People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
January 20, 2008
CPI(M)'S RAJASTHAN STATE CONFERENCE
THE Rajasthan state committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) held its 19th conference in the Sheopat Singh Nagar in the city of Shriganganagar. Beginning December 14, the three day conference was preceded by a lecture by CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat and a mass rally. The latter was addressed by Prakash Karat, Hannan Mollah, Nilotpal Basu, Vasudev, Amra Ram, Hetram Beniwal and district leaders of the party.
A large number of students, teachers and intellectuals of the city attended Prakash Karat’s lecture on the Indo-US nuclear deal, organised in the prestigious Nojge Public School of the city.
At the mass meeting, Karat released a book on the peasant movement in Shekhawati area of the state. It is authored by Dr Ghasiram.
After the delegates paid homage to the martyrs column, Hariram Chauhan, a Central Committee member, hoisted the party’s flag. The ensuing delegates session was chaired by a presidium based on Hetram Beniwal, Phulchand Barber and Amra Ram.
While the outgoing state secretariat of the party functioned as the steering committee, the resolutions committee comprised Dulichand, Rameshwar Verma and R K Swami and the credentials committee had Hazari Lal Sharma, Banshi Lal Kalal and Lakshman Sain as members.
In his inaugural address at the conference, Prakash Karat outlined the features of the current political situation in the country, and how the Left is trying to bring pressure upon the government to get implemented some pro-people policies and to prevent the regime’s anti-people policies being dictated by the IMF and World Bank. Karat pointed out how several of the pro-people promises made by the UPA in its Common Minimum Programme are testimonies to the crucial role the Left is playing in the interest of the toiling masses of India. The CPI(M) leader said the role of the Left as an ally of the UPA and as an effective opposition has earned it the people’s goodwill. However, it is also true that many of the UPA policies have benefited the bourgeoisie at the cost of the people, giving rise to mass discontent on issues like unemployment, poverty and price rise. The result was the shattering defeat of the Congress party in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
However, Karat also clarified that a third alternative will not materialise overnight. It not only requires a minimum degree of understanding between the non-Congress, non-BJP formations on policy issues but also a big increase in the strength of the Left in all the states. This means that the CPI(M) cadres and supporters have to vigorously intervene in the situation on the people’s issues and also fight the alien ideas and trends including casteism, communalism and imperialist neo-liberalism. Citing some cases, he particularly called upon the cadres and the people to beware of and rebuff the bourgeois and imperialist conspiracies against the Left.
The CPI(M) general secretary highly appreciated the state unit of the party for its vigorous mass struggles on life and death issues like irrigation water and electricity.
Presented by Vasudev, the state CPI(M) secretary, the conference report outlined the ground situation and the party’s activities in Rajasthan since the last state conference of the party. It explained how the BJP government of Rajasthan has failed the state’s people on several counts since it came to power in November 2003. During the last four years, this government has resorted to police firing upon the people as many as 45 times, taking 43 valuable lives of the innocent, peace-loving citizens. The government has thus bared its autocratic and repressive, anti-people face. Through huge and heavily paid advertisements, the government is seeking to mislead the people, claiming high growth in the state. But the fact is that the growth in Rajasthan is only 5.97 percent as against the roughly 9 percent growth rate at the national level. This government has not got a single locked-out factory reopened. Only 5.2 percent of the people have a lavatory in rural areas, while clean potable water is unavailable everywhere in the state. So much so that people in even the state capital, Jaipur, are still dying because of polluted water.
Courtesy the BJP state government, Rajasthan is today notorious for divisive politics and tendencies. The venom of communalism has penetrated all areas and all walks of life, while casteism prevails in its extreme, abhorrent form. This is all the more alarming as even such crucial areas as administration and education have not been spared.
The secretary’s report dwelt in detail upon the peasant movement in the state, the students’ struggle against the fee hike and other agitations, and the role of the party in giving them a positive direction as well as militant character. Six peasants were martyred in the police firing in Shriganganagar and Bikaner districts. The report also pointed out how the police particularly targeted the CPI(M) cadres during its bouts of savage repression against various agitations.
The main agitations during the last three years were as below: (1) First Kisan agitation in Gharsana, Rawla, Chaniya; (2) Mahaparao in Jaipur from September 1 to 8, 2005; (3) March to Jaipur on February 22, 2007; (4) Dungarpur agitation for power in 2006; and (5) Agitation of the tribal people.
The report outlined the CPI(M)’s stand on various issues facing the people of the state and put forward a programme of action for the coming days.
A report on the activities of mass organisations accompanied the secretary’s report. It covered the functioning of the state units of the CITU, AIKS, AIAWU, DYFI, SFI, JMS (AIDWA), Janwadi Lekhak Sangh and All India Lawyers Union.
The organisational report critically explained the status of the party in various districts of Rajasthan, inter-district comparative figures of membership of the party as well as various mass organisations, and the mode of functioning of the district committees, sub-committees and fraction committees.
