People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 17, 2008
CPI(M) Conference Pledges To Carry Forward Struggles
THE nineteenth Assam state conference of the CPI(M) was drawn to a close by the zestful singing of The Internationale and with a firm resolve to unite the people of the multi-ethnic, multi-national, multi-religious state for their ‘peace and prosperity’. The central theme and clarion call of the conference was ‘struggle for unity and development’ in the highly disturbed and troubled state of Assam.
The three-day conference begun with the hoisting of the Red Flag by veteran CPI(M) leader and Central Committee member Hemen Das on the bright morning on February 7, in the premises of the historic Haradutta-Biradutta Bhawan at Rangia town. The flag hoisting was followed by placing of wreaths of flowers at the Martyrs’ Column by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Biman Bose, Central Committee members Binoy Konar, Nilotpal Bosu, Noorul Huda, Uddhab Barman and Hemen Das and also by the slogan shouting delegates, observers and volunteers in hallowed memory of the martyrs who laid down their lives in the struggles for unity and integrity of the country and emancipation of the toiling people. The Rangia town, 50 km away from Guwahati and a stronghold of the CPI(M), wore a festive look and adjoining villages were bedecked with red flags and festoons, banners and billboards.
The delegates session started with an inaugural function inside the Haradutta-Biradutta Bhawan with the presentation of revolutionary group songs. The conference elected a presidium comprising Hemen Das, Mahodar Pathak, Satyabati Bhuyan, Purno Boro and Nizamuddin Khan. A total of 303 elected delegates and 20 observers representing 13,072 party members from all the 18 districts committees attended the conference.
The session started with a condolence resolution paying rich tributes to all the departed leaders of the national and international communist movements, to the esteemed leaders of all progressive movements, to the members of the party in Assam who passed away during the last three years.
Three veteran comrades of the Party --- Moni Basak, Nabin Gogoi and Monohari Rai --- were invited to the conference as special guests. The three special guests, along with Biman Bose, Binoy Konar, Nilotpal Bosu and Noorul Huda, were warmly greeted and felicitated by the conference at the session amid thunderous applause.
The conference was formally inaugurated by the senior central committee member Binoy Konar. In his speech, the veteran communist leader came down heavily on the hellish and hegemonic design of the US imperialism and its neo-liberal policies of imperialist globalisation. Explaining the Draft Political Resolution for the 19th congress of the CPI(M), Konar said the period since the last party congress has also seen growing resistance to the unilateralist moves of the United States and strengthening the move towards multipolarity in the international arena.
Dealing with the national situation, Binoy Konar thundered against neo-liberal economic policies being pushed through by the UPA government much to the glee and benefit of big business and foreign capital. He also charged the UPA government with violation of Common Minimum Programme and seeking strategic alliance with the United States instead of pursuing and independent foreign policy. While stressing the need for an independent foreign policy, he said the CPI(M) and Left parties are opposed to military collaboration, strategic partnership or nuclear cooperation between India and the US. The CPI(M) leader also criticised the diabolic design of the BJP-RSS combine who spearhead the communal forces in the country. Reiterating the CPI(M)’s resolve to forge a third alternative to the Congress and the BJP, Binoy Konar said that the CPI(M) did not want the front to be a mere electoral alliance. The parties of the third front must work together on the people’s issues.
Earlier, the president of the reception committee and local CPI(M) MLA Ananta Deka, in his welcome address, greeted the delegates session.
The draft political and organisational reports were placed by the state secretary Uddhab Barman. The draft political report pinpointed the misdeeds, misrule and massive corruption of the Congress-led coalition government in Assam. The Congress has been in power in the state since 2001. But its anti-people economic policies and failures in all fronts have led to the acute agricultural crisis, industrial backwardness, growing and appalling problems of unemployment, ruination of PDS and skyrocketing prices of essential commodities, privatisation and commercialisation of education and health system, unbundling of the Assam State Electricity Board and attempt to privatise the power sector, proposals to privatise even the water resources and so on.
