People's Democracy

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


No. 47

November 20, 2011



20th Party Congress to Decide Secretaries’ Tenure


THE Central Committee of the CPI(M) has proposed to limit the tenure of party committee secretaries at all levels to three terms. This was informed to the mediapersons by CPI(M) general secretary, Prakash Karat, at a press conference held at AKG Bhavan, the party’s headquarters, on November 13. Karat clarified that the Central Committee’s proposal would be presented, in the form of a constitution amendment, to the coming party congress in April 2012 for its consideration and would be applicable only if the party congress endorses it. In reply to the questions coming from the assembled mediapersons, Karat clarified that the system would not be applicable retrospectively. He also informed that the party leadership was deliberating on the idea since 2009.


Conveying to the mediapersons the decisions of the Central Committee that met in Delhi from November 11 to 13, the CPI(M) leader also told that the meeting started the process of deliberation on the draft of an ideological resolution. While he was not willing to go into the details of the issues that came up during the Central Committee meeting, he did say that the next meeting of the Central Committee would give the draft of the ideological resolution a final shape. Following that, the draft would be released for inner-party discussion before being presented to the next party congress.


Replying to the questions about the Jammu & Kashmir government’s demand for withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from certain areas of the state, Karat said the CPI(M) not only supports the state government’s demand but is in favour of repeal of the act itself. He said it is a repressive and draconian law that violates the fundamental rights of Indian citizens, and that the issue is relevant for states like Manipur as well. Insofar as Jammu & Kashmir is concerned, the CPI(M) general secretary reminded that one year has elapsed since the central government promised a review of this act. In the meantime, an all-party meeting and a parliamentary delegation to the state have backed up the idea that the act and the disturbed area declaration must be withdrawn from the areas of Jammu & Kashmir where extremist activities are not taking place and the army is not deployed.


Replies to the queries concerning West Bengal where a government led by Ms Mamata Banerjee has now completed six months, the CPI(M) general secretary described the ongoing attacks on democratic bodies as a matter of grave concern. In this context, he specifically drew attention to the ordinances to curtail the rights of the elected university bodies and the transfer of powers from the panchayati raj bodies to the bureaucrats etc. He mentioned in this connection a recent event in which the chief minister, who is also the home minister of West Bengal, herself entered the Bhawanipur police station and got two accused, belonging to her Trinamul Congress party, forcibly released. Not only that, she first suspended and then transferred the officer in charge of the said police station, even though this police station is situated in the South Kolkata parliamentary constituency where the process of a byelection is on. Thus it is also a matter of wilful violation of the electoral code of conduct.


Announcing the party’s firm opposition to any kind of financial assistance, subsidy or bailout package for the Kingfisher airlines, Karat pointed out that the government too has denied the chance of doling out any such package. He also clarified that the CPI(M) is totally against foreign direct investment in the aviation sector.


The CPI(M) leader stressed on the need of adopting an effective Lok Pal legislation in the coming winter session itself of parliament. Replying to questions regarding the “right to reject” and other such demands, he said the CPI(M) stood for electoral reforms in totality, and these include a switchover to the proportional representation system with a partial list. He also said that by not coming out to cast their votes the people do express their rejection of all the candidates in an election, and therefore the CPI(M) is not very enthusiastic about the proposal of adding a “None of the Above” button in the electronic voting machines (EVMs).