People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 08

February 20, 2005



Strengthen Party Unity, Widen Mass Base,

 Work For The Poorest Of The Poor  


Budhadeb speaking in the conference

THE 21st conference of the Bengal unit of the CPI(M) commenced on and from the morning of February 9 at A K Gopalan Nagar (Kamarhati) deep in the industrial belt of north 24 Parganas.  The dais has been named after the departed CITU leader, Shanti Ghatak.


602 delegates, 123 observers, and 33 honorary delegates attended the conference.


The CPI(M) general secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet inaugurated the conference with the hoisting of the Red Flag.  Surjeet, Jyoti Basu, Prakash Karat, Biman Basu, Anil Biswas, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, and Amitava Basu garlanded the Martyrs’ column.


An 85-member state committee was elected unanimously by the conference. Anil Biswas was unanimously re-elected the secretary of the Bengal CPI(M).




In his inaugural speech, Surjeet praised the role emoted by the Bengal unit of the Communist Party when during the fifties and sixties, an attempt was made to create a rightist deviation in the Party.  In the decades since then, the CPI(M) has grown in an appreciable manner.  This is because the CPI(M) has followed the correct political-ideological path.


Surjeet said that Marxism-Leninism was a science and not a dogma, and thus, it must be implemented as per the evolving realities of a situation prevailing in a country.  Following the model of other countries would be of little use. Surjeet pointed to China and said that the Chinese Communist party was concerned about the application of the theory of Marxism-Leninism in the context of the reality of that country.


The staying in office for all of 28 years of a Left Front government in Bengal depicted, said Surjeet, that the CPI(M) followed the correct political-ideological line and that the people accepted it with an unstinting support for the government.


Surjeet said that the Bengal Communists had always been in the forefront of struggles.  The CPI(M) itself leads the struggles and movements being waged in India.  The struggle, declared Surjeet, would continue.


Earlier, the conference elected a presidium comprising Jyoti Basu, Biman Basu, Mohd Amin, Shyamali Gupta, Kanti Biswas, and Rupchand Murmu.  The credential committee comprised of Sridip Bhattacharya, Jibitesh Sarkar, and Manoranjan Basu.  The secretariat of the Bengal unit of the CPI(M) functioned as the steering committee of the conference.


Biman Basu raised the condolence resolution.


In attendance at the conference were Polit Bureau members Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury, and central committee members Brinda Karat, Sukomal Sen, Janardan Pati, Uddhab Barman, Hannan Mollah, and Mohd Salim.  Veteran Communist leader, Samar Mukherjee was present throughout the conference.




During the afternoon delegate session, Anil Biswas placed the secretary’s report.  Nirupam Sen raised the draft report on ‘Left Front government and our tasks.’ Sen, a central committee member of the CPI(M) also placed the income and expenditure report of the Bengal CPI(M) over the past three years from the 20th conference.


State secretary of the Bengal CPI(M), Anil Biswas placed the secretary’s report or the draft political-organisational report before the conference.  The report started with the international situation as it had evolved over the past three years.  Biswas narrated in some detail how the neo-conservative Bush régime was eager to establish the seamless hegemony of US imperialism over the world. Bush wants to make the new century the century of US imperialism. Biswas narrated in detail how the forces of US imperialism were active in the nefarious task of spreading a network of control over the entirety of south Asia. In Nepal, a grave is being dug for the Nepal democracy. In Bangladesh and Pakistan, Islamic fundamentalists compete in aggressive and divisive zeal with their Hindu counterparts in India.


Biswas said that because of imperialist globalisation, economic disparity, hunger, unemployment, and death from diseases were on the rise.  Quoting statistics, Biswas said that over the past two years, in particular, more people had died from hunger than the total number of people killed during the two world wars. Unemployment is shooting up in the rich countries.  Biswas situated India and Bengal in this context. 


Anil Biswas pointed to the multifarious ways in which attempts were being made to build up a resistance to imperialism and how the Communists with their principled stand were in the forefront of the struggle.  Biswas said that Bengal was a strong outpost of anti-imperialist struggle and pointed out that merely by organising a few marches and holding some rallies the evil of imperialism could not be effectively fought.  What is needed is a prolonged ideological struggle, which has to be carried out every day and at every moment.




