People's Democracy

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


No. 09

February 26, 2012



Strengthening Left, Democratic Forces to Build Prosperous Assam


Isfaqur Rahman


THROUGH its twentieth Assam state conference, the CPI(M) has urged the people of the state to strengthen the Left and democratic forces with a view to building a prosperous Assam. The conference underscored the need to strengthen the CPI(M) and expand its independent activities which can pave the way for broader unity among the Left and democratic and with secular forces in the state. the Left and democratic alternative is the cornerstone for building a prosperous Assam, it said. Intense battle against the neo-liberal economic policies and united struggles of the peasants, workers, employees and exploited masses for an alternative policy framework have become the crying need of the hour, the conference observed.


The three-day conference was held at the capital city of Guwahati on February 3-5. On February 3 morning, the delegates, a large number of volunteers and members of the reception committee assembled in the premises of the Guwahati District Library with great enthusiasm to participate in the ceremonial flag hoisting and to attend the inaugural function. Veteran CPI(M) leader and Central Committee member Hemen Das hoisted the red flag amidst spirited slogans and robust enthusiasm. Floral wreaths were placed at the martyrs' column by party's Polit Bureau member S Ramachandran Pillai, Central Committee members Noorul Huda, Uddhab Barman and Hemen Das, and all the delegates and volunteers.




The conference was formally inaugurated by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, S R Pillai in a jam-packed auditorium of the District Library. Hemen Das, Debanada Das, Purno Boro, Satyabati Bhuyan and Fazlur Rahman were elected to the presidium. The steering committee was formed with the state secretariat members. Basudev Kalita, Nirmal Dey and Nripesh Roy were elected to the credentials committee, while Gobin Nath, Ranjit Choudhury and Tarif Bhuyan were elected to the proceedings committee.


The condolence resolution, moved by the presidium, paid rich tributes to the former CPI(M) general secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet, Polit Bureau member and former West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu, Polit Bureau members M K Pandhe and Chittabrata Majumdar, former Polit Bureau member E Balanandan, state secretariat member Nizamuddin Khan and other comrades who passed away during the last four years. The conference also paid homage to cultural celebrities like Dilip Sarma, Dr Bhupen Hazarika and noted literary figure Mamoni Roisom Goswami.


The inaugural song was presented by Ghana Deka and his associates of the Guwahati IPTA. Eminent scientist and chairman of the reception committee, Dr Chandra Mohan Sarma, delivered his welcome address. In his speech, Dr Sarma said, capitalism was not 'eternal' as proclaimed by the bourgeois theorists and the euphoria over 'collapse of socialism' was fading fast. Although the Leftist forces in Assam are in a tight corner, the unfolding events show a bright future for the CPI(M) and the Left Dr. Sarma asserted.


In his inaugural speech, S R Pillai explained the national and international situation and referred to the unfolding and all pervading economic crisis in the capitalist world. Asserting the unsustainability of finance capital-driven globalisation, Pillai said there were growing protests worldwide against the neo-liberal order and its disastrous impact was seen in increasing inequalities and rising unemployment.


While dealing with the national situation, Pillai thundered against the Congress-led UPA dispensation for aggressively implementing neo-liberal policies and facilitating unfettered exploitation of resources and profiteering by domestic and foreign big corporates. The disastrous policies of the Manmohan Singh government were solely responsible for spiralling prices of essential commodities, alarming problem of unemployment and growing landlessness, deepening agrarian crisis and increasing incidents of farmers' suicides, Pillai said.


Referring to the communal BJP, Pillai said the major opposition party in parliament had no basic difference with the economic policies of the Congress. The BJP, a rightwing alternative to the Congress, pursues the same neo-liberal policies and advocates a pro-US foreign policy. Both the Congress and the BJP represent the bourgeois-landlord order. The CPI(M) leader asserted that only a Left and democratic platform could be the alternative to bourgeois-landlord rule.


While stressing the need for joint actions with the non-Congress secular parties, Pillai referred to the utmost importance of strengthening the independent role of the CPI(M). He exhorted the delegates to expand the influence and base of the party in Assam too.


