Vol. XLII No. 03 January 21, 2018

JHARKHAND: CPI(M) State Conference Vows to Build Left-Democratic Alternative

Prakash Viplav

THE sixth state conference of the CPI(M) Jharkhand commitee was held at the ‘Coal Capital of India’, Dhanbad on January 10-12, 2018.  The conference commenced with the hoisting of the Party flag by veteran leader and state secretariat member of CPI(M), Rajendra Singh Munda, followed by three rallies across the thoroughfares of the city, which culminated at the Zila Parishad ground. Despite cold temperatures and foggy skies, thousands of workers, peasants, youth, students, women and progressive people of Dhanbad across different sections of the society marched in large numbers. The mass meeting was presided by senior trade union leader and chairman of reception committee, SK Baksi. It is noteworthy that several dalit organisations with their characteristic blue flags attended the meeting.

The meeting was addressed by CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat, state secretary GK Baksi and other leaders of the CPI(M). Addressing the meeting, Yechury said that the situation demands strong resistance to the politics of communal polarisation unleashed by the saffron brigade. In the name of development (vikas), what we are witnessing is destruction (vinash). We are seeing the making of two Indias simultaneously – a shining India for a few and a wailing India for the toiling masses. The government came to office with the promise of creating two crore jobs annually but what it ended up with is at least 96 lakh jobs lost due to demonetisation.  On the one hand, bad loans of corporates stand at Rs 11 lakh crores out of which three lakh crores have been written off by the government, while on the other farmers are committing suicides due to their inability to clear even small amounts of debt. Over the past three years, sixty thousand cases of farmers suicides have been observed and nothing has been done by the BJP led government in this regard. There has been a spurt in the activities of anti-social elements linked to the ruling party in the name of cow-vigilantism and minorities and dalits have been victims of lynching and attacks by such groups. An atmosphere of hate is being created to wean away the attention from the anti-people, anti-worker, anti-farmer policies of the government which needs to be resisted by the Left and democratic forces of the country.

Brinda Karat too lashed out at the attempts of the government to disrupt the democratic framework of the country. She said that the current government is saffronising the entire State machinery and has got no regards for the principles laid down in our constitution. GK Baksi said that the Raghuwar Das government in the state is following the foot-steps of the central government and is leaving no stone unturned in its quest to hand over the mineral wealth of the state to big corporates. The CPI(M) has always been in the forefront of the struggle against these policies and would intensify its struggles for the rights of the people.

 At the inaugural session, which started at Comrade Sukomal Sen Bhawan, Comrade Gurbaksh Singh Manch, leaders of other Left parties – CPI, CPI(ML), Forward Bloc, SUCI (C) and Marxist Co-ordination Committee addressed the delegates and laid emphasis on the Left unity, which becomes more important in the current scenario, wherein attacks on Left and democratic forces have increased and the need for a Left-democratic alternative has become a necessity.  The session was also addressed by Sitaram Yechury. He laid emphasis on the intensification of struggles and providing a Left and democratic alternative to the people, in the face of the unholy nexus of communalism and neo-liberal capitalism of the ruling party.

The delegate session that followed was presided by a five member presidium comprising Rajendra Singh Munda, Geeta Jha, Sibani Pal, Md Iqbal and Ramdeo Singh. After the condolence resolution and election of different committees, the session proceeded with placing of the secretary’s report.

In his report, GK Baksi said that Jharkhand is a mineral rich state with rich deposits of coal, iron ore, bauxite, copper and other minerals. Since independence, owing to its minerals, several heavy industries under the public sector were set up in the state which played a key role in the development of the nation. It also has a legacy of struggles by tribal leaders like Birsa Munda  and Siddho-Kanhu as a result of whose martyrdom, several laws including Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act and Santal Pargana Tenancy Act were enacted by the government that ensure the rights of tribal and other communities of the state on the lands tilled by them.  

But the state of development in the lives and livelihoods of the people of the state do not match its potential. Only 23 per cent of the land in the state is arable and only 3 per cent is under irrigation, as a result of which, Jharkhand is a food deficient state. After the formation of the state in 2000, there were huge expectations in the hearts of its residents, but after more than 14 years since its formation, development and issues concerning people were never the core agenda of successive governments led by BJP as well as Congress and regional parties. Nothing has been done to improve the lives of the people of this state.

The people of Jharkhand have a rich heritage of communal harmony and whenever the Party has given a call, both Hindus and Muslims have taken to the streets in large numbers to defeat the separatist forces. The CPI(M) has also strived hard on the issues of land, education, employment and health and linked these issues with the fight against communalism. We have also worked for unity of Left forces. The need is to forge unity with other democratic forces and social organisations and to draw them into mass movements on the above issues en route to  the formation of a Left-Democratic Front in the state for effective intervention in the state’s politics.

51 delegates from different districts and mass organisations participated in the discussion on the report. Issues like forcible acquisition of land, unemployment, farm suicides in the state, hunger deaths, activities of communal elements patronised by the state and the ruling party were discussed and several suggestions came up for the intervention by the Party on these issues. The suggestions were incorporated into the report which was then passed unanimously.

Nine resolutions were passed in the conference on different issues like attacks on animal traders by cow vigilantes, loot of the mineral wealth of the state in the name of Momentum Jharkhand, hunger deaths in the state, equal pay for equal work, implementation of the Forest Right Act, unemployment, amendments in labour laws and deteriorating law and order situation in the state.

A special resolution was passed in the conference in support of the all India strike of scheme workers on January 17, satyagraha of trade unions on January 30 and observance of peasant-workers solidarity day on January 19, 2018.

A 35-member state committee was elected, which thereafter elected a 13 member secretariat (including invitees) and GK Baksi was re-elected as the Secretary.

In the concluding session, Brinda Karat addressed the delegates and called for further intensification of mass movements to increase the mass base of the Party so as to enable it to become an influential political force in the state.