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CPI(M) gets a red home in Pink City

Special Correspondent

PHOTO: GOPAL SUNGER

AWAITING D-DAY: The new office building of CPI(M) all set for inauguration.

JAIPUR: There is a new landmark for the Communist movement in Rajasthan with the Communist Party of India (Marxist)'s own office here in the Capital getting ready for inauguration this coming week. At present, barring the good old Indian National Congress and the Communist Party of India (CPI) no other major political party has its own office premises here. Even the Bharatiya Janata Party, in power for the third time in the State, functions from a bungalow owned by the State Public Works Department.

The majestic red building, made of Karauli sandstone on the Khatipura Road in the predominantly working class Hassanpura area of the Pink City, is half a century's dream come true for the CPI (M). With one MLA in the 200 member Assembly for the past two decades, the party has been just managing its own affairs and those of the various front organisations all these days from B-4 MLA Quarters -- the official residence of the party MLA.

The three-storey building, with an auditorium, conference halls and two living quarters besides dormitory accommodation for workers coming from various parts perhaps announces the arrival of the small but vibrant party, which carried out two successful farmers' agitations - one over irrigation water in Sriganganagar and the other against increase in power rates --- in the past one year.

"The new Assembly building is visible from here. Now our eyes are set on that,'' said Vasudev, secretary of the State CPI (M) standing on the terrace of the building where workers are busy giving final touches before the inauguration scheduled for November 7. The foundation for the building, standing on a 600 sq yard plot purchased way back in 1995 was laid on November 1, 2000 by the then party general secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet.

Within five years -- and after many struggles and six martyrs in various agitations-the building is ready. The inauguration will be carried out by the new general secretary Prakash Karat in the presence of Hannan Molla, the party in charge for Rajasthan. In Rajasthan the CPI (M) has own buildings in Sikar, Churu, Bikaner, Sriganganagar, Udaipur, Kankroli, Kishengarh, Ajmer, Kota and Jhunjhunu.

"The Jaipur building is inspired by Comrade Surjeet. Once after seeing the Sikar office, he teased us about not having an office of our own in the State capital. But for his infirmity he himself would have come to inaugurate it," Prof. Vasudev said.

The State leadership is proud of the fact that the building -- which would have cost half a crore -- has been completed without any support from the Central party funds. "We didn't want to be counted among the `weak State' category (in party parlance) anymore. We raised our own funds. Contributions ranged from Re.1 to Rs.1 lakh. The middleclass, including Rajasthanis in West Bengal and Shekhawati people in Assam made the project come true,'' Prof. Vasudev said.

The Karauli stone, the marble, the wood and even the fans and other interior fittings came as contributions from partymen and sympathizers. Considering the fact that CPI (M) had a membership of 3500 only in the State the building is no mean achievement.

The party surely is showing signs of growth in Rajasthan mostly through its front organisations like All India Kisan Sabha and the Students Union of India. "Kisan Sabha which has 20,000 members in the State now is the fastest growing unit of ours along with the SFI," Prof. Vasudev observes. "Of late, we have been identified with struggles. People, increasingly getting disappointed with the BJP and the Congress, are turning to us," he notes.

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