People's Democracy

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


No. 05

January 29, 2012



Getting Recognised as Third Force in Rajasthan


Rajendra Saiwal


DEFEAT the Congress, Reject the BJP, Strengthen the Left and Democratic Forces, Take the CPI(M) Forward in the State --- these were the slogans on which the recent three-day state conference of the CPI(M) in Rajasthan concluded. It was the 20th state conference of the party that took place in Sikar from December 28 to 30, 2011.




An open rally took place in the Ramlila Maidan in Sikar on the opening day of the state conference, and it turned out to be historic from the angle of attendance as well as from political and organisational angles. 


It was not an election time, nor was any agitation going on. Yet, tens of thousands of men and women, holding the Red Flag high in their hands, raising full-throated slogans, dancing and singing, came out in processions for the open meeting, making it a show of the CPI(M)’s strength. Muslim women constituted a sizeable part of the rally.


While the attendance of the people and their outpourings further enthused the organisers no end, the rural people’s support to the CPI(M) did send a strong signal about the presence of a third force in the Shekhawati region. Also, whenever the speakers stressed the necessity of a third force in the state, the audience enthusiastically endorsed the call with loud slogans and raised fists.  


It was no surprise if the newspapers gave much coverage to the rally the next day. “Red Challenge” (Rajasthan Patrika), “Red Salute to the Third Alternative” (Dainik Bhaskar), “CPI(M) the Third Alternative in the State” (Dainik Aas-Paas), “A Sea of People” (Dainik Ambar) and “CPI(M)’s Huge Mass Rally in Sikar” (Dainik Punjab Kesri) were some of the headlines the next day.


All the streets in Sikar and also the roads leading to the city were decorated with red flags, festoons and posters on the occasion of the CPI(M) state conference. For this purpose, the reception committee had organised an intensive mass contact programme in more than 1,000 villages and hamlets as well as 9 towns in the district, apart from the city itself. A large number of CPI(M) cadre and supporters from Sikar, Jaipur, Churu, Nagaur, Jhunjhunu and other districts took part in the whole process.


CPI(M) general secretary, Prakash Karat, was the main speaker at the public rally where he detailed the existing international and national situations, and outlined the party’s position on some pressing issues. He flayed the Congress led UPA government at the centre for skirting the constitution of a strong Lokpal in the country. He warned that while peasants are not getting remunerative prices for their produce, they are getting ensnared in a debt trap and are committed suicide in large numbers, the central government is striving to promote corporate faming in the country which would utterly ruin the peasantry.


While coming down heavily on the Congress government of Rajasthan for its callous attitude to the people’s issues, Karat said the Congress and the BJP are mutually indistinguishable insofar as the issue of corruption is concerned, and several ministers and legislators belonging to these two parties are at present behind the bars for their involvement in corrupt deals. In sharp contrast stands the 34 years record of the Left Front government in West Bengal where there is absolutely no charge of corruption against any minister. The speaker then urged the people of Rajasthan to forge a third alternative under the CPI(M)’s leadership in the state.


CPI(M) Central secretariat member Hannan Mollah, Central Committee member and popular legislator Amra Ram were included in the other speakers who addressed the rally. Earlier, CPI(M) state secretary Professor Vasudev drew attention of the audience to the historic role of peasant movement in Shekhawati region which is still devoid of rail lines, a canal or a university.


The open rally concluded with a vote of thanks proposed by Engineer B S Meel.    




Senior party leader and former MLA, Hetram Beniwal, hoisted the party’s flag, amid loud slogans, at about 5 p m on the day, followed by floral tributes at the martyrs column. As many as 216 delegates and observers then underwent the process of registration at Jain Dharmashala in Dang, rechristened as Jawahar Singh Nagar, for the conference.


The presidium elected for the conference comprised Hetram Beniwal, Phool Chand Barber, Devisingh Katara, Chandrakala Verma and Harphool Singh. A steering committee, a credentials committee, a resolutions committee and a minutes committee were also elected.