The draft report states that on the political front, too, the government has failed miserably. The unity and integrity of the people are in danger and the peace is being frequently disturbed. The government has failed to seek solutions to the problems of terrorism and extremism. The ethnic issues have come to the forefront and the government is groping in the darkness. The government lacks will and capacity to fight back the communal and divisive forces. The law and order situation has also been deteriorating during the Congress dispensation.
dealing with the economic situation, the draft says, the state is
lagging far behind and the discriminatory policy of the central
government has been primarily responsible for the alarming state of
affairs. The huge natural resources are not properly tapped for
speedy development of the state. The limited central funds are also
not properly utilised. The corrupt ministers, officers, contractors
and leaders of the ruling party are involved in the misappropriation
and embezzlement of central funds for rural development. Corruption
has been institutionalised. The neo-liberal policies being pushed
the government has led to unprecedented agrarian crisis and rural poverty. The recurring floods devastate the state’s agri-economy and erosion creates havoc. The industrial scenario has also been distressing. During the last twenty years, except for the Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL), no significant industry was set up in Assam.
The report deals with extremism and terrorism, communalism and fundamentalism, need to restructure the centre-state relations, the ethnic issues and disputes on autonomy for the tribals, definition of Assamese and relevant issues, problems of the tea-tribes and people of the char (riverine) area, socio-economic development of Muslims, the problems of illegal infiltration of foreign nationals and protection of the rights of minorities, delimitation of assembly and parliamentary constituencies in Assam, border disputes with neighbouring states of Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh, women’s rights etc.
The report highlights the main political features prevailing in the state : In the 2006 assembly elections, the Congress failed to secure absolute majority and formed a coalition government with its electoral ally, the BPF (Bodo People’s Front) led by Hagrama Mahilary. The neo-liberal policies now being vigorously pursued by the government, have led to the immense sufferings of the people.
Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) is the largest secular opposition party.
Despite having popular support, the AGP could not take the initiative
to organise movements on socio-economic issues. On the other hand,
the BJP-RSS combine has stepped up their activities on communal line.
Although the Congress and the AGP are broadly secular in
character, both the parties have been vacillating on the growing menace of communalism in the state. The AGP is also not opposed to neo-liberal economic policies. The newly formed AUDF has become active in the state’s politics. The party has not yet spelt-out any economic programme, but it supports the policy of privatisation and liberalisation. Fundamentalist forces, too, are trying to gain grounds under the banner of the AUDF.
The ethnic problems have come to the limelight and issues related with class unity and class struggles have taken a back seat. Six backward communities --- the Adivasis, Koch-Rajbanshis, Tai-Ahoms, Marans, Mataks and Chhutias --- are demanding scheduled tribe status and they are growing restive. Certain reactionary and divisive forces are also trying to make use of the genuine grievances and legitimate demands of the backward ethnic communities. On the other hand, activities of the terrorist and extremist outfits like the ULFA continue unabated. Extortions and explosions, killings and kidnappings have become the order of the day. The imperialist forces, mainly US imperialism, too, keep a sharp eye not only on Assam, but on the whole of the Northeast, the report added.
A total of 39 delegates participated in the discussion on the draft political report and 28 on the organisational report. Uddhab Barman summed up the discussion. After his pointed reply both the reports were unanimously adopted amid deafening applause and slogans. The draft political report was adopted with minor replacement of very few words while the organisational report was adopted with certain factual corrections. This was a rare occasion of displaying political-ideological and organisational unity of the party.
The conference also unanimously adopted 13 resolutions including resolutions on price-rise, against privatisation of water resources, updating the National Register of Citizenship, proper implementation of NREGA schemes etc. The resolutions were moved by Monoranjan Talukdar and seconded by Deben Bhattacharyya on behalf of the steering committee.
The unanimously adopted report chalks out future course of action. The party would lay stress on independent activities and take-up class and mass issues and the socio-economic problems the people are confronted with. The party will increase its own strength and influence and join hands with other forces to strengthen the Left and democratic unity as well as the Left movement. It will also strive for developing and strengthening joint struggles with other Left, democratic and secular parties on people’s issues.
