CPI(ML) Victories: In the Face of All Odds

The CPI(ML), it must be remembered, had no spin doctors hired at exorbitant expense to run a high-decibel media campaign. It had no huge hoardings, no vans playing videos, and no helicopters, no TV coverage of leaders’ election speeches, and only very minimal coverage in the print media. In contrast to the other contenders enjoying state machinery of Delhi or Patna, many CPI(ML) candidates contested from jail, arrested in false cases slapped on them for leading people’s struggles. The CPI(ML)’s only medium of election campaign was the people themselves – and this was turned into a strength, not a weakness.

In spite of these enormous odds, the CPI(ML) managed to emerge victorious because of the enormous trust gained as a result of struggles, movements and sacrifices.

Comrade Satyadev Ram – Jailed for Supporting Dalits’ Struggle For Land

Satyadev Ram (Darauli, Siwan), who defeated the BJP candidate by a margin of 10,000 votes, contested from jail. He and the CPI(ML) candidate from Ziradei, Siwan – Amarjit Kushwaha are both in jail thanks to false cases slapped on them in 2013 during a struggle by Dalit landless labourers to occupy land that was rightfully theirs. BJP-backed landlords led by the local BJP MLA had fired on the Dalits. Comrades Satyadev Ram and Amarjit Kushwaha had gone there later to intervene and ask the administration to arrest the BJP-backed goons and allot land to the Dalits. Instead of punishing the BJP MLA and his goons, the administration in Nitish-ruled Bihar foisted murder cases on both the comrades and arrested them! Comrade Amarjit also polled third after giving a close fight to BJP and JDU both – and by electing Comrade Satyadev Ram in Darauli, the people of Siwan paid tribute to the countless martyred comrades including former JNUSU President Comrade Chandrashekhar who resisted the RJD’s mafia leader Shahabuddin and who have braved jail and bullets to defend the rights and dignity of the Dalit landless poor.

Comrade Sudama Prasad- Tarari’s Anti-Feudal Assertion

Comrade Sudama, who defeated the NDA candidate in a photo finish by a margin of 296 votes, has been at the forefront of anti-feudal resistance of poor and oppressed caste peasants in Bhojpur, continuing the glorious legacy of the late Comrade Ram Naresh Ram who used to be the iconic leader and unbeaten MLA of the party from this region.

Ironically, at Tarari, all the other candidates – be they from MGB, LJP or Samajwadi Party – had connections with the Ranveer Sena.

The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) led by Modi ally Ram Vilas Paswan had fielded Geeta Pandey, the wife of Ranveer Sena man Sunil Pandey, who had been the sitting MLA from Tarari, elected from the JDU!

The Mahagatbandhan had fielded Akhilesh Prasad Singh – former RJD MP and Union Minister who now contested on a Congress ticket. Akhilesh Prasad Singh, at the funeral of Ranveer Sena chief Brahmeshwar Singh had had referred to the architect of the massacres of Dalit labouring poor as “a towering personality the likes of whom are born once in 100-200 years…His stature remains higher than any MP or MLA.” And the Samajwadi Party had fielded none other than the son of Brahmeshwar Singh, Indubhushan Singh, who now leads the organization that is the front of the Ranveer Sena.

This state of affairs in Tarari is a reminder of how hollow the talk of ‘social justice,’ ‘socialism’ and ‘Dalit pride’ are when it comes to opportunist ruling class parties. In the soil watered by the blood of Bathani Tola’s poor, Laloo’s Government that boasts of having stopped Advani’s riot-Rath, allowed the BJP-RSS’ Ranveer-Rath to rampage for over a decade, massacring with impunity. The JDU and Nitish Kumar then helped BJP share the seat of power in Bihar for the first time ever – and in order to do so, buried the Amir Das Commission and truth and justice about the Ranveer Sena massacres. And in 2015, defying history and insulting the victims, all the other rival formations fielded Ranveer-linked candidates!

But Tarari upheld the legacy of Bathani Tola’s fighters. Remember, Bathani Tola was where Muslims fighting for Karbala land, chased by the Ranveers, took shelter in the homes of the oppressed castes. This bond of unity across communal lines was forged by the CPIML. The Ranveer Sena could not kill that legacy – and in 2015, Tarari once again rebuffed the communal-feudal Ranveer-linked candidates and elected Comrade Sudama from the CPI(ML).

Comrade Mahboob Alam– Victory of People’s Struggles

Comrade Mahboob Alam, was once more elected from the Balrampur seat in Katihar district, defeating the BJP candidate by a margin of nearly 23000 votes. The CPIML has been elected thrice before from the Barsoi/Balrampur seat.

Comrade Mahboob Alam has faced countless false cases against him – all for having taken up the struggles of poor Dalits, adivasis and Muslims in the area, against powerful landlords. But he has earned the unflinching love and trust of the poor in this extremely backward region – they all know they can count on none but Comrade Mahboob and CPI(ML) in the face of every instance of harassment, injustice and violence.

The CPI(ML) struggles here are living instances of staunch secularism on the ground – a secularism crafted not by opportunistic unity of leaders for power, but the solidarities of the powerless against the powerful.

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