The Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met at Kolkata between January 2 and 4, 2007. It has issued the following statement:
Execution of Saddam Hussein
The Central Committee strongly condemned the execution of Saddam Hussein by the Iraqi regime set up by the United States. This judicial assassination and the manner in which it was conducted shows the character of the Iraqi government set up under US occupation. There has been widespread outrage and condemnation in India against this heinous step. It is unfortunate that the UPA government has only expressed disappointment at this act. The people of India expect the UPA government to take a firm and categorical stand against the Bush administration that has become notorious for its gross violations of national sovereignty and illegal aggressive actions.
BJP’s Communal Platform
The BJP has adopted a rabidly communal platform at its national council session in Lucknow. The hallmark of this stand is minority baiting. The BJP’s stand on terrorism, the execution of Afzal Guru or its attitude to the Justice Sachar Committee report, are motivated by a communal outlook. The Sachar Committee report has effectively exposed the entire propaganda of the BJP about “minority appeasement”.
The CPI(M) decided to bring out a comprehensive charter for the advancement of the Muslim community in the socio-economic, educational and employment spheres. It also decided to bring out a booklet exposing the pernicious role of the BJP-RSS combine so that all Party units can utilize it for the anti-communal campaign.
Indo-US Nuclear Deal
The legislation adopted by the US Congress to facilitate the Indo-US nuclear deal attempts to link the agreement with India’s foreign policy being “congruent” to the foreign policy of the United States and demands that India line up with the US to sanction and isolate Iran. The actual terms set out in the legislation does not offer “full civilian nuclear cooperation” and other measures spelt out by the Prime Minister in his August 17 statement in parliament. There are objectionable clauses such as annual reporting by the President regarding India’s nuclear energy sector to the US Congress, a modified additional protocol with the IAEA and the shifting of goalposts in terms of two new provisions concerning alternative fuel supplies from friendly countries in case the US cancels its obligations and the building up of a strategic fuel reserve.
It is not enough to cite President Bush’s statement that the executive can exercise its prerogative in the specified areas without being bound down by the US Congress. This is a subjective interpretation. A new president assuming office in 2008 can decide to abide by the provisions of the law.
The debate in both houses of parliament on the US legislation has made it clear that a majority in parliament (i.e. all parties except the UPA partners) are against proceeding with the bilateral agreement on the terms set out by the United States.
The government should not proceed with the bilateral agreement without clearing all the extraneous terms and foreign policy implications of the agreement. The Central Committee calls upon the Party to launch a campaign against the dangers inherence in the Indo-US nuclear agreement.
The Central Committee expressed its serious concern at the rising rate of inflation. The annual rate of inflation is between 6 to 7 per cent. The sharpest rise has been in the case of foodgrains and food articles. The prices of pulses have risen by nearly 33 per cent between January and November 2006. A major factor for this price rise is the forward and futures trading in foodgrains and essential commodities. The Standing Committee of parliament has come out with recommendations for amending the Futures Trading Act. So far the government has refused to consider these changes. The price rise can be checked only if there are curbs on futures trading in essential commodities and ban on open entry of private players in the grain trade. The government has to make efforts to increase procurement and strengthen the public distribution system.
The Central Committee considers the reduction in the prices of petrol and diesel by Rs. 2 and 1 to be insufficient. The government must immediately bring the petroleum prices down to the June 2006 level.
Atrocities on Dalits
The Central Committee expressed its outrage at the gruesome atrocity in which a dalit family including two women were killed. The manner in which the shocking incident was handled by the police is a graphic illustration of how dalits in this country continue to be deprived of elementary justice. The Central Committee demanded that the CBI expedite investigation into the case and all those guilty be proceeded against without delay.
The Central Committee heard a report on the Tata Motors car project to be set up at Singur. The opposition in West Bengal and some other forces outside have sought to misrepresent the Singur project as a SEZ. The Singur project is not a SEZ. All the land owners and bargadars are being compensated at a level which does not deprive them of their due. Various steps for rehabilitating those who will lose their livelihood in the area concerned are also being put in place. The Left Front government of West Bengal has formulated a land use policy which should become the basis for the use of land for industrial and development projects.
The CPI(M) reiterates that it will continue to struggle against the manner in which SEZs are being set up all over the country in which indiscriminately large tracts of land are being taken over. The present rules promote real estate speculation. The CPI(M) is working for amendments to the SEZ Act and the rules.
Uttar Pradesh Elections
The Central Committee approved the decision of the UP State Committee to contest 15 seats in the forthcoming assembly polls. The Party will seek to project policies which are in the interests of the working people and for the planned development of Uttar Pradesh. The Party will accord priority to defeat the BJP and to prevent any possibility of its coming into the state government after the polls. The Party will cooperate with those secular parties who can effectively defeat the BJP.
The Polit Bureau discussed some issues concerning the Kerala Party and government affairs. It decided on certain steps to be taken to sort out the problems and to improve the coordination between the government and the Party.
Government Should Fulfill Commitments
In the forthcoming Union budget and during the budget session of parliament the government has to fulfill some of its policy commitments:
Ø The government should extend the coverage of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act to another 200 districts.
Ø The Central Committee noted that the various recommendations of the National Commission of Farmers have not been taken up for implementation by the government. In order to alleviate the impact of the agrarian crisis, the government should accept the Farmers Commission’s recommendations regarding interest rate of institutional credit; the setting up of price stabilization fund and minimum support price mechanism.
Ø The Central Committee considers the Seed Bill in the present form to be a retrograde step as it takes away the right of the peasants to produce, sell and barter farm seeds. The bill has to incorporate the major suggestions made by the Standing Committee of parliament and the provisions in the plant varieties and the Farmers Right Act of 2001.
Ø The Central Committee expressed its disappointment on the non-introduction of the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Winter session of parliament. This must be given priority in the budget session.
Ø The Central Committee opposed the proposed legislation which would allow foreign universities to open their branches in the country. While academic exchanges and collaboration between universities in India and abroad should be encouraged, there cannot be foreign universities directly setting up their institutions here.
The Central Committee called upon all its Party units to conduct a one-week campaign from February 1 to 8 on the following issues:
1. Against price rise
2. Steps to be taken to provide relief to farmers and the rural poor due to the agrarian crisis
3. Strengthening of the Public Distribution System
4. Extension of the Rural Employment Guarantee Act
5. Introduction of the Women’s Reservation Bill and legislations for agricultural workers and the unorganized sector workers