Turning to the national situation, Anil Biswas said that the CPI(M) led the Left and the secular-democratic forces to carry out a political-ideological battle against communal forces. This ultimately saw the defeat suffered by the BJP in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. The CPI(M) and the Left could secure 61 Lok Sabha seats although this development, while welcome, does not signify a change in the correlation of class forces, said Biswas.


However, a favourable situation has been created for the further growth and consolidation of the mass base of the Party. Advantage must be taken of the circumstances and the organisational base of the CPI(M) further strengthened. The CPI(M) allows no illusions to creep in about the class character of the Congress that leads the UPA.  It is well known that the Congress is ever eager to safeguard and advance the interests of the big capitalist-big landlord class.


The CMP is not the programme of the CPI(M).  Nor is the CMP a programme of the Left and democratic forces.  However, thanks to the pressure exerted by the CPI(M) and the Left, the CMP does contain certain positive aspects.  The CPI(M) and the Left have chosen to lend their support to the Congress-led government on the condition that the union government would put in place the pro-people aspects of the CMP, stay away from anti-people and especially anti-poor policies, and avoid a pro-imperialist foreign policy.  Mass movements and struggles must be launched against the policies of compromise followed by the UPA government.


Biswas said that the complex task of support and opposition to the UPA government must be explained carefully and patiently not only to the members of the CPI(M) but to the people in general.  While the reality for a Third Front to emerge at this point of time does not exist, an alternative would be a burgeoning and wide-ranging mass movement led by the CPI(M) and the Left all over the country with the correct slogans.




The pol-org report, dwelling in considerable detail on the situation in the state began by saying that the Bengal CPI(M) organised its 20th state conference, and during the three years that followed, there was the BJP-led NDA alliance in front of us.  Congress was in doldrums.  The opposition camp was distracted and weak.  Two devastating bouts of floods followed.  Then came the 1999 Lok Sabha election, the 2000 municipal polls, and 2001 Assembly elections.  The main struggle was against the ruinous economic policy of the union government, communalism, separatism, and the efforts at creating chaos in Bengal.


“We,” notes the pol-org report, “meet in the 21st conference in the backdrop of a big change nationally.  The role of the Party is well established in the 2003 Panchayat elections, and in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections that saw the throwing out of the BJP-led NDA government and the setting up of a secular government.”


The Left Front government, the pol-org report notes, could not avoid the fall out of the imperialism-directed economic policy of the union government.  The crux of the economic policy is the planned assault on the federal structure and on the centre-state relationship, and the squeezing out of the scope of state intervention and the playing of the role of accountability to the people.  Everything is shifted to the market forces. 


A ruinous economic policy was followed for one-and-half decades. The policy of liberalisation has made the crisis of capitalism ever deeper.  The CPI(M) had planned as its principled task the duty of holding up an alternate policy and fix the class orientation in the correct direction, in this tough situation. The LF government is trying its level best to put in place its programme of work.  The CPI(M) and the Left Front have been engaged in the task of keeping the people unified in this complex reality. 


Various anti-Left forces have adopted different means to disrupt the policy implementation of the LF government by resorting to slander and chaos making.  The years have seen the government and the Party implement its programmes by attaching priority to the poorest sections of the people. The three years have also witnessed the waging of struggles and movements against liberalisation and privatisation. The task of making the people more conscious about the Bengal CPI(M)’s and the Left Front government’s alternate policies and programmes has continued apace.


Following the 20th state conference, there was the Gujarat communal genocide.  The CPI(M) led the campaign-movement against the planned role of the sangh parivar, and against the indirect support behind the ugly event of the Vajpayee government.  The Trinamul Congress became isolated. The cry for the dismissal of the Modi government became strident and the Trinamul Congress had to backtrack. They have become even more isolated in the process.  However, they have clung to path of disruption.


The imperialist acts in Afghanistan, the attack on Iraq, and attack on the people of Palestine, and the activities in India of the fascist forces of Hindu fundamentalism, with support from the union government, created an ambience of terror.  The activities of Muslim fundamentalists rose in Bangladesh, our neighbour.  The CPI(M) has attached great importance to the issue of fundamentalism and its ideology and has worked to unite the people against it for the past three years. 


