People's Democracy

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


No. 08

February 19, 2012




New Hopes for Advance


ABOUT three years of incessant toil in execution of several programmes on popular demands, campaigns, civil obedience satyagrahas and various other forms of protest like rasta roko, gherao, human chains, demonstrations and hunger strike etc, had had its reflection in the unexpected success the CPI(M) received in Gujarat in the organisation of its 20th state conference. In this period the party also made serious attempts to approach newer sections like tribal masses, Anganwadi workers and BPL card holders.


The conference was remarkable in terms of attendance, mass participation, democratic discussions, arrangements and the people’s response to the fund call.


The conference venue --- Nanda Hall --- at Rajkot was rechristened as Jyoti Basu Nagar on the occasion while the rostrum was named after Comrade M K Pandhe and entrance as Comrade Harkishan Singh Surjeet Pravesh Dwar. Portraits of national and state level leaders bedecked the rostrum.


CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat and Central Committee member Sukomal Sen attended the conference from the party centre.


The conference opened on January 28 morning with Subodh Mehta, most senior comrade in the state, hoisting the party’s flag, followed by tributes at the martyrs column.


The day witnessed a colourful mass rally with festoons, banners and flags, joined by singing and dancing party supporters from various parts of the state. It started from Trikon Bagicha of Rajkot and, wending its way through various thoroughfares, led by, reached Jubilee Baag where it culminated in a public meeting. Presided over by Subodh Mehta, the meeting saluted the martyrs of West Bengal and extended solidarity to their kith and kin as well as to those fighting to defend the gains made during the Left Front rule.


Brinda Karat inaugurated the meeting proceedings, tearing asunder the myths of Manmohanomics with its neo-liberal policies and boasts of globalisation while also exposing the hypocrisy of the BJP’s politics. On this occasion, she charged that the BJP and the Congress, do not want the corporate sector and foreign multinational to come under the Lokpal’s scrutiny, as these are the sources of profuse unaccounted money-flows for the two parties. That is why both of them scuttled the proposals to set up an independent investigating agency and the amendments aimed to strengthen the Lokpal bill.


The speaker also questioned the genuineness of Narendra Modi’s sadbhavana campaign and claims of secularism at a time when as many as 21 top police officers are facing charges and even the state’s home minister is behind the bars. She also exposed the reality of the Food Security Bill in detail and attacked the central government for its policies that are causing price rises.


Sukomal Sen urged the audience to strenuously work for success of the proposed February 28 all-India strike.


Reception committee chairman and veteran Sarvodaya leader Sudhir Joshi, its secretary Ramchandran and Subodh Mehta were among those who addressed the mass meeting.


On this occasion, the 51 member reception committee and the CPI(M) district committee of Rajkot presented mementos to Brinda Karat and Sukomal Sen.


A number of Gujarati, Hindi and English papers published in the state reported the open session with five column headlines and first-page news. These included The  Times of India, Gujarat Samachar, Akila, Ajkal, Sanj Samachar, Sandesh and Kathiavad Times, to name only a few.


Beginning on January 29, the delegates session, based on 210 elected delegates, had had a presidium consisting of Subodh Mehta, Pragjibhai Bhambhi, Nalini Jadeja, Singjibhai Katara and Batuk Makwana. On behalf of the presidium, Pragjibhai Bhambhi moved a condolence resolution. The elected steering committee was based on Arun Mehta, Kuberbhai Bhambhi, and Naginbhai Patel while Ashok Sompura, Satish Parmar, Dayabhai Jadav and Dinesh Kantariya constituted the credentials committee.


The session began with the good news that, though quite delayed, there had come an important judicial decision against the real culprits in the murder of young girls who were on a pilgrimage to Mount Girinar in Junagadh. It was understood that these criminals were Modi’s favourites; in any case, they had been freely moving and frightening the people at large. The issue of their arrest and punishment had thus become a law and order issue. The CPI(M)’s Junagadh district committee and its secretary, Batuk Makwana, played a decisive role in securing this verdict.


The 53-page politico-organisational report presented by CPI(M) state secretary, Arun Mehta, castigated the Modi regime’s policies and practices in all spheres of the people’s life in Gujarat. Disregarding the interests of all sections of the people, the state government has been subserving the interests of only corporate houses and multinational corporations, while mounting an utterly “phoney” propaganda of development. The state government has also been attempting to snatch fertile agricultural lands from farmers, in the interest of existing or would be investors.


The report also accused the state police of having been tainted and encouraging aggressive  communalism. It is also guilty of serious involvement in the 2002 riots.


Its anti-rural stance is evident from the “dark zones” in Gujarat that pays the highest rates for electricity purchases. The report quoted vital statistics in eight annexures.


The report was passed unanimously after 39 delegates discussed it at length, for four hours.


In regard to organisation, the report noted the advance the CPI(M) has made in the last three years, spreading its organisation to new districts like Amreli, Jamnagar, Surendrangar and Valsad (Umargam). The mass influence of our party is being felt among the Anganwdi workers, BPL card holders and in tribal areas. Initial contacts have been made in cultural and literary fields too.


The success of the safai kamdars’ struggles in smashing the contract system at Bhavnagar has drawn the attention of the entire lot attached to municipal bodies. However, there has been a severe setback on the students front.


Work on the kisan front has been revived after the Upleta state conference of the Kisan Sabha.


Weaknesses in ideological work as well as in organisation (branch functioning, regular collection of levy, economic hardships of state centre etc) persist. These need to be addressed in the coming period. However, mass organisations have been regularly holding their conferences.


Response to the party fund call before this conference evoked encouraging response.


The state party organ, Sarfarosh Chintan, has been coming out regularly during the last five years, with an increase in paid subscriptions. It is being favourably received and read outside party circles; its special issues have proved more attractive. But other agit-prop activity remains quite week.


Active functioning of the district committee members, with fixed responsibility of each, remains to be achieved.


There has not been much success in electoral terms. Weaknesses in combating the state power and the deeply entrenched backward social customs persist.


Despite all this, CPI(M) workers are facing the situation and fighting with tenacity, which arouses hopes for advance.


The conference elected a new state committee of 30 members, including two vacancies. In its turn, the new state committee re-elected Arun Mehta as the state secretary, and seven other state secretariat members.


The conference also elected six delegates and two alternate delegates for the 20th party congress.


The conference resolutions centred, among other things, on issues related to peasantry, workers’ condition in the Modi regime, and women’s lot and gender ratio in Gujarat.


Chorus singing of the Internationale concluded the CPI(M) state conference.