People's Democracy

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


No. 38

September 23, 2012



‘Join the Nationwide Movement

against Neo-Liberal Policies’


N S Arjun


THE 9th all India conference of Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) has given a clarion call to the youth of the country to participate in the nationwide movement against the neo-liberal, anti-people policies of the UPA-II government being organised by DYFI in the coming days. The conference also resolved to unleash nationwide campaign against the unprecedented corruption during the Manmohan Singh regime.


Held in Bangalore during September 11-15, 2012, the all India conference concluded successfully with the election of a 71-member new central executive committee with M B Rajesh as the new president and Abhay Mukherjee as the new general secretary. Five national vice-presidents (Preethi Shekar, Abhas Rai Chowdhury, M Swaraj, Tapas Datta, and Murugan) and five joint secretaries (T V Rajesh, Zameer Mohalla, Amal Chakraborthy, B Rajashekaramurthy and Dinesh) were also elected along with a ten-member secretariat.


With the latest offensive of the Manmohan Singh government against aam admi in the form of hike in diesel prices, curtailing of subsidies on LPG gas and allowing FDI in retail sector coming in the midst of the conference, it was also resolved to hold countrywide protests against these measures. The delegates earlier held a spirited demonstration on September 14 in front of the conference venue, burning the effigy of UPA-II government. Traffic came to a standstill  as hundreds of delegates, carrying placards in various languages, squatted on the road raising slogans against the government.

After the impressive rally and public meeting on September 11, renowned filmmaker, Shyam Benegal, inaugurated the conference in the evening. In his brief speech Benegal called upon the youth to take up a more proactive role in addressing the serious issues plaguing the nation like poverty, unemployment and malnutrition. Agitating to push the government to address these serious issues is one aspect which the youth must do but simultaneously the youth must themselves do something about it, he said. Recalling his association with the architect of the White Revolution in India, Verghese Kurien, who recently expired, Benegal said he embodied the qualities of correct understanding, self-belief and collective functioning. He explained how Kurien changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of small and marginal dairy farmers through Operation Flood. The youth must learn from his life how to accomplish common good even in face of many obstacles, he said.


Reception Committee chairman and noted Kannada writer, Baragur Ramachandrappa, speaking on the occasion said the youth must reclaim the legacy of Bhagat Singh and Swami Vivekananda, both personalities that have been falsely appropriated by the right wing forces in the country. These revolutionaries’ ideas must be used to end the miseries of capitalist wars.


Shyam Benegal released three books on this occasion and first copies of those books were handed over to CPI(M) Polit Bureau members Sitaram Yechury and M A Baby who were on the dais. Also, eight leading figures belonging to fields ranging from literature to sports and art were felicitated by the guests on this occasion. Former DYFI leader of Karnataka S Y Gurushant introduced the personalities who were being felicitated.


Earlier, the DYFI flag was hoisted by its president P Sreeramakrishnan at the venue of the conference, Rabindranath Tagore Nagar (Town Hall). The dais has been named Shaheed Manch. The 705 delegates who were assembled saluted the flag and later paid homage to martyrs at the Martyrs Column. The flag was brought in a jatha from Koothupurumba in Kerala where five DYFI leaders were killed in police firing while protesting against imperialist-driven globalisation in 1994. DYFI leader from J&K Mohd Amin Dhar led the jatha. Another jatha from Chennai led by DYFI leader from Maharashtra Shailendra Kamble brought the flag post. D Sreeramakrishnan placed a resolution on martyrs while Mohd Amin placed a condolence resolution. The delegates paid homage by observing two minute silence.


A nine member presidium comprising M B Rajesh, Tapas Dutta, Jamir Mollah, Roma Devi, Parul Islam, Krishnadeb Barman and Velmurugan was elected to conduct the proceedings of the conference. Other committees, including resolutions committee, credentials committee etc were also elected.

Placing the Political Organisational Report in the conference on September 12, DYFI general secretary Tapas Sinha said the DYFI is the largest youth organisation in the country with 1.34 crore membership largely because of the dedicated work of the cadre since the previous conference held in Chennai in 2007. It is also the second largest youth organisation in the world. The membership had peaked to 1.75 crore in 2008 but has been declining ever since. He attributed the fall largely to the changed political situation in West Bengal, which is the largest contingent of the organisation. He asserted that despite the grave situation prevailing in the state, the Bengal DYFI comrades are geared up to meet the challenges. He underlined the importance of membership in building the organisation in newer areas.


Tapas Sinha mentioned some of the major activities taken up by the organisation since the previous conference. Among them included the month long Azadi Bachao movement against the then UPA government’s collaboration with US. It had culminated with a big all India rally in New Delhi on November 3, 2008. As part of its movement against unemployment, the DYFI CEC had called for holding of marches to state assemblies and Raj Bhavans across the country in 2010 and 2011. It also conducted nationwide signature campaign against revelations of rampant corruption of UPA-II government in 2010. However, the report noted that there was failure in expanding and sustaining this initiative. The CEC had also given regular calls for holding protests against price rise and  hike in petro prices. There were also many movements in many states on local issues. However much more stress has to be given for these local struggles at district and lower levels, noted the report. It also states that for a successful campaign, it is necessary to make its mode  attractive to the youth. Usage of difficult political jargon must be avoided. The campaigns must relate to day to day issues of youth.