Ravindra Singh moved the condolence resolution, and the delegates and observers stood silent for two minutes to pay homage to the departed leaders and martyrs. The resolution also recalled the services of late Comrade Jawahar Singh and Comrade Ganga Sahay Sharma; respectively the conference venue and the dais were named after these comrades.


In his address, reception committee chairman Amra Ram detailed the political and social background of Sikar that has been in the centre of the Left movement in the state. In this process, he referred to the Shekhawati peasants’ movement of 1934 and numerous other movements, including the students movement in which Kana Ram was martyred.


Prakash Karat inaugurated the delegates session, detailing how the unfolding events have rebuffed the prophets of doom, who had fondly been predicting the demise of socialism and communism in the wake of the USSR’s debacle two decades ago. He said numerous circles are today offering a challenge to the World Bank-IMF’s neo-liberal policies, as we recently saw in the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. Another source of challenge to these policies is the emergence of Left forces in several countries of Latin America. It is to get rid of its impending doom that the NATO armies controlled by US-led imperialist powers have been launching brutal attacks against one country after another.


Karat also detailed the Indian situation, informing that the forthcoming Kozhikode congress of the CPI(M) would evolve a suitable political tactical line to deal with the current problems. The congress would also discuss an ideological resolution as a part of its drive to meet the ideological attacks of the enemy classes.


Following the setback suffered in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, the Left is facing an intensification of enemy attacks in the country; more than 450 CPI(M) cadre had been killed in West Bengal alone in this period. Of these, more than 275 were killed by the so-called Maoists. However, Karat said, the CPI(M) has faced this kind of situation in the past as well; for example during the semi-fascist terror regime in 1972-77 when more than 1,100 of our comrades were done to death in West Bengal. The CPI(M) leader was confident that the party would rebuff the current bout of attacks as well. He said the party cadre have to strive hard in order to make the CPI(M) an all-India force and to forge a Left and democratic alternative in the country. In Rajasthan, where our work and our influence have grown, we have to launch independent and joint struggle in order to emerge as an alternative to the Congress and BJP. With this hope, he wished well for the success of the CPI(M) state conference.


CPI state secretary Tara Singh conveyed the message of greetings to the CPI(M) state secretary on behalf of his party, saying that joint mass actions would help the whole of the Left in Rajasthan which is socially as well as economically backward.




The report presented by Professor Vasudev, the CPI(M) state secretary,  detailed the situation in the state. It said the Ashok Gehlot government of the Congress has intensified the neo-liberal offensive in the state while more than 40 communal offensives or disturbances have taken place here during the last three years. The police firing in Gopalgarh town of Bharatpur district on September 14, 2011, claiming the life of ten Muslims, has brought the chief minister to the same level as that of Narendra Modi of Gujarat. On the other hand, the Bhawari Devi and Paras Devi episode have exposed the depth of misdeeds being perpetrated in the state. Atrocities against women, dalits, tribals and minorities have gone up sharply while police stations have become the refuge corrupt people, land mafias, liquor mafias, dacoits, thieves, pick-pockets and rapists.


The report underline that the party has increase its influence in the state. It contested 34 seats in the last state assembly elections and won three. The party bagged more than 20,000 votes on four and more than 15,000 seats on another four seats. In all, the CPI(M) received 3,91,597 votes in these elections, which was 1.62 per cent of the total votes polled and more than double of the CPI(M) votes in the preceding assembly elections. In the last Lok Sabha elections, there was a triangular contest on the Sikar seat and the CPI(M) candidate received 1,61,590 votes.


The CPI(M) played an effective role in the polls to the local bodies as well. It won representation in Sikar, Suratgarh and Udaipur. The number of winning CPI(M) candidates in panchayat samitis has gone up from 41 to 51 and nine of its candidates won in zilla parishad polls. The zilla parishad vice president in Jhunjhunu and the president in Dhond (Sikar) belong to the CPI(M). More than a dozen party members have won the president posts in rural cooperative societies, while the party has also scored impressive victories in the polls to the land development banks and agricultural products’ mandis. In the village level bodies, the party has won 60 sarpanch and hundreds of panch positions in the state.             


