People's Democracy

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


No. 15

April 15, 2012



A Congress of Confidence & Determination


G Mamatha



AS we get down from the bus carrying us from our accommodation place to the venue of the 20th Congress of the Party, Harkishan Singh Surjeet-Jyoti Basu Nagar (Tagore Centenary Hall) in Kozhikode, we were enthralled. Men and women, young and old, some even holding infants in their arms, standing on either side of the entrance gates with a broad smile and enthusiasm on their faces, with fists clenched and hands raised offering red salute to the delegates, some clicking away photos, some eagerly stretching their arms to shake hands with the delegates – this was an inspiring and a memorable experience of the Congress. This is my third Congress, but such an experience of people, common people, thronging the venue to get the feel of the Congress, to catch the glimpse of the Party leadership who have come from all over the country, to express their solidarity with the fighting people across the country, is the most memorable and never before experience. It was a first hand, direct experience of the huge mass based Party.


The 20th Party Congress began on April 04, 2012 with the flag hoisting by R Umanath, senior most delegate and veteran leader of the Party. The delegates paid floral tributes at the martyrs column. The flag post was brought to Kozhikode from the historic town of Kayyur in a jatha led by CPI(M) Central Committee member P Karunakaran. The Red flag was brought from the place of historic peasant revolt, Punnapra Vayalar, in a jatha led by CPI(M) Central Secretariat member A Vijayaraghavan. The flaming torch was carried in a jatha led by P Mohanan, district secretariat member of the Party, from Onchiyan in Kozhikode district where eight protesting peasants were shot dead by the police in 1948. All these three jathas merged in Kozhikode in the evening of April 3. Prakash Karat lit the torch at the venue of the Congress on April 3.



The inaugural session of the 20th Congress began in the morning on April 04. S Ramachandran pillai was the president of the inaugural session. Prakash Karat declared open the 20th Congress of the CPI(M) and delivered the opening speech. The chairman of the reception committee, Pinarayi Vijayan delivered the welcome address. S Ramachandran Pillai gave the presidential address. The full texts of these speeches are carried elsewhere in this issue. S Ramachandran Pillai placed the condolence resolution and homage to the martyrs.


A B Bardhan, veteran leader and former general secretary of the CPI addressed the delegates in the inaugural session. He said the assessment made by the CPI(M) regarding national and international situation, particularly the negative impact of neo-liberal policies on political, social and moral life of the nation is shared by the CPI too. Admitting the differences between the two parties on other issues, Bardhan underlined that they were few while similarities of perception were many. He noted that the joint actions undertaken by the Left have been instrumental in forging Left unity. “I cannot visualise Left unity unless both parties work closely in future. We are of the view this joint action should somehow be institutionalised”, said Bardhan. He wanted the Party Congress to discuss on evolving some mechanism so that the informal meetings between the general secretaries of the two parties are converted into a more structural and regularised form.


Bardhan felt the recent elections to state assemblies showed that people were not falling prey to the attempts by the ruling classes to work out a two-party system that would perpetuate a neo-liberal policy regime. Although most regional parties resort to opportunism occasionally, they were basically secular, he said. He wanted the Left to redefine its relations with these parties and work out ways to draw them towards the Left and Democratic alternative. However, the essential condition for achieving this is the cementing of Left unity, he said. Given the fact that people are distancing themselves from both the UPA and the NDA, Bardhan felt that this vacuum can be filled only by the Left and Democratic combine.


The delegate session began with the election of the presidium and various other committees for the conduct of the Congress. A seven member presidium comprising of S Ramachandran Pillai (president), Mohd Salim, P Ramaiah, M A Baby, Khagen Das, Sudha Sundararaman and J P Gavit was elected. The Polit Bureau acted as the steering committee. The resolutions committee consisted of Brinda Karat (convener), Nilotpal Basu, Thomas Issac and A K Padmanabhan. The credentials committee comprised of Madan Ghosh (convener), M C Josephine, P Sampath and Rakesh Singha. The minutes committee consisted of Gyan Shankar Majumdar, A A Nainar, Tapati Mukhopadhyay and Vijoo Krishnan.


The Draft Political Resolution, Draft Resolution on Some Ideological issues and Draft Political-Organisational Report were taken up in the delegate session. Detailed reports and the discussions on these will appear in the subsequent issues of the People’s Democracy. Similarly, the messages received from various fraternal parties will be published in the subsequent issues.


Prakash Karat placed the Draft Political Resolution and Draft Political Review report. He said the Central Committee had prepared the Draft Political Resolution and circulated two months before the Congress, which was discussed at all levels of the Party and many amendments were received. In the Draft Political Review report, which forms Part I of the Political Organisational report, the political tactical line adopted at the 19th Congress of the Party and the subsequent changes made in the tactical line were reviewed, apart from the work carried out in the last four years. Prakash Karat said the scope of the political review report is the implementation of the political tactical line since the last Congress. The thrust of the resolution was on developing the independent strength of the Party in the coming days.  A report on the pre-Congress amendments was also placed by him. 47 delegates took part in the discussions on the reports. Prakash Karat replied to the discussions on the Draft Political Resolution and the Draft Political Review Report and gave a report on the amendments received at the Congress, after which they were adopted by the Congress.


