“Only CPI(ML) could have had the guts and the ability to successfully hold such a massive Rally in spite of constant talk of bomb threats. Only CPI(ML)’s mass base is such that would defy the atmosphere of fear and turn up steadfastly in such numbers.” This was the unanimous opinion of journalists and other observers in Patna on 30 October. The real “hunkar” (roar) of people’s power was manifested in this Rally of 1 lakh of Bihar’s poorest people, who flocked to Patna on their own will power, determination, and commitment, without the massive backing of money power that Modi’s rally three days previously displayed.
The Rally was held on the historic Bir Chand Patel Path – marked by R Block with Kunwar Singh’s statue at one end, and IT Golambar with a statue of JP in 1974 at the other end – the very spot where JP was lathi charged during a massive agitation in 1974.
An observer commented on Facebook: “The word Khabardar means ‘beware’ in Urdu. The masses issued a warning to feudal-communal-fascist forces who doubled up as facilitators of corporate loot, by raising the slogan of ‘Samanti – sampradayik – fasivadi – looteri taakton khabardar! Bihar ki janata hai taiyar!’ The rally, earlier scheduled for the Gandhi Maidan, was disallowed at the last moment by Bihar police who were inept enough not to be able to clean up Gandhi Maidan even after three days of the bomb blasts. Undeterred by the rescheduling which caused extra hardship for the masses who had been camping in the city for over a day, Birchand Patel Path, the main thoroughfare of Patna was occupied by the toiling masses. Reportedly, the BJP had spent crores for its ‘Hunkar’ rally, hiring 11 trains and thousands of buses, and spending on cash and food for their assembly. But the Khabardar Rally was completely different in flavour. This correspondent spoke to a group of villagers from Siwan, who had travelled all the way from their village on a bus, carrying their own food, tarpaulins (to sit on), and collectively pooling in their bus fares, for which they had to spend Rs. 150 each. The resulting difference in the mood and slogans could not be more stark.”
The Khabardar Rally was a resounding challenge to the corporate-backed communal forces, who are desperate to project Modi as the PM of the country, and to foment communal frenzy to pave their way to power.
The Rally began by paying tribute to martyred comrades with two minutes’ silence. Cultural group Hirawal rendered a revolutionary song in memory of the martyrs. Bihar State Secretary Comrade Kunal welcomed the gathering. The Rally was presided over by Central Committee member Comrade KD Yadav, and conducted by Comrade Anwar Hussain, State President of the Inquilabi Muslim Conference.
Addressing the Rally, CPI(ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya said that the 2014 elections must be about policies, not faces and leaders – it must be about reversing the policies of corporate plunder, corruption, price rise, unemployment, communal violence and minority witch-hunt. He said “In the Laxmanpur Bathe, Bathani Tola, Miyanpur, Nagari Bazaar massacres of the 1990s, lower courts gave convictions in 2010. But the High Court acquitted the accused. So have the perpetrators of the massacres come from another planet? The victims are being massacred all over again by this massacre of justice,” adding that the CPI(ML) would collect lakhs of signatures on a petition for justice by Human Rights Day (December 10), and then proceed to Delhi with the signatures on December 18th.