THE 22ND Punjab State Conference of the CPI(M) successfully concluded in Mahilpur in Hoshiarpur district on April 11. The conference gave a clarion call to regain the lost glory of the Party in Punjab by strengthening the organisation at grassroots level and drawing the youth, women and Dalits to it in a big way. The Party in Punjab will launch concerted agitational programmes on the issues of unemployment, drug menace and increasing atrocities against women and Dalits in the state.
The conference began on April 10 with the hoisting of the party flag by 90-year-old veteran Communist leader Bhagat Singh Jhuggian. CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Polit Bureau member S Ramachandran Pillai, and Central Secretariat members Nilotpal Basu and Joginder Sharma led the delegates to pay homage at the martyrs’ column.
Inaugurating the conference, Yechury said, “During the four-year rule of the Modi-led BJP government, the condition of the working people has continuously deteriorated, and the agriculture sector is in serious crisis due to increase in input cost of farming and farmers not getting remunerative prices for agricultural products.” He said the government had failed to purchase the produce of the farmers at remunerative prices due to which they could not repay their loans and owing to heavy debts, the peasants were committing suicides on daily basis in a state like Punjab which was known as the grain bowl of India. The condition of agricultural workers was worse, he said. On demonetisation, Yechury said the whimsical move of the central government had adversely affected retail traders and thousands of small-scale industries had been closed down. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) was just an instrument to maximise the profits of the corporate sector and an anti-people step taken by the Narendra Modi-led BJP government. “There is sharp rise in atrocities against Dalits under the Modi regime and the Muslim minority is living in an environment of fear and terror. Dalits and Muslims are being attacked by the so-called ‘gau rakshaks’, especially in the BJP-ruled states,” he said. On the alarming increase in non-performing assets of public-sector banks, he said the banks had written off loans of Rs 2,29,082 crore of big corporate houses. On the employment issue, he stated that Narendra Modi’s promise in the run-up to the 2014 general election of providing two crore jobs every year had turned out to be a “jumla”, and rather, lakhs of workers lost their jobs in the past four years.
CPI(M) state secretary Charan Singh Virdi presented the draft political-organisational report to the conference. Forty-two delegates participated in the debate on the report. There was a very lively and constructive debate. Many delegates pointed out the weaknesses and deficiencies in the working of the state committee. Many delegates criticised the leadership for not initiating independent struggles at the state level. The delegates also criticized the leadership for not finalising the seats and candidates in time, resulting in poor performance of the Party in elections. Some delegates pointed towards a lack of proper coordination among leaders, affecting the smooth functioning of the Party.
Virdi replied to the points raised by the delegates and assured to incorporate suggestions of the delegates on various points. The conference unanimously adopted the political-organisational report. A total of 224 delegates and 15 observers participated in the conference. There were 220 male and 18 female delegates. The youngest delegate was 22-year-old Sukhwinder Singh from Tarntaran and the oldest was 90-year-old Bhagat Singh Jhuggian from Hoshiarpur.
The conference unanimously elected a 36-member state committee, along with four permanent invitees. A three-member control commission was also elected unanimously. The conference also elected 12 delegates, one alternative delegate and two observers unanimously for 22ND All India Party Congress scheduled to be held in Hyderabad fromApril 18 to April 22. Sukhwinder Singh Sekhon was elected as the new state secretary.
Sukhwinder Singh Sekhon assured the delegates that the party would march forward with the cooperation of each and every party member. He assured that party leadership would work collectively as per party norms and procedures and strive to regain the lost glory of the party in Punjab.
Yechury, delivering the concluding speech, called upon the delegates to work unitedly to strengthen the party in Punjab, which can be done by roping in the youth, women and Dalits. To accomplish this task, the party workers and leadership shall have to launch struggles against unemployment, rising atrocities against Dalits and women, rising prices and on issues of peasants and agricultural workers.