The conference resolved to take up a joint fight with the non-Congress and non-BJP secular democratic parties, including the AGP, to address the burning issues of Assam. The CPI(M) will firmly stand for equal rights and dignity of all the ethnic groups and it supports the legitimate demand of six communities for ST status. The socio-economic development of the Muslim communities who constitute 31 percent of the state’s population will be taken up in the struggles for social justice. The CPI(M) will intensify its struggles against neo-liberal policies and continue to fight and isolate the communal and fundamentalist forces. It will also mobilise democratic and patriotic forces of the state against imperialist machinations.
The conference unanimously decided to form a 50 member new state committee. It elected 48 members and the remaining 2 would be co-opted later. Barring one, all the delegates voted in favour of the 48-member panel. One delegate abstained from voting. The newly elected state committee unanimously re-elected Com. Uddhab Barman as its secretary. The conference also elected 3 comrades as special invitees to the state committee. The state committee unanimously re-elected Suprakash Talukdar as the editor of the weekly Ganasakti, the party organ in Assam.
A three-member Control Commission was also unanimously elected in the conference with Gajen Borah as its chairman. Also, 16 delegates were also unanimously elected to the 19th congress of the CPI(M) to be held at Coimbatore.
his concluding speech, Biman Bose warmly greeted and congratulated
the delegates for displaying rare political-ideological unity and
achieving success. Bose exhorted the delegates to study the concrete
situation in Assam which has its unique characteristics. The
application of Marxism-Leninism in a multi-ethnic, multi-national
state like Assam and building up unity of all sections of the people
have always been an arduous task. Communists launch struggles for the
uplift of the toiling people and express solidarity with the people
who are in the thick of their struggles anywhere in the world,
criticising the chauvinistic and divisive forces, Biman Bose said,
the hopes and aspirations of various ethnic groups in Assam should be
addressed with sympathy and in a democratic spirit. The unity and
struggle of all sections of the toiling people can only ensure peace
and prosperity in Assam. He also charged the central government for
apathetic attitude towards the development of Assam and exhorted the delegates to build up strong united movements. Referring to the importance of party organisation, Bose said, Lenin’s principles of party organisations are the key to develop and expand the party organisation.
The delegates session was also addressed by Nilotpal Bosu and Noorul Huda. In his speech, Nilotpal underscored the need to develop the party and mass organisations in Assam since the state occupies an important place in the politics of not only in the Northeast but also in the entire country. A strong Left movement in Assam should be a battlecry for dignity and development of various ethnic groups and for unity, peace and progress of the region, Nilotpal asserted.
Speaking at the largely attended seminar on “India’s Socio-Economic Problems : Left Alternative,” organised on the sidelines of the CPI(M) state conference held at Rangia Girls’ Higher Secondary School on February 8, Nilotpal Basu explained the party’s resolve to forge a third alternative in the country.
The roaring success of the 19th Assam state conference can also be gauged by the open-session and the huge rally held at the sprawling Rangia Higher Secondary School playground on the concluding day, afternoon on February 9. From the early hours, the Rangia town was swamped with thousands of rallyists who came from far flung areas with streaming red flags, festoons and banners. The reverberations of roaring slogans on struggle for unity and development of Assam’ rent in the air. Workers, peasants, students, youth, women, teachers, employees --- all joined hands and made a beeline to the rally ground. People came by buses and trains from the districts of Barpeta, Nalbari, Kakrajhar, Bongaigaon, Dhubri, Nagaon, Lakhimpur, Sonitpur, Darrang, Dhemaji etc. Stream of processions came from all the sorrounding villages of Rangia with zest and vigour. Around one thousand tribal youths came in cycle processions from Goreswar area covering at least 40 km.
Addressing the rally, Biman Bose said though Assam was endowed with vast natural resources, these were not harnessed for the state’s development. The Congress government had been wholly responsible for the appalling state of affairs in Assam, Bose charged. The wrong policies also led to proliferation of problems and spurt in insurgent activities, he added.
The open session, chaired by senior party leader Hemen Das, was also addressed by Binoy Konar and Nilotpal Bosu. Earlier, the newly elected secretary Uddhab Barman explained the decisions and deliberations of the conference. The reception committee chairman Ananta Deka thanked and congratulated the people for their warm response to holding the conference with grand success.
The conference ended with a powerful message to build up mightier struggles for unity and all round development of the state.