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Left struggles to save Surjeet’s project 

Chandigarh: When the CPM and CPI got together to observe the 10th death anniversary of communist leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet on Tuesday, the only question most of the leaders and party sympathisers grappled with was: How to keep alive veteran leader’s dream project Punjabi daily Desh Sewak.With an idea of having a daily “Left of the Centre” Punjabi newspaper, Desh Sewak was started by Surjeet in 1996. He had also established Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna Bhawan on the same premises. The newspaper, which was doing well at one point of time, has gone through the tough times after Surjeet’s death. It was the biggest concern of speakers on Tuesday.From subletting its premises to a private company to asking people for donations, nothing has worked much for it in the past two years. Former editor of the paper Jaspal Singh shared journey of the paper, how with quality content its circulation initially picked fast but later sank. Veteran journalist, Gobind Thukral said the experiments done in the recent past could have been avoided. Raghunath Singh, a trade union leader, said Desh Sewak remained the only hope for the Left forces in the state.The current Editor of Desh Sewak, Madandeep advised all the party members to at least subscribe to the paper to keep it afloat.Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of the CPM, commemorated Surjeet’s contribution to Indian struggling masses and said Desh Sewak and Bhakna Bhawan were conceived to serve the people. On current political scenario, he said the CPM was doing efforts to build an alliance of secular Left democratic forces.

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