People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXIII

No. 26

June 28, 2009

 

 

CENTRAL COMMITTEE COMMUNIQUE

 

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met at New Delhi on June 20 and 21, following which the party’s general secretary, Prakash Karat, announced the committee’s decision in a press conference organised in A K Bhavan on June 22 afternoon. He said the Central Committee, after having reviewed the election results in depth, reached the conclusion that while the line of formation of a Third Alternative was correct, its extension to the idea of an alternative government was “unrealistic.” As the area of operation of the Third Alternative parties was confined to only four state in addition to the three Left-led states, and as there was no common policy platform, the formation failed to emerge as a sustainable and credible alternative at the national level.

Replying to the mediapersons’ query about accepting responsibility for this hitherto biggest electoral setback to the party, Karat said the electoral line was decided by the Central Committee. He accepted the responsibility for implementation of the line decided by the Central Committee as he is the general secretary of the party, and for the line itself as he is a member of the Central Committee.  

In reply to another question, the CPI(M) general secretary clarified that virtually there was unanimity in the whole party and not just in the Central Committee on withdrawal of support to the UPA government on the issue of the nuclear deal. There is, however, be an opinion that support could have been withdrawn before June 2008; and discussion on such opinions may go on. Karat also clarified that the next congress of the party may ponder over all questions regarding the implementation of the political line.

At the press conference, the general secretary issued a list of 53 CPI(M) workers and supporters in West Bengal, whom the Congress-TMC people and the Maoists have killed between March 3 and June 18. In the context of a joint action by the central and state forces in Lalgarh area in order to curb the Maoist violence, Karat replied to some questions regarding a ban on the Maoists. He said that having pondered over this issue, the Left Front of West Bengal has come to the conclusion that while administrative measures are necessary to curb this violence, it is also essential that the Maoists are fought politically and isolated from the people. However, beyond the administrative actions on the violent activities, a ban on the outfit would be of no help in isolating these forces politically. Karat forcefully pointed out that the Maoists are targeting the CPI(M) precisely because it is fighting them politically.

The Central Committee communiqué issued on the occasion follows.    

 

 

ELECTION REVIEW

The Central Committee conducted a comprehensive review of the results of the Lok Sabha election. It also made an in-depth study of the Party's performance.

 

Among the factors responsible for the success of the Congress is that it could utilise the people's concern for a stable secular government at the centre. The rejection by the people of the BJP's divisive brand of communal politics and Hindutva benefited the Congress.

 

The support that the Left parties had extended to the UPA for four years also contributed to providing legitimacy and credibility to the Congress-led government. The UPA government had pursued neo-liberal policies which have heightened inequalities and failed to tackle the agrarian crisis, price rise and unemployment. Despite this, some of the measures taken such as the NREGA, farmers loan waiver scheme, the Forest Tribal Rights Act and the increased minimum support price for foodgrains and other crops helped to mitigate some of the effects of these policies and had a positive impact. Some of these steps were adopted due to the Left's pressure.

 

The spate of terrorist violence culminating in the Mumbai terrorist attack in November 2008 heightened the people's concern for unity and the popular mood was against the BJP's communal platform which sought to divide the people.

 

The Congress also benefited from the consolidated support it received from the big business of the country who registered enormous gains during the five year rule of the UPA.

 

 

DEFEAT OF BJP

The BJP's defeat is significant because it has failed for the second successive time to win the elections. The main reason for this failure is because the people have rejected its communal platform which was highlighted by the virulent hate speeches of Varun Gandhi and similar propaganda by less prominent figures. The image of a hardcore Hindutva party was heightened by the projection of Narendra Modi as the future leader of the party. The record of the BJP as the opposition party which mainly concentrated on disrupting parliament and not taking up the main issues affecting the people such as the agrarian crisis, price rise and unemployment led to loss of support for the party.

 

The Central Committee noted that the emergence of the non-Congress, non-BJP combination which included the Left parties contributed to the defeat of the BJP which was unable to get any worthwhile allies in states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu and Orissa.

 

WITHDRAWAL OF SUPPORT TO UPA GOVT

The Central Committee was of the firm opinion that the withdrawal of the support to the UPA government on the nuclear deal in July 2008 was correct. This was consistent with the Left's stand against forging of a strategic alliance with the United States.

 

NON-CONGRESS, NON-BJP ALTERNATIVE

The Central Committee of the CPI(M) had called for the formation of a non-Congress, non-BJP alternative as against the Congress-led alliance and the BJP-led alliance. This was a correct tactic. These efforts resulted in the electoral understanding forged by some regional and Left parties in Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Orissa and Karnataka. However, such an electoral understanding could not be extended beyond these four states and the three Left-led states of West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura. It failed to be a viable and credible alternative at the national level.

