Amra Ram is the last comrade holding out when all about him in the Hindi heartland have withered away to oblivion. The four-time Communist Party of India MLA from Sikar is Rajasthan is again back in reckoning after having lost the 2013 elections.
The last Assembly polls saw a BJP wave, to give Vasundhara Raje Scindia a record three-forth majority. A lone ranger, to the surprise of many, it was not the Congress but Ram who led the biggest farmer agitation against the state government in the last five years when he brought Sikar and adjoining districts to a standstill for a fortnight demanding better remuneration for the crops.
Ram, state secretary of CPI(M) in Rajasthan and president of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), did not budge till the state government agreed to most of his demands. “A people’s struggle cannot happen without the people,” Ram says.
His political career began with student protests at Shri Kalyan Government College in Sikar. He joined Students’ Federation of India, the student wing of CPI(M), and was elected as student union president in 1979. After college, he was elected sarpanch of his village Mundwara in Sikar district twice.
“In the last five years, farmers’ movement has taken national stage. The Left has led the movement, uniting various farmer factions and trade unions,” Ram said. According to him, the Left parties are the only ones fighting against political, economic and societal policies of the BJP at the state and national level.
Though the BJP is the imminent adversary, comrade Ram has to abide by the party line on the Congress as well. So a pre-poll tie up with the Congress is also ruled out as the party’s central leadership is against it. Which is why the CPI(M) is not part of Prajakutani or People’s Alliance in Telangana while CPI is.
So in Rajasthan, CPI(M) has decided to form its own third front with Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal(S), and Rashtriya Lok Dal, under the umbrella of Loktantrik Morcha.
Ram, true to the party line, does not believe the Congress is an alternative to the BJP in Rajasthan. He accuses them of peddling soft Hindutva.
“Congress has become a B-team of BJP. Dalits, Muslims, who have voted for Congress, were attacked by the BJP and the Congress stayed silent. The highest number of mob lynching incidents occurred in Rajasthan,” Ram said.
He sees a hope of the revival of the Left in the recent farmers’ movement in the hinterland, from MP and Rajasthan to Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.
"The Left must be united; that is the pressing necessity. In five years, Left unity has become stronger, but there is still a long way to go. The fighting forces must come together,” he said.
For the champions of subaltern politics discussing Marxist dialectics in Delhi, Amra Ram has shown how to survive and even win in the quagmire of caste and communally surcharged polity. To lead people, one has to live with them. One needs feet on the ground. You need an Amra Ram to hold out in Sikar and mobilise the classes one claims to represent.