The Marxist

Volume: 18, No. 01

January-March 2002

Significance of the 17th Party Congress of the CPI(M)

Harkishan Singh Surjeet

Radically different from the conference of the bourgeois parties, the Congress of the Communist Party constitutes the highest decision making body of the Party. The Congress is enjoined with the responsibility to evaluate the achievement by the Party in integrating theory with practice. An assessment is made of the success, failure or drawbacks in implementing the tactical line worked out at the previous Congress  and on that basis the tactical line for the ensuing period in pursuit of its strategic objective, is laid down. This implies concrete application of  Marxism-Leninism to the concrete conditions prevailing at a particular point of time.

Each Congress, therefore, is intrinsically connected with the earlier one in as much as it lays down and reviews the work done by the Party in pursuance of the strategic objective of People's Democratic Revolution by changing the correlation of class forces, under the leadership of the working class based on the alliance with the peasantry alongwith the petty bourgeoisie and the non-monopolist bourgeoisie it overthrows the rule of the bourgeois-landlord classes. Towards achievement of this objective the struggles in the economic, political, cultural, social and ideological spheres has to be carried ahead. The struggles on all these fronts have to go on simultaneously. It is only by integrating these struggles  that we will be able to achieve the leading position.

Before adopting the Political Resolution, which lays down the tactical line for the immediate period ahead, the document is discussed at various stages. The draft document is placed before the entire Party for inner-Party discussion two months ahead of the Congress. Every member is given the right and encouraged to send amendments to the Draft. The amendments thus received are scrutinised by the Central Committee and those that are in line with the understanding of the Party are accepted and a report presented to the Congress. Once this process is over, the Draft alongwith the accepted amendments go to the Congress. Here too, amendments are received from the delegates. At the end of the discussion at the Congress, the Resolution is put for approval. The adoption of the Political Resolution has to invariably go through this procedure laid down in the Party Constitution. This ensures that all members of the Party are involved in the discussion at all levels in the Party.  Thus, the resolution, while uniting the entire Party behind the understanding carried in the Resolution, makes the whole exercise democratic.

Evolution of Tactical Line

The basic document to guide the working of the Party remains the Party programme. The strategic objective outlined in the Programme remains valid for this stage of the revolution. However, the realisation of this ultimate goal is connected with other tactics, depending on the situation. The tactical approach that the CPI(M) has adopted since its formation in 1964 is directed towards the achievement of this long-term goal.  It has changed from time to time depending on the concrete situation existing at a particular point of time. In 1969, during the Presidential elections, when there were two contenders from the Congress party itself, we lent our support to V.V. Giri. We wanted to ensure the defeat of the other candidate who at that particular moment represented  forces that were more pro-imperialist. Later on, in the 1977 elections, we supported the Janata Party (the Jan Sangh the predecessor of the present BJP was part of it), because at that particular point of time, the dismantling of the Emergency framework and restoration of democracy was the prime concern. When the issue of dual membership of both the RSS and the Janata Party came up and the erstwhile members of the Jan Sangh were unwilling to give up their membership of the RSS, we withdrew support. In 1989 at the 13th Congress we called for the defeat of the Congress party, while simultaneously, we called for the isolation of the BJP. The situation had changed radically by the time we went to the 14th Congress. The Congress taking note of the growth of the BJP gave a call for the defeat of both the Congress and the BJP.  This slogan was reiterated in the 15th Congress. The 16th Congress Political Resolution noted that "in the present situation, the struggle against the BJP-RSS combine and the communal forces assumes utmost importance. There must be a proper appreciation of the danger posed by a communal party holding the reins of State power. The Party will have to make the fight against these forces its central task in the coming days."

Further, it stated that the "struggle against the communal forces, their designs to disrupt national unity and the democratic movement assume importance. This can be done only on the basis of a broad-based mobilisation. The efforts to forge and strengthen the third alternative, in electoral terms, will have to be renewed. While there is no question of an alliance, or, united front with Congress with its present policies, efforts must be made to reach out to its mass following which has a sizeable section of people adhering to secularism."

The understanding of the 16th Congress was that to be able to advance the struggle to isolate the communal forces and to resist the attacks on the livelihood of the people, it is necessary to project a third alternative. We have been pursuing our efforts to reforge the third alternative. This, as the 17th Congress resolution notes, "is necessary to meet the current situation wherein both the BJP and the Congress are gathering parties around them and trying to see that two combinations emerge….. A step towards this was the formation of the People's Front, which comprises the Left parties and some of the secular opposition parties like the Samajwadi Party and Janata Dal(S). This combination is a partial expression of the immediate need for a third force. Some of the secular bourgeois parties will come and go out of this formation, but its existence will help meet the needs of the current situation."

