August 18, 2019

MAHARASHTRA: AIDWA Forms Reception Committee for its National Conference

Prachi Hatiwlekar

THE 12th all India conference of AIDWA will be held in Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra, from December 27-30, 2019. A reception committee to host the same was formed on July 27 in Mumbai in the presence of five AIDWA central office bearers – national president Malini Bhattacharya, vice presidents Subhashini Ali and Sudha Sundarraman, general secretary Mariam Dhawale and treasurer P K Shrimati.

In a special session, all these national leaders unveiled the impressive logo of this conference created by Vijay Patil, managing editor of the progressive weekly Jeewanmarg. It represents women at work in the backdrop of the iconic Martyrs Memorial located in the Hutatma Chowk in Mumbai. This was built to commemorate the 106 martyrs who were gunned down in the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement in the 1950s. Despite the torrential downpour of three consecutive days, most of the state committee members of AIDWA from all over Maharashtra attended this meet. Leaders of all other mass organisations were also present to extend their support.

In their effective speeches, all the central leaders critically analysed the plight of women in India ever since the retrograde and communal Modi government backed by the RSS-BJP duo came to power in the centre. Hard-earned laws by the women’s movement like the PcPNDT Act, Domestic Violence Act etc are being diluted. Criminalisation of triple talaq, extension of the scope of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, attacks on the Right to Information Act, threats to the Forest Rights Act are some of the examples of this authoritarian Modi regime. Women’s security is at an all time low and atrocities are at their peak with minimum rate of conviction. Horrifying cases of atrocities on women like that of Unnao are on the rise and so is the shameless defence of their perpetrators by the BJP rulers. All this is apart from the savage economic attacks of their neoliberal policies leading to surge in unemployment and price rise and cut in social welfare measures.

It is in this background that the 12th AIDWA all India conference is being held in Mumbai. It is a challenge and an opportunity to reach out to women in every household. The leaders appealed to all democratic, progressive organisations and individuals to come forward and help in all possible ways to make this conference a huge success.

Leaders of various fraternal organisations like the AIKS, CITU, bank-insurance-teachers-transport organisations, DYFI, SFI, Jati Ant Sangharsh Samiti graced the occasion and ensured all possible cooperation to the AIDWA conference, thus increasing the confidence and enthusiasm of the Maharashtra AIDWA.

AIKS national president Ashok Dhawale handed over a cheque of one lakh rupees on behalf of the Maharashtra AIKS, which started off the vigorous fund drive. CITU state office bearers Mahendra Singh, Vivek Monteiro and S K Rege, DYFI state secretary Preethy Sekhar, SFI state president Balaji Kaletwad, state convenor of Jati Ant Sangharsh Samiti (DSMM) Shailendra Kamble, MFUCTO leader Madhu Paranjape, social media team convenors Shubha Shamim and Prasad Subramaniam, progressive intellectual Irfan Engineer were among the notables who supported the cause and ensured full cooperation on behalf of their respective organisations.

A reception committee was unanimously elected with Tapati Mukhopadhyay, president of MFUCTO, as its chairperson, AIDWA leaders Sonya Gill, Naseema Shaikh and Prachi Hatiwlekar as secretaries and CITU leader Adv Armaity Irani as treasurer. The vice presidents include several renowned dignitaries in the field of art, culture, literature and journalism.

The meeting was presided over by AIDWA state president Naseema Shaikh, the introduction was made by state secretary Prachi Hatiwlekar and the vote of thanks was proposed by Mumbai district president Rekha Deshpande.

Along with the formation of the reception committee, a two-day meeting of the AIDWA Maharashtra state committee was held in New Mumbai on July 27-28 to speed up the preparatory tasks of the conference. The meeting was attended on both days by Malini Bhattacharya, Sudha Sundarraman and Mariam Dhawale.

The state committee decided to complete the annual membership by August 31. Nearly 60,000 of the one lakh odd quota has already been completed so far. The conference fund campaign was planned, district wise fund targets were set and attractive fund appeals in Marathi, Hindi and English, advertisement forms and fund coupons were distributed in this meeting. Various preparatory programmes of the conference such as flag hoisting in all the units, seminars, public meetings, press conferences were decided upon.

The state committee also decided to energetically implement the AIDWA CEC call from August 9-15 and planned various struggles on issues like PDS, effective implementation of MNREGA, employment in urban areas and so on.

In the months of June and July, AIDWA district conventions were held in 14 districts in the Vidarbha, Marathwada and Western Maharashtra regions and in Mumbai. The organisation was re-started in three districts of Marathwada, a region that was blank for many years so far as the AIDWA was concerned.

All these conventions were held to gear up the organisation for the all India conference. Nearly 2000 women activists enthusiastically participated in these conventions which were attended by Naseema Shaikh and Prachi Hatiwlekar. Mariam Dhawale attended the Mumbai convention. The district conventions in Thane-Palghar, Raigad, Nashik and Ahmednagar will be held later this month.