(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 23, 2008
13th State Conference Calls For Wider Struggles
Tikender Singh Panwar
THE 13th state conference of Himachal Pradesh unit of CPI(M) began with a huge public meeting on March 1, 2008 at Rampur in Shimla district. The open session was held in the committee hall that was named as Comrade Babu Ram hall. The following committees were elected for conducting the conference. The presidium comprised Tikender, Prem Gautam, D K Singh and Jagat Ram. Steering committee consisted of Rakesh Singha, Onkar Shad, Mohar Singh, Kashmir Singh Thakur, Amar Singh Raghwa and Kusha Bhardwaj. Resolution committee comprised Sanjay Chauhan, Bhupender and Lakhan Pal Sharma. Credential committee comprised Rahul, Ravinder Kumar and Naresh. Minutes committee comprised Vijender Mehra and Yashpal.
The welcome address was placed by Kuldeep Singh Ghuman, a veteran leader of the Kisan movement. He spoke of the historical importance of the Rampur area and brought into focus the glimpses of Prajamandal movement.
The condolence resolution was placed by D K Singh. It highlighted the loss of several comrades during the previous conference period specifically the names of three martyrs Babu Ram, Dhan Singh and Vijay were mentioned. These three comrades were killed by the HCC management goons in Chamba district. The murderers have recently been acquitted of the murder charges with a nexus of connived forces, the prosecution i.e. the police, the management and the judiciary. It is even alleged that the main eye witness to the gory incident was disposing his statement in Hindi to the magistrate which was wrongly written by the magistrate in English.
The conference was inaugurated by SitaramYechury. He said the 18th congress of the Party had highlighted that globalisation is nothing but spread of imperialism. To strengthen imperialism it will influence economic policies of various nations for economic exploitation. The economic development that has taken place has not fetched jobs; in fact there has been job loss. The huge gap between rich and poor has increased. People do not have the capacity to buy, the profits of big capitalists are increasing hence this is an unsustainable situation. The last three years are a witness to the barbaric attack of imperialism on humankind – Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. The US economy itself is in crisis. To bail itself out, continuous pressure is being mounted upon poor countries. The opposition to imperialism is increasing. Anti imperialist unity is required and some steps have been taken towards this. 62 Communist Parties of the world met in Moscow. The prime task is to build the anti- imperialist consciousness, said Sitaram.
Talking of the national situation, he said communalism is a major threat. It threatens national unity and damages the class unity. The UPA government is pursuing the policies of liberalization and is trying to change the labour laws. When around the world the demand is to reduce the number of working days from five to four in a week, the UPA government is coming with a proposal to increase it to six, remarked Sitaram. The ruling class wants a bipolar combination to continue. An alternative, not just electoral but also issue based should be built to weaken communal forces and to reverse the neo-liberal policies, he said.
The draft report was placed in two parts. The political report was placed by Rakesh Singha, state secretary and the political- organisational report was placed by Onkar Shad. The report noted that the BJP has come to power in the state not just because of the failure of Congress party, which remains a major reason but also because it used the regional polarisation. The RSS has a grip over the party and the first decision taken by the government was to allow the holding of shakhas in schools.Weakening of the democratic institutions is the foremost task they have undertaken. Parallel unions are being formed at the behest of the government. The state is in the deep fiscal crises. The total debt on the state is Rs 21000 crore. FRBM Act has been passed to reduce the fiscal deficit. This has resulted in severe cutback on government expenditure. At one stroke nearly 30,000 posts were scrapped. Even employment on compassionate grounds is not being provided.
The state had a relatively developed infrastructure of health and educational institutions. But, now with the government withdrawing from these institutions, they are in bad shape. The government has virtually privatised these services.
The agrarian sector too is in deep crises. It has become non remunerative. Subsidies to poor farmers are being cut and diverted to big houses like the Adani group that has grasped a subsidy of nearly Rs 16 crore for opening 3 CA stores, though he does not allow the peasant produce to be stored. On an apple box last year he earned a profit of nearly 300 per cent.
Secondly the land holdings have increased in size with less people owning land. In Himachal Pradesh 80 per cent of the population have less then two hectares of land.
