary of CPI, said that prices, unemployment and repression of dalits and women have increased, while the double engine government in UP is standing with nexus of criminals and capitalists. The left had made immense sacrifices in the battle against the imperialist forces. Now BJP is trying to divide the country and attacking the Constitution. Therefore, we must work to defend the country and the constitution by defeating the BJP.