At the same time the Party Congress emphasised that the real alternative is the Left & Democratic Front. This, however, should not be confused with the People's Democratic stage. Until we reach the People's Democratic stage where the working class will have leadership over the other allied classes, the Left & Democratic Front is a slogan for the interim period till we reach the goal of People's Democracy. The Left and democratic programme spelt out in the Congress resolution should form the basis for developing, organising and expanding the Party's multifaceted activities enabling it to rally all other Left and democratic forces and the mass of the working people who constitute the base of the Left and democratic front.

The correlation of class forces in the world has changed radically after the disintegration of the Soviet Union and restoration of capitalism in the countries of Eastern Europe. It has  made our task much more difficult.  We have to take these factors into consideration while working out our tactical line. A Communist Party has to integrate national developments with the international situation as both cast an influence over the other.

Development of Contradictions Analysed

While assessing the international situation, a Communist Party, takes into account the contradictions prevailing at the international level at a given point of time.

Karl Marx, during his time had analysed that the main contradiction that had emerged in certain countries was between the working class and the bourgeoisie. Later on, Lenin analysing the development of capitalism noted that imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism. Lenin analysed that two more contradictions had emerged at this stage -- inter-imperialist contradictions and the contradiction between imperialism and colonial countries.  The establishment of the Soviet Union saw the emergence of the contradiction viz. between imperialism and socialism.

How we view the development of the fundamental contradictions and their inter-relationship was set out in the ideological plenum in Burdwan in 1968. We recognised the contradiction between imperialism and socialism as the central contradiction of the period. This does not mean that any of the other cannot accentuate and come to the fore. At present, we recognise that the contradiction between imperialism and developing countries has intensified the most, in the background of the imperialist-driven globalisation and its effects on the third world countries.  Intensification of one fundamental contradiction will have its effect on the development of the other contradictions. None of the contradictions remain either static or dormant.  In an earlier period when Lenin analysed the situation during the first world war he came to the conclusion that the inter-imperialist contradiction had become the acutest leading to a world war. In the 1960s in the course of the Vietnam war and the national libeation struggle of the Vietnamese people, we had analysed that the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed countries had intensified the most. It will be un-Marxist to highlight one contradiction to the exclusion of the others without seeing their dialectical relationship.

Therefore, while working out the stage of the revolution, we have to keep in mind the contradictions prevailing at a particular period both internationally as well as internally.

Analysing the contradictions on the international plane, the CPI(M) Programme notes: "Despite the fact that the international correlation of forces favour imperialism at the end of the twentieth century and capitalism continues to develop productive forces with the application of new scientific and technological advances, it remains a crisis-ridden system apart from being a system of oppression, exploitation and injustice. The only system, which is an alternative to capitalism, is socialism. The central social contradiction therefore remains that between imperialism and socialism for the epoch. The contradiction between the imperialist `countries and the third world countries rapidly intensifies under the neo-liberal global offensive and it is coming to the forefront. Given the uneven development under capitalism, the contradictions between imperialist countries continue to exist. The contradiction between labour and capital aggravates with the current features of capitalism as noted above.  All these contradictions continue to intensify and exert their influence on world events."

The Political Resolution adopted at the 17th Congress taking note of the inhuman nature of capitalism and the  burdens it is imposing on the people in the world, notes that  "in the present-day context  are leading to the intensification of all the four major world social contradictions, with the contradiction between imperialism and the developing countries intensifying sharply." However, the central contradiction remains that between socialism and imperialism.

Global Economic Crisis

The contradiction between imperialism and the developing countries is sharpening thanks to the policies of globalisation  The internationalisation of finance capital continues to grow. While, on the one hand, the grip of IMF, World Bank and the WTO over the third world countries have tightened, on the other hand finance capital driven global capitalism was reaching unsustainable proportions.  The current crisis has affected all major capitalist centres. There has been a sharp fall in production and increased unemployment. It has affected the USA, Japan and Germany as well.

This global capitalist crisis is having its impact on the developing countries in the form of economic slowdowns and recession.  Already facing adverse terms of trade, the crisis in the developed countries will be transferred to developing countries. The recent developments in Argentina only confirm this.

Politically, even before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the USA, US imperialism has been trying to consolidate its political hegemony. This is reflected in the support of Israel's aggression against the Palestinian people; the bombing of Yugoslavia and the intervention in Kosovo, the attacks on Iraq etc. The coming into office of George Bush as the US President has seen a more right-wing effort to strengthen its hegemony over the world. In pursuance of its National Missile Defence (NMD) system, the US has  unilaterally withdrawn from the Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty. This will lead to a new round of arms race. Both China and Russia have opposed the NMD. The treaty between China and Russia signed this year will lead to the establishment of a strategic relationship between the two countries, which in turn will contribute to developing resistance to US hegemony.

