WB: CPI(M) to Hold Statewide Campaign for Two Months
AN extended session of the CPI(M) West Bengal state committee was held from November 3-5 at Anil Biswas Bhavan, office of the Party's Howrah district committee. The meeting was organised to evaluate strengths and weaknesses and formulate organisational strategies for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in the following year. Approximately 400 prominent cadres participated in this three-day meeting, including members of the state committee, district committee leaders, and leaders from various mass organisations.
During a press conference held on the eve of the extended session, Party's state secretary, Md Salim, highlighted that an interim assessment following the state conference, will be made in this meeting. Given the ever-changing national and state political landscape, Party's growth and the development of its independent strength, the strengthening of the broader Left unity, and the imperative task of unifying and consolidating secular forces in the upcoming political struggles will remain foremost priorities. With this overarching perspective in mind, discussions will encompass the incorporation of local issues and the everyday hardships faced by the people in movement. Furthermore, apart from the deliberation about social responsibility, there is a need to address the areas where Party organisation may have limitations in achieving robust growth.
Party organisation is actively preparing to enhance its capacity for intervention in all issues and this meeting marks a significant step in that direction.
Senior CPI(M) leader Biman Basu hoisted the Party flag at the beginning of the session. Md Salim explained the purpose of this extended session, following the leaders' homage at the martyr’s stand. On behalf of the presidium of the session, Party Polit Bureau member Ramchandra Dom placed the condolence resolution at the beginning of the session.
During his address at the inaugural session, Sitaram Yechury, CPI(M) general secretary emphasized the significance of Left politics in the national context. He said that the political ideology of the RSS-BJP poses the most significant threat to India today, and the ideology of the Left stands as the strongest opponent to counter it. He further noted that the strength of the Left should not be measured solely by the number of seats it holds in Parliament. Instead, secular and democratic parties are giving prominence to the Left on the opposition platform, recogniSing that the ideology of the Left is the alternative that can safeguard India. It is worth mentioning that RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has also identified the Left as the main enemy for this reason.
In his address, Yechury emphasized the need to identify the primary contradiction in the country today and to formulate a strategy based on this understanding. Discussing the international and national context for why imperialism and corporate capital support the RSS-BJP's communal Hindutva political agenda, Yechury noted that while there are many who oppose the BJP, the Left's significance lies not only in its opposition but also in its presentation of an ideological alternative to the BJP's political ideology.
He pointed out that an ideological alternative cannot be fully understood solely through the electoral politics of a period. To illustrate, when Marx passed away, the New York Times published a brief three-line obituary, but they later had to acknowledge Karl Marx as the most influential figure of the 20th century. Mohan Bhagwat continues to emphasize the dismantling of the left intellectual ecosystem, viewing the challenge posed by left ideology as the primary enemy.
Yechury began his speech by highlighting that Rabindranath Tagore had returned his knighthood in protest after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. He then drew a parallel to the ongoing tragedy in Gaza, where every day, mothers are tragically digging graves with their own hands to bury their children. Israel, with the support of the United States, is pursuing aggressive actions with the aim of destroying Palestine. However, the Modi government is demonstrating solidarity with Israel, which is in contrast to India’s long-standing tradition of opposing Israeli aggression in its foreign policy.
He questioned why the Modi government is departing from the independent foreign policy India has upheld for 70 years, a policy that historically aligned with principles such as those advocated by Mahatma Gandhi, who believed that just as the English have a right over England and the French over France, the Palestinians have a similar right over Palestine.
Yechury elaborated on the underlying reasons for this shift in policy. He pointed out that the US-led imperialist bloc has initiated a new 'Cold War' against China and Russia, and India seeks to align itself as a subordinate partner of the United States in this endeavor. Concurrently, the RSS has found ideological alignment with Zionist Israel in its pursuit of Hindutva political objectives. India, in the process, is employing tactics akin to Hitler's by promoting Islamophobia under the guise of identifying internal enemies. The BJP's goal is to consolidate its voter base through communal polarisation under the banner of Hindutva.
Indian corporates are also supporting this agenda, driven by their desire for unfettered access to lucrative markets. Furthermore, western imperialist powers, who often champion human rights and democracy on the global stage, are paradoxically lending tacit support to the erosion of these very values in India.
