The Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in New Delhi from 10th to 12th March, 2000. It has issued the following statement:
Repulse RSS Threat
The first few months of the BJP-led government has proved that the RSS agenda will be pushed forward relentlessly. Even though the NDA programme is maintained as a façade, the issues which have come to the fore in the past five months show that a parallel agenda is at work.
The country has witnessed the open moves to allow RSS penetration into the government machinery; push forward the Hindutva agenda through a constitutional review and growing intolerance and attacks on those who do not share the narrow sectarian vision of the RSS in the field of culture, education and society in general.
The Gujarat government's order lifting the prohibition on government employees joining the RSS is the first blatant move to legitimise the communalisation of the administration. The Union home ministry under L.K. Advani permitted this step. It is the determined resistance put up by the entire secular opposition in parliament and the widespread public protests which finally forced the Gujarat government to withdraw this circular. The BJP had to retrace its steps after many NDA partners also publicly protested and disassociated from the BJP's defence of the RSS.
Ignoring the widespread opposition to review the Constitution, the government announced the setting up of a Commission for the purpose. The aim of the BJP is to legitimise change of the Constitution on anti-secular lines and to eventually impose a Presidential form of government. The most objectionable part is that parliament has been bypassed totally in this exercise. Parliament is the only body authorised by the Constitution to go into such matters. The recent statement of the new RSS Chief that the Constitution should be scrapped and a new one adopted is a clear warning of the BJP's real aims. All those who have been taken in by the talk of reviewing the Constitution after fifty years should realise the deep game behind such a move.
The Central Committee of the CPI(M) decided that since it is basically opposed to the idea of such a Commission to review the Constitution, the Party will not cooperate with the work of the Commission in any manner.
The Central Committee strongly condemned the tactics adopted by the RSS-BJP combine's efforts to impose intellectual censorship and cultural policing utilising its control over the administration both at the Centre and in the states where it is ruling. The Indian Council of Historical Research in an unprecedented step recalled two books written for the "Towards Freedom" project after it had gone to the press. This blatant interference in an academic project is part of the overall design to get institutions of higher education and research to conform to the dictates of the Hindutva brigade.
The UP state government prevented the shooting of a film which was objected to by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and other RSS outfits even though the central government cleared the film. Increasingly the RSS and its outfits are interfering in the lives of ordinary citizens and resorting to violence to impose their sectarian code of conduct.
Though the BJP-RSS combine was forced to retreat on lifting the ban on government employees joining the RSS, it is clear that in practice all encouragement will be given for RSS penetration. The Central Committee calls upon all secular and democratic forces to maintain vigilance and ensure that such moves to communalise the administration and the police machinery is foiled.
Defence of Democracy
The Central Committee of the CPI(M) denounced the Bihar Governor's action in calling upon the NDA leader Nitish Kumar to form the government. The elections resulted in the RJD emerging as the large single party and its alliance being ahead of the NDA. Despite this, the Governor, Vinod Pande, in a shameful manner invited the NDA, which had no claim, to form the government.
The debacle faced by the NDA with Nitish Kumar having to resign before the confidence vote has vindicated the stand of the RJD alliance. The formation of the Rabri Devi government was the only step to repair the damage done to democratic norms.
The Central Committee congratulated all the democratic forces who took a firm stand against this assault on democracy in Bihar. The BJP and its opportunist allies have suffered a serious setback and been thoroughly exposed by this episode. V.C Pande cannot remain the Governor of Bihar after his disgraceful behaviour. He should be removed forthwith from the post of Governor.
The Union Budget for the year 2000-01 is a declaration that the BJP-led government is more than willing to appease foreign finance capital and imperialist interests. By reducing customs duties to the tune of Rs. 1428 crores and increasing excise duties on domestic producers to the extent of Rs. 3252 crores, the bias in favour of foreign capital is evident.
The increase in fertiliser prices will hit the farmers and perpetuate the stagnation in agricultural production. The most shocking attack has been on the public distribution system. The steep increase of 46 and 64 per cent in rice and wheat for those below the poverty line and the increase in the issue price even above the market prices for those above the poverty line are intended to dismantle the system of supplying cheap food to the ordinary people. This is nothing but accepting the dictates of the IMF-World Bank and the WTO. The Central Committee demands that the Vajpayee government scrap the proposal for cutting the food subsidy and increasing the issue prices through the PDS. The Central Committee calls upon all its Party units to mobilise the people to protest against these inhuman measures.
The Central Committee expressed its total opposition to the move to privatise the nationalised banks by reducing government equity to 33 per cent and the steps announced for privatising the public sector.
11th May General Strike
The Central Committee in this connection welcomed the successful rally held by the National Platform of Mass Organisations on March 9 at New Delhi. The big mobilisation of the working people belonging to all sections expressed their determination to fight back the policies of liberalisation and privatisation. The Central Committee welcomed the call given by the platform for an all-India general strike on May 11, 2000. The Central Committee called upon all its Party units to work wholeheartedly for the success of this important strike.
The Central Committee expressed support to the agitation by lawyers all over the country regarding the Civil Procedure Code amendments and the proposed changes in the Advocates Act. It condemned the repressive policies such as the lathi charge on the lawyers in Delhi and called upon the government to immediately hold talks with the lawyers organisations to resolve the issue.
The Central Committee noted with concern the continuing refusal of the Central Government to send adequate security forces to Tripura. For the past three months, the state government has been requesting the Centre to redeploy the army and send more central paramilitary forces to the state in view of the forthcoming Tripura Tribal Autonomous District Council elections. The Chief Minister of Tripura, had met the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and other concerned authorities to highlight the sensitive situation in the state in the light of the intensified attacks by the extremist forces which are getting support from outside the country. It is unfortunate that the BJP-led government adopts a narrow partisan stand on an issue which is of utmost importance for national unity.
The Central Committee called upon all its Party units and other anti-imperialist and democratic forces to unitedly protest against American policies towards India and the subcontinent during the visit of President Clinton. March 21, the first day of the official visit should be observed as a National Day of Protest Against US Imperialism. Relations between India and the US can be improved and set on a sound footing only if the United States administration withdraws sanctions against India, stops coercing India to open up its trade and economy to American multinationals adversely affecting domestic industry and agriculture, and stops interfering in such matters as the Kashmir issue. The US should stop the blockade of Cuba, lift the sanctions on Iraq and hostile actions against Yugoslavia.
The Central Committee warned the Vajpayee government to stop appeasing the United States by negotiating to sign the CTBT and accepting US terms for a strategic partnership which includes internationalising the Kashmir issue with US mediation.
The Central Committee held substantive discussions on the draft of the updated Party programme presented by the Polit Bureau. After the discussion it was decided that another meeting will be held in the month of April where the final touches will be given to the draft before circulating it for inner-Party discussion.