The three-day conference was also attended by Polit Bureau member and Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar and Central Committee member Noorul Huda.




The conference was attended by 366 elected delegates, including 25 observers, representing a total of 14,359 members in the state. CPI(M) state secretary Uddhab Barman placed the draft political report and also the draft organisational report on behalf of the state committee.


The draft political report extensively dealt with the economic and political situation in Assam in the backdrop of the national and international situation. While reviewing the economic situation in the state, the report said "The economic development in Assam has still been distressing. The neo-liberal economic policies of the central government and its discriminatory attitude towards Assam has largely been responsible for the backwardness of the state. The inefficiency and failures of the state government are no less responsible. In the absence of proper planning and lack of investment, the state is lagging far behind in infrastructure development. The huge natural resources are yet to be tapped. Unbridled corruption and brazen loot of the state exchequer have also retarded the pace of development in the state."


Making an objective assessment of the performance of the state government during the intervening period, the report pinpointed the failures of the ruling Congress-led dispensation in Assam. The policies of the Tarun Gogoi-led government have largely been responsible for the deepening agrarian crisis and the crisis faced by the farmers, dismal picture in the industrial front, lack of infrastructure and abnormal delay in implementing the ongoing projects, rising problem of unemployment, privatisation and commercialisation of education etc. The state government has also failed to solve the problems of workers and employees, in both the organised and unorganised sectors. The woes and sufferings of the unorganised sectors have been accentuated by the callous attitude of the state government. During the 11 year uninterrupted rule of the Congress dispensation, corruption has not only been institutionalised but also surpassed all limits, the report added.


The draft report noted with concern the growth and increasing influence of identity politics in the state. In fact, Assam, a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi-national state of the North East, has always been a fertile ground for such divisive politics. In recent period, the trends towards seeking and assertion of self-identities has been rising among various ethnic groups posing a challenge to the democratic unity of the people. The state witnessed conflicts and clashes between Kukis and Karbis, Kukis and Hmars, Kukis and Dimasas, Hmars and Dimasas, Dimasas and Zemi Nagas in the two hill districts of Karbi Anglong and N C Hills. Fratricidal clashes were also taken place between Rabhas and Garos in Goalpara district bordering Meghalaya. Similar clashes were also witnessed in the BTAD areas between Bodos and Adivasis, Bodos and immigrant Muslims. The draft report noted that such clashes and conflicts not only disrupted peace, unity and integrity, but also badly affected the Left and democratic movements in the state. The report further added that the misrule and political chicanery of the Congress, associated with social discrimination and grave injustice meted out to the backward communities had led to such alarming rise of identify politics in Assam. While firmly opposing divisive slogans and appreciating the genuine grievances of the backward ethnic groups, the draft political report stated that "the party will have to take up issues of social justice along with the class issues. Programmes should be taken up to identify the democratic contents and genuine aspirations reflected in the movements of the backward sections so that a broad-based united movement can be built up.


Referring to the demands for 'separate state' raised by some sections, the political report firmly stated its opposition to further vivisection of Assam and formation of new states. The report also extensively dealt with the problems of the tribal autonomous councils, growing demands for recognition of Scheduled Tribe status to the Koch-Rajbonshis, Tea-tribe Adivasis, Tai-Ahoms, Morans, Mataks and Chutiyas. On the issues of social justice, the report dealt with the woes and sufferings of the Muslims and tea-tribes and demanded remedial measures. The party demands proper and immediate implementation of the recommendations of the Sachar committee and Ranganath Mishra commission for socio-economic and educational development of the Muslim community. Similarly, the party demanded immediate halt to the discriminations and injustice meted out to the Adivasi tea-tribes. It also strongly advocated for women empowerment.


The other issues dealt in the draft political report include the problems of terrorism and extremism, communalism and fundamentalism, illegal infiltration of foreign nationals, rights of the minorities and the issue of 'D' voters, preparation of the National Register of Citizenship with 1971 as the base year, the problems of recurring floods and erosions, the construction of Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Project by the NHPC at Gerukamukh etc.


