Marxists publish book to woo masses in poll year

Sunday, February 6, 2011

KOLKATA - In an apparent bid to woo the masses in an election year, West Bengal’s ruling Marxists have brought out a 728-page book on the state’s left movement and the Left Front government.

At a time when they are going through perhaps their toughest times since coming to power nearly 34 years ago, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) mouthpiece Ganashakti has published the book containing writings of eminent people like Nobel prize winning economist Amartya Sen and late Marxist patriarch Jyoti Basu.

The book is titled “Bamfront Sarkar: Manush-e shesh katha” (Left Front Govt: Keyword is People) and was released Saturday.

Articles by economists Prabhat Patnaik and Jayati Ghosh, as also by the party’s founding fathers like E.M.S. Namboodiripad, B.T. Ranadive, M. Basavpunnaiya, Harekrishna Konar, Promode Dasgupta and Nripen Chakraborty have found their pride of place in the compendium priced at Rs.300.

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has also penned a piece “Bampanthai Path” (Leftist ideology is the only way) on the current political situation and the challenges faced by the Left Front.

Amartya Sen’s research-based article “Primary Schooling: A report on improvements and problems in West Bengal schools” written several years back is part of the compilation that also includes several important documents detailing the CPI-M’s outlook on the Left Front governments in West Bengal and Tripura and the Left Democratic Front regime in Kerala.

“The book provides an insight through the pen of our leaders into the mass struggles which brought the Left Front to power, the coalition government’s experiences, the alternative policies unfolded by the Left Front with a pro-people approach, and how it is going forward by fighting against a plethora of conspiracies and attacks,” state CPI-M secretary Biman Bose says in the preface.

“Some articles containing the views of experts on the Left Front government and its various activities are also a part of the book that would benefit those wishing to know the origin, initiatives and approach of the ruling combine,” he says.

“But this book can never be considered a comprehensive evaluation of the Left Front government,” he adds.

Careful not to annoy other Left Front partners, Bose promised that write-ups of their leaders would be included in the next edition of the book. “The book is incomplete without their writings. In future we have to include such pieces.”

The Left Front came to power in the state in 1977 riding on the anti-Congress wave sweeping the country immediately after the Emergency, and it has ruled without a break all these years.

However, over the last two and half years, the red citadel has crumbled with the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress winning a series of elections to the rural and urban civic bodies and the Lok Sabha. The back-to-back electoral defeats have triggered speculation that the Left Front could be on its way out in the state assembly elections slated for May.

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