People's Democracy

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


No. 09

March 02, 2014





 CPI(M) Organises Mass Fund Collection Campaign Successfully

Collects Rs 60 Lakh in Eight Days


Ashok Dhawale


THE CPI(M) Maharashtra state secretariat and state committee met at Mahur in Nanded district in the Marathwada region from February 7-9, 2014 in the presence of CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury and Central Secretariat member Nilotpal Basu. This was part of the 2012 decision to rotate some Party state committee meetings in different districts of the state.


Thus in the last two years, Party state committee meetings along with impressive rallies have been held in Solapur, Thane, Nashik and Nanded districts. This has activated thousands of comrades from those districts and has also enthused state committee members themselves. State committee meetings of the Kisan and Student fronts were also held at Mahur. The CPI(M) Nanded district committee and the Mahur tehsil committee had made excellent arrangements for all these meets.




On February 8, an impressive rally and public meeting was held at Mahur by the CPI(M) Nanded district committee. The main speakers at the rally were Sitaram Yechury and Nilotpal Basu. CPI(M) state committee member and district secretary Arjun Adey presided. The other speakers were state secretariat members J P Gavit ex-MLA, Mariam Dhawale, Vijay Gabhane and P S Ghadge, state committee members Sayeed Ahmed and Shubha Shamim, district secretariat members Manoj Kirtane and Shankar Sidam, and state secretary Dr Ashok Dhawale. The main focus of the speeches was on the challenge of the Lok Sabha elections and the need to defeat the BJP and the Congress. 


The state committee meeting which was presided over by Vijay Gabhane, gave a call for hectic preparations for the Lok Sabha elections due in April, and for the Vidhan Sabha elections due in October 2014. As the Party prepares for these elections, Nilotpal Basu, Dr Ashok Dhawale and other state secretariat members in charge attended district committee meetings and district workshops in Thane, Nashik, Ahmednagar, Nanded and Mumbai districts. These concentrated on explaining the political perspective and strengthening the organisational structure for the elections.


As part of the election preparations, the state secretariat had given a call for large mass actions in February on burning local issues. By far the largest mobilisation took place on February 12 at Solapur. Over 40,000 people led by the CPI(M) blocked the national highway for over three hours on demands related to state government sanction to housing schemes for various sections of unorganised workers, and on issues of beedi and powerloom workers. Finding it quite impossible to arrest so many people, the police symbolically arrested 500 people under the leadership of CPI(M) Central Committee member Narsayya Adam, state committee member M H Shaikh and others.


Large mass actions of over 25,000 people under CPI(M) leadership were held from February 12 to 15 in eight tehsils of Thane district on issues of the Forest Rights Act, other land questions, water for irrigation, electricity, work and wages under MNREGA, food security and atrocities on women. In several other districts like Nashik, Ahmednagar, Yavatmal, Parbhani, Jalna, Beed, Pune, Kolhapur and elsewhere, effective agitations were led by the Party and by the various mass fronts.




The state committee reviewed the novel mass fund campaign by the CPI(M) in Maharashtra that was conducted for the first time. This unprecedented campaign netted Rs 60,05,023 in eight days in mass collections from the people and from Party members. The Party membership of Maharashtra for the year 2013 is 12,435. Thus, the average fund collected per Party member comes to Rs 482.91.


This campaign took inspiration from the massive CPI(M)-led Kerala fund campaign in September 2013. The CPI(M) Maharashtra state committee in its Surgana meeting in October decided to launch a similar Shramik Hakka Sangharsh Nidhi  (Working People’s Rights Struggle Fund) campaign to mark the Comrade Jyoti Basu Birth Centenary Year. It began with personal contributions from the Party’s state committee and district committee members, included contributions from Party members and culminated in an eight day mass collection campaign from the people from December 1 to 8, 2013.


The CPI(M) state committee published seven lakh fund appeal leaflets, 13,000 attractive posters and 15,000 letters addressed to Party members as the literature for this campaign. State secretariat members of the Party personally visited the districts in their charge in October-November 2013 and helped them to plan this campaign in their district committee and general body meetings.


