Sunday, January 16, 2011
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met at Kolkata on January 15 & 16, 2011. It has issued the following statement:
The Polit Bureau strongly criticised the UPA government for its refusal to accept a JPC enquiry into the 2G Spectrum affair. Though the minister, A Raja, was forced to resign after the CAG report on the scam, the UPA government continues to adopt a position which will hamper the investigation and bringing of the guilty to book. The outrageous statement of Kapil Sibal who is looking after the telecom ministry denying the findings of the CAG report and stating that no loss of revenue has occurred, indicates that the UPA government wants to cover up the whole affair. In this connection, the CPI(M) will consult with all the non-NDA opposition parties to evolve a common approach in the forthcoming budget session of parliament.
The spate of corruption scandals in the recent period -- whether it be the 2G Spectrum issue, the Commonwealth corruption or the Adarsh housing scandal and the brazen corruption and land scandals afflicting the BJP government in Karnataka – are all pointers to how corruption and crony capitalism have become an institutionalized feature of the neo-liberal regime. The Congress-led government has been exposed for not pursuing the Bofors case by the recent verdict given by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal. The CPI(M) will continue to expose the big business–ruling politicians-bureacratic nexus which is the source of high level corruption.
The increase in food prices has reached unbearable limits for the people. The prices of onions and other vegetables have become prohibitive. The food inflation rate in the last week of December stood at 18.32 per cent.
The UPA government is responsible for much of this price rise. For example the manipulation of export and import policies for essential commodities has fuelled price rise. Earlier we saw this in the case of both wheat and sugar. At present the current high prices of onions are also a result of such a manipulation. When it was known that adverse weather conditions are expected to affect the onion crop, why did the Central Government incentivise export of onions by reducing the minimum export price by around $ 200 per quintal. This accentuated the shortage while leading to huge profits for big trading companies. Subsequently, it reduced import duty to 0 per cent and prevented government organizations from importing onions, once again giving huge profits to private trade.
Under the deregulated system, in the space of one month, the price of petrol has been increased twice by Rs. 2.96 and Rs. 2.52 per litre.
The government refuses to curb speculation in food commodities by prohibiting forward trading in them. Despite the suffering of the people, the government is unwilling to make public distribution system universal and provide essential commodities through the PDS at reasonable prices.
The Polit Bureau decided to conduct a widespread struggle against price rise. To launch such an agitation, the CPI(M) will discuss with the Left parties and other secular opposition parties so that the call for a countrywide agitation against price rise can be given forthwith.
Stop the TMC-Maoist Violence
The Polit Bureau discussed the situation in West Bengal. It expressed deep concern at the continuing attacks and violence directed against the CPI(M) and the Left Front by the TMC combine. Since the Lok Sabha elections in 2009 till January 9 this year, 365 members and supporters of the CPI(M) and the Left Front have been killed by the TMC combine and the Maoists. Of those killed, 125 are adivasis and 23 teachers in the Jangal Mahal area.
People have experienced how the Trinamul Congress is running the zilla parishads and panchayat bodies under its control. The rampant corruption and misuse of funds, the lack of any developmental measures are causing disillusionment and discontent among the people. In order to cover up all these failures, the TMC combine has stepped up its disruptionist stance and seeks to utilize political violence instigated by it and the Maoists to condemn the Left Front government.
What the TMC-led combine is attempting to do is to reverse the hardwon gains of the people under Left Front rule, whether it be land reforms, democratization through the panchayat raj system or the establishment of a stable secular atmosphere in the state.
The evidence about the Maoist-TMC collaboration has come from a variety of sources. The book by a sitting Trinamul MP has cited instances of such collaboration. Recently, in Cuttack, a Trinamul Congress leader was arrested for taking two injured Maoists from West Midnapore district for treatment to a hospital there. The Trinamul Congress has been demanding an end to the joint operations against the Maoist squads.
Yet the Central Government turns a blind eye to this collaboration with the Maoists by a Union Minister and partner in the government. Succumbing to the pressures of the TMC, the Union Home Minister wrote a letter to the Chief Minister accusing the CPI(M) of having armed cadres and fomenting violence. There is not a word about the 249 persons killed in the Jangal Mahal area because of their allegiance to the Left Front.
The Polit Bureau wants an end to all forms of political violence in the state. The CPI(M) and the Left Front fully supports the efforts of the state government and the administration to maintain a peaceful atmosphere and curb violence.
In this context, the decision of the Election Commission to send a team with the Chief Electoral Officer of Bihar and five police officers from outside the state to assess the situation in various parts of the state is unprecedented. Such an unusual step will not contribute to the capacity of the state administration to organize free and fair elections.
On Srikrishna Committee Report
The Polit Bureau discussed the reports submitted by the Srikrishna Committee on the issue of Telengana and the state of Andhra Pradesh. The CPI(M) has always maintained that the linguistically reorganized states should not be divided. The Srikrishna committee report has stated that the best option would be a united Andhra Pradesh providing for constitutional/statutory measures for the empowerment of the Telengana region. This recommendation of the Srikrishna Committee is closer to what the CPI(M) advocates.
The Central Government should come out with its stand on the Srikrishna Committee report without delay.
Extremist Hindutva Terrorism
The Polit Bureau expressed its deep concern at the revelations by Assemanand, one of the main organizers of the network which has indulged in terrorist violence through bomb blasts. The confession made by Assemanand before the magistrate has confirmed the links of Hindutva extremist groups with the blasts in Malegaon, Ajmer and the Mecca Masjid blasts. Significantly, the same network was involved in the Samjhauta Express blast in which 68 people were killed, mainly Pakistani citizens. The RSS, after protesting against the “false implication of Hindu religious figures”, has now admitted that such elements had existed in the Sangh. In a recent speech, the RSS Chief, Mohan Bhagwat stated that some of the extremist elements were asked to leave the organization.
The Polit Bureau called for a comprehensive investigation to unravel the links of all such groups with terrorism and to take effective measures to dismantle such networks.
Forthcoming Assembly Elections
The Polit Bureau heard reports of the preparations for the assembly elections in the four states of West Bengal, Kerala, Tamilnadu and Assam and the Union Territory of Pondicherry. The state committees of the concerned states will be meeting shortly to finalise the arrangements for fighting the elections.
Central Committee Meeting
The Polit Bureau decided to hold the next meeting of the Central Committee in New Delhi from March 4 to 6, 2011.