"War Against Terrorism": New US Offensive

However, in the post-September 11 situation, US imperialism is seeking to create a division on the basis of those countries who are with it and those not supporting it in its so-called "war against terrorism". It is now seeking to extend this war beyond Afghanistan. It is targetting Iraq, Iran, DPRK, Sudan and Somalia as they fall within its so-called "axis of evil".

Ferocious Attack on Palestinian People

Taking advantage of the US war against terrorism, the Israeli government has undertaken a full-fledged assault on the Palestinian people. The Israeli defence forces have invaded the Palestinian Authority territories in the West Bank with its full armed might. Hundreds have been killed resisting the Israeli onslaught. Yasser Arafat has been under siege in his office in Ramallah. The Party Congress adopted a special resolution denouncing the Israeli aggression and expressing firm solidarity with the Palestinian people. In the coming period, the struggle of the Palestinian people for an independent state will be won of the key issues in the anti-imperialist struggle.

Socialist Countries

The Party Congress also noted that despite the setbacks to socialism in the former USSR and Eastern Europe, the socialist countries have continued to successfully withstand the adverse global economic situation, while at the same time resisting imperialist pressures.  One-fourth of humanity continues to live under socialism. China's steady annual economic growth of around eight per cent stands in sharp contrast to the global economic scenario.

At the same time, in the former socialist countries of Mongolia, Moldavia, Ukraine and Poland,  in the recent elections, the people have rejected parties and  formations, which had guided the counter-revolution in these countries. In Russia, the Communist Party of Russian Federation has emerged as the largest group in Parliament in successive elections.

Thus, while imperialism is intensifying its offensive, popular discontent continues to grow against imperialist aggressiveness. This is reflected in various struggles and movements the world over particularly the mass protests which began in Seattle in 1999. Wherever the communist parties have been able to effectively intervene in channelising this popular discontent, they have succeeded in forging stronger links with the people in their countries.

National Situation

The vacuum created by the decline of the Congress party, saw the rapid growth of  the communal forces led by the BJP, in the absence of the Left and democratic forces being unable to fill the void.  Having won just two Lok Sabha seats in the 1984 elections, the BJP, by 1996, had emerged as the single largest party. Though given a chance, it was unable to gather support from other parties and its illegitimate ministry lasted for a mere 13 days. However, in 1998, after the 12th Lok Sabha elections, it was able to come into office by March 1998 with support from some parties. Taking note of this development, the 16th Congress Political Resolution pointed out: "For the first time, the reins of power at the Centre are in the hands of an avowedly communal party, which works under the guidance of the fascistic Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.  This has greatly intensified the threat posed by the communal forces to the secular and democratic foundations of the polity and the preservation of national unity.  Further the right reactionary character of the BJP-RSS combine portends a bigger onslaught on the working people and the Left and democratic forces."

Danger of BJP Rule

The danger of having a communal party like the BJP in power is borne out by the recent mass killings in Gujarat. More than a thousand people, belonging mainly to the minority community have been killed in the worst ever communal violence since partition.  Women have been raped and untold atrocities committed all in the name of "reprisal" for the gruesome attack on the Sabarmati Express, which killed 58 passengers at Godhra. Around a lakh people have sought shelter in refugee camps. The Chief Minister has sought to justify the State-sponsored mass annihilation of people belonging to the minority community, as a reaction to the Godhra attack.

It is under the cover of the NDA agenda that the push for building the temple at Ayodhya, revising the Constitution and attacks on minority rights are taking place -- precisely all those "contentious issues" which are not supposed to be on the agenda of the NDA. The ruling coalition is the NDA, but the actual rulers are the BJP. The NDA is a convenient cover for the BJP-RSS combine to push ahead with its real agenda.

This apart, the reality of having a BJP-led government at the Centre must be understood as another step forward in the realisation of  the goal of Hindu rashtra. The demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992 was just the first step in this long-term agenda of the RSS and the Hindutva forces. Controlling the levers of State power was the second step. Despite the constraints imposed by the coalition and the lack of an absolute majority, the BJP is going ahead and penetrating the various institutions and administrative bodies.

The Party Congress made a proper appreciation of the danger posed by the BJP in power with the fascistic RSS behind it. The call to defeat the BJP emerged as the main task in the political-tactical line.

