The Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in New Delhi between July 30 and August 01, 2004. It has issued the following statement:
BJP’s Disruptionist Tactics
The Central Committee condemned the confrontationist stance adopted by the BJP during the first session of parliament after the 14th Lok Sabha elections. Right from the debate on the President’s address which was not held, the BJP and its allies resorted to disruptionist tactics. This has culminated in a call for a boycott of all parliamentary committees. Such a stance is showing contempt for parliament as the Standing Committees are not committees set up by the government but by parliament. The BJP’s refusal to act in a democratic fashion betrays the party’s inability to come to terms with the defeat it suffered in the elections.
The BJP, at its national executive session in Mumbai has announced that it will fall back on the Hindutva agenda, relying on the RSS for reviving the party. The BJP-RSS combine will seek to take up communal issues for political mobilisation. This will pose a threat to communal harmony and adversely affect the common people who are more concerned about their issues of livelihood. The CPI(M) along with other Left and democratic forces will have to counter such manoeuvres and safeguard people’s unity.
UPA Government: Policy Directions
The Central Committee expects the UPA government to earnestly take up the implementation of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) especially those measures which are designed to provide relief to the people who have suffered under six years of BJP rule. The CMP proposals for agriculture, relief to farmers, employment generation, increased allocations for education and health, repeal of Pota and correcting imbalances in Centre-State economic relations, are all steps which have to be taken up by prioritizing the programmes.
In this connection, the Central Committee endorsed the idea for a coordination committee of the UPA government and the Left to discuss policy issues which are of common concern.
Drought & Floods
The Central Committee expressed its deep concern at the delayed and scanty monsoon rainfall in various parts of the country. The northwestern states of Rajasthan, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Saurashtra & Kutch in Gujarat and western UP have been particularly hit. In other states too parts of western Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and south Bengal have received deficient rains. Already serious damage has been caused to the kharrif crop.
The problems of the farmers and the rural poor of the drought-affected areas have to be addressed immediately. Provision of fodder, drinking water, foodgrains at antodaya rate and food-for-work programmes have to be taken up by the state and the central governments immediately.
At the same time, severe floods have affected Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Bihar. The flood situation in Assam and Bihar is unprecedented. The funds provided for relief work so far by the Central Government is totally inadequate to deal with the magnitude of the problem.
The Prime Minister has announced the setting up of a task force which would recommend to the Central Government ways to solve the recurring floods problem. It is important to see that these recommendations are taken up seriously for implementation in a time-bound manner.
On Certain Economic Policy Measures
The Central Committee reiterated its opposition to the raising of the FDI caps in the telecom, insurance and civil aviation sectors. The Central Committee voices its opposition to handing over telecom companies to foreign control by allowing 74 per cent equity. The insurance sector is vital for generating resources for the country’s development and the bulk of it should not be handed over to foreign private companies.
The Central Committee noted that the CMP has committed that profitable public sector units will not be privatised. In this light the decision to privatise the Mumbai and Delhi airports and the Jawaharlal Nehru Port are not warranted. The Central Committee wants the UPA government to adhere to the process set out in the CMP and reconsider the matter.
On Diesel & Petrol Prices: The Central Committee notes with regret that the government has so far not considered the proposal put out by the CPI(M) and the Left parties for a review of the import duty and excise structure in the oil sector. The import parity pricing on oil products has transferred the burden to the consumer. The oil companies are benefiting from such an arrangement to the detriment of the consumers and the common people. The Central Committee opposed the current hike in diesel and petrol prices under the new arrangement of the oil companies making fortnightly adjustments. Hike of Rs. 1.10 for petrol and Rs. 1.42 for diesel Per litre has been announced.
This is the second successive hike within six weeks. The Central Committee called upon its units to organise protests against these burdens being imposed on the common people and the inflationary impact it will have on the economy and lives of the people.
