The Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in New Delhi on March 11 and 12, 2006. It has issued the following statement:
The Central Committee took stock of the national political situation since its last meeting held in December 2005.
The Central Committee discussed the preparations of the Party for the assembly elections to West Bengal, Kerala, Assam, Tamilnadu and Pondicherry.
The Central Committee heard the report of the West Bengal state committee of the Party on the preparations for the elections. It expressed full confidence that with the overwhelming popular support for the CPI(M) and the Left Front government, the people of West Bengal will return the Left Front for an unprecedented seventh term in office.
The Central Committee heard the report of the Kerala state committee about the line being pursued for the assembly elections, the finalisation of seats and candidates by the Party and the Left and Democratic Front. With the five years of misrule of the UDF government, the Party and the LDF have gained big support from the people and the UDF government stands totally discredited. The platform of the Left and democratic forces is receiving support from new sections of the people which will ensure the victory of the LDF.
In this connection, the Central Committee condemned the decision of the UDF government to refer the case of renovation and modernisation of certain power projects to the CBI. This decision taken on the eve of the election is a patently political move to implicate the Secretary of the Kerala state committee and a member of the Polit Bureau of the Party in a case. The same UDF government had earlier entrusted the state vigilance department to investigate the matter. The report of the Vigilance Director was submitted to the UDF government and since it did not serve its interests, the Cabinet decided to refer the matter to the CBI.
The findings of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s Report should be taken up for discussion and scrutiny by the concerned committee of the legislature. The CPI(M) has always stated that it is prepared to face any investigation in the matter. The Central Committee pointed out that such maneouvres by the Congress and the UDF leadership will not succeed in diverting the attention of the people from the dismal record of misrule and corruption of the UDF government.
The Central Committee approved the electoral line pursued in Tamilnadu and Assam. In Tamilnadu, the CPI(M), in cooperation with the DMK-led alliance, will work to defeat the AIADMK alliance and increase the representation of the Party in the legislature.
In Assam, the Party will cooperate with the Left, the AGP and other secular forces and fight both the Congress and the BJP.
Role of Election Commission
The Central Committee noted that some of the steps taken by the Election Commission regarding the assembly elections are neither reasonable nor will it strengthen the democratic process. The announcement of a five-phase polling in West Bengal and three-phase polling in Kerala was uncalled for. While at the same time, Tamilnadu has a single-day poll. In West Bengal, the Commission has taken the initiative to prohibit wall-writing and other forms of electioneering which are a normal part of taking the message of the parties to the people. It is not understandable how the citizens who utilise their own houses for wall-writing, putting up flags and banners can be prevented from doing so. Similarly, there are questions about the role of observers in the election process. These need to be clearly defined.
The Election Commission has a vital role in ensuring free and fair elections. The steps that the Commission takes must enhance democratic participation and not curtail the democratic process.
Indo-US Strategic Alliance
The Central Committee endorsed the stand taken by the Polit Bureau on the joint statement issued on the occasion of the visit of US President Bush to India. It is of the firm opinion that the “strategic partnership” forged by the UPA government constitutes an erosion of India’s independent foreign policy and strategic autonomy. The strategic alliance entails India joining the United States in its hypocritical talk of spreading democracy which is nothing but a cover for advancing its hegemonic aims and interference in countries to promote “regime change”. The Manmohan Singh government has to explain whether it endorses the Bush administration’s efforts at regime change in countries like Cuba, Iran, Syria, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. The Central Committee questioned the basis for involving US multinationals like Monsanto and Wal Mart in the Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture.
The Defence Framework Agreement of June 2005 is being carried out with the Maritime Security Cooperation and the Logistics Support Agreement. Military collaboration is no more confined to joint exercises but joint defence partnership with US strategic interests in view. The Central Committee strongly opposed many of the recommendations of the joint CEO Forum endorsed by the joint statement which are a blueprint for opening up various sectors of the economy, including defence to US capital.
The nuclear cooperation deal which has to be approved by the US Congress should not be seen in isolation from the overall strategic alliance. The US tried to change the July 2005 agreement, but there was strong public resistance by scientists, the Left and other patriotic circles. The Central Committee called upon the government to adhere to the seven points set out by the Polit Bureau in the implementation of the nuclear cooperation deal. The US is interested in selling its nuclear plants to India and make India mainly rely on nuclear power for its energy needs. This is not in the interest of our energy security.
