The Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met at Kolkata from June 3 to 4, 2005. It has issued the following statement:
One Year of UPA Government
The Central Committee endorsed the statement made by the Polit Bureau on May 18 in which an assessment was made of the one year of the UPA government. The Central Committee underlined that the government has not shown the political will to put in place policy measures which will bring some relief to the people. Many of the pro-people promises in the CMP remain unfulfilled.
In the coming days the Party will step up mass mobilization and movements to ensure the implementation of the pro-people measures in the CMP. At the same time, the Party will firmly oppose the gamut of measures which seeks to handover key sectors of the economy to foreign capital including the financial sector.
BHEL and PSU Disinvestment
The Central Committee strongly opposed the decision of the cabinet to sell off 10 per cent of shares of the Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. The UPA government wants to disinvest shares upto 49 per cent in profitable public sector units including navratnas. This is the first serious breach of the CMP.
The Common Minimum Programme states “navratna companies to be retained in the public sector while they raise resources from the capital market.” This means a navaratna company can go to the market to raise capital if it requires it. This has to be decided by the board of the company concerned.
This is not the case with the BHEL. The government has drawn up a list of companies whose shares are to be disinvested and the sale proceeds won’t go to the companies concerned. The National Investment Fund being set up for the proceeds of this disinvestments is actually nothing but a cover for the proceeds of the sale going to meet the government expenditure.
The sale of BHEL shares is not a piecemeal decision. It is a full-fledged plan for disinvestments lf the blue chip PSUs which will open the door to privatization. Reducing the share from 51 to 49 per cent is only a small step. The CPI(M) considers this decision a serious violation of the CMP.
The CPI(M) leadership will convey to the government that this policy is not acceptable and proceeding with it will have serious repercussions.
The Central Committee decided to mobilize all forces – trade unions, political parties and public opinion – against the disinvestments plan made by the UPA government.
The CPI(M) has already conveyed to the government its opposition to increase of the prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas. The Central Committee decided that any announcement of hike in petroleum products prices must be responded with a countrywide protest action. The Central Committee called upon all its Party units to be prepared for such a joint protest action with the other Left parties.
The CPI(M) and the Left parties had given the government alternative proposals which can avert the price hike. They include change in the excise duty proposed in the Union budget which have led to an increase of Rs. 1.70 for petrol and Rs. 1.15 for diesel. Further, the 50 paise cess should be done away with. The government has also to change the appropriate parity pricing from refining oil to crude oil. Along with this there has to be a price stabilisation fund to meet the fluctuations in international prices.
The Central Committee welcomed the outcome of the Chinese Premier’s visit to India in April 2005. it has led to the upgrading of relations and agreements on a gamut of issues which can strengthen India-China relations.
The Central Committee appreciated the steps taken by the UPA government to improve relations with Pakistan and the ongoing bilateral dialogue. The people to people contacts and confidence building measures have met with a good response from the people of both countries.
The Central Committee cautioned the UPA government not to accept the United States’ offer to sell F16 fighter plans to India. The United States is known to switch off supplies for its political aims. Further, India should not get inveigled into an arms race with Pakistan with the US supplying arms to both countries. The Central Committee reiterated its opposition to India joining the US sponsored missile defence system.
The Central Committee expressed serious concern at the situation with Bangladesh. A number of extremist groups are having camps across the border and using the neighbouring territory for shelter. The Central Committee expressed concern at the rising activities of the fundamentalist forces within Bangladesh who are targeting secular and democratic personalities and forces. The Central government should take a firm stand regarding sheltering of extremist groups inside Bangladesh territory and hold talks with the Bangladesh authorities to prevent provocative acts by their security forces.
The Central Committee reiterated its opposition to continuing military supplies to the Nepalese army.
