People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
January 20, 2008
Punjab: 19th State Conference Held Successfully
THE 19th state conference of the CPI(M) Punjab state committee was held from December 28-30, 2007. The venue was named after Shaheed Comrade Inderjit Singh Bhagrana who was brutally murdered by the anti-social elements and the hall as Comrade Gurbax Singh Dakota manch who was a veteran communist leader. The conference started with a massive rally in Chandigarh. Around 20 thousand people participated. The rally was addressed by Prakash Karat, general secretary of CPI(M), S Ramachandran Pillai, Polit Bureau member and Balwant Singh, Punjab state secretary.
Prakash Karat said imperialism particularly the American imperialism is trying to interfere in our country’s affairs through military cooperation and nuclear deal etc. The Congress led UPA and BJP led NDA are vying with each other to turn our country into a junior partner of America. It is only the Left that has opposed it and the stand taken by the CPI(M) has been becoming more and more popular amongst the general masses. Karat denounced the economic policies of the BJP led NDA government earlier that are still continued by the present Congress led UPA government. Talking of the 9 percent growth rate, he said the benefit of such growth has not reached the common man and is not utilised for national development. Rather such an unprincipled growth has heaped more miseries on the down trodden sections of the society. There is steep price rise, unemployment and this has also led to crisis in the agriculture sector. He made it very clear that the CPI(M) and other Left parties have supported the UPA government on the basis of a common minimum programme, but instead of fulfilling the tasks defined in the CMP, the UPA government is following its own class agenda. He said the CPI(M) has warned the government not to deviate from CMP.
Prakash Karat said it is because of our pressure that many anti-people bills were not passed in the parliament and the bills like the national rural employment guarantee Act were enacted on our pressure. We are demanding the extension of the same to the urban areas and the enactment of many more pro-people policies in the CMP. He criticised the BJP for the playing communal card to win the elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh and the Congress party for not properly countering the communal agenda of BJP. He appealed to the Punjab unit of the Party for strengthening the CPI(M) through mass struggles independently and unitedly with other Left and democratic forces so that the CPI(M) could play a more effective role in the future.
S Ramachandran Pillai said the anti-farmer policies of the central government have driven thousands of farmers to commit suicide. He said the country is passing through unprecedented and deep agrarian crisis. As per the findings of National Sample organisation, 90 percent of the farmers who have less than four hectres of land are not able to make both the ends meet, hence is pushing the farmers to sell the land. The percentage of landless was 22 percent in 1992 and it rose to 32 percent in the year 2004. This is highest ever in India, he said. In Punjab, two-thirds of the peasantry is in debt. The CPI(M) demands more irrigation, power, infrastructure facilities, better use of science and technology in agriculture, subsidies, remunerative prices and credit at cheaper rates. He said the recommendations of Swaminathan committee should be implemented.
Balwant Singh criticised the wheat imports. He said Punjab is in huge debts to the tune of Rs. 60,000 crores. The number of students from rural areas is very less in various universities of Punjab. The situation of agriculture in Punjab is worst and the prime minister and Punjab government want to remove subsidies whereas in US subsidies to the tune of 70 billion dollars are given to one crore farmers. Farmers are forced to take loans at 24 percent rate of interest from money-lenders and this situation is leading them to suicides. Khet mazdoor gets employment for forty days only in a year and his income is only Rs.20 per day. Corruption is rampant in Punjab. The stamp duty has reduced to Rs 300 crore from Rs 1,100 crores. 86 percent of Punjabis go to private hospitals because of lack of facilities in the government hospitals. There is acute shortage of teachers in government schools and thousands of posts are lying vacant. On the other hand the Punjab government had decided to give red beacon cars to the SGPC members. He further stated that there are toll plazas everywhere in Punjab. On the policy of repression of the Badal government, Balwant strongly criticised the brutality on anganwadi teachers and workers for suppressing their peaceful agitation. More than 300 anganwadi teachers and workers were arrested and ill-treated. Earlier, teachers were also beaten up mercilessly. He criticised the Alkalis and BJP for leaving claim on Chandigarh. There is no wage revision of minimum wages as the administrative machinery has been bribed by the industrialists and factory owners. Unemployment and price rise are increasing. He appealed to all the Punjabis to launch people’s movements in the state.
The entire participants stood for two minutes in silence to pay tributes to Benazir Bhutto.
The delegate session began with the flag hoisting by Rattan Singh, chairman of the Reception Committee and a veteran communist leader. The delegates paid tributes to the martyrs at the Shaheed Minar. The presidium of the session consisted of Rachhpal Singh, Bant Singh Namol, Ram Singh Noorpuri, Darshan Singh Mattu and Gurmit Singh Dhada. Dr P L Garg welcomed the delegates and central leaders. Prakash Karat inaugurated the delegate session. He said the CPI(M) will launch militant struggles against intervention of imperialism in India, for isolating the communal and divisive forces, for safeguarding the interest of the people against the neo-liberal economic policies and for strengthening the third alternative consisting of Left and democratic forces. He said the aim of the CPI(M) is people’s democratic revolution in the country. He exhorted the conference to organise mass struggles of different sections of the society.
Balwant Singh placed the political and organisational report. Fifty delegates participated in the discussion and supported the report with some suggestions. The report was adopted unanimously. The main tasks formulated included struggle against imperialism, development of democratic, political, economic and social spheres in Punjab, transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab. A charter for more powers to the states would be prepared and a united struggle will be built on it. For peace and communal harmony in Punjab and to isolate the communal forces of all the colours, a joint struggle of Left, democratic and patriotic forces would be organised along with the struggle against atrocities on dalits and for social justice and for equality of women .
S Ramachandran Pillai said it is the responsibility of CPI(M) to guard the economic sovereignty, secular structure and independent and non-aligned foreign policy of our country. The responsibility for building a third alternative based on Left and democratic forces by launching mass struggles against exploiters, ruling classes, imperialism and communal forces is also on the Party. He called upon the Party cadres to safeguard the unity of the Party and strengthen it. He also emphasised the need for political, ideological and Party education.
The conference unanimously elected a 33 member state committee and a three member state control commission with Rattan Singh as chairman. The conference also elected 15 delegates for the 19th Party Congress being held at Coimbatore (Tamilnadu) from March 29 to April 3, 2008.
The conference unanimously passed resolutions against price rise, unemployment, and against foreign direct investment in retail market and also demanding increase in minimum wages of industrial workers, to ensure proper implementation of labour laws and to abolish contract labour system and outsourcing, for 33 percent reservation for women in the parliament and state legislatures, for waiving off loans of peasants and agriculture workers, against communalism and against interference of imperialism in our country, against nuclear deal and army co-operation etc.
According to the credentials committee report 238 delegates from all the districts of Punjab participated.
Year of Joining the Party
1992- 2001 25
After 2001 13
Income Group (per annum)
Number Conference attended
Jail and underground period
Period Jail Period Underground Period
Above 3 years 06 01