People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 10, 2005
THE role of a communist party is to act as a defender of the people’s interests and the 18th congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) opened at the Talkatora Stadium in Delhi, the nation’s capital, on April 6, with the determination to play this role creditably and successfully. This determination of the party was given voice by the inaugural address by veteran communist leader and CPI(M) general secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet; the address was read out to the delegates, observers, media and guests by Polit Bureau member Prakash Karat. The general secretary’s address concluded with the hope that, with the CPI(M) and the Left playing their due role, we would soon enter “a new era of politics in our country --- a politics which keeps at the centre the people’s aspirations for a better life and which opens the way for a secular, democratic India, which is free from class and social oppression.”
determination and this conviction were evident from the very morning on April 6
when delegates, fraternal delegates, media persons and hundreds of guests
assembled in the auditorium, which was aesthetically decorated with huge
portraits of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh and the
stalwarts of Indian communist movement. And this was natural. For, as senior
communist leader Jyoti Basu underlined in his presidential address to the open
session of the 18th CPI(M) congress, a party congress is, to communists, an
occasion to seriously introspect, review the past decisions and work, and decide
the future direction. He said we could have a degree of satisfaction over what
we have achieved since our last congress in Hyderabad. It is evident that this
determination and conviction emanated from the defeat of the BJP, with all its
misrule and communal politics, and its replacement at the centre by a secular
as was evident from the very opening session of this congress of the biggest
Left party in India, this conviction was not based on electoral success alone.
On the contrary, this electoral success was itself an outcome of the dedicated
work and sacrifices made by the CPI(M). The congress proceedings began with
homage to the comrades who courted martyrdom in the last three years for the
people’s cause. Between Hyderabad and Delhi congresses, as many as 202
comrades were martyred in Tripura alone, followed by Bengal with 171 martyrs.
One will recall that both these states are ruled by the CPI(M) led Left Fronts.
Then came Kerala, another Left stronghold, with a list of 26 martyrs; all these
comrades were killed by Congress and BJP goons.
veteran communist leader Samar Mukherjee hoisted the Red Flag amid tumultuous
slogans, after which Harkishan Singh Surjeet, Polit Bureau members Central
Committee members, fraternal delegates from abroad, and others paid floral
tributes at the martyrs column. The venue of the party congress was named
Nayanar Nagar, after late Comrade E K Nayanar who was a popular communist leader
the house had paid homage to martyrs and other departed comrades, the 18th CPI(M)
congress honoured, amid slogans of red salute, some veteran comrades for their
long and distinguished record of struggle and sacrifice. The first to be
honoured on the occasion was Subodh Roy who was a participant in the glorious
Chittagong armoury raid some 75 years ago. Others to be honoured included the
following --- veteran INA leader Captain Lakshmi Sehgal who was the only woman
member in the provisional Indian government of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose; M P
Narayanan, K V Thangappan, Sandhya Chatterjee, Vidya Debbarman, K Krishnamuthy,
Parsa Satyanarayan, K R Sundaram, M Pandian and Kitty Menon. Apart from these 11
comrades, the party congress was also to honour P B Rangnekar but the 93 years
old comrade could not reach Delhi because of ill health.
recalling the struggles waged and sacrifices made by these comrades, Prakash
Karat made a sharp attack on the BJP that was observing its 25 anniversary on
the same day. He dared the BJP to name one single leader whose career in the
struggle against British imperialism could match the record of any one of these
12 comrades. Karat stressed that these fake nationalists and their predecessors
were conspicuous by their absence during the freedom struggle.
from the glorious role played by communists during the freedom struggle, the
CPI(M) congress also reflected one more element of the glorious communist
tradition --- that of proletarian internationalism. The CPI(M) had invited
delegations from 32 fraternal parties to its 18th congress and while five
parties could not send their representatives because of their pressing
preoccupations, delegations from 27 parties had come to greet the CPI(M)
congress. All the delegates and others welcomed these fraternal delegations with
loud applauses, which became louder when the delegations from Cuba and PLO were
introduced. Similar applauses greeted the delegations from neighbouring
countries --- Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and one from Burma
currently ruled by a military junta. The intensity of clapping again reached a
high pitch when Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury introduced the delegates
from Communist Party of Portugal, reminding that this party supported the cause
of Goa’s liberation from Portuguese rule. This was in a way the toiling
people’s reply to the iniquitous imperialist globalisation.
over by Jyoti Basu, the open session started with reception committee chairman
Joginder Sharma reading out his welcome address on behalf of the people of this
historic city. CPI general secretary A B Bardhan also greeted the CPI(M)
congress on behalf of his party. The Parcham troupe presented revolutionary
songs on this occasion.
In the afternoon session, Prakash Karat introduced the draft political resolution to the congress, followed by a report on the amendments received from party comrades before the congress. This became the basis of discussions on the draft political resolution, starting from the next morning.