People's Democracy

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


No. 10

March 04, 2012


CPI(M) Holds Bihar State Conference


RECHRISTENED as Jyoti Basu Auditorium, the Town Hall of Motihari was the venue of the CPI(M)’s 20th state conference in Bihar, held from January 29 to 31.


It will be noted that Motihari is the headquarters of Champaran East district, in the area where indigo peasants had staged a revolt against the inhuman oppression of indigo planters during the British Raj. At one stage, Mahatma Gandhi too joined the movement of the Champaran peasantry whose echoes were heard all over the country. After the country’s independence, the area saw several big struggles of peasants and agricultural workers under communist leadership, and various historians and researchers have taken note of these struggles.


The conference started with CPI(M) Polit Bureau member S Ramachandran Pillai hoisting the Red Flag at the venue, followed by floral tributes at the martyrs column.




The conference started with a huge open rally in the sprawling Town Hall ground, presided over by Ramashray Singh, former MLA and member of the CPI(M) state secretariat. A resolution adopted by the rally, with loud applause, sharply condemned the central government and particularly its human resources development minister, Kapil Sibal, for deliberately obstructing the opening of the proposed Mahatma Gandhi Central University at Motihari. The resolution described as ridiculous the centre’s argument that such a university cannot be opened in Motihari as it has no five-star hotel or big airport. This is insulting to the common people of Champaran, to the historic peasant movement of the area and to Mahatma Gandhi, the resolution stressed.


While greeting the historic peasant movement of Champaran, CPI(M) state secretary Vijaykant Thakur sharply attacked the Nitish Kumar government of the JD(U)-BJP combine that is pursuing the neo-liberal policies and whose assurances of providing development and pro-people governance have proved to be fraudulent. Out of the six years life of this government, four saw negative growth in agriculture. While the government talks eloquent of a Green Revolution in Bihar, it has so far taken no concrete steps to protect the people from natural disasters, nor provided them adequate relief after natural disasters struck them. Not willing to have any change in the semi-feudal agrarian relations that are the main factor of Bihar’s backwardness and the root of many of its problems, it went back upon its word when the time came to implement the Bandopadhyaya commission’s recommendations. The report said as much as 22 lakh acres of surplus land could be available even under the existing laws, and this could be divided among as many landless families, but the government is unwilling to do it. The implementation of existing sharecropping act is also pending. While the government does not tire of talking about mahadalits, these and other poorest of the poor have not got any homestead plot so far. Led by the CPI(M) and other Left parties, the landless fought for and occupied thousands of acres of ceiling surplus land but they are yet to get pattas for the same. The Nitish government has also failed to ensure that dalit and other landless get the occupancy right over the land for which they were allotted pattas long back.


Veteran party leader Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi and Umakant Shukla also addressed the open session.


CPI(M) Central Secretariat member Hannan Mollah, among other things, castigated the Nitish government’s failure in curbing the crime wave in the state, in particular the spate of atrocities against women, dalits, minorities, small peasants and agricultural workers.        


The main speaker at the open session was S Ramachandran Pillai who detailed the harmful economic policies of the UPA government, its failure to enact an effective Lokpal bill while corruption is rampant under this government, and its retrograde foreign policy which is aimed at making India a protégé of the US led imperialist camp. At the same time, the BJP, the main opposition party in parliament, is not a bit different from the Congress party in all these aspects; its only distinction is that it has been playing the communal game in order to divide the people and kill their fighting unity. The situation demands that the CPI(M) and other Left parties are strengthened as it is they who represent an alternative to the bourgeois landlord rule with all its disastrous policies. Referring to the glorious place of Bihar in Indian history including the history of our independence struggle, Pillai said that while striving to strengthen the Left unity, the CPI(M) would have to intensify its independent activities, launch local level struggles on people’s issues and spread the party and its mass organisations to newer areas.     




Following the open session, the inaugural session took place on January 29 evening, with the election of Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi, Sarangdhar Paswan, Umakant Shukla, Manoj Kumar Gupta and Ahmed Ali to the presidium. The conference paid homage to late Comrades Jyoti Basu, Harkishan Singh Surjeet, M K Pandhe, E Balanandan, P Ramachandran, Ahilya Rangnekar, R W Varadarajan, Pappa Umanath and Prabhakar Sanzgiri, to other leaders of the communist and democratic movements in India and abroad, and to Comrades Virendra Singh, Yogendra Shah, Ram Pukar Chaurasia, Surendra Yadav, Ram Badan Singh, Ram Udgar Yadav, Aazim, Ram Prakash Sah and Haroon who were killed by either the Maoists or by landlords’ criminal henchmen after the last CPI(M) state conference.


The conference also paid homage to historians R S Sharma and Kaushal Kishore Sharma, archaeologist Dr Surajbhan, artist Maqbool Fida Hussain, theatre artist Habib Tanwir, singer Bhupen Hazarika, DR Chandrabali Singh, Harish Bhadani, K P Singh, Markandeya, Kamala Sankrityayan, and other progressive intellectuals who departed in this period.