On April 6, the Draft Resolution on Some Ideological Issues was placed by Sitaram Yechury. He said this resolution is coming before us at a time when there is an acute global economic crisis, which is not a regular cyclical crisis, and which has come about as a result of the structural changes in capitalism. The aggressiveness of imperialism is seen in the political, economic, ideological and social spheres. He said the theme of the resolution is to understand and analyse these changes, while the objective is to change the system. He, then placed the report on the pre Congress amendments. 42 delegates participated in the discussions on the ideological resolution.  Yechury replied to the discussions and gave a report on the amendments received at the Congress, after which it was adopted by the Congress.


The Draft Political-Organisational Report was placed by S Ramachandran Pillai on April 7. The organisational part of the report was discussed here in four parts. 40 delegates took part in the discussions on the report, enriching it with their experiences. After the reply to the discussions by Ramachandran Pillai, the Draft Political-Organisational Report was adopted by the Congress.


Prakash Karat placed the amendments to the Party Constitution moved by the Central Committee on the term limitation. The amendments were as follows:


Under Article XV, add as section 15:


No person can hold the position of the general secretary for more than three full terms.  Full term means the period between two Party Congresses. In a special situation, a person who has completed three full terms as general secretary may be re-elected for a fourth term provided it is so decided by the Central Committee with a three-fourth majority. But in no case can that person be elected again for another term in addition to the fourth term.


Under Article XVI, add as section 4:


No person can hold the position of secretary of the state/district/intermediate committee for more than three full terms.   Full term means, the period between two Party conferences of the respective committee. In a special situation, a person who has completed three full terms as secretary may be re-elected for a fourth term provided it is so decided by the respective committee with a three-fourth majority  and with the approval of the state committee. In the case of state secretary, it will have to be approved by the Central Committee.  But in no case can that person be elected again for another term in addition to the fourth term.

The amendments were adopted by the Congress.


A resolution on observing Comrade P Sundarayya’s birth centenary was moved by Prakash Karat. He said Comrade P Sundarayya was an organiser par excellence, who nurtured and reared many leaders of the Party who could be seen present on the dais of the Congress today. This occasion should be utilised to strengthen the Party and called upon the Party to observe the centenary campaign from May 1, 2012 – May 1, 2013. Biman Basu seconded the resolution and said that besides being an efficient Party builder, Comrade Sundarayya fought for long long years for the correct stand that was taken up by the CPI(M). He said, the centenary should be utilised for Party education, specially at this juncture where Communist values are getting diluted.

21 Resolutions on various issues were placed in the Congress, which will appear in the subsequent issues of the People’s Democracy. Five books were released during the Congress.


The Credential Committee report was placed by Madan Ghosh on April 9. Prakash Karat, then proposed before the Congress the new Central Committee, which was elected by the Congress. The new Central Committee comprises 89 members (with two vacancies).


In the concluding session, which was open to the media and others, chairman of the presidium S Ramachandran Pillai announced that the newly elected Central Committee met and unanimously elected Prakash Karat as general secretary. The announcement was greeted with loud applause. Karat then announced the names of 15 Polit Bureau members elected by the CC. He also announced that Sitaram Yechury has been elected as the editor of the People’s Democracy and Benoy Konar has been elected as the chairman of the Central Control Commission.


Delivering his concluding address, Prakash Karat said the 20th Party Congress has given a call to build a strong CPI(M) all over the country as that would pave the way to strengthen the Left and help in marching towards the goal of Left and Democratic alternative. It has also called for stepping up struggles against neo-liberal policies and appealed to the cadre to take up all issues relating to the working people. The Party will continue its struggle against communalism of all hues.


Karat said that all the delegates who spoke in the Congress saluted the courageous battle being waged by the Party in West Bengal. The Party Congress pledged total support and solidarity to the fighting comrades of Bengal. He thanked the people of Kozhikode for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements made for the Congress. He expressed confidence that the Party will march ahead and make further advances in Kerala.


Karat felt that the Party Congress has made the world see how CPI(M) practices democracy. On all reports and documents, there was widest discussion at all levels of the Party before the Congress.  Then in the Congress, the delegates further discussed and debated the issues and made valuable contributions. The election of the new CC and PB also showed this up. He expressed his deep gratitude to comrades who served in the PB and CC R Umanath, Mohd Amin, N Varadarajan, Noorul Huda, Hemant Das and Benoy Konar. He also thanked V J K Nair and Kumar Shiralkar who worked in the CC.


He concluded by saying that the fruitful deliberations of the Party Congress have made the leadership aware of the major responsibilities lying on it to take up the tasks formulated in the political, organisational and ideological fronts.We have to bend all our energies to go among the people and rally them into the struggles,” he said


Treasurer of the organising committee, Elamaram Kareem, while speaking in the concluding session, said it has been a great privilege to host this historic Congress in Kozhikode.


Polit Bureau member S Ramachandran Pillai thanked the Kerala state committee and Kozhikode district committee on behalf of the presidium for the successful conduct of the 20th Party Congress. The Congress ended with the rendering of the Internationale.