Yechury alleged that, in pursuit of the RSS's Hindutva political agenda, the Modi government is undermining the fundamental pillars of the constitution, which were achieved through India's hard-fought struggle for independence. He noted that all the foundational tenets of the constitution, including secular democracy, economic sovereignty, social justice, and federalism, are currently facing severe threats.
Government institutions are being instrumentalised to stifle political opposition, illegal surveillance is being carried out, and journalists are being silenced through the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). In essence, what is happening in India is akin to an 'elected authoritarianism.' Simultaneously, there is a concerted effort to erase history and suppress rational discourse in order to quell ideological resistance.
Sitaram Yechury firmly identified the ideology of the RSS-BJP as the primary threat facing India today. In the context of national-level efforts to safeguard the country from this threat, he emphasized that the foremost objective is the removal of Modi from power. To achieve this goal, Left has called upon all those willing to engage in the fight to join the collective efforts.
Yechury addressed the question that often arises: Why is Trinamool on the 'I.N.D.I.A.' stage? He clarified that Trinamool is not considered an alternative to the BJP, nor has it ever been one. Trinamool has been associated with the BJP, compromised with the BJP, and even helped the BJP. They have collaborated with the BJP during assembly polls and may continue to do so in the future. Consequently, there is a lack of confidence in Trinamool's commitment to opposing the BJP. Nevertheless, for anyone who wants to contribute to the campaign to unseat the BJP, we are ready to welcome them and stand together for as long as they remain committed, as this is a battle to safeguard the nation.
Drawing on the example of temporary allies in the past, even during the fight to restore democracy after the Emergency, Sitaram Yechury shared an insightful analogy. He referred to B T Ranadive, who provided a clear illustration to dispel any confusion. Ranadive likened the situation to a car breaking down on the road, where anyone willing to step forward and help push it should be welcomed. The understanding is that not everyone will stay until the destination, but the people will collectively manage the journey, taking care of the rest.
Yechury emphasized that Trinamool is not only undemocratic but is also plagued by corruption. He stated that the Left intends to contest elections against both Trinamool and the BJP in Bengal. To achieve this goal, the extended session will delve into strategies to enhance the Party's connection with the masses, focusing on greater mobilisation and organisational consolidation.
In conclusion, Yechury added, "We have no objection to the ED and CBI taking action against corruption. If corruption exists, it should be proven, and the guilty should be convicted in a court of law. However, we have expressed our concerns regarding the BJP's misuse of the ED and CBI as political instruments in various states to intimidate the opposition."
Apart from the general secretary of the Party, Polit Bureau members Surya Mishra, Ramchandra Dom, Nilotpal Basu were present in the meeting. A presidium comprising Ramachandra Dom, Srideep Bhattacharya, Deblina Hembram, Ziaul Alam and Srijan Bhattacharya was constituted to conduct the session. Md. Salim also addressed the opening session. He highlighted how this extended session would be helpful in shaping the future and on what goals the deliberations need to be carried out.
The extended state committee meeting featured in-depth discussions centered on specific experiences. The meeting involved a comprehensive review of the organisational efforts throughout the state. Discussions revolved around methods to enhance the participation of Party members, including those responsible for various tasks at the state level, and how to strengthen the Party's work and organisation.
During the second day of the meeting, two resolutions were passed. The first resolution was aimed at defeating the communal politics of the BJP. The second resolution determined that on November 8, a joint call by Left parties would coordinate a mass rally in Kolkata, calling for an immediate halt to Israel's actions in Gaza. This rally would serve as a platform for expressing the collective protest of all peace-loving individuals in the state against the ongoing genocide in Gaza.
As an outcome of this extended session, a door-to-door campaign is now being implemented across the state throughout the months of November and December. This initiative encompasses a range of activities, including small and large meetings, marches, and various other programmes.
Md Salim, declared that the clarion call for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections was sounded during this extended session. He also mentioned that discussions with potential allies to combat the BJP and Trinamool in the Lok Sabha elections are scheduled for November.
From this extended session, Samik Lahiri, Central Committee member of the Party, has been appointed as the editor of the Party's official publication, Ganashakti. Additionally, prominent lawyer and member of parliament, Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, has been included in the CPI(M) West Bengal state committee as a special invitee. And, Faiyaz Ahmed Khan, Kolkata district secretariat member and Himghnaraj Bhattacharya, national leader of the youth movement, have been co-opted into the Party's state committee.
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