After the welcome address by reception committee chairman Ramashray Singh, S R Pillai inaugurated the conference, detailing how the CPI(M) is distinct from bourgeois landlord parties and how it follows a democratic style of functioning from top to bottom. The CPI(M)’s strategic goal is to effect a people’s democratic revolution in India and all the tactics are directed to this goal.


Explain the national and international developments since the 19th party congress in 2008, Pillai outlined the tasks at hand and the corrective steps needed to overcome our weakness and move forward.     




The political and organisational report presented by the CPI(M) state secretary took note of the concrete situation in Bihar, Lok Sabha polls 2009 and assembly polls 2011 in the state, elections to the local bodies, state of party organisation, party’s intervention on various issues, rectification campaign and work on various fronts. It said Bihar is a state with glorious traditions of class struggle, democratic movements and anti-feudal upsurge. Here, along with similar struggles, we have also to intensify our struggles on social and cultural fronts, select our cadres from these struggles, develop them politically and intellectually, and strengthen the party organisation in this manner.


The report said the JD(U)-BJP has strengthened its position in the state since our last state conference. But the BJP has gained more and the number of its MLAs has gone up from 55 to 91. This is a matter of concern for the Left and secular forces. The RJD, LJP and Congress have also lost ground because of their anti-people policies and opportunistic moves. The Left has also weakened. But despite its tall talks and media management, the Nitish government has failed to bring any worthwhile positive change in the life of the people. Maladministration, lack of development, corruption and atrocities against women and weaker sections continued at the ground level. Attacks on political opponents have multiplied in the JD(U)-BJP rule, and so has the chain of murder of CPI(M) cadres in the recent months.              


The report quoted several figures to highlight the miserable economic plight of Bihar which continues to depend upon other states for cereals and other food items. The state needs 167 lakh metric tonnes of foodgrains but the production is only 130 lakh tonnes. Bihar is much below the national average on most of the economic and social parameters. It also suffers extraordinary losses every year simply because the government lacks political will to face the natural disasters and control the extent of damage.


The plight of the rural mass is worsening. The proportion of peasants in Bihar population is lass than the all-India average but the proportion of agricultural workers is almost twice the all-India average.              


The situation regarding power, water and fertilisers is also disappointing. Money coming for schemes like MGNREGA and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan are not being spent fully because of financial mismanagement, causing the state losses of Rs 11,000-12,000 crore every year. The CAG held the state government guilty of financial irregularities involving Rs 28,000 crore.


According to the National Crime Records Bureau, Bihar accounts for 18 per cent of the crimes in the country. Surveys in the Koshi region have found that 7 per cent of the children aged up to 5 years of age are kidnapped every year and they remain untraced.


The government has admitted there has been a fall in the industrial production. Power crisis has reached unprecedented proportions. National and state highways account for 5 per cent of all roads in the state. Money on these highways is spent through contractors and capitalists. The remaining 95 per cent roads are in a bad shape.


Mass discontent against feudal dominance and rampant corruption has multiplied in the period under review. However, attacks against the CPI(M) and other Left parties have also increased, as was evident from the murder of Comrade Surendra Yadav only a few days before the state conference took place. But the people are also putting up resistance. At Bajitpur (Begusarai), the feudals had had to retreat. Though it is extremely difficult, the situation offers scope to forge class struggle ahead. Independent activity and party building is also possible.


In its mid-term review, the state committee had identified major strengths and weaknesses. There is unity of idea in the party; team work has also increased. The party scored some success in forging Left unity. There were joint struggles and campaigns on some issues. Issues facing women, dalits and minorities were raised and interventions made. The party has got a new building for state committee office in Patna; some district committees too have acquired their own office buildings. The party can justly take pride on some of its achievements.


But weaknesses persist regarding branch functioning, party membership recruitment and renewal, work on mass fronts, committee functioning, collective decision making and individual responsibility, recruitment and deployment of wholetimers, fall in the membership f some mass organisations, etc. the secretary’s report identified the tasks to be discharged in order to overcome these weaknesses. The process of rectification too needs to be taken down to the district and lower levels, so that members are enabled to withstand and fight the alien influences coming in the wake of the neo-liberal policy regime.


The report was subjected to discussion by as many as 68 delegates, who made concrete suggestions to enrich it. These criticisms, amendments and suggestions well reflected the delegates’ anxiety to see the party developing in the state. The delegates session adopted the report after the state secretary replied to the discussion, assuring incorporation of some of the amendments and suggestions.  


Opening of a central university at Motihari without further delay, minority issues, failure of the Nitish government, atrocities against women and dalits, reopening of the Bihar sugar mills lying closed, and proposed February 28 strike were the topics of some of the conference resolutions.


Shah Zafar Imam presented the credentials committee report which the delegates unanimously adopted. According to the report, 313 men and 16 women attended the conference. The occupational background of the delegates is – worker:1; agricultural workers: 29; peasants: 100; services: 37; business: 30; others: 125.  Social background  Scheduled castes and tribes: 28; Muslims & other minorities: 12


The committee elected a 50-member state committee which, in turn, re-elected Vijaykant Thkur as state secretary. The conference also elected a three-member control commission, and 18 delegates for the coming party congress.


Hannan Mollah delivered the valedictory address.