Attitude to Congress

The attitude to the Congress party came up for serious discussion in the Congress. Realising the danger of the BJP being in power at the Centre, the Central Committee had decided in 1998 to extend issue based support to a Congress-led government if the BJP is defeated in the no-confidence motion in 1999 and the question of an alternative government came up. The Party decided that "we should extend support to a Congress-led government from outside and try to rally all our allies to adopt a similar position to us." This however, did not materialise with the RSP and Forward Bloc not agreeing to the proposal and the refusal of the Samajwadi Party to extend support to a Congress-led government.  The failure to set up an alternative government also contributed to the success of the BJP in the elections that followed.  The victory of the BJP-led alliance  was a setback for the secular and democratic forces.  Amongst other factors, the big bourgeoisie and imperialism were openly in favour of the return of the BJP to power at the Centre.

We had clarified in the 16th Congress political resolution that we consider the BJP and its alliance to be the main target to defeat. While doing so we should not enter into an alliance or united front with the Congress.  This is, however, not a line of equidistance between the BJP and the Congress. As the 17th Congress Political-Organisational Report notes: "With the BJP in power at the Centre, it has emerged as the main threat. The Congress party and policies have also to be opposed and fought not only in the states were the Left is strong. In  states where the main fight is between the BJP and the Congress and the Left and other parties of the third force are weak, the Party had evolved suitable electoral tactics as early as in 1993. The Party and the Left would fight a limited number of seats and generally campaign for the defeat of the BJP. This does not warrant any joint platform or campaign with the Congress Party."

We are clear that both the BJP and the Congress have the same class character. The Congress party stands for the same economic policies which it initiated in 1991. Its state governments are pursuing the same policies of liberalisation and privatisation as the central government. However, the BJP is a communal party which is guided by the RSS, while the Congress is a secular party. Therefore in the current juncture both these parties cannot be treated as equal danger. The failure to appreciate the danger posed by the BJP is reflected in the calls for maintaining equidistance between the BJP and the Congress, While opposing the policies of the Congress at the national level and of the state governments run by it, the Party and the Left will have to coordinate with the Congress in parliament on various issues especially the anti-democratic and anti-secular policies of the Vajpayee government. The Political Resolution reiterates that the CPI(M) cannot have an alliance or united front with the Congress party, but in the present situation the Party should adopt tactics which will enable all the secular and democratic forces to thwart the gameplan of the BJP-RSS combine. For this, efforts must be made to appeal and reach out to the mass base of the Congress as their mobilisation is essential for strengthening the fight against communalism.

  Economic Policies

The Congress took note of the reactionary economic regime that the BJP is presiding over. The Congress noted that in terms of pursuing the pro-imperialist prescriptions of the IMF-World Bank and the WTO, the BJP-led government has proved to be the worst in terms. The Resolution states: "The Vajpayee government's economic policies are marked by its acceptance of the dictates of imperialist finance capital and its willingness to sacrifice the public good in favour of the Indian big bourgeoisie. Given the BJP's ideological hostility to the public sector and open affiliation with big business, the Vajpayee government has been presiding over a reactionary economic regime. It has proved to be the most callous to the problems of mass poverty and human suffering."

The government in pursuit of its policy of liberalisation has opened up 74 percent to 100 per cent equity ownership to foreign capital, including retail trade. Simultaneously, there has been a systematic attack on the public sector. The sale of BALCO at scandalously low prices and the privatisation of profitable PSUs like VSNL etc are harmful to the country's interests. The government even seeks to open the sensitive defence production to foreign firms. The removal of quantitative restrictions on imports on a host of items has affected the Indian industry and agriculture badly. While cheap imports of manufactured goods has hit the domestic industry badly, especially in the small and medium sector, the prices of  agricultural produce like coconut, tobacco, cotton, sugarcane, tea, coffee, rubber, pepper etc. have fallen. 

The Political Resolution notes that the "cumulative impact of the liberalisation policies pursued by the Central government and most of the state governments have resulted in harmful consequences for different sections of the people.

"(i) The plight of the peasantry and agricultural workers has worsened especially after the enforcement of the WTO regime. Faced with the steep fall in the prices of all agricultural commodities and the increasing debt burden, peasants have been ruined by distress sales. Heavily indebted peasants still continue to commit suicides in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Tamilnadu  etc.

"(ii) The agricultural workers have suffered a sharp fall in employment and living standards with the shift away from foodgrain production.  The equivalent of non-agricultural work declined due to the decline in the expenditure on rural infrastructure. The per capita consumption of  foodgrains has actually declined under liberalisation.

"(iii) The working class has come in for severe attack due to the largescale closures and retrenchment. Employment in the public sector and government departments is dwindling through voluntary retirement schemes and cutbacks. The interest rate for Provident Fund has been reduced from 12 per cent to 9 per cent in the space of two years, so also, the interest rates on small savings and bank deposits, robbing workers, employees and middle classes of their savings. The government is proposing retrograