CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury
Reminiscent of the conclaves of non-Congress chief ministers in 1983-84, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has asked non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief ministers to come together to protect the rights of the states from being eroded further.
It has asked the non-BJP chief ministers to protest the alleged misuse of central investigating agencies by the Narendra Modi government.
From June 1983 to February 1984, leaders of non-Congress political parties had organised conclaves in Vijayawada, Kolkata (then Calcutta) and Srinagar to demand that the Indira Gandhi government stop misuse of Article 356 of the Constitution.
On Tuesday, CPI(M) chief Sitaram Yechury said it was time that non-BJP chief ministers come together to protest the “autocratic rule” of the government. “All statutory bodies and constitutional authorities are being misused." He said central investigating agencies were selective in launching probes on non-BJP leaders and the state governments run by Opposition parties “with a degree of vengeance". Scams involving the ruling party members or their relatives were not being pursued.
The communist leader said the Reserve Bank of India’s autonomy has been eroded, the credibility of the Election Commission was under question and rights of the states were being impinged upon. Yechury said the move to have simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls was also anti-democratic. “We appeal to all non-BJP state governments to come together to defend Centre-state relations. We hope others would respond and take it up as a big campaign," Yechury said.
Opposition parties, including the Congress, will observe November 8, the first anniversary of demonetisation, as Black Day.
In New Delhi, the Congress and Trinamool Congress jointly announced the protests. Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said 18 political parties have decided to hold protests in every state. He termed demonetisation as the “scam of the century".
A seven-member coordination committee — comprising leaders of the Congress, Trinamool, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Left parties and the breakaway Janata Dal(U) faction — has been formed.
The Left parties, however, would announce their plans separately on Wednesday. As an explanation of the Left’s position on the issue, CPI(M) chief Sitaram Yechury quoted Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky, who in 1931 had appealed to German communists and socialists to “march separately but strike together” against Adolf Hitler.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief M K Stalin said in Chennai his party worker would observe November 8 as “Karuppu Dhinam” (Black Day) and stage protests. Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien said each party would try to give a regional name to the protests. In Bengal, it will be celebrated as “Kalo Dibas". The November 8 protests would be followed by three-day protests by all the central trade unions on November 9, 10 and 11. RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh will not be part of these protests.