Press Statement

issued after the March 12-13, 1999 meeting of the Central Committee

Attacks on Minorities

The Central Committee noted with concern the increase in the attacks on the Christian community since its last meeting held in mid-December, 1998. It is evident from the widespread nature of the attacks that these are not stray incidents but a planned campaign by the RSS and its allied outfits. Both the RSS and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad seek to cover up its hate campaign by citing the so-called threat of religious conversions. The Central government has failed to discharge its duty of upholding the Constitution. This was glaringly evident in the case of Gujarat where the BJP state government had issued police circulars, which treat the Christians and Muslim communities with suspicion. The recent experience has shown that with the BJP in power at the Centre, the rights of the minorities under the Constitution cannot be ensured.

The Central Committee strongly condemned the threats issued by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal about slaughter of animals during the Id festival, which is designed to foment communal tensions. It is incumbent upon the Central government, and in particular, the governments of Gujarat and Maharashtra to ensure that no provocative activities are allowed on this account.

Union Budget:
Worsening Economic Situation

The Union Budget for the current year will impose greater burdens on the people with its emphasis on raising resources predominantly through indirect, which pass on the additional burdens to the consumer through higher prices. This has come in the background of the pre-budget hikes in the prices of rice, wheat, sugar, urea and cooking gas. In addition, the railway budget has increased freight charges. The budget has increased the prices of diesel. Put together, the transportation costs of essential commodities will substantially grow having a cascading impact fuelling inflation. The consequent erosion of the real incomes of the people will impose further burdens on their livelihood.

The Union budget has given concessions worth Rs 8,000 crores to the corporate sector and the affluent sections. Further it has not only failed to tackle the problem of industrial recession but will compound it. The big incentives given to financial institutions and the stock market will not solve the problem of demand stagnation, the cause of the current crisis.

The budget has put the final nail in the swadeshi coffin by offering a range of incentives to foreign capital from 75 percent automatic approval and 100 percent for the NRI investments. By facilitating mergers and acquisitions, this budget has ensured the transfer of Indian assets to foreign hands.

The budget proposals confirm the Vajpayee government’s desire to go in for a massive disinvestment of profitable PSUs while closing down the loss making units. The proposal to give PSU bonds under the VRS scheme would deprive the workers of their legitimate rights, apart from facilitating the implementation of the anti-people exit policy.

Given the continuance if not deepening of the recessionary tendencies, the budget estimates of revenue collection are bound to fall well short of the target. This will compound the fiscal situation further, leading to a mid-year imposition of extra burdens on the people through hikes in administered prices.

The Central Committee denounced the methods adopted by the government to raise resources to meet its budgetary deficit by cross-purchase of PSU shares an the buy-back scheme imposed on the major PSUs. This way the assets of the public sector are being destroyed. It called upon the government to immediately halt this fraudulent policy. Instead the government should take immediate steps to strengthen the profitable PSUs and revive those units which have been starved of funds.


The revocation of President’s rule in Bihar is a significant victory for the democratic forces in the country. Within a space of six months, the Vajpayee government invoked Article 356 twice in its bid to topple the Bihar state government. This cynical use of Article 356 was for the sole purpose of keeping its commitment to the Samata Party and to serve the needs of eliminating the opposition party governments. The unity of the opposition parties in parliament has foiled this unconscionable step.

In Bihar, the rural poor particularly the landless dalits are subjected to vicious landlord terror for standing up for their rights. The Laloo Prasad government earlier and after that the Rabri Devi government did nothing towards implementing land reform measures which can bring about a change in the semi-feudal land relations. The CPI(M) and the Left parties have consistently fought for such a step. The Rabri Devi government cannot avoid addressing this issue and should take immediate steps for the protection of the oppressed sections in the rural areas.

Call of
National Convention

The Central Committee appreciated the initiative taken by the Party leadership and the Left parties in holding the February 20 national convention against communalism and in defence of the minorities. The wide participation of Left, democratic and secular parties and prominent citizens shows the deep concern about the communal danger facing the country. It provided a platform for all the democratic and secular forces to come together to fight this menace. The Central Committee called upon all its Party units to make the mass campaign to collect crores of signatures on a pledge to fight the communal forces, a big success.

