THE 22nd Gujarat state conference of the CPI(M) was held in Rajkot on March 24-25. The conference gave a call for strengthening Left and democratic forces to defeat the divisive politics of the RSS-BJP.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and central secretariat member Ashok Dhawale attended the conference. The venue was named after legendary Communist leader Subodh Mehta. The stage was named after Sukomal Sen, who was in charge of the Party affairs in Gujarat.
The conference began with the hoisting of the Party flag by Pragjibhai Bhambhi and paying of homage to martyrs by leaders and delegates. Dahyabhai Gajera, the chairman of the reception committee, delivered the welcome address.
Sitaram Yechury inaugurated the conference. In his inaugural speech, he congratulated the cadre of Gujarat for keeping alive red flag in the state. He spoke on present international and national situations. He said that BJP government has completed four years in office and during the period, people’s sufferings have increased manifold due to aggressive implementation of neoliberal economic policies. Poverty and unemployment are on the rise. Attacks on minorities and women are increasing, and communal harmony has been destabilised.
He appealed to the CPI(M) cadre to work towards forming a new democratic-secular front to defeat the imperialist power and American influence. He also called for strengthening the Left-democratic movement. He said that the Party would make all-out efforts to defeat the BJP and its divisive agenda.
A public meeting was organised at Maniyar Hall in Rajkot. Scores of insurance, bank and government employees, anganwadi and Asha workers, farmers, and small traders attended the meeting. The open session was addressed by Sitaram Yechury, Ashok Dhawale, H I Bhatt and others. Bhat spoke about the present political situation in Gujarat and its economic policy. Dhawale, president of the All India Kisan Sabha, spoke in detail about the Modi government’s anti-people policies. Demonetisation had severely affected agriculture. The government is yet to fulfil the promise of implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendation for fixing minimum support price (MSP) for crops at 50 per cent above the cost of production. More and more farmers are getting indebted due to government policies. They are committing suicide in thousands. He highlighted the government’s failure to bring back black money stashed abroad and generate two crore jobs every year, as promised by Narendra Modi in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha election. He called for a united fight to defeat this anti-people BJP government. He also gave a report on the successful Long March of farmers from Nashik to Mumbai in Maharashtra, and said that on August 9, peasants will take part in a ‘Jail Bharo’ movement.
Addressing the gathering, Yechury said the Modi government is surrounded by corrupt people like Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya who committed fraud of crores of rupees and fled the country. Many other scams will also be exposed in the days to come. Due to the government’s policies, one per cent of the people of this country is having possession of 73 per cent of the wealth. Rich people are becoming richer and poor people are getting poorer. Recently, the government has announced that hereafter permanent vacancies in government departments will be stopped and in its place contract services will be given. This announcement is against the working class. The government has destroyed all democratic rights of the people. The pillars of our democracy such as parliament, Election Commission and judiciary are being subverted. The government is moving ahead with its Hindutva agenda which poses a danger to the unity of our nation and the constitution. He laid stress on an alternative policy paradigm rather than just replacing the leaders. The CPI(M) will struggle throughout the nation for a change in policies, Yechury asserted.
In the delegate session, a report on the political situation was placed by Arun Mehta and Pragjibhai Bhambhai placed the report on the Party organisation. The report of the political situation in Gujarat talks about the problems being faced by farmers and labourers, the prevailing water crisis in 403 cities and 4,000 villages, atrocities against women and dalits, neglect of tribal, and rampant privatisation of education. In all, 22 scams were reported during the BJP rule in the state. Thirty-three delegates discussed on the report and after debate, it was adopted by the conference. A state committee of 30 members and state secretariat of nine members were elected at the conference, with Pragjibhai Bhambhi as the state secretary. The conference decided to launch a statewide movement from August on various people’s issues.
The conference also passed a resolution criticising the brutal attacks on Party workers and demolition of Lenin’s statues in Tripura after the BJP came to power in the northeastern state.