Palghar : , Feb 19 (IANS) The mainstream political parties have given up hopes of coming to power in the small Talasari tehsil in the north-west Maharashtra's Palghar district.
For the past 58 years, the Talasari area is the dominion of the CPI(M), which has been ruling the roost without a break since the first local elections were held here in 1962.
Like the Gaulish Village, which withstood the might of the rampaging Roman Empire, Talasari and surroundings hold out comfortably against the modern-day 'political invaders' in the form of national parties like the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Shiv Sena, local outfits, et al.
Though the Red Flag symbolising Communism was lowered long back in Russia and many other Communist countries, it continues to flutter brightly, boldly and cheerfully in Talasari.
This week, the CPI(M) again bagged the Talasari Tehsil Panchayat Samiti with Nandkumar Hadal elected Chairperson and Rajesh Kharpade elected unopposed as Vice-Chairperson.
In the January 2020 elections, this Panchayat Samiti (PS) has all 10 tribal members -- who dominate in the district -- and the CPI(M) scored 80 per cent to vanquish the BJP and NCP in 8 out of 10 PS, besides 4 out of 5 Zilla Parishad seats in Talasari Tehsil, around 145 kms north of Mumbai.
"It is because of our strong grassroots level work since 1940s among the tribals and farmers to tackle their problems in the region. People have reposed their faith in us repeatedly," local CPI(M) MLA from Dahanu, Vinod Bhiva Nikole told IANS.
A humble vadapaav seller-turned lawmaker, Nikole, 43, was among the 50,000 farmers who walked the entire 200-km historic Kisan Long March in March 2018, which had rattled the BJP-led powers-that-be at the Centre and in the state.
All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) President Ashok Dhawale said that like many other farmers' movements of the 1940s, Palghar farmers had joined it in a big way, besides Nashik, Kerala, Telangana, West Bengal, Tripura and other parts of India.
"That legacy has been nurtured well in all these regions. With changing times and needs, we take up contemporary issues, for instance, the massive opposition among tribals to the Bullet Train Project in Palghar and the Farmers Rights Act implementation," Dhawale told IANS.
In Palghar district, the CPI(M) bagged six Zila Parishad and 12 PS seats in 2020 elections -- improving its tally by three seats over 2015.
Even Nashik's Surgana Tehsil Panchayat Samiti is a matter of pride for the CPI(M) where it is in power since 35 years nonstop and its senior leader and farmers' rights activist, Jiva Pandu Gavit has been elected MLA for seven terms.
The Dahanu Assembly seat -- (earlier Jawhar) -- has been won by the CPI(M) in nine of 10 Assembly elections since 1978, barring 2014, and significantly, by different candidates each time, proving that the ideology is above the individual, said Dhawale.
On why Red is the rage in the region, Nikole harks to the historic Warli Adivasi Revolt of the AIKS in the mid-1940s, inspired and led by the Communist legends Shamrao Parulekar and Godavari Parulekar, both later elected to the CPI(M) Central Committee.
"Until then, though the tribals were the original owners of the lands, during the British Rule, they were reduced to slaves. After the struggle led by the Parulekars and other leaders, today the tribals are in possession of their ancestral lands," Nikole said.
Though the landlords were virtually driven away, and the lands returned to the tribals, getting it transferred in their tribals' name -- delayed due to political and bureaucratic hurdles -- is the next challenge, he added.
The CPI(M)'s latest achievement in Talasari has been hailed by Communist Parties in different countries, said the party's media coordinator P. S. Prasad.