Press Statement

A meeting of the four Left parties, the CPI(M), CPI, Forward Bloc and RSP was held on 14th September, 2000. It has issued the following statement:

The BJP-led government has embarked upon a dangerous course with regard to West Bengal. Violating the constitutional arrangement between the Centre and the states, the Vajpayee government is seeking to interfere in matters, which are strictly under the purview of the state government.

This unjustified and undemocratic intervention initiated by the home ministry is meant to serve the partisan political interests of the Trinamul Congress and its leader, Mamata Banerjee. The hue and cry being raised about violence and the law and order situation is the pretext for the authoritarian interference in the affairs of the state.

The visit of George Fernandes was arranged to facilitate this intervention. Visiting three villages and not meeting with the Chief Minister or the concerned state authorities, the defence minister came out with absurd allegations about the situation in the state.

The BJP-led government has no qualms about talking about the use of Article 356 of the Constitution in a casual and irresponsible manner. The entire democratic opinion in the country knows how this clause is constantly misused by the ruling party at the Centre. The Vajpayee government has already burnt its fingers by misusing this Article twice in Bihar.

The Left-led governments have been targetted for use of Article 356 in the past a number of times. The people of West Bengal and Kerala have on such occasions given a fitting rebuff to such undemocratic tactics.

The Left parties wish to reiterate that the instigator of violence in West Bengal is the Trinamul-BJP combine. The effort is to roll back the gains made by land reforms and the panchayati raj system by the rural poor. The people of West Bengal under the leadership of the Left Front will resolutely foil such attempts.

The Left parties wish to warn the Vajpayee government not to indulge in any grossly illegal and politically motivated steps such as use of Articles 356 and 355 or invoking the disturbed areas act. It only exposes the petty politicking and opportunist concerns, which dominate the coalition which is the NDA.

The Left parties call upon all democratic minded citizens in the country to voice their strong protests at this anti-democratic game being played by the Central Government.

(The meeting was attended by Harkishan Singh Surjeet, Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury from the CPI(M), A.B. Bardhan, D. Raja from the CPI, Abani Roy from the RSP and Debabrata Biswas from the Forward Bloc.)