As many as 58 delegates discussed the report threadbare for over 7 hours, and the level of discussion reflected the high level of political consciousness of the party members. It was thus an indication that the party may well make use of the strong possibilities of growth existing in the state.
The conference unanimously adopted the report after the secretary replied to the points the delegates had raised.
Hazarilal presented the report about the delegations, as compiled by the credentials committee. The details are as below:
1) Number of delegates and observers decided = 191, those who joined = 189 (174 delegates and 15 observers, including three state office comrades)
2) Forms received = 181 (men 172, women 9)
3) Tribals = 21, minorities = 7
4) Age distribution: 18-30 years – 22, 31-40 – 24, 41-50 – 58, 51-60 – 41, 61-70 – 26, above 70 – 10
5) Educational distribution: Literate 6, primary 13, upper primary 20, secondary 24, higher secondary 16, graduates 22, postgraduates 22
LLB 25, PhD 3, B Ed 16, M Phil 1, MAMS 1, Hindi atna 1, LLM 2, BE/ME 3
6) Occupations: Unemployed 9, service 41, agriculture 73, wage labour 16, trade 6, lawyers 11, party wholetimers 17, not indicated 6, social worker 1, trade union activist 1
7) Class background: Workers 41, poor peasants 10, middle peasants 66, rich peasant 1, middle class 52, landlord, 1, not indicated 10
8) Income distribution: Below Rs 600 – 6, Rs 600-1000 – 24, Rs 1001-2000 – 43, Rs 2001-3000 – 22, Rs 3001-5000 – 18, Rs 5001-7000 – 16, Rs 7001-10000 – 11, Rs 10001-15000 – 11, Rs 15001-20000 – 5, above Rs 20000 – 3, no income – 1, not indicated – 18, highest income – Rs 36000.
9) Levy payment: Yes – 166, no – 2, not indicated – 13
10) Admission to the party: Before 1964 – 10, 1965-75 – 29, 1976-80 – 30, 1981-90 – 51, 1991-2000 – 25, 2001-07 – 36, oldest delegate – Krishnakant Verma (since 1948), latest to join – Om Prakash Godara (Hanumangarh) – March 2007.
11) Position in party: Central Committee member – 2 (including state secretary), state secretariat – 8, state committee – 19, DC/DOC – 82, district secretariat – 18, tehsil secretary – 8, tehsil committee – 7, ordinary members – 20, chairman, state control commission – 1, not indicated – 5
12) Participation in state conferences: one conference – 30, two conferences – 25, three – 20, four – 17, five – 22, six – 11, seven – 10, eight – 17, nine – 7, ten – 6, eleven-- not indicated, twelve – 7, nineteen – 1 (Hariram Chauhan)
13) Work in mass organisations: Trade union 30, AIAWU 8, AIKS 66, AIDWA 9, DYFI 23, SFI 13, cultural ront 3, lawyers 5
14) Reading party papers: Lok Lehar 171, PD 8, The Marxist 5, Social Scientist 2, Shabtaab 1, not indicated 10. This year, Jaisingh Nunia enlisted maximum (73) subscribers to Lok Lehar.
15) Reading party documents: Policy document -- 144, Tasks on Trade Union Front – 89, document on mass organisations – 125, on women’s issues – 56, on students – 67, on kisan front – 105, not indicated – 16
16) Number of police cases: One to nine cases – against 65 comrades, ten to fifteen cases – 7, sixteen cases – against Harisingh Garhwal (Sikar)
17) Jail life: A total of 103 comrades had experience of jail life. Maximum jail life – 5 years, Hetram Beniwal (4 years), Hariram Chauhan (three and a half years)
18) Underground life: Total delegates – 65; Krishnakant Verma (4 years), Lakshman Singh (3 years), Harisingh Garhwal (2.5 years), Amra Ram, Bhagwan Singh Dhaka and Panna Lal (more than two years)
19) Experience of repression: Dismissal from service – 7, suspension – 7, chargesheet – 3
The CPI(M) state conference adopted resolutions on the attacks on mass movements, in support of the kisan agitation in Indira Gandhi Canal First Phase area, on worker-peasant-agricultural worker unity, power problem, minimum wage, job guarantee scheme, casteism and communalism, tribal rights, new agrarian policy, and against the repression of dalit, women and minority sections. A separate resolution demanded compensation for the family of Comrade Chanduram who was martyred during the kisan agitation.
The conference elected a 30-member state committee for the next three years and it, in turn, elected an 8-member state secretariat with Vasudev as state secretary. The conference also elected a 3-member state control commission and 7 delegates for the coming 19th party congress at Coimbatore.
A Central Secretariat member, Hannan Mollah delivered the concluding address at the conference, congratulating the comrades for their militant struggles in the last three years and asking them to vigorously intervene in the situation and streamline the party organisation for the sake of emergence of a third force in the state.