 

Critically reviewing these efforts, the Central Committee felt that it should not have extended the call for building such an alternative to the formation of an alternative government. In the absence of a countrywide alliance and no common policy platform being presented, the call for an alternative government was unrealistic.

 

The Central Committee reiterated that it will continue to strive to build the third alternative. Till then, whenever required the Party will forge electoral understanding and alliances with like-minded non-Congress secular parties.

 

CPI(M) PERFORMANCE

The Party has suffered serious reverses in the Lok Sabha elections. It has won only 16 seats. Nine seats in West Bengal, four in Kerala, two in Tripura and one in Tamilnadu. The Party has got 5.33 per cent of the vote, which is only marginally less compared to the 5.66 per cent it polled in 2004. While expressing concern about the erosion in the Party's support base in West Bengal and Kerala, the Central Committee also noted that the Left Front in West Bengal polled around 1.85 crore votes and in Kerala the LDF has polled 67.17 lakh vote. Though there is some erosion, the main base of the Party is intact by and large in these two states.

 

REVIEW OF PARTY'S PERFORMANCE

The Central Committee conducted an in-depth review of the performance of the Party based on the review reports received from the states.

 

The Party has registered a good victory in Tripura winning both the seats with the Left Front polling 61.69 per cent of the votes.

 

Apart from the all India factors, the specific situation in the states of West Bengal and Kerala where serious losses took place were also reviewed.

 

In West Bengal, the review noted the political, governmental and organisational reasons for the setbacks suffered by the CPI(M) and the Left Front. The review noted that there is some erosion of support among the rural and urban poor and sections of the middle classes. There are shortcomings in the functioning of government, panchayats and municipalities based on a proper class outlook. This is due to the failure of the government to implement properly various measures directly concerning the lives of the people. The apprehension about land acquisition has contributed to the alienation amongst some sections of the peasantry.

 

At the organisational level certain wrong trends and practices have adversely affected relations with the people. The Central Committee endorsed the steps proposed by the state committee to take corrective measures at the organisational and governmental level.

 

In Kerala, the factors responsible for the poor performance were also analysed. The disunity in the LDF and the Party leadership had an adverse impact on the people; the churches played an active role in mobilising Christian votes against the LDF; the association with the PDP caused confusion among the people. The UDF and media campaign on the SNC

Lavalin case also had its impact. Certain wrong trends within the Party organisation have also had a negative impact.

 

The Polit Bureau decided to have a meeting of the Polit Bureau on July 4 and 5, 2009 to discuss specifically the organisational matters in Kerala.

 

The Central Committee reviewed the overall performance of the Party in the rest of the country. It noted the organisational weaknesses in expanding the independent work of the Party, conducting sustained struggles on local issues and the building of the mass organisations. It directed the state units to implement the tasks arising out of the reviews conducted in the states regarding these matters.

 

The Central Committee expressed confidence that the entire Party would draw lessons from this electoral setback. It will identify the shortcomings in carrying out the political line of the Party and take steps to rectify the weaknesses in the organisation. The Central Committee affirmed that immediate steps would be taken in states like West Bengal and Kerala to reforge the links with those sections of the people who have been alienated from the Party for various reasons. The state governments will also take necessary steps to implement measures which are expected of it by the people.

 

RELATIONS WITH PARTIES

The Party will work to strengthen Left unity and maintain relations and cooperation with secular opposition parties on people's issues, for pro-people economic policies and in defence of secularism and an independent foreign policy.

 

ON THE UPA GOVT

The Central Committee reiterated the stand already outlined by the Left parties that they will play the role of a Left opposition in parliament. The central government should take immediate steps to provide relief to the millions who have lost jobs due to the adverse impact of the global economic crisis. Measures should be taken to see that because of the crisis, common people are not burdened further. Though the rate of inflation is shown to be negative, the prices of essential commodities continue to be high. The government must take steps to curb price rise.

The government has to take steps to devolve adequate resources and funds to the state governments who have to primarily bear the responsibility for tackling the effects of the economic slow down and pursue developmental and welfare measures.

 

The CPI(M) will vigorously oppose all such measures in parliament and outside which seek to push through legislations for increasing foreign capital in the banking and insurance sector and financial sector liberalisation. The Party will continue to oppose disinvestment of the profit making public sector units, FDI in retail and higher education and such sectors which are not beneficial for the country. It will press for the adoption of the women's reservation bill.

 

PROTEST ATTACKS IN WEST BENGAL

The Central Committee has issued an appeal to all its Party units and other Left and democratic forces to protest against the widespread attacks on Party workers, offices and supporters in West Bengal by the Trinamul-Congress combine and the Maoists. The Party will conduct a campaign all over the country in solidarity with West Bengal and in defence of democracy.