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Saturday, March 30, 2002

Patkar’s speech at meet termed ‘historic’


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, MARCH 29: NOTED environmentalist Medha Patkar addressing the closed-door delegate session of the 18th congress of the CPI here on Wednesday will go down as a first in the history of the communist movement.

Patkar, who was greeted with applause from the delegates, spoke about the need for greater cooperation between independent people’s movements and like-minded political parties to take up the cause of marginalised sections. The unity of such democratic, secular and right thinking forces had become all the more essential in the backdrop of the increasing threat of communal and fascist forces, she said.

Her speech at the congress gathers significance as the Left-led trade unions have all along been opposing environmentalists like Medha Patkar. Their main argument is that by blocking mega projects, the NGOs were depriving lakhs of people of employment .

In Kerala, environmentalists including poet Sugathakumari have been often criticised by the Left parties and their trade union wings for their stand on mega power projects and adivasi land issue. Medha, in fact, referred to the recent agitation launched by C K Janu seeking the support of the CPI for similar struggles.

While recalling her association with the late Indrajit Gupta and Geeta Mukherjee, she said that the two leaders had supported the NBA cause both within and outside Parliament.Meanwhile, Patkar’s speech has been widely welcomed by the delegates.

A number of delegates who spoke on the draft political resolution termed it as a ‘historic’ beginning and suggested that the party should develop closer ties with independent peoples movement.

Apart from political and electoral alliances, the party should work for united struggles with such organisations, they pointed out.

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