THE 25th state conference of CPI(M) West Bengal committee has called upon Party workers to strengthen links with people and build up movements on people’s issues. The conference noted that discontent of the people against the TMC regime in the state was growing, creating new possibilities of resistance. The Party has to utilise the opportunity and develop struggles on achievable demands. Fight against twin dangers – TMC and BJP – that feed each other with competitive communalism and polarization, has to be conducted with intense vigour.
The conference held from March 5-8 in Kolkata was inaugurated by CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury. Addressing the delegate session, he focused on the grave situation of West Bengal where besides terror, attacks on democracy and financial scams, polarisation has emerged as a threat. TMC is not only helping communal forces to consolidate but is creating an atmosphere of competitive communalism which, in turn, is strengthening BJP in West Bengal.
In the political-organisational report, it has been mentioned that TMC and BJP are using religious festivals as a tool for communal mobilisation. This has created a situation where BJP is making inroads and has become strengthened in last few years. This competitive communalism is being used as a tool for political polarisation to squeeze out the Left. Added to this, TMC, its state government and BJP are busy in accentuating identity politics and spreading illusions among social and ethnic groups.
Placing the report before delegates, state secretary Surjyakanta Misra emphasised the necessity of fighting out this new danger of growing communalism. Misra said, often a question arises that who is the bigger danger – TMC or BJP? Both are dangers of same degree. Any slackening of struggle against TMC would help BJP and the vice versa. Both are active in social engineering to diffuse discontent among people. Misra said, process of proletarianisation has increased. It is the task of the Party to raise issues of the people and fight consistently. Spontaneous protests are taking place in many areas. It will depend on our capacity to turn them into bigger mass movements. He strongly emphasised that without changing the political balance in West Bengal, the political balance in India cannot be changed.
The report detailed the organisational measures taken to implement Kolkata Plenum decisions. One of the major exercises undertaken was to make Party an organisation of active members. In 2017, 4 per cent to 48 per cent inactive Party members were dropped in districts. To streamline the Party and to implement mass line, existing zonal committess and local committees were abolished and only one middle tier area committee was formed between branch and district committee. The third area is the qualitative development of Party members. More efforts have been taken for political education both at state and district level. The report also dealt with new orientations of class and mass struggle considering the changes in the society and class structure.
76 comrades from districts and mass fronts participated in the discussions. The deliberations ranged from analysis of political situation to experiences in movements. Delegates frankly and self-critically deliberated on the weakness of building up struggles at local level though larger mobilisation could be achieved in central programmes. They also emphasised that booth level organisation is the real core of strength for the Party. They reported that wherever the Party could initiate movements, BJP retreated. The joint forum of tea workers’ trade unions and their consistent struggle on the issue of minimum wages could over-reach identity politics and strengthened class unity in northern Bengal. Workers’ struggle in Durgapur against disinvestment of ASP has mobilised all trade unions, including the trade unions of the ruling party. From Basirhat to Bhangar, intervention of the Left has successfully resisted communal divisions.
One of the major areas of concern was the virtual destruction of panchayats. TMC has made panchayats ineffective, turned them into sources for loot of money, and an instrument for manipulation of votes. They are no more peoples’ panchayats in Bengal. Delegates deliberated on the experience and also about the preparations for the ensuing panchayat elections. It has been decided in the conference that elections would be fought braving terror. Party will field candidates wherever possible, along with Left Front, support other Left parties and wherever there is practically no scope of fielding a Left candidate, efforts would be taken to support those candidates who would oppose TMC-BJP and has record of steadfast position against them.
In his observation, Yechury congratulated comrades for matured discussions and expressed confidence that the Party in West Bengal will rejuvenate itself through hard-fought battles.
Misra, while summing up the discussions, called upon Party workers to effectively intervene in defending the rights of people, including social sector projects. He said, Party workers must stand resolutely beside people, be their friend in all aspects and mobilise them for struggles at all levels.
The conference elected an 80-member state committee. 79 members were elected and one remained vacant for a woman member. Altogether 20 comrades of the outgoing state committee opted out and 17 new entrants were elected. Surjyakanta Misra was re-elected as secretary of the state committee. Buddhadev Bhattacharjee, Madan Ghosh, Shyamal Chakraborty, Dipak Sarkar, Ashim Dasgupta, Basudeb Acharya, Kanti Ganguly, Nirupam Sen were elected as special invitees. 11 women were elected to state committee. Among new entrants, DYFI all India secretary Abhoy Mukherjee, DYFI state secretary Jamir Mollah, MP Badruddoja Khan, state secretary of AIAWU Tushar Ghosh, AIDWA state secretary Kononika Ghosh are also there.
175 delegates were elected for Party Congress.
Conference adopted 29 resolutions, including one calling upon to commemorate 100 years of building up of Communist Party in India. The programmes will start from next year.