People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXIII

No. 51

December 20, 2009

Punjab Kisan Sabha Holds 36th State Conference

 

Lehmber Singh Taggar

 

THE Punjab state unit of the All India Kisan Sabha held its 36th conference on November 28 to 30, opening with a massive kisan rally at Patti in district Taran Taran. AIKS vice president Amra Ram, joint secretaries N K Shukla, Nurul Hooda and Lehmber Singh Taggar, Haryana Kisan Sabha state secretary Harpal Singh, Punjab Kisan Sabha joint secretary Dewinderjit Singh Dhillon and Vijay Misra, chairman of the reception committee, addressed the gathering. State AIKS president Rachhpal Singh presided.

The speakers criticised the anti-kisan, anti-agriculture and pro-imperialist policies of the central and state governments which had forced more than two lakh peasants of the country, including Punjab, to commit suicide. While recalling the glorious struggles and traditions of Punjab, the speakers asked the Punjab peasant to rise and fight the present crisis facing the entire peasantry and agriculture, and to play their role in the present situation.

A specific aspect of the rally was that kisan masses participated in it in thousands, with sights of turbans of blue, white, red and other colours giving the impression that it was a kisan rally in real sense. The place of the rally was named “Comrade Dalip Singh Tapiala Pandal” after the name of an important kisan leader of yore in Punjab, who was elected eleven times and remained 23 years as president of the Punjab Kisan Sabha.

The venue of the conference was named “Comrade Harkishan Singh Surjeet Nagar” after the name of the great AIKS leader. The whole town of Patti was decorated with thousands of red flags, festoons, buntings, banners, boards, hoardings and reception gates erected in the memory of great freedom fighters, kisan leaders and martyrs belonging to the area. These included Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna, Baba Jwala Singh Thathian, Bari Santokh Singh Dhardeo, Baba Vishakha Singh, martyrs Sohan Lal Pathak Patti, Comrade Gurman Singh Uppal, Comrade Deepak Dhaman, Comrade Arjan Singh Mastana and many others.

At 4.30 p m on the day, the delegates session of the conference started with the hoisting of the red flag of AIKS by Rachhal Singh. All the leaders and delegates then offered floral tributes at the martyrs column erected in the hall named “Martyr Comrade Inderjit Singh Bhagrana Hall.”

After electing a presidium of eight members including the president and all the vice presidents of the state Kisan Sabha, to conduct the proceedings of the conference, Lehmber Singh Taggar moved a resolution to condole the demise of the departed leaders. These included Comrades Harkishan Singh Surjeet, Anil Biswas, Subhas Chakarobarty, Prithvi Singh Gorakhpuria, Inderjit Singh Bhagrana and more than 200 other comrades of Punjab, who passed away since the last state conference of the Kisan Sabha.

Inaugurating the conference, Amra Ram described the glorious struggles fought by the peasants of Rajasthan on the issues of water and electricity and of the tribal people in recent years under the leadership of the AIKS. He stressed the importance of launching local struggles on the local issues to take the kisan movement to the grassroots level in the countryside. He urged upon the peasantry of Punjab to continue and advance in the coming days the glorious historic traditions of Punjab.

As general secretary of Punjab Kisan Sabha, Lehmber Singh Taggar next presented a 58-page printed report to the delegates house. In his report, Taggar dealt with the agrarian crisis in Punjab in the background of the international, national and state situation. It elaborately dwelt on the issues of peasant suicide, debt trap, remunerative prices and state procurement of agriculture produce, drought, going down of ground water level, shortage of electricity, pollution of river waters, special problems of the poor and marginal peasants, cane growers, cotton growers and milk producers, the problems facing the abadkars (boarder area farmers), problems of the Kandhi area people and many other issues. In the section on activities, the report noted that Punjab Kisan Sabha intervened independently as well as jointly with other kisan organisations and launched struggles on virtually all the issues and problems being faced by the peasants of Punjab. Thousands and thousands of kisans participated in these struggles. In the report on organisation, certain organisational weaknesses were noted and the need to remove these weaknesses, to strengthen the organisations and the state centre were stressed.

As many as 36 delegates from most of the districts of Punjab participated in the six hours long discussion on the report. The participants in the discussion, while supporting the general tenor of the report, put forward their experiences of the movements, raised many issues and resolved to strengthen the Kisan Sabha in the state. After the reply by the general secretary, the report was unanimously adopted by the house with certain additions.

While addressing the conference, Nurul Hooda elaborated how the present serious crisis of the agrarian sector is a product of the so-called new economic policies of the central and state governments being pursued since 1991 on the directive of pro-imperialist institutions like the World Bank, IMF and later on the World Trade organisation. He asked the peasantry of Punjab to meet the present crisis of agricultural with vigorous struggles as in the past in Punjab.

N K Shukla addressed the conference on November 30, the last day. He said the AIKS is the only kisan organisation of the country, which is capable of moving the peasantry of the whole country against the anti-peasant and anti-agriculture and pro-imperialist policies of the central and state governments with its organisational strength of about 2.4 crore membership in most of the states in the country. He said the 32nd national conference of AIKS, which is going to be held from January 7 to 10, 2010, at Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, would chalk out the programmes of kisan struggle throughout the country to meet the present extraordinary crisis facing our agriculture and peasantry and the crisis of food security. Shukla specially stressed the need of bringing more and more women to the kisan movement and the organisation.

In the end, the conference elected an 85-member state working committee of the Punjab Kisan Sabha unanimously. The conference also elected 20 delegates for the 32nd national conference of AIKS, including two women delegates. The state working committee then met and elected Gurchetan Singh Bandala as the president and Lehmber Singh Taggar as general secretary, to be assisted by a team of seven vice presidents and six secretaries.

During the conference, families of the founder leaders of Punjab Kisan Sabha like Baba Jwala Singh, Sant Baba Visakha Singh, Dadebar Sahib, Baba Santa Singh Gandiwind, Comrades Gehal Singh Chhajalwaddi, Mohan Singh Jandiala and Dalip Singh Jahal were honoured with mementoes depicting the portrait of late Comrade Harkishan Singh Surjeet.

The daises of the open rally and of the delegates session were decorated with big and full size portraits of Comrade Harkishan Singh Surjeet, giving the impression that the late comrade was coming to the conference venue walking.