Admiral Bhagwat Affair

The Central Committee strongly criticised the evasive attitude taken by the Vajpayee government in refusing to come out with adequate explanation for the arbitrary dismissal of the Naval Chief, Admiral Bhagwat. Even in parliament, despite repeated requests, the government has not given any convincing answer. It is essential that the matter be discussed in parliament and the ramifications of this unprecedented act be placed before the country. The pretext of national security to cover up this harmful action will not be acceptable.

Guruswamy Allegations

The revelations made by Mohan Guruswamy, former adviser to the finance minister and a BJP appointee, about the influence of big business lobbies in decision making in the Vajpayee government needs to be probed. The suborning of the high echelons of government by big business houses shows the extent of venality which has crept into the BJP-led government in its short period of one year in office. The demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee made by the opposition should be acceded to and the matter thoroughly investigated.

BJP Strangling
Media Autonomy

As the BJP led government gets discredited among the wider sections of the people, it is increasingly monopolising the electronic media. The Information and Broadcasting minister has made it brazenly clear that the Prasar Bharati will have to serve the interests of the government. News about the activities of the opposition are being systematically blacked out. The proceedings of the February 20 national convention against communalism held in New Delhi did not find even a mention in the Doordarshan on that day. The illegal attempt to subvert the autonomy of the Prasar Bharati Corporation must be resisted.

Lahore Visit

The Central Committee noted that the Prime Minister’s visit to Lahore is a step forward in strengthening the dialogue with Pakistan and to initiate steps for more people-to-people relations. The trip to Lahore in response to the Pakistani Prime Minister’s invitation has raised expectations of people on both sides. However, the substantial questions between the two countries remain to be resolved. The Pakistan’s side insists on the Kashmir question being the central issue. Further, the talks in Lahore did not deal with the question of nuclear weaponisation by the two countries, which will be harmful for both countries. Contrary to the spirit of the visit, within the country, the RSS combine is busy fomenting hostility to the minorities.

Surrender On CTBT

The Central Committee expressed its opposition to the commitment made by the Vajpayee government to sign the CTBT under sustained US pressure. The eighth round of the Jaswant Singh-Strobe Talbott talks and the statement made by the Prime Minister in the winter session of parliament shows that the government has now decided on this course. This has been confirmed by Madeline Albright before the US Senate foreign relations committee. The CPI(M) warns the Vajpayee government not to take such a decisive step, which has serious implications for India’s sovereignty. There can be no unprincipled bargain with the United States whereby both India and Pakistan will possess nuclear weapons under a US supervised regime.

One Year of BJP Government:
A Year of Disaster

The Central Committee noted that all the apprehensions about the BJP, an avowedly communal party coming to power at the Centre have come true in the past one year. The Vajpayee government has sought to systematically implement the RSS agenda. It has infiltrated known RSS men into higher educational institutions; it has resorted to authoritarian measures repeatedly such as the use of Article 356 in Bihar; the issuing of ordinances to bypass parliament; and talks of imposing a presidential form of government. The BJP government has proved the most solicitous towards the big business houses and the MNCs; it is out to destroy the public sector and is on a rampant privatisation drive. It has made a mess of the economy and sought to pass the burdens on to the people, whether it be through price hikes in the PDS, increase in diesel prices and freight charges. The people have seen the worst form of price rise in this one year period. The Government has failed to intervene to save the peasantry who are suffering from the fluctuations in prices and indebtedness.

In one year the BJP government has undermined India’s independent foreign policy; it has spoilt relations with our neighbours with its jingoistic nuclear policy. It now seeks an unprincipled compromise with the United States by offering to sign the CTBT. The BJP government is mired in corruption and unscrupulous deals with big business.

Instead of a stable government, the country has seen the daily wranglings and opportunist compromises between the BJP and its allies. The continuance of the BJP in power at the Centre will be a threat to the secular basis of the State and society; India is steadily being plunged into a severe economic crisis and growing loss of stature internationally.

The Central Committee therefore calls upon all its Party units to launch a widespread campaign among the people to expose the BJP’s one year in government as a year of disaster for the country. From 20th of March onwards a two-week campaign should be conducted during which the Party will hold public meetings, rallies, publicity campaigns to mobilise the people against the BJP government and its policies.

Central Secretariat

The Central Committee elected a seven member Secretariat to assist the Polit Bureau and the Party centre in its work. It consists of Harkishan Singh Surjeet, S. Ramachandran Pillai, Prakash Karat, Sukomal Sen, Hannan Mollah, Hari Singh Kang and K. Varadarajan.

The Central Committee also constituted sub-committees and approved other arrangements for the working of the Party Centre.