The main problem is that this deal will be utilised to get India to fall in line with the US strategic interests. There is a quid pro quo involved which has already been seen in the way India reversed its stand on the Iran nuclear issue.
UPA Government’s Stand On Iran
The Central Committee strongly deplored the course adopted by the Manmohan Singh government in voting twice in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board in September 2005 and February 2006 which made India party to the Iran nuclear issue being referred to the UN Security Council. This is a basic departure from our independent foreign policy.
The Central Committee cautioned the UPA government that this breach of the foreign policy direction given in the Common Minimum programme is a serious matter. The UPA government should realise that it has gone against the vital interests of India in its relations with Iran and that there is no national consensus for the pro-US orientation in the UPA government’s foreign policy.
The Budget & People’s Problems
The Central Committee expressed concern at the price rise of food items and essential commodities which is adding to the burden of the common people. The prices of atta, sugar, pulses, edible oil and vegetables have all gone up. The curtailment of the public distribution system at a time when the prices are high is another injustice to the people. In this context, the cut in food subsidy in the Union Budget is deplorable. Farmers’ suicides are recurring in many places and the Centre has failed to address the problem meaningfully.
The Central Committee noted that the Union Budget has not adequately met the problems generated by the agrarian crisis and unemployment. In both these spheres, the budgetary outlays are inadequate as also in the education and health sectors. The Central Committee expressed its disappointment at the government’s unwillingness to tax the rich and raise more resources. The refusal to reintroduce the long-term capital gains tax is an example.
The Central Committee reiterated its opposition to the privatisation of airports which has begun with the contracts awarded for Delhi and Mumbai airports; the corporatisation of mints and presses and to the opening up of retail trade to FDI.
The Central Committee called upon all its Party units and mass organisations to ensure that the Rural Employment Guarantee Act is properly implemented in the 200 districts where it has been launched from February.
Terrorist Violence in Varanasi
The Central Committee strongly condemned the bomb blasts in Varanasi which killed 14 people and injured many others. The network of extremist groups resorting to terrorist violence is responsible for this provocative attack. The Central Committee appreciated the response of the people of Varanasi who have refused to fall prey to such brazen acts of provocation.
BJP’s Communal Politics
In this connection, the Central Committee condemned the BJP’s attempts to foment communal tensions by taking out two yatras around the country. The people have experienced the cynical and sectarian politics behind such moves in the past and the BJP should realise that communal politics will not find popular support.
The Justice Banerjee report on the Godhra train fire case has exposed the role of the BJP-RSS combine and the Modi government’s culpability in the pogroms against the Muslims four years ago. The Commission has found that the fire was an accident and not a case of deliberate arson. The 84 persons detained under Pota in this case whose release the Pota Review Committee had recommended must be set free immediately. The Best Bakery judgement case delivered in a Maharashtra court is welcome as it is the first major case in which justice has been rendered to the victims of the pogrom. The Central government has to ensure that all other cases are taken up expeditiously and the CBI prosecutes the guilty of serious crimes.
The Central Committee noted that in the BJP-ruled states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and in Orissa, where the BJP is in the coalition government, communal outfits are being encouraged to target minorities and these state governments continue to promote communalisation of educational and other institutions. The Central Committee condemned the attacks on the Christian community in Bhopal, Indore, Betul, Itarsi, Seoni Malwa, Kota and other places. The Central Committee called upon all its Party units and other democratic and secular forces to be vigilant about the communal activities of the BJP-RSS combine and intervene to counter such activities.
Attitude To UPA Government
The Central Committee endorsed the Polit Bureau’s stand on the attitude to be adopted vis-à-vis the UPA government on various issues. Since on a number of policy matters, the UPA government is going ahead despite the opposition of the Party and the Left, such issues must be taken up inside and outside Parliament more assertively. The Party should work with other parties who agree on such issues to raise such matters in Parliament and to forge joint platforms and movements outside.
The Central Committee decided to make an overall assessment of the political situation after the assembly elections and to chalk out its future course of action.
Bhagat Singh Anniversary
The Central Committee called upon all Party units to observe the 75th anniversary of the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh and his colleagues on March 23. The occasion should be utilised to propagate this heroic martyr’s message of anti-imperialism, secularism and socialism.