People's Democracy

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


No. 44

November 03, 2013




AIDWA Holds 17th State Conference


Haripada Das


THE 17th Tripura state conference of the Ganatantrik Nari Samity (GNS), an affiliate of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), held on October 25-27, 2013, concluded with a clarion call to build up relentless and strong movement against the neo-liberal polices that are not only undermining the economic and political liberty of the country but also stand as a roadblock to the women’s emancipation. The conference laid emphasis on sharpening the political consciousness of its members and strengthening its organisation so as to carry forward the struggle for socialism --- the only system that is conducive to women’s liberation in true sense.




The conference commenced on October 25 afternoon after flag hoisting by Sabitri Debbarma, state president of the organisation, in presence of women leaders and delegates including all-India general secretary, Sudha Sundararaman, in front of the conference venue which was named after stalwart freedom fighter and one of the founders of AIDWA, late Comrade Laxmi Sehgal. The dais of the conference was named in memory of Sumitra Debbarma, a women leader who passed away earlier this year. 


The afternoon saw a huge open rally of women at Agartala town. The rally, presided over by Sabitri Debbarma, was addressed by Tripura chief minister and CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Manik Sarkar, AIDWA general secretary Sudha Sundararaman, acting president Rama Das and state secretary Krishna Rakshit.


Hailing the women masses who flooded the heart of the city while defying the drizzly weather, Manik Sarkar urged the women folk in the state to get prepared for the struggle for making a change at the centre. But the ‘change’ does not mean that a person or a party is to be replaced by another person or party. Describing the Congress and the BJP as two sides of the same coin, Manik Sarkar said both of them are pursuing the same neo-liberal policies which cause havoc to the livelihood of the common people. Thus we need a change for an alternative policy framework that would preserve the interest of the millions of toiling masses, protect secularism and defend our economic and political freedom from the diktat of the neo-liberal policies framed by imperialism, Sarkar said.  


Sarkar also dwelt on the corruption scams in which the BJP and the Congress governments have been involved; even the prime minister’s office is now indicted with coalfield allocation scam. In contrast, the Left Front has been trying to run the administration as transparently as possible, with the people constantly maintaining vigilance 


Citing the women welfare measures including various allowances introduced by the state government for women, the scope for women in government jobs, in MGNREGA work and in educational institutions, 50 percent reservation in elected bodies, prevalence in the state of equal wage at par with men for the same work, etc, Sarkar said all these had emboldened the women of Tripura which was reflected in the last assembly election where women’s turnout was 2.13 percent higher than that of men. The formation of the seventh Left Front government with more vote and more seats than earlier was possible due to the massive support of the Tripura women, Sarkar asserted. But he also warned the audience against lending blind support to every move the Left Front government. Rather they must alert the government with constructive suggestions if you they any of its steps to be wrong.


Sarkar also suggested that without boasting of being a big organisation covering 40 per cent of the women in the state, AIDWA leaders must approach every door including those opposition supporters and win them over. 


Sudha Sundararaman scathingly denounced the time-consuming tactics of the UPA government in passing the women reservation bill in Lok Sabha, while Rajya Sabha has already passed it about three years ago. The AIDWA will carry on its movement till the bill is passed in Lok Sabha, she declared. She also said the neo-liberal policies have aggravated the sad plight of the women who manage their households and are the worst sufferers of hunger, price rise and unemployment. The situation demands intensified struggles in the coming days.




Sudha Sundararaman inaugurated the delegates session, hailing the rights and dignity enjoyed by the Tripura women, their progress in education and their involvement in various policy making elected bodies, in an atmosphere free from fear. This may well be a model for the country, she said. But as capitalism keeps women suppressed and hinders their advancement, we cannot rest idle. In the course of her speech, she referred among other things to the plight of dalit and tribal people, mid-day meal workers, Anganwadi workers and others. She said we have to steadfastly oppose practices like dowry, female feticides, domestic violence, indecent exposure of women in commercial advertisements, neglect to the aged and hapless parents by their sons and daughters etc.


Of the 585 delegates in all, 36 participated in the discussion on the draft report presented before the conference by Krishna Rakshit, secretary of the AIDWA state unit on October 25 evening. The delegates expressed concern on the rampant aggression of US imperialism, price rise, inflation, shrinking job opportunities, corporate corruption etc. They also highlighted issues like dowry deaths, domestic torture on women, witch hunting, and pointed to how the women are being affected by neo-liberal policies. They expressed concern on the deprivation and tortuous attitude meted out to Anganwadi and mid-day meal workers. They criticised commercialisation of women in media. At the same time the delegates pointed out some weaknesses in implementation of various women welfare schemes enforced in the state including the MGNREGA works and in various allowances introduced by the Left Front government. They urged to draw as many women as possible in blood donation, eye and body donation camps.


On October 27, Manik Sarkar addressed the conference, saying that the position the Ganatantrik Nari Samity holds in the state cannot be ignored. But it is time to introspect why vast sections of women remain in the opposition camp. It deserves consolidation of this large organisation organisationally and ideologically. One of the key tasks is to fight the cases of torture on women and also tutor our boys from a young age about how to behave with women with dignity. GNS members must also resolve to so no to dowry in case of their own marriage.


Apart from condolence resolution moved in the beginning, the conference adopted eight resolutions. These condemned tortures on women, demanded early passage of the women reservation bill, opposed imperialist aggression, price rise and the centre’s moves to financially deprive the state. They expressed fraternity with the fighting people of West Bengal, upheld the idea of a non-Congress non-BJP alternative at the centre, and opposed the secessionist and fundamentalist forces. 


In the concluding session, Krishna Rakshit replied to the discussion, thanking the delegates for their constructive discussion and valuable suggestions about strengthening and expanding the organisation. She said we would go on with our sustained struggle to combat the current crisis due to neo-liberal policies. She emphasised on treating the new entrants with due respect, shunning the vices of parliamentarism, gathering more allies and vigorously rise in protest wherever torture on women takes place.


On behalf of the presidium, Rama Das said the conference took place at a hard time. Parliament election is knocking at the door. Apart from using money power and muscle power, the Congress would try to use every trick and resort to unfair means for coming back to power. We must resolve to prepare the women of the state to foil all such dirty games to misguide the people.


After presentation of the credentials report and address by Samar Adhya on behalf of the preparatory committee, a 93-member state committee was formed. Thereafter, of the 27-member state secretariat, 26 were elected. Sabitri Debbarma and Krishna Rakshit were elected president and acting president respectively while Jharna Das Baidya was elected the new state secretary. While 12 members were relieved from the state committee, it has inducted four new members.