People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 10, 2005
Speech of Bardhan At The Inaugural Session
Dear Comrades of the Presidium, Dear Comrade Harkishan Singh Surjeet, general secretary, CPI(M),
Dear Comrade Jyoti Basu,
Dear Delegates, Brothers and Sisters, Esteemed Guests from aboard,
Allow me to convey heartfelt revolutionary greetings from the National Council of the Communist Party of India.
Last week, our Party held its 19th congress at Chandigarh, where we reviewed the period that has passed, analysed the political situation and decided the tactics and the tasks that we have to undertake in the coming days.
A similar exercise will no doubt be carried out by you, this week.
After the defeat of the BJP/NDA at the Centre, a secular coalition, the UPA, has been installed in its place, with support from the four Left Parties from outside. It is our support which has given the UPA a stable majority in Parliament. A Common Minimum Programme has been drawn up by the UPA and the Left. This forms the basis of our support. The basic direction has to be for a change since it is for change that the people have voted
Eleven months are over, and while a few steps have been taken in line with the CMP, the UPA government, particularly its leading constituent, the Congress has been pursuing the same old discredited policies. Such for instance, are the moves for inviting FDI indiscriminately even in certain sensitive sectors where the country should retain its control, for privatisation and disinvestment of essential and even profit-making public sector undertakings, for so-called’ bank reforms’ and dismantling of electricity boards, tardy and slow moves in guaranteeing employment to those in dire need. There is total silence in the matter of distributing land to the landless which is the core of land reforms, initiating legislation for agricultural workers and unorganised workers and only halting steps in agricultural development, water management and so forth.
On the Patent Bill while several amendments had to be accepted by Government under relentless pressure from the Left, a number of lacunae remain especially in the matter of drugs and pharmaceuticals whose prices will rise sky-high or become inaccessible to our people.
The CPI 19th congress has discussed all these issues. We feel that while supporting this government so long as it implements the CMP in true spirit, we must unleash mass struggles and broad people’s movement so as to deter it from following policies which are harmful to our kisans and agricultural labour, workers in the organized and unorganised sectors, youth, students and women, and generally against national interests. The UPA Government should take heed for support cannot be unconditional and indefinite.
When we the Left extend support to this government, we keep uppermost in our minds the interests of our people and our country; growth with employment generation, development with social justice.
When we interact with the UPA leaders and ministers, offer criticism or express strong disapproval it is to uphold the interests of these toiling masses, the poor, our people in general.
When we, resort to mass action and mobilise them on the streets, it is for defending their interests in the course of the country’s development.
It is the people who are at the centre of our concern.
A feature of the international situation today, is the growing aggressive designs of American Imperialism. On the other hand, millions of people all over the world are mobilizing against War and for Peace, as well as against US-dictated policies of neo-liberalism. In America’s own backyard the Left has scored victories in many Latin American countries. Capitalism is proving incapable of solving the basic problems of mankind. People are looking out for a new system, for creating ‘Another World’. China, Vietnam, Cuba, DPRK, Laos are marching confidently towards socialism, applying Marxism-Leninism to the specific conditions of their country.
Comrades, the situation today poses a great opportunity, a challenge to the Left forces and the Communist Movement in India.
The 19th congress of the CPI has resolved that we should strive towards the perspective of a Left Secular and Democratic Alternative which should be the real content of the next alternative in our country.
Next year, elections will take place in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura. They are very crucial elections. The Left has to emerge victorious in these states. Tamilnadu is also to go to the polls, whether then or even before. We have to play an important role in this state too.
For all this it is necessary to further strengthen and consolidate Left unity. There is need of closer coordination and mutual accommodation among the Left Parties, both at Leadership level and at the Parliamentary level, during elections as also at other times.
At the core of Left Unity are the CPI(M) and the CPI. The situation demands today that the two Communist Parties work in close cooperation, apply the science of Marxism-Leninism to India’s conditions, and unify the Indian Communist Movement on that principled basis. Whatever differences exist can and should be discussed by the two parties, so that hurdles on the way can be removed.
I wish the 18th congress of the CPI(M) all success.