There has been popular outrage at the killing of a Manipuri woman arrested by the security forces. Widespread protests are going on in the state. It is important that the central government and the state administration take steps to shift the Assam Rifles headquarters outside Kangla; review the jurisdiction of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act so that people are not put to any hardships and create conditions for talks with the rebel groups. The Central Committee appeals to the Central Government to take the initiative to see that peace and normalcy is restored in the state.
The Central Committee heard a report on the political situation in Maharashtra which is going to the polls by early October. The Party will adopt electoral tactics to minimise the division of votes among the secular parties to ensure the defeat of the BJP-Shiv Sena combination.
Inequitable Higher Education Structure
Consequent to the Supreme Court judgement on the admission and fee structure in professional private colleges, there is a chaotic scene in the higher education in many states. Under the arrangement set out by the Court, 50 percent of the seats in medical and engineering colleges are being filled by private managements with exorbitant fees. In Kerala, a 22-year old engineering girl student committed suicide because she was unable to finance her education or get a bank loan. This has intensified the student agitation against the fee structure. In other states too students and their parents are agitated about the unconscionable admission and fee system. It is necessary to have a Central legislation to regulate admission and fee structure in higher education and to establish social control over private and self financing institutions.
Review of Lok Sabha Elections
The Central Committee discussed and adopted a review report on the 14th Lok Sabha elections. The report has reviewed the performance of the Party in the elections in different states. It has proposed certain organisational measures to strengthen the Party and to develop the mass organisations. Special attention is to be paid to building the Party in selected tribal areas.
The Central Committee decided to convene the 18th Party Congress in the beginning of April 2005. The schedule of conferences from branch conferences onwards will begin from September.
The 18th Congress will be held at New Delhi.
Party’s Independent Role
The Central Committee reiterated that the Party will play an independent role advocating alternative policies based on the Left and democratic programme in taking up people’s issues and demanding that the pro-people measures in the CMP be implemented.
The state committees have been asked to identify the various issues which are directly concerned with the people’s livelihood and democratic rights and conduct movements and launch struggles in their interests.
Call For National Campaign
In order to take the Party’s political message and the policy issues to the people, the Central Committee decided to conduct a week-long political campaign from August 25 to 31. This campaign will focus on the following issues:
1. The danger posed by the BJP-RSS combine seeking to revive the communal Hindutva agenda. Exposure of the disruptionist attitude of the BJP in Parliament by refusing to accept the popular verdict.
2. Necessity to weed out the communal ideology and elements entrenched in the State institutions and steps taken to enforce the secular principle.
3. Observe September 1 as “Anti-Imperialist & Anti War Day”. Project the necessity for an independent foreign policy to correct the pro-American and pro-Israeli strategic collaboration of the previous BJP-led government.
4. Implementation of the pro-people measures in the CMP such as the National Employment Guarantee Act, central legislation for agricultural labour, one-third reservation for women in legislatures, increased public investment in agriculture, increased credit for farmers and increase public expenditure in education and health.
5. Strengthening of the public distribution system particularly in tribal and backward areas and provision of BPL cards to all poor people.
6. Danger of indiscriminate opening up and handing over control of key sectors to foreign capital such as the increase in the FDI cap in telecom, insurance and civil aviation. Stop privatisation of the profit-making Delhi and Mumbai airports.
7. Ensure fair return for people’s savings. No reduction of interest on employees provident fund.
8. Stop eviction of tribal communities living in forest areas and provide rights to forest dwellers.
9. Stop transferring burdens on common people and consumers by periodic increases in diesel and petrol hikes. Revise import duty and excise structure to reduce tax burden on retail consumers.
10. Immediate relief and assistance to drought-affected areas by provision for `food for work’ programmes, free distribution of foodgrains where distress exists, drinking water and fodder. In the flood-affected states, Centre should provide adequate funds for relief and rehabilitation measures. Centre should take up comprehensive flood control measures within a fixed timeframe in the flood-prone areas of eastern India.
11. Central legislation be brought to empower state governments to regulate admissions and fee structure in private institutions in higher education and to overcome the difficulties created by the supreme court judgement.