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This is a classic case of perverting dialectics: the coming together of class enemies in a smoking party. Leading cigarette manufacturers of the country are orchestrating a high profile public relations exercise against the proposed bill to enforce a countrywide ban on advertising tobacco products. And none but the Marxists have joined hands with the "comprador bourgeoisie".
In the second week of February, the firm handling the PR exercise for the "cancer merchants" distributed a statement issued by P K Ganguly, secretary of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, affiliated to the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Ganguly described the proposed legislation as "a retrograde step, against the interests of lakhs of farmers and workers linked to the tobacco industry".
Ganguly is also the secretary of the All India Beedi Workers Association. He admits that "the motives and objectives of banning tobacco related advertising and sponsorship are eminently laudable". However, Ganguly insists that the government should also come up with a scheme for alternative employment and income for the millions of tobacco farmers and workers, who would be "directly and drastically" effected by the proposed bill.
Indeed, CITU functionaries reveal that all the major trade unions in the country, including the Congress-affiliated Indian National Trade Union Congress are going to collectively demand the postponement of the anti-tobacco bill until a proper rehabilitation scheme is announced for the people to be effected.