December 17, 2023

Bihar: CPI(M) Resolves to Strengthen the Organisation

Arun Kumar Mishra

THE state committee of the CPI(M) met from December 6-8, 2023, in the background of significant mandate for BJP in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan elections. This outcome emphasized the urgency of comprehending the gravity of the situation leading up to the 2024 parliamentary elections. Ajay Kumar, state secretariat member of the Party, presided over the meeting, with observers A Vijayaraghavan and Ashok Dhawale, CPI(M) Polit Bureau members from the all India centre guiding the proceedings.

A Vijayaraghavan reported on the rectification process initiated at the Polit Bureau and Central Committee levels. He directed the secretariat and state committee to prepare a comprehensive report and take this process down to the unit level. Emphasizing the necessity for every Party member to attain ideological, political, and organisational competence, Vijayaraghavan highlighted that failure to do so could jeopardise the Party's ability to fulfill its duties in the face of the looming threat of authoritarian onslaught.

Ashok Dhawale discussed the international and national situation in the aftermath of the Ukraine war and the genocide in Gaza. The imperialist bloc is committed to maintaining its dominance through unleashing proxy wars and violating the UNO charter. The Modi regime's most regrettable action is aligning itself with the imperialist bloc, even on the Palestine issue. India abstained from voting on the ceasefire issue in Gaza, marking a particularly shameful moment in its stance on the matter.

Discussing the national situation, he explained the factors contributing to the BJP's victory in the Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan. He underscored the weaknesses of the Congress Party in countering the BJP ideologically, politically, and organisationally. The victory of the BJP was also contributed by the failure of all anti-BJP secular forces to come together. Emphasizing the imperative to bolster the unity of Left, secular and democratic forces, he cautioned against underestimating the BJP's influence in Bihar. The frequent visits by Amit Shah to Bihar should be considered as planned efforts to fortify grassroots work and engage in social engineering.

With all the major Hindi states, except Bihar, under its governance, the BJP is determined to exert its full influence to gain control of Bihar from the Mahagathbandhan and its Left and secular allies. Party state committee, which has undertaken the ongoing rectification process led by the Polit Bureau and the Central Committee, openly deliberated on organisational weaknesses. This includes the challenges related to the implementation of the cardinal Leninist organisational principle of democratic–centralism at various levels, the functioning of the secretariat, district, local committees, and branches, adherence to the five standard practices by every Party member, the state of education at different levels, the local movements on various day-to-day issues, and the resulting growth in Party and mass organisation recruitments, among other aspects.

Against the backdrop of the imminent threat of Hindutva politics gaining dominance across various aspects of public life, the inability of bourgeois secular parties to ideologically counter Hindutva politics and their tendency to yield to soft Hindutva politics necessitates the Party, along with other Left parties and secular forces, to embark on an extensive ideological campaign. Simultaneously, there is a need to foster class and mass movements addressing the diverse issues faced by peasants and workers in the state. This undertaking poses a formidable challenge for the Party, given its deficient organisational network and a limited level of political understanding.

While the Party has consistently organised peasants and workers on various issues, intervening on political matters and militantly taking up the issues of social oppression, it has struggled to instill political consciousness among the mobilised masses. In recent times, it is the only Left party which has sacrificed many cadres and leaders during land struggles. Land related movements have recently got a boost when the government issued a notification for allotting 5 decimal lands to the landless people. Moreover, the party has been at the forefront of defending the rights of homeless and landless individuals against evictions orchestrated by corrupt bureaucrats and land mafias, often aided and abetted by the judiciary.

The state committee of the Party has taken serious note of the Nitish-led government's actions, which include a series of anti-teacher and anti-worker measures. These steps have provided an opportunity for the BJP to cast aspersions on the government.

It is distressing to witness Chief Minister Nitish Kumar allowing bureaucrats to make arbitrary decisions in the education sector, resulting in significant hardships for teachers, particularly a large number of women teachers in remote areas of Bihar. Widespread discontent against the government has emerged, with KK Pathak, the chief secretary in the education department, symbolising an authoritarian style of governance.

Government actions have also been oppressive towards anganwadi workers, who went on strike for over 40 days. Despite this, the government has disregarded their demands, leading to the dismissal of 17,000 anganwadi workers. The remaining workers have been compelled to resume their duties without any assurances. Similarly, the demands of the exploited mid-day-meal workers have been overlooked. While a bipartite meeting between representatives of various unions affiliated with CITU, AICCTU, and others resulted in government assurances to address the matter sympathetically, it remains to be seen how these commitments will be fulfilled. Following this assurance, the strike call has been withdrawn.

Party MLAs in assembly, Ajay Kumar and Satyendra Yadav, raised all these issues on the floor of the house and demanded that the government should act democratically and meet the demands of the teachers, anganwadi workers and mid-day-meal workers by initiating discussions with the representatives of the various organisations representing them. But till date the government representative did not meet the Left representatives on these issues or the representatives of the organisations concerned. Such undemocratic acts of the present dispensation are detrimental to the cause of Left secular and democratic unity and would provide space to the BJP to exploit the situation.

In the overall prevailing situation, the Left parties and particularly CPI(M)  will have to play a bigger role to unite the Left and secular democratic forces on the one hand and not to allow the BJP to usurp the opposition space on the other.

Despite being politically isolated in Bihar, the recent outcomes in the three major Hindi states have bolstered the morale of BJP leaders and cadres, prompting them to initiate meticulous booth-level preparations for the 2024 parliamentary elections. Additionally, they are actively engaged in micro-level caste engineering, exploiting social contradictions within the caste hierarchy at various levels. The assertiveness of middle peasant castes has recently led to the alienation of smaller communities, including dalits, mahadalits, and other marginalised sections. The alarming murder of Rajesh Hansda, a CPI(M) activist leading a land movement in Madhepura, underscores the gravity of the ground-level situation. The perpetrator is associated with a mahagathbandhan ally, and as of now, has not been apprehended. The Party has taken up this matter from the district level to the state level, but the government has shown no response. Our district leaders, including secretariat member Rampari, have been accused of inciting the public, resulting in the filing of an FIR against them. State secretary Lalan Choudhary and Central Committee member Awadhes Kumar have visited the site, met with the family members of the martyred comrade, and addressed well-attended meetings. The struggle against eviction and the murder of Comrade Hansda has been continuing.

In such a complex political situation, the Party has decided to strengthen the organisation at the grassroots levels by fortifying the Party structure right from the branch level to the district, state and secretariat level.

The Party has also decided to unleash class and mass movements, highlighting the basic issues of rising cost of living, unemployment, large scale migration, pathetic situation prevalent in education and health sectors and simultaneously carrying out campaign against the communal fascist pro-corporate policies pursued by the central government.