The membership of the party has steadily gone up in Rajasthan since the last state conference --- from 4,167 in 2007 to 4,821 in 2011 --- at 15.69 per cent.


As for the mass organisations led by the party, they too have grown more or less steadily. The growth on the students front --- from 39,730 to 65,966 in the same period, a 66 per cent increase --- has been a cause of pride for all. But the growth of the student and youth organisations also devolves the responsibility of raising their level of consciousness through systematic education. For these fronts, four to five day classes are being organised every year.


In the last four years, the party units sold literature worth more than 1.5 lakh rupees. This was separate from the literature sold by the mass organisations.


Party members in the state assembly too have effectively discharged their role. In the state, the CPI(M) is being recognised as a party of mass struggles.   


The secretary’s report also dwelt on the agitations launched during the last four years since the 10th CPI(M) conference. The issues included those of government procurement of onions, power tariff hike, compensation for crop damage in Nagaur district, proper supply of water in the canal in Gangnagar and Hanumangarh, minimum wages, and atrocities against women, dalits and other sections. These struggles have brought the party to more sections of common people in the state.


On behalf of their respective delegations, as many as 69 delegates took part in the discussion on the report, enriching it with their constructive criticism and suggestions. Nest day, an on-the-spot meeting of the outgoing state committee discussed these suggestions and amendments, and authorised the state secretary about incorporating some of them. Later, the conference adopted the report unanimously after the secretary had made his reply.




On the second day of the conference, Amra Ram moved a resolution regarding the formation of a third front in the state. It was seconded by Hetram Beniwal. Pema Ram moved a resolution on the issue of atrocities against dalit masses in the state.


Supply of canal water, privatisation of education and health services, minimum support prices for agricultural produce, tribal problem, unemployment, communalism, neo-liberal policies, MGNREGS, industrial development of Shekhawati region, need of a university in this region, creation of broad gauge rail line here, subsidised and adequate supply of power, and anti-women atrocities were among the issues which other conference resolutions took up.    


According to the report presented by the credentials committee, only 212 of the 216 delegates presented their registration forms.


Women delegates numbered 20, highest so far in a state conference of the party in Rajasthan.


Of the delegates, three were illiterate and unfortunately all of them belonged to the minority community. There were politically motivated court cases against 27 delegates; Pawan Duggal, an MLA, has the maximum number of cases (25) against him. Ram Prasad Sihag (80), a member of the last state committee, was the oldest delegate at the conference while Ms Sarita (21) was the youngest.


More than one third delegates (78) were peasants, while workers numbered 56 and above 20 per cent delegates came from the middle classes. The delegates included 26 wholetimers also.


Of all the delegates, Hetram Beniwal spent maximum time (4 years) in jail and he is one of the oldest leaders of the party, one who joined it in 1958. Student leader Anurag Singar joined the party only in 2011. Hari Singh Garhwal had the longest underground life --- of more than 13 years.


The conference elected a new state committee with 31 members who, in turn, re-elected a 10-member state secretariat with Professor Vasudev as the state secretary. The new state committee will also have five delegates as permanent invitees. There will be seven delegates to the next party congress to be held in Kerala in the coming April. The state control commission has Professor Rajiv Gupta as its convenor and Ravindra Singh and Mangal Singh as members. The conference also bid farewell to three members of the outgoing state committee.


Hannan Mollah delivered the valedictory address at the state conference, talking about the process in which the draft political resolution and draft ideological resolution would come down to each and every member at the lowest level and their suggestions and amendments would go up to the next party congress, the highest body of the party, which would deliberate upon all these suggestions and amendments. He clarified how making use of parliamentary bodies is not in itself parliamentarism.


On behalf of the presidium, Hetram Beniwal expressed gratitudes to Prakash Karat and Hannan Mollah who had come from the party centre, and thanked the reception committee and the delegates for the successful conclusion of the 20th state conference. He also extended thanks to the residents of Sikar and other districts as well as the volunteers for the success of the open rally, and to the Jain Dharmashala management who provided space for the conference.