Calls for more State autonomy in India were given a boost on Friday (10 February) when an estimated one million Communist Party supporters attended a party rally in Calcutta.
Calls for more State autonomy in India were given a boost on Friday (10 February) when an estimated one million Communist Party supporters attended a party rally in Calcutta. The rally coincided with the 13th annual convention of the Indian Communist Party (Marxist), the CPM.
SYNOPSIS: The mass gathering was held at the Brigade parade ground in Calcutta, and C.P.M. supporters began streaming in hours before the proceedings were due to get going. The Party organisers, under the leadership of Bengal's Chief Minister, Jyoti Basu, have been pressing for more power to be granted to India's states, and the Calcutta rally was called to give weight to this call.
Mr. Basu has been pressing for a clearer definition of the divisions of power between the Central Government and individual states, with more direct control of local administrative matters going to the state authority. He has formulated an overall plan for such a redefinition of powers, leaving only foreign affairs, defence, communications and currency and economic matters still under exclusive control of the Central Government.
Reportedly one of the reasons for the enormous turnout of people at the rally was an announcement earlier in the week that Mr. Basu and the leader of the northern state of Kashmir had agreed to convene a full-scale seminar in April to discuss the whole question of state autonomy, and government-state relations.