BENGAL POLITICS … Brinda battles in tribal terrain – lost ideology, a trust less exercise, adding balm or insult to injury ?!!
BY JP YADAV
New Delhi, May 15: CPM leader Brinda Karat has taken it upon herself to reclaim the tribal constituency from the likes of Arundhati Roy and Mamata Banerjee.
The politburo member and the CPM’s most public face has virtually been on a whirlwind in recent weeks. The reason: she wants to prove to the world — and to tribals — that nobody can better protect their interests than the CPM.
She has been tasked by the party to travel and “study the living conditions of the tribals” to prepare for a national convention on tribal rights that will be organised by the CPM in Delhi from June 12 to 13. The convention is being viewed as an effort by the party to underline its pro-tribal image at a time it’s being seen on the same page with Union home minister P. Chidambaram and the BJP favouring “action first” to reclaim areas under Maoist control.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, too, has nuanced the position of her party, underscoring the need for a holistic approach by addressing “the root cause of Naxalism” along with a “decisive and forceful” response to acts of terror.
Brinda realises that the CPM’s effort could be seen as concern for tribal rights when the Maoists have usurped the base in Bengal. But she chose to differ. “We are carrying forward from the tribal convention organised by our party in Ranchi in 2002. Then it was decided that the state committees of the party would form tribal-based organisations. The convention would co-ordinate the struggles of the state committees and bring the issue of tribal rights at the centre stage,” she pointed out.
Brinda has covered select tribal areas of Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and would soon reach Orissa.
In Bengal, she, however, did not tread into the Maoist-infested areas. She visited some areas of Bankura and Birbhum and, apart from interacting with the tribals, took stock of a “solar-lighting” project from her MPLAD funds.
“The CPI(M) leader was on a four-day tour of tribal regions in Andhra Pradesh recently to study the living conditions of the tribals…. The CPI(M) leader got a warm response from the tribal people. Many were unable to hide their surprise at how an MP from Delhi could visit their remote village and talk to them about their problems even as their ‘own’ MLA remains not to be seen,” a report published in the CPM mouthpiece People’s Democracy said.
Among many other causes she has been championing is tribals displaced to pave the way for multinational projects. The move again seems to be a corrective measure for displacement in Singur and Nandigram that has cost the CPM dear in Bengal.