From Our Correspondent
THE Left parties – Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, Revolutionary Socialist Party and the All India Forward Bloc – have organised an all India convention at New Delhi on September 20. They have given a call for week long actions throughout the country from October 10 to 16. On October 16th, there will be massive protest demonstrations in different parts of the country.
Addressing the convention held in Constitution Club, Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of CPI(M), said that the trend of making the rich, richer and poor, poorer must end. He appealed to other democratic sections of the people to join this campaign and strengthen the unity against the attacks on people’s livelihoods. This convention was held in the backdrop of the deepening economic crisis in the country and worsening miseries of the people.
The draft resolution of the convention was read out by Anurag Saxena from CPI(M) and a presidium comprising leaders of five Left parties was formed. Hannan Mollah-CPI(M), Pallab Sen Gupta-CPI, Kavita Krishnan-CPI(ML) Liberation, Dharmendra- Forward Bloc and Kshiti Goswami-RSP conducted the proceedings of the convention.
Sitaram Yechury, while setting the agenda for the convention said that the political right in the country has advanced in recent years. The manifestation of political right is in various forms; the repetition of BJP government, rise in the incidents of mob lynching gangs on the road, rape of young girls and the defence of accused persons by the ruling establishment, communal polarisation of the Kashmir issue etc., all such incidents points towards the challenge that the country faces in the present context. He firmly reiterated that this challenge of the political right can only be met by a ‘political Left’, which means, he said not just the strengthening of the Left political parties but also changing the present discourse from communal issues to issue of livelihood.
While explaining the present economic situation, Sitaram said that the BJP is responsible for bringing the Indian economy to a brink of recession. The desperate attempts of the central government to hide the data about the economy have failed miserably. The actual growth rate is far less than what is projected, he said. The reality of the slowdown is evident from the fact that some of the companies in the automobile sector had to shut down their production for two days. He said, the purchasing capacity of the Indian people has reduced substantially and it does not just pertain to the middle classes, the poor are the worst hit. Even the biscuit producing industry has laid off a large number of workers; this shows the reality of the present situation, he remarked.
Instead of mitigating the economic problems of the common people, the government is hell-bent to divide the people on the emotional basis to ensure that the people get diverted from the real issues and they are polarised on communal lines. What has happened in Kashmir is before all of us, he said. The government has reduced one state in the country and played with the emotions of the people. The condition is such that now more than 45 days have passed’ there is no public transport, hospitals are running short of medicines, people are unable to reach out for basic necessities, a complete clampdown exists, more than 4,000 are arrested. There are charges slapped against the people in case they raise their voices. Sitaram recalled the slogans of Vajpayee - Insaaniyat, Jamhuriyat and Kashmiriyat. He said all these slogans have been buried by the present government. The BJP speaks of integrating Kashmir by alienating the people living there. Similarly, in the country the BJP is raising bogey of National Register for Citizens(NRC) for other states as well. In Assam a large number of people are left out and these are not just Muslims but also people from other religions. The real intent of the BJP is to veneer its abject failure through a sheet of communal passions and this is done by raising such polarising issues.
Now, the BJP speaks about changing the law of citizenship in the country. Sitaram said citizenship and fundamental rights cannot be on the basis of religion, caste creed etc., these are universal rights.There are so many cards that a person carries to exhibit identity. The election commission is going ahead with EPIC verification; what is the need to verify it when it is already established through a process carried out since last many years, he remarked. The government is using every opportunity to communally polarise the people and, in the past, have won large dividends out of it. Hence the gains that the political right has made has to be countered with an answer, which can only be provided by the Left, he asserted.
While speaking about the recent development in which the government made an announcement to give tax concessions to the corporates by reducing the corporate tax by 10 per cent, Sitaram said that this is utterly ridiculous. While a common tax payer once in the bracket of tax deduction is supposed to pay 35 per cent of the deduction of the income tax, the corporates are supposed to pay just 25 per cent. For the new companies; they have also got an advantage by reduction in tax deductions. Similarly, he said, speculative capital gains tax is reduced so that the speculative capital can make enormous gains. It is evident from the fact that this decision has helped the Bombay Stock Exchange to jump by 1200 points thus making a gain of over Rs 6 lakh crore in speculative capital; but where is the gain for the people, he asserted.
While criticising the government for incurring a loss of Rs I.45 lakh croreto the country by doling out concessions, he said just a week ago Rs 70,000 crore concessions were given to the real estate sector, thus making a loss of Rs 2.15 lakh crore. It is worth mentioning, he said that a government of crony capitalists has created a situation where just 8 people in the country have wealth equivalent to nearly 50 per cent of the population. Large scale inequality already exists and these concessions will further widen the gap. While mentioning details about the jump in wealth of Ambanis and Adanis in the country he mentioned that the richest man in the country(Ambani) has gained a wealth of 100 per cent in the last five years of Modi rule. Similarly, the Adanis have gained wealth by four times during this period. This has forced the people to abject poverty and large-scale unemployment.
The government claims that these concessions will enhance investment through the private capital and production will rise. This is not going to happen, Sitaram asserted. He said even if production rises where is the capacity of the people to consume it; hence it is a vicious circle. The other way is to increase the exports, which in the given situation, is, not going to happen. So, there is no way the BJP government can bring back the economy to the track.
While speaking about the alternative that the Left parties propound, he stated, “our alterative is that this money(concessions given to the corporates) which is illegally taken from the RBI should be used for public investment. This money should be utilised to build roads, water wells and such other social infrastructure.” He said the impact of climate change demands that money be largely invested into public funded resilient infrastructures. Once it is done, there will be generation of employment and wages will rise. This shall give capacity in the hands of the people to buy the goods in the market. Only a pro-people approach can bring back the economy to the track he said. He asserted that the intention of the government to further enhance the loot of the people is not acceptable.
D Raja, from the CPIspoke about the attacks on the different sections of the people and said that the present government want to tear the present Constitution of the country and instead replace it by ‘Manusmriti’. Dipankar Bhattacharya from the CPI(ML) said that the present economic crisis, which he termed as recession, is emanated from the faulty policies of the Modi government which started from demonetisation. He asserted that instead of enhancing the capacity of the people to purchase, the government is doling out concessions to the rich corporates. Leaders from Forward Block and RSP also spoke.