(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 20, 2008
Address by Jyoti Basu At the Inaugural Session
Comrade Delegates and Observers to the Congress
Fraternal Delegates from Abroad
I have great pleasure in greeting all of you who have assembled for the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) at Coimbatore.
The CPI (M)ís Congress is an important occasion for the Party and the Left and progressive forces in the country. I regret my inability to attend this Congress. I have attended all the Party Congresses since the formation of the CPI (M) in 1964. I have in fact attended all the Party Congresses, except the 4th Congress of the CPI in 1956.
Therefore I am not happy about my absence. But my ill-health and being 94 years old, prevents my being with you at Coimbatore.
I would like to take this opportunity to share some of my thoughts with you.
The Communist movement in India is over eight decades old. We fought the British for freedom. The Party was built during this struggle. After independence, we have been consistent in our stand that the country must go forward on a self-reliant path of development. Land reforms are necessary for the democratic transformation of our society and economy. The working class, peasantry and all sections of the working people want a society which will be just and free from exploitation. As communists we have stood for social reform, against the caste system and against discrimination of women.
The Communists have worked to unite all sections of the working people irrespective of caste, religion or region. Our ideology is the anti-thesis of the communal and divisive forces.
That is why we have fought communalism in all its forms since independence. We have also accorded priority to defending secularism in the recent years. Our support to the UPA Government was governed by this imperative.
Our attitude to the Government at the Centre has been of judging its actions on the basis of the CMP and the interests of the people and the country.
We have been able to get some good legislation passed, but in the main, the economic policies of the UPA Government have not benefited the people. Only a few have prospered, the many remain in want.
The CPI (M) has been firm about not succumbing to US pressures on foreign policy and vital interests. I commend the clear stand of the Party in this regard. We Communists cannot be party to any junior partnership with the US imperialism.
The CPI (M) along with the Left has been running the West Bengal Government for 30 years. The Left-led governments of West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura are there to serve the people. We want Left unity to be strengthened so that we can do more for the people.
The CPI (M) has to grow much more. The Party Congress should discuss and take steps for advancing the work of the Party and the mass organisations all over the country, especially in the states where we are weak.
I have been in the Party for 67 years. I am not able to do much in the present situation. But I will be happy to contribute whatever I can.
I wish the Congress all success. My warm greetings to all of you.