The results of this novel campaign were truly impressive and beyond expectations. Party state committee members contributed a sum of Rs 2,62,750; Party district committee members gave a sum of Rs 4,66,766: Party members in the state donated a sum of Rs 17,18,197; and mass collection by Party members from the people  of the state came to Rs 35,57,310; thus making for a total collection of Rs 60,05,023. Although no district targets had been set for this campaign, the expectation was that the total fund would reach Rs 50 lakh. This was exceeded by over Rs 10 lakh.


Thane district led the fund drive with a spectacular collection of Rs 15,16,121. Solapur district was second with an impressive Rs 7,11,569. Nashik district was third with Rs 5,66,032. Mumbai district was fourth with Rs 5,34,760. Transport district was fifth with Rs 3,07,300. Nanded with Rs 2,37,825, Parbhani with Rs 2,03,765 and Latur with Rs 2,01,500 were next with over two lakh rupees each. Yavatmal with Rs 1,35,846, Ahmednagar with Rs 1,11,233, Beed with Rs 1,10,926, the newly-formed Research Unit under the state committee with a creditable Rs 1,08,000, and Amravati with Rs 1,01,198 were those that netted over one lakh rupees each. Apart from the above-named 13 districts, 19 other districts also contributed their might. It was a great collective effort indeed.


In the last few years, state-level fund calls by the Party and mass fronts in Maharashtra have met with good response. In 2005-06, over Rs 30 lakh was collected for the AIKS 31st national conference at Nashik. In 2007-08, nearly Rs 40 lakh was collected for the Party state whole-timers fund. In 2012 again, over Rs 16 lakh was collected for the same purpose.


But all the above state fund calls had both a cash component and an advertisements component for a souvenir or for the Jeevan Marg special issue. The speciality of this Shramik Hakka Sangharsh Nidhi campaign was that it comprised only cash collections from the people and from Party members, and had no advertisements component at all. It has been decided that 90 per cent of this fund would be kept by the district committee and 10 per cent would come to the state committee.


The state committee criticised some districts that had fallen short in their efforts in this campaign.


As a direct result of this campaign, the state committee decided to raise the monthly wage of over 40 of its whole-timers from Rs 3,500 to Rs 4,000 each, with the further proviso that the concerned district committee must supplement this by another Rs 1,000 to make the wage of each whole-timer at least Rs 5,000. The state committee has also recruited several new and young whole-timers in the last few months from the weaker districts and for the weaker mass fronts.      




The state committee took stock of the three successful state conventions of socially oppressed sections of the people held during December and January, at the state committee’s initiative.


The Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch (AARM) state convention was held at Talasari in Thane district on December 22-23; it was attended by 362 delegates from 15 districts and was addressed by Brinda Karat and Jitendra Choudhary. 36 delegates from Maharashtra also attended the subsequent AARM national conference at Bhubaneshwar in January. The Alpasankhyank Hakka Sangharsh Samiti (AHSS) state convention was held at Solapur on January 8: it was attended by 625 delegates from 10 districts and was addressed by Prakash Karat and Mohd Salim. The Jaati Anta Sangharsh Samiti (JASS) state convention was held at Nagpur on January 25; it was attended by 203 delegates from 25 districts and was addressed by Sitaram Yechury, K Varadha Rajan and Dr Yashwant Manohar.


The reports of all these three state conventions have been published in these columns earlier. All the three conventions adopted comprehensive resolutions with charters of demands and set future tasks. All the three platforms also elected their state committees with their convenors. The state committee decided that all these state committees must remain active, district committees must be elected in district conventions, and local issues of these socially oppressed sections must be identified and taken up for sustained struggles so that our influence in these sections increases.


While congratulating the three host districts – Thane, Solapur and Nagpur – for their excellent organisation of these state conventions, the state committee also criticised the failure of many districts in sending their representatives to the Minority Rights State Convention at Solapur.


The 200-page 2014 special annual issue of the state Party journal Jeevan Marg, which has good articles centred round the theme of social oppression, was released during this meeting.




The state committee reviewed the successful month-long anganwadi workers joint state-wide strike in January for pension benefits and increase in wages, and congratulated the leadership and activists of the CITU-affiliated Anganwadi Karmachari Sanghatana who were in the forefront of this struggle.


Finally, the state committee gave a call for completing the Party renewal process well and in time.