The draft report also made an objective assessment of the role of the political parties in the state and chalked out the tasks ahead. Finally, the report was concluded with a call to intensify the independent activities and conduct movements and struggles for the all-round development, peace and progress of Assam. The party has also decided to unite and strengthen Left, democratic and secular forces of the state to build up a Left and democratic alternative.


The draft organisational report discussed the stagnation in growth of the party and self-critically analysed the weaknesses and shortcomings in the organisation. A 12 point organisational task was incorporated in the report.


A total of 58 delegates participated in the discussion on the draft political and organisational reports and stated their varied experiences. After the reply by the secretary Uddhab Barman, both the draft reports were adopted by the conference.


The conference also adopted 17 resolutions on price-rise, corruptions and scams with demand for a strong Lokpal, remunerative prices to the farmers, land to the landless and pattas, problems of the workers of the unorganised sectors, February 28 strike called by the central trade unions etc.


The conference elected a 50 member new state committee with provisions for two cooptions. Uddhab Barman was unanimously re-elected secretary of the state committee. It also elected a 16 member delegation to the 20th party congress to be held in April at Kozhikode.


As per the report of the credentials committee, out of the 366 delegates and observers, 61 were women. 50 delegates belonged to the working class, 102 were either agricultural labourers or poor peasants, 58 were middle peasants, 2 were rich peasants and 153 were middle class. The social composition of the delegates was: ST-36, SC-12, OBC-106, Muslim-50, Tea community-14, Linguistic minorities-57.


The concluding speech of the conference was delivered by Polit Bureau member and Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar. He referred to the discussion of the delegates and said the discussions reflected the consciousness and sincerity of the comrades and enriched the reports adopted by the conference. The intensification of mass and class movements in Assam would also leave impact and influence in the growth of the party in the entire North Eastern part of our country, Sarkar said. He exhorted the delegates to strengthen the party and mass movements with courage and conviction.


On behalf of the presidium, Hemen Das thanked and greeted the delegates and the members of the reception committee for making the conference a great success. More than 150 volunteers worked day and night for the last one month for achieving such a success.


A souvenir published by the reception committee was formally inaugurated by the state secretary Uddhab Barman. Seminars and cultural shows were also organised in connection with the conference. Manik Sarkar spoke in the well-attended seminar on "Two Decades Neo-Liberal Economy & Search for Alternative," held on February 4 at Lakshmiram Baruah Sadan. The Hemanga Biswas-Bhupen Hazarika memorial cultural show was inaugurated by renowned cultural celebrity Sudakshina Sarma. Bibhuranjan Choudhury, Ghana Deka and the IPTA troupes enthralled the audience with their performance.




On February 5, the concluding day of the conference, a huge rally was organised in Sonaram School ground in the city. The city witnessed ceaseless flows of party workers, supporters and sympathisers coming from nook and corner of the state. Several thousand people came from the districts of Barpeta, Kamrup, Nalbari, Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar, Darrang, Sonitpur, Nagaon, Dhubri, Goalpara etc. Large contingent of people also came from the Upper Assam districts of Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Sibsagar, Lakhimpur cutting across religious, national and ethnic barriers. The colourful rally mirrored the unity and struggle of all sections of the people --- Hindus, Muslims and Christians, tribals and non-tribals, Assamese and non-Assamese.


The rally was presided over by senior leader Hemen Das and addressed, among others, by S R Pillai and Manik Sarkar. The state secretary Uddhab Barman explained the decisions and resolutions of the delegates' session.


Addressing the open session, S R Pillai and Manik Sarkar came down heavily on the neo-liberal economic policies of government which spell disaster to the common people. Both the leaders made a fervent appeal to the people of Assam to intensify the struggles against the anti-people policies of the government and to strengthen the Left and democratic forces in the country. Only a L Left and democratic alternative could solve the problems of Assam and the country as well. To build a prosperous Assam, unite the toiling masses and strengthen the CPI(M) and the Left, they appealed.


With this massive rally, the conference came to a successful end.