Chip in with a day’s salary towards their campaign
Puducherry has been closely associated with communism for several generations, with V. Subbiah’s protests against the French regime bringing about the eight-hour work day for the first time in Asia. Since then, the Left parties have had some strongholds in the Union Territory. For the working classes especially, the Left parties have a special meaning to them.
In keeping with this strong left backing in the UT, the two Left parties – the Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) – coming together has made an impact on the working class, especially the daily wage workers. Now, in order to help them in their campaigning, several members of the working class have voluntarily donated money to organise the Left parties’ campaign in their areas.
According to Kalainathan of the CPI, “In many areas, the daily wage workers have provided our party members with lunch and refreshments during their campaign. In total, our campaign itself is being run using donations collected by our cadres in the various areas. The best response has been from Oulgaret, Ariyankuppam, Nettapakkam, Mannadipet and Kalapet.”
“The daily wage workers especially have been very forthcoming. Many of them have donated a day’s salary towards our election campaign. It is only by their efforts that we have been able to run our campaign,” he said.
“Through the years, it has been only the Left parties that have supported us in our causes. When we have not received our wages or when we have some problems with the management, these parties have stood by our side. It is out of gratitude that I donated a day’s salary of Rs. 250,” Velu who is a construction worker, said.
“Although the other parties have been saying that they stand for the worker’s rights, the CPI(M) has been the ones who have stood by the weaving community when the government stopped providing us with thread and subsidies, so a group of us decided to pool in money and contribute it to their campaign,” one of the weavers said.
“Whether or not they win in this election, it is important to show support for people whose main aim is to help people like us. This is why I contributed two day’s wages of Rs. 600,” another construction worker Kumar said.Women too chip in
“Even groups of women who work in homes and farm labourers have stepped up and donated what they could. Some of them have given Rs. 200 and some Rs. 500. For these people, that is one day’s wages. Most of them depend on this money in order to feed their families, which is why their contributions are so precious,” Tamilselvan of f the CPI(M) in Bahour said.
According to Rajangam from the CPI(M), the response has been overwhelming.
In many houses, when the Left parties go in for door-to- door campaigns, they have been warmly received. Most people have given small contributions towards the campaign. In each area, this pool of money collected is being used to organise the party’s campaigning, he said.