People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
June 06, 2004
SUNDARAYYA MEMORIAL LECTURE
the present situation distress of the people caused by the policies of
neo-liberalism is an issue of major concern and the Left has been leading the
struggles against those policies, said Brinda Karat, member of the central
committee of the CPI(M) and general secretary of the All India Democratic
Women’s Association (AIDWA). That was the reason why the CPI(M) and the Left
has decided to extend outside support to the Congress-led secular government at
the centre, while continuing to champion the cause of the working class both
inside and outside the Parliament, she made it clear. She asserted that the Left would play a responsible role to
ensure that the secular government continued in office.
Brinda Karat was delivering Sundarayya memorial lecture on “The present political scenario and the tasks before the Left” on the occasion of the 19th death anniversary of Comrade P Sundarayya, former general secretary of the CPI(M), organised by Sundarayya Vignana Kendram Trust on May 19 in Hyderabad. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Koratala Satyanarayana, presided over the meeting, and Brinda Karat garlanded the portrait of Comrade Sundarayya and paid homage. At the outset, the meeting passed a resolution, moved by Koratala, condoling the death of Comrade E K Nayanar, Polit Bureau member of the Party and former chief minister of Kerala, and observed silence for two minutes as a mark of respect to the departed leader.
Paying rich tributes to Comrade Sundarayya, Brinda Karat said he was one of the topmost legendary inspirational communist leaders that the world had seen. Comrade Sundarayya’s life was rooted in the reality of the living conditions of the Indian people and their exploitation and analysing the Indian society on a scientific basis and taking the class struggle of the toiling people forward. When so many theories were abounding on identity politics, on ethnicity, and nation and nationalism, it was all the more necessary to go back to the work and analysis of Comrade Sundarayya in every sphere of development, social, economic and political, stressed Brinda Karat. Recollecting her acquaintance with Comrade Sundarayya before she joined the Party, she said his guidance and constant care given to the cadre in developing their qualities was remarkable.
Referring to the results of the recent elections, she said it was a decisive verdict of the Indian electorate against communal forces of the Sangh Parivar and the BJP. The Left has achieved the three objectives of defeating the BJP communal combine, increasing the representation of the Left in the Parliament and formation of a secular government at the centre, she said. Referring to the developments in the Congress when Sonia Gandhi refused to become the prime minister of the country, Brinda Karat said that the Left has been very clear in its approach from the beginning that what mattered was not personalities but policies, she said.
Another important point in the recent developments was the role of the market forces and sensex. The ruling classes of India and speculative capital in India and abroad enjoyed heaven on earth in the BJP-ruled India, Brinda Karat said. With their hatred towards the Left, the market forces manipulated sensex and tried to create a scare that the Indian economy would become unstable and unsafe if the Left was strong, she said. To this slander the CPI(M) answered that its politics were not driven by sensex and stock market shares, but by the interests of the people and that it was committed to economic programmes which help Indian economy stabilise. It made it clear that stabilisation of the Indian economy was based on its fundamentals, not on the profits of the multinational corporations. Brinda Karat recounted how the earlier foreign policy and economic policies under the BJP rule deeply served the interests of the market forces and the foreign interests. The attempts made to link India as a junior partner of the US imperialism have to be monitored and reversed in the coming days, she said.
With the BJP comprehensively defeated, the Left with 60 plus seats – the CPI(M) alone emerging as the third largest party in the Parliament and the second largest among the secular parties - has to play a decisive role. One part of the people’s mandate was against communalism. In an unprecedented manner at least 20 ministers in the Vajpayee cabinet were defeated in the elections. While appreciating the mandate, we should not underestimate the penetration made into every single institution of our democracy and Constitutional system by the communal forces, cautioned Brinda Karat.
very important aspect of the verdict was that the people rejected all the
parties whose governments followed the neo-liberal policies, whether in Andhra
Pradesh by the TDP or in Karnataka and Maharashtra by the Congress. The clear
message of the verdict was that apart from defence of secularism, the economic
distress caused to the people due to these policies was an equally important
factor in determining the voters’ choice, she said. The lesson to be
learnt by every party, including the Congress, was that no platform could
succeed if the interests of the working people and the middle classes were
ignored. It was Jayalalitha,
the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, who heard that message the loudest, after
getting a zero in the elections. The result was that she had withdrawn cases
foisted against government employees, the press and electronic media by her
government and she announced withdrawal of religious conversion bill also,
agreeing that the minorities of India too had their rights, said Brinda Karat.
That is the power of the people.
Today all over the world, the ruling classes want two-party system. They expect the Left to follow the policies of their governments. But the CPI(M) and the Left decided to extend outside support to the Congress-led secular government and play a responsible role to ensure its continuation, while championing the cause of the working class, said Brinda Karat. She said the Left will raise the real issues facing the people in a much more forceful way by staying outside the government and work to take forward the struggle against communalism and for pro-people economic policies. Comrade Sundarayya, in his lifetime, had shown how links between struggles inside the Parliament and outside could be forged, said Brinda Karat. While complimenting the people of Andhra Pradesh for their historic role in taking forward the tactics and movements of the Left, she expressed confidence saying “We are sure, with this understanding and defeat of the TDP, we take the movement forward in the interests of the poor, the legacy of our beloved legendary leader Comrade Sundarayya”.
In his presidential remarks, Koratala Satyanarayana asked the Congress to make a comprehensive review of the results of the elections in the light of the disastrous consequences of the anti-people economic reforms pursued by several governments. He found fault with the TDP leader, Chandrababu Naidu, for refusing to learn proper lessons from the defeat of his party and trotting out lame excuses like anti-incumbency factor, failure to explain to the people the development achieved by his government etc. Koratala pointed out that the CPI(M)-led Left Front government in West Bengal has been in power for 27 years continuously, winning successive elections and in the recent elections it reduced the strength of Mamata Bannerjee’s party to one seat from the earlier eight. The experience of West Bengal had confirmed that anti-incumbency factor had not worked, he said. The people had rejected the ruling parties where they vigorously followed anti-people reforms.
Appreciating the decisions of the Congress government led by Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy in fulfilling its promises like giving free power to agriculture, waiver of dues of agricultural power consumers and abolition of user charges, Koratala asked the new government to convene an all-party meeting to discuss the issues relating to utilisation of river waters and pending projects and to fix priorities and explore possibilities for mobilisation of resources for completing the projects.
Koratala recollected that Comrade Sundarayya formulated a comprehensive scheme for distribution of river waters to all regions in the state and got the same accepted in the legislative assembly in 1983. However, successive TDP and Congress governments did not implement the same. The failure of the government in utilising the river waters for meeting the requirement of the farmers for irrigation and of the people for drinking water was one of the main reasons for the people opposing the TDP in the elections, said Koratala.
Another important issue taken up by Comrade Sundarayya was the land issue. Implementation of land reforms in West Bengal had helped development of that state, explained Koratala while pointing out that in Andhra Pradesh even the existing land ceiling act and the tenancy act were not being implemented. He said the CPI(M) would continue to work on these issues and in the cause of the toiling masses.
C Sambi Reddy, secretary of the SVK trust, presented a report on the activities of the Kendram. Prizes were distributed to the winners in competitions conducted for children on the occasion. P S N Murthy, secretary of the Hyderabad city committee of the CPI(M), earlier welcomed the gathering.