The report underlined that large scale unrest is being witnessed because of these policies. This opportunity must be used to unleash struggles. The two party domination has to be broken and a third alternative must be developed. The independent strength of the Party must be increased and then the unity amongst the Left forces should be developed.
The political-organisational report highlighted the growth of the Party and pointed out the weaknesses. Party membership grew from 1152 to 1642 (42.5 per cent). Mass organisation’s membership grew from 89,837 to 14,0832 (56.7 per cent). Planning was made part of the agenda at the state and district level. Areas and fronts were targeted. Kangra and Kullu were made district committees. Similarly, the kisan front was the priority front. The membership of this front grew from 15,533 to 37,853 registering the growth of 143 per cent. There has been an improvement in the functioning of district centres. Wholetimers now function from either district or block or a centre down below. The strength of the whole timers has also increased from 42 to 70.
The wage structure of wholetimers is Rs 3000 for unmarried and Rs 4000 for married. It is also being decided objectively. There is improvement in launching mass struggles as well. The vision of developing struggles on local issues and then developing it with broader issues could be implemented in some centers like Rampur and Solan. Struggles on the land issue, the menace of wild animals and monkeys, milk and so on could draw a large number of people to our mass and class organisations. The experience of Lok Morcha was quite encouraging in the sense that a broader unity of workers, peasants, students, youth, and women could be developed against the neo- liberal policies. The struggle was held on the demands that were achievable.
Despite these gains, several weaknesses still persist, which include the foremost of not being able to run the Party branches in a planned manner, not being able to take the plan down to the branch and planning independently there. Similarly the Party has not been able to raise gender and social issues. The gains made in the struggles needs to be consolidated further. The ideological weakness, despite the fact that the Party in Himachal is one amongst the most educated, still persists that has to be checked.
Hannan Mollah, Central Secretariat member and P M S Grewal, secretary of Delhi state committee of the Party also greeted the conference. Hannan gave an in-depth analysis about the class struggle that is taking place in West Bengal. All the conspiracies that are being hatched to dislodge a Left led government was also narrated. P M S Grewal underlined the importance of Party branch and stressed for its effective functioning.
In all, 25 delegates took part in the discussion that took place for 235 minutes. The discussion further strengthened the report and after the reply, the conference finally resolved to further strengthen the Party and mass organisations.
The conference finalised the following tasks
To use the favourable situation and unleash mass struggles focusing on local issues.
To raise social and gender issues.
To launch a campaign against the snatching of (TD) timber distribution rights.
To improve the functioning of centres and increase the number of comrades working from the centre.
To publish a monthly bulletin of the Party.
To target the student front and work according to the guidelines of the Party document on student front and also to prepare one for the state.
Total delegates - 225 (Male-202, Female-23)
Age group - 20-25 23
Above 70 3
Above MA - 18
Above Post Graduate - 49
Above Graduate - 64
Illiterate - Nil
Year of joining party
Before 1975 - 07
Satya Galoda – Countless
Kashmir Thakur – Above 100
Rakesh Singha – Not Mentioned
(But 84 reported in the Supreme Court Affidavit by the state government in 1995)
Period in Jail
Rakesh Singha (more than five years)
Vijay Kumar (2 years 6 months)
Working class - 18
Poor Peasant - 112
Middle Peasant- 71
Rich Peasant - 02
Middle Class - 20
Landlord - 02
Wholetimers - 66
Working Class - 31
Employee - 47
Teacher - 09
Lawyer - 13
Business - 07
Unemployed - 08
Farmer - 15
Student - 16
Wholetimer in People’s Science Movement - 11
The conference was finally concluded by W R Varadharajan, Central Committee member. He stated that the Party has reached a situation in Himachal where it cannot be ignored. But we have to rise to the aspirations of the people, he said. He also dealt with the some of the issues that were raised by the delegates during their discussion on national and international situation. He stated there is immense potential that the Party has in Himachal, the Party is young, educated and comprises of valiant fighters. They have to be ideologically trained in order to become a true alternate to the present order in the state, he said.
In the end three guests - Ram Asray, Sunder Lohia and Kuldeep Singh Ghuman were felicitated by the Party. A resolution thanking the reception committee was placed and the conference ended with a positive note of more struggles, more advancement, more strength and an increased organisational capacity.