The staying in office for six years of the BJP-led government saw the tenets of communalism strike deep roots. The weaknesses of the Congress-led government at the centre and the compromise the Congress strikes with communalism have encouraged the fundamentalists to become active again.  The campaign-movement against communalism must never be allowed to slacken.


The pressure to defeat the Left front in the Panchayat polls of 2003 brought together the Congress, the Trinamul Congress, and the BJP.  The Trinamul Congress tried to go on the path of disruption against issues that were pro-people.  The campaign-movement by the Bengal CPI(M) saw these attempts end in failure. In some Assembly elections, the Congress line of ‘soft’ Hindutva helped the BJP. 


The past three years have seen separatist organisations like the KLO go on the rampage. In their assaults, several CPI(M) workers including Jalpaiguri district committee member, Gopal Chaki, were killed. In all they have murdered 22 of Party members including a woman Party member.  They have also organised assaults in Coochbehar and in Darjeeling, killing 35.


The Hill Council elections of Darjeeling, the report says, are due shortly.  The GNLF suffers from internal dissensions and the anguish of the people grows against the corrupt outfit.  We need to have timely polls for the sake of democracy.  “We must present our positive outlook to the people as part of the election campaign where we have had an alliance with some local parties.”


The separatists, notes the report, target mostly the CPI(M) that has played a stellar role in the task of organising national unity. The Congress, the Trinamul Congress, and the BJP are engaged in political compromise with the separatist elements. 


The KLO could survive in spite of electoral debacles because of this political shelter they have.  The KLO has links with the separatist ultras of the northeast.  We have to emote an ideological campaign against separatism side by side with government’s efforts to curb them and expose the role of the opposition parties in the state. 


In the western parts of south Bengal, the CPI (Maoists) has escalated extremists’ activities.  They have killed policemen with sophisticated weapons.  They mainly target the CPI(M).  The Congress, the Trinamul Congress, and the BJP as well as the Jharkhandis support these acts.  The ultras have gone on sprees of murder and loot.  They keep contact with their counterparts in north Bengal as well as in Nepal. 


The commendable role, notes the pol-org report, of the CPI(M) against such separatist efforts is laudable. The CPI(M) has resisted the acts by mass mobilisation. The poor people have ignored threats and extended electoral support to the Party.  We must not be self-satisfied but go on engaging ourselves in the task of organising the people and enhancing their consciousness further.  We must also emphasise on a rapid development of the areas and localities in these parts of the state.


The principled stand of the Party and the Left Front on the issue of communalism has made it an enemy in the eyes of the imperialists and the forces of reaction.  The conspiracy against the Left front government is going on for the past 28 years.  The casteist forces are trying, like in the rest of the country, to raise their ugly heads in Bengal, too. The CPI(M) must lead the struggle for economic and social justice and it must involve the entirety of the working mass with the class and democratic movements.


A section of the media continue to be vituperative against the CPI(M).  Some newspapers and TV channels are particularly active in encouraging slander campaign and chaos against us.  As we strengthen our political-organisational base and activities, the slander campaign becomes wider. We have to further increase political contact with the masses and enhance their level of consciousness in order to fight off these attacks.


The ruling classes want the LF to disintegrate. The CPI(M) as the major partner has the responsibility to further consolidate the unity of the Left Front and conduct the struggle towards the alternate while paying attention to the task of caring for and protecting the interests of the masses.




There has been an increase of 11.25 per cent of Party members in the state with a rise of 13.49 per cent of Party membership among workers. 


The number of women Party members has increased from 7.72 per cent in 2001 to 9.37 per cent now.  As far as scheduled castes are concerned, the number has increased by 21.27 per cent. Among religious minorities, the membership has increased by 19.55 per cent.  Among linguistic minorities, the Party membership has gone appreciably up.  The number of students and youth active in the Bengal CPI(M) has gone up.


The Bengal CPI(M) has, at present, 25,650 branches, 1771 local committees, and 309 zonal committees.  There has been an increase by 2695, 288, and 27 respectively from the 20th conference.  Party education goes on apace.


The discussions at the branch, local, zonal, and district conferences have been deeply political and organisational this time.  The task of enhancing political consciousness must, however, continue apace.