On organisational part, the report notes that although there are signs of improved committee functioning at different levels, shortcomings still persist as the basic principles of democratic functioning are undermined. Regular attendance and participation of members in deliberations, specific job distribution, regular review and systematic check-ups, together with implementation of the democratic principle of criticism and self-criticism can ensure collective functioning of committees. Making a self-critical assessment about failure in strengthening the all India centre, the Report resolved to increase the presence of key functionaries at the centre.


A total of 56 delegates took part in the discussion spread over three days. Apart from highlighting the major activities they conducted in their states, most of the delegates participating in the discussion flagged areas where the organisation should focus in the coming days. They were of the opinion that conditions are ripe in the country for strengthening the youth movement. Bengal delegates highlighted how the TMC regime was encouraging brutal attacks by lumpens against DYFI and democratic movement cadre. They vowed to overcome this assault by working closely with the people. Kerala delegates also referred to the UDF regimes concerted attacks on democratic movement in the state by misuse of police and sections of media. They pointed out how false cases have been booked against DYFI leaders and many could not come to this conference as delegates as they were in jail. Some of the delegates critically appraised the role of the leadership in running the organisation. Delegates from Northeast and other smaller states wanted greater attention from the all India centre towards their political-organisational needs.


Replying to the discussion on the last day of the conference i.e. September 15, 2012, DYFI general secretary Tapas Sinha admitted there were some weaknesses in meeting the needs of state committees. But he also pointed to the many achievements in this period. He stressed that organisation, agitation and propaganda must be carried on simultaneously for effective results. The conference later unanimously adopted the political organisational report. After the election of the new leadership, the conference adopted a resolution thanking the Reception Committee for the successful conduct of the conference. Reception Commmittee secretary and leader of democratic movement Bayya Reddy made a brief speech explaining how despite limitations of strength of the democratic movement in the state the cadre worked tirelessly in making the conference a success.

Leaders of four Left youth organisations resolved to deepen their unity and launch united struggles against anti-people neo-liberal policies being pursued by governments.


Leaders of All India Youth Federation (AIYF), Revolutionary Youth Federation (RYF), All India Youth League (AIYL) participated in a special session of Left youth in the 9th all India conference of DYFI on September 13. The fraternal youth organisation leaders were felicitated by DYFI leadership.


Speaking on this occasion, DYFI president P Sreeramakrishnan said DYFI is committed to taking initiative for evolving a joint platform of Left, democratic and secular youth organizations to work jointly on the pressing issues facing the nation. AIYF general secretary P Santosh in his greetings reciprocated the appeal and underlined that it is the need of the hour to wage united movement against neo-liberalism. He wanted drafting of a concrete action plan based on which there can be a joint struggle on youth issues.


Subbu Raju of AIYL and Sanni Kutty of RYF also expressed willingness to be part of a joint movement.


DYFI general secretary Tapas Sinha in his remarks said that apart from these four organisations, other democratic and secular youth organisations will also be roped in for the joint platform to fight on issues such as unemployment, education, housing, food etc.


At the conclusion of this special session, leaders of these organizations symbolically formed a common chain by holding of hands amidst rousing slogans of United Youth movement zindabad!


There was a separate session where the former leaders of DYFI were felicitated. Founder general secretary Hannan Mollah, former general secretary Mohd Salim, former presidents, M A Baby, M Vijayakumar, N N Krishna Das and K N Balagopal attended and greeted the conference.


Hannan Mollah in his remarks said although the membership of DYFI has grown manifold from its inception, there is no commensurate increase in political presence. He wanted the conference to ponder over this seriously and chalk out action plans to capture bigger space in the field. We should not have any patronising attitude towards youth. We must listen to them and formulate slogans that will fire their imagination, he said.


M A Baby in his remarks called for fighting against tokenism. He said it is crucial for the organisation to have correct perspective on social issues, including about gender issues. Baby said DYFI should take up with vigour environmental issues as crony capitalism is destroying the planet.


Mohd Salim in his speech said that there are newer and greater challenges before the youth movement today. DYFI should explore ways of meeting these challenges effectively. It is very important to grasp the fast paced changes correctly and adopt correct tactics. He called for broadbasing the organisation by involving all sections of youth into its fold.

AIKS president S Ramachandran Pillai greeted the 9th all India conference of DYFI. He sought the cooperation and participation of youth in the forthcoming struggles planned jointly by AIKS and AIAWU on the severe agrarian crisis gripping the country. He underlined that without a very powerful joint struggle it is difficult to force the government to change it neo-liberal economic policies.

AIAWU joint secretary, Hannan Mollah, CITU joint secretary A Soundara Rajan, AIDWA general secretary Sudha Sundararaman and SFI general secretary Ritabrata Banarjee also greeted the conference.

A special session was organised for the international fraternal delegates attending the conference. Cuban ambassador to India, Abalado Rafael Cueto Sosa, delegates from South Africa, Lebanon, Syria, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh were warmly felicitated by the leadership of DYFI. Tapas Sinha stated that DYFI played an important role in the world youth movement as part of the WFDY. The international delegates delivered fraternal greetings to the conference.