The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in New Delhi on April 12 and 13, 2000. It has issued the following statement:
Harmful Economic Measures
The Polit Bureau expressed serious concern at the way the Vajpayee government is going ahead with a series of economic policy measures, which are extremely harmful for the country. After the Union Budget proposals to cut food subsidy by steeply increasing the prices of rise and wheat issued through the public distribution system, the BJP-led government, disregarding the widespread protests, has callously effected a second price hike for the same food items in the PDS. This has been followed by a sharp increase in the prices of kerosene and cooking gas. The whole effort is to dismantle the public distribution system.
The export-import policy announced for the year 2000-01 has done away with quantitative restrictions on imports for 714 items which include a wide range of consumer goods and agricultural and dairy products. Restrictions on another 715 items will be removed by April next year. This is a step taken as part of the agreement with the United States which is going to badly affect domestic industry and Indian farmers.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly opposed the decision of the Union cabinet to denationalise the coal-mining sector. For this, the government proposes to amend the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act of 1973 to facilitate the full-scale entry of the private sector in mining. The CPI(M) will make every effort to see that this legislation is not passed in parliament and will extend all support to the struggle of the coal-mine workers to oppose privatisation.
The Polit Bureau strongly condemned the unjustified stand taken by the finance minister in asking the income tax department to withdraw its notice for tax claims on seven foreign investment companies. The country is losing a large amount of revenue by the FIIs registering companies in Mauritius to evade paying taxes in India. Faced with the threat of the FIIs withdrawing funds from India, the finance minister has surrendered the country's interests by withdrawing legitimate tax claims. This typifies the craven attitude of the Vajpayee government to the demands of international finance capital.
The relentless onslaught of price increase has increased the burdens and sufferings of the common people. It is essential that the cut in food and fertiliser subsidy is opposed in the forthcoming session of parliament when the finance bill will be taken up for adoption. The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) has already called for a countrywide protest day to be observed on April 17 for demanding a rollback of the price increase. It called upon all its Party units and the people to mobilise on this demand.
The Polit Bureau criticised the stand taken by the Vajpayee government at the Non-Aligned ministers meeting at Cartagena, Columbia. The foreign minister has taken the stand that democracy as a political system must be the basis for membership of the non-aligned movement. Such a stand has been taken with only Pakistan in mind and echoes the US concern for promoting its political vision of global democracy. The real issues before the non-aligned countries concerning the imperialist driven globalisation and assault on national sovereignty were ignored by the Indian delegation.
The West Bengal unit of the Congress party has declared its intention of teaming up with the Trinamul Congress which is allied to the BJP to fight the Left Front in the state. The all-India Congress leadership has allowed the West Bengal unit to go ahead with the proposal for aligning with the Trinamul Congress without stating clearly that such a combination should have no truck with the BJP. The Trinamul Congress leader, Mamata Banerjee, has repeatedly declared that she will continue to be in the NDA and support the Prime Minister. The recent remarks to the media by senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee display an ambigious attitude towards an indirect alliance with the BJP through its partner the Trinamul. The failure to take a firm stand that the state Congress unit cannot have any truck with the BJP and its ally brings into question the credibility of the Congress in fighting the communal forces. The Congress leadership will have to answer how such a line being pursued in West Bengal at a time when the RSS led combine is mounting a big onslaught on secularism and the minorities, matches up to the pronouncements of the Congress that it will take an uncompromising stand on secularism.
The CPI(M) and the Left Front in West Bengal have constantly fought various forms of anti-Communist gang-ups and emerged victorious. The Congress party has been reduced to a fragment of its earlier strength by making anti-Left politics its main platform. A polarisation in which the Left rallies all the secular-democratic forces, and on the other side, the Trinamul-BJP alliance with the Congress as a minor partner will not harm the Left Front but irretrievably damage the Congress at the all-India level.
Attack on Christian Institutions
The series of attacks on Christian schools and institutions in Western Uttar Pradesh is part of the continuing hate-campaign against the Christian community. After the latest attack on a school in Kosikalan, in which a priest was seriously injured, the district authorities have declared that there is no communal motive behind the attack. But all the evidence shows that the Christian institutions and personnel are being targetted by the VHP-RSS outfits. The UP government has totally failed to provide protection to these institutions.
The Polit Bureau demands that the Central Government take urgent steps to ensure that the UP government fulfills its constitutional obligations in this matter.
Draft of Party Programme
The Polit Bureau prepared a report on the amendments received on the Draft of the updated Party Programme which is to be placed before the Central Committee meeting to be held in the last week of April. The Central Committee meeting will finalise the draft which will then be released for inner-Party discussions.