From the time of the last state conference, the Bengal CPI(M) has lost 3506 Party members; 129 of them have been martyred at the hands of the class enemies.




The Bengal CPI(M) has identified a number of political organisational tasks.  These are:

  1. The entire Party must be unified further as per the decisions of the 21st state conference and the 18th Party Congress.

  2. To educate Party comrades at every functional levels, the state committee and the district committees must prepare ‘Party education calendars.’  The existing permanent Party Education Centres must be continued with and more centres set up in the districts.  The state committee must formulate the special syllabi and curricula for those without the benefit of education. Comrades must be encouraged to self-educate themselves. The role of readers’ circles is important here. That imperialist globalisation cannot solve basic problems of the society and that socialism is the only alternative must be communicated as an ideological campaign before the people.

  3. The campaign-movement and struggle against the all-pervasive attack of imperialism must be kept up.  The struggle against such issues as liberalisation, privatisation, de-industrialisation, the attack on working people, and the aggression on the field of culture must be continued rigorously with.

  4. The people must be made conscious of the dangers emanating from fundamentalism of the minority and the majority communities.  Conscious campaign-movement against casteist politics must be launched. The unity of the working people must be maintained and the secular-minded people urged to participate in the struggle against religious fundamentalism.

  5. The campaign-movement against the implementation of the positive aspects of the CMP and against the Fund-Bank directed anti-people policies must be stepped up; the reasons behind the support lent to the UPA government in the post-poll situation must be explained.

  6. The campaign-movement in demand of a restructuring of the centre-state relations, and transfer of more power to the states, and on the issue of lessening the burden of debt on the states must be organised. The demand for the just redistribution of central taxes must be taken up.  Institutions like the National Development Council and the inter-state council must be strengthened. 

  7. Movement and popular opinion need to be built up for the curbing of extremist activities along borders with Bangladesh and Nepal.

  8. Initiative must be taken to maintain the independent role of the legislature, administration, and judiciary, and to exert caution on the matter of unwanted intervention by the judiciary on the legislature.

  9. All people including women must be unified in the task of opposing child marriages, dowry system, and persecution of women. Wide endeavours are needed to work against superstition and for scientific thinking.

  10. Caution must be adopted and movement built up against the continuous slander and provocation of a section of the media and of the political outfits of the ruling classes, and of disruptionist and separatist forces. Uniting the people, we must thwart the forces. The movement against the extremists who shelter behind ultra left politics must be strengthened.  Ideological, organisational, and administrative initiative must be increased against these forces and activities.  The Party and the LF government must be made secure.

  11. The successes of the LF government must be highlighted. At the same time, the Party and mass front workers must be oriented towards not only programmes that serve popular interests but also in building up self-help groups, and in the tasks of total-literacy-total health, and self-employment.  Highest priority must be attached to the poorest sections of the people and to the poorest of the villages and the cities.  The work must be marked by pro-people priorities and transparency.  We have to try to attract the people by working with accountability and dedication.

  12. The Left unity must be strengthened and we must win the working and the democratic mass that remain outside the purview of the Left politics.  To thwart the designs against the LF government, a party equipped politically, ideologically and in terms of political mass contact must be built up.

  13. The district committees must organise specific planning for the circulation of Marxist literature.  Programmes must be taken for the increase of circulation of Ganashakti in each village/mohalla and boards/tables set up for pasting of the newspaper daily.  Initiatives must be taken for the continuous increase in the sale of Deshahitaishi, Marxbadi Path, Nandan, Hindi Swadhinta, People’s Democracy, and The Marxist.  Rectification campaign must be continued with in the areas of ideology, politics, and organisation. The struggle against non-Communist trends, against consumerism, against factionalism must be continued with.  The Party discipline and unity must be further strengthened.

  14. Planning must be undertaken for the increase in the number of wholetimers in the Party and in the mass fronts, fixing the minimum wages, and payment of wages regularly.  To facilitate work amongst the workers, women, members of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, and amongst linguistic and religious minorities, more wholetimers should be inducted from these sections.  At the same time, emphasis must be given to the induction of wholetimers from the youth.  Their political consciousness must be enhanced and nurtured for the making of efficient professional revolutionaries.  


During the first day of the conference, Nirupam Sen placed the report: Left Front government and Our Tasks.


(To be concluded)