People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXIII

No. 46

November 15, 2009

ANDHRA PRADESH

 

Kisan Sabha Conference Focuses on Small Peasants, Tenants

 

A Prasad Rao     

 

“SAVE the Peasant, Save Agriculture, Save India” was the clarion call given by the three-day 19th state conference of the Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangham (APRS), a unit of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS). The conference, held from November 7 to 9 at Bhimavaram in West Godavari district, conducted all its deliberations with focus on saving the small peasant farming and tenant farmers from the onslaught of global imperialist forces through finance capital. The very conduct of conference in the memorial complex of Alluri Sitarama Raju, who became a martyr while fighting the British imperialism, and the historical involvement of the district in the country’s freedom movement, led by leaders like Uddaraju Ramam, one of the past presidents of the AIKS, provided  inspiration to the deliberations of the conference. Besides these, the memory of revolutionary fighters like Comrades Harihishan Singh Surjeet, Nanduri Prasad Rao, Kommaredy Satyanarayana, Bodepudi Venkayeswar Rao and Koratala Satyanarayana, whose photographs decorated the dais, also served as a source of inspiration. The conference venue was named after Comrade Koratala Satyanarayana who died after the last conference.

The conference started with an impressive rally in which thousands of peasants participated. The rally culminated in a public meeting attended by a very large public outpouring the venue. The venue was tastefully decorated with flags, buntings and banners of all sectoral state committees functioning under the APRS. Ansuri Rahman, West Bengal minister for panchayats and rural development, addressed the rally as the chief guest. He explained how land reforms implemented and cultivation rights conferred on the tenants in West bengal, to the extent permitted by the constitution, as well as the devolution of powers and development funds to the local bodies (panchayats) and the supportive policies implemented in favour of the farmers had succeeded in preventing suicides by farmers in the state. This was at a time when about two lakh farmers had committed suicides in various parts of the country under the impact of LPG policies in the country, especially in states like Andhra Pradesh which were ruled by non-Left parties.

AIKS general secretary K Varadharajan, in his address at the rally, dealt with the ongoing spate of farmers’ suicides in the country and explained how these could be prevented by a change of policy direction from away from the LPG. Dealing with impending dangers to the food security for the people and the safety of peasant farming owing to the WTO-World Bank policies and the Indo-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement being implemented by the UPA government, through hastening of implementation of the second generation ‘reform’ policies, highlighted the need to build a massive movement against these policies. This must involve the working class, youth, students, teachers and other democratic elements, in order to save the peasants, save agriculture and save the country from imperialist forces and their cohorts in the ruling classes in our country.

The conference started with a welcome note by R Satyanarayana Raju, executive president of the reception committee. AIPS president Vangala Subba Rao presided over the conference.

In his message to the conference, K Varadharajan stressed the importance of building a united mass peasant movement to save the peasantry, agriculture sector and the country from the MNCs and global finance capital. He wished success for organisation of the all-India AIKS conference at Guntur from January 7 to 10, 2010, and suggested that the occasion should be made historic by a massive expansion of the kisan movement in the state.

raternal delegates from state committees of AP Rythu Sangham (Amrutha Estate), AP Vyavasaya Karmika Sangham, CITU, AP Rural Artisans Sangham, UTF, JVV etc, greeted the conference. All of them underlined the need to have joint struggles.

AIPS secretary Samineni Rama Rao presented a report to the conference. A total of 550 delegates, out of whom women were 36, attended the conference. Poor farmers and agricultural workers numbered 205. The delegates were divided into groups, both district wise and sector wise, and discussed the report in detail first among themselves. Discussions also continued in four concurrent but separate sessions on organisational matters, tenant farmers, Raithu Mithra groups, Joint Liability Groups, implementation of government schemes, and dairy problems. In all, 40 delegate representatives presented their reports on the secretary’s report to the conference. Later, the report was unanimously passed.

The conference adopted 21 resolutions. The themes included protection from WTO, protection from drought and floods, rejection of company farming, stopping exploitation by market forces and ensuring MSP to all agricultural commodities, problems of seed producers, sugarcane farmers, silk farmers, etc.

AP Vyavasaya Karmika Sangham vice president and CPI(M) state secretary B V Raghavulu, and Kisan Sabha Central Secretariat member V Srinivasa Rao also greeted the conference,  expressed their opinions on the deliberations and on the future tasks of the kisan movement in the state. AIKS vice president Sarampally Malla Reddy delivered the concluding message outlining the tasks ahead.

The conference elected a 78-member executive committee which in turn elected 15 Office bearers. Vangala Subba Rao and Samineni Rama Rao were re-elected as the AIPS president and secretary, respectively. The spirit of the conference was aptly expressed through the singing of The Internationale and through a stress on saving the small peasants, tenant farmers and agriculture as the core of the future tasks.