Communal Forces Active
The Central Committee strongly condemned the confrontationist tactics of the boycott of the previous session of parliament by the BJP and its allies. In Gujarat, a number of incidents of mass killings during the communal pogroms in 2002 remain to be taken up. The Central government should take steps to expedite the investigations by informing the Supreme Court that it is willing to have the serious cases referred to the CBI for investigation. The Pota review committee’s report on the detenues in the Godhra case should be made public and acted upon.
The Central Committee noted with concern that the RSS outfits are mounting their communal activities in different places, particularly in the states ruled by the BJP like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. In the past three months in Bhilwara, the VHP and the Bajrang Dal unleashed a reign of terror on the minority community.
The Central Committee called upon all the democratic and secular forces to combat such disruptive activities.
Elections to the state assembly will be held in October/November as per the decision of the Election Commission. It is important to see that the BJP-JD(U) alliance is defeated and a secular government set up in the state. This requires avoiding a division of the votes of the secular parties. The Central Committee authorized the Polit Bureau to work out appropriate tactics to achieve this goal.
In many states farmers have suffered heavy losses due to the steep fall in the prices of chilly, mustard, tea and other commodities. The public distribution system dies not work in large parts of the rural areas. Large number of poor people are excluded from getting BPL cards. Preliminary reports of the food-for-work programme make it clear that the very framework of the scheme with its total dependence on the bureaucracy with little or no peoples participation in the conceptualization of the work projects through panchayats is faulty. The allocations between the cash component and the foodgrains component are also at variance with the guidelines. In most states the scheme is yet to get off the ground leave alone give relief to the vast rural poor who require work. There are no provisions at all for women.
It is necessary for the Party to take up this issue in the identified districts and launch struggles for proper implementation of the food-for-work programme.
The Central Committee demanded that the UPA government institute A CBI probe into the sale of the Centuar Airport and Centaur Juhu hotels. They should enquire into the sale of the ITDC hotel at Kovalam in Kerala also.
The Central Committee finalised the Political-Organisational Report of the 18th Congress. The Central Committee adopted the report after incorporating some of the amendments and suggestions made during the Congress by the delegates.
The report includes Part II, a section entitled “On Certain Policy Issues”, which was also finalised after a discussion in the Central Committee.
Central Secretariat & Division of Work
The Central Committee finalized the division of work of the Polit Bureau members, Central Secretariat members and constituted a Central Secretariat. The Central Secretariat elected consists of : 1. Prakash Karat; 2. Hannan Mollah; 3. Hari Singh Kang; 4. Nilotpal Basu and 5. one more to be drafted within three months.
The five priority states will be looked after by:
—Biman Basu; Bihar – S Ramachandran Pillai; Maharashtra – Sitaram Yechury, Uttar Pradesh – Prakash Karat and Jharkhand – Brinda Karat.
The Central Committee called upon all Party units to take up the immediate demands which affect the people. These include:
1. Campaign against BHEL and PSUs disinvestment
2. implementation of the food-for-work programme in the 150 districts by revising the guidelines and removing the various defects in the scheme as it is being implemented. The Party units should take up the issues and mobilize the affected people to get appropriate work and wages in cash and kind.
3. The Party units should immediately launch protest actions if the petrol price hike is announced.
4. The Party will campaign for the early adoption of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and the Scheduled Tribes (Right to Forest) Act.
Call For Countrywide Movement
The Central Committee decided to give a call for a countrywide movement as per the 18th Party Congress decision on three issues pertaining to land, food and employment. These include the issuance of BPL cards to all those excluded; antodaya programme to be expanded and better implementation of the food-for-work programme; for stopping the reversal of land reforms in various states; distribution of government waste land and surplus land to the landless; stop eviction of tribals from lands under their occupation and homestead land for landless agricultural workers and issuance of joint pattas for women. Lift the ban on employment in central government and state government posts. Implement the National Employment Guarantee Act and enhance allocations for employment generation for the educated unemployed.
In August a national campaign will be conducted by the Party units. This will be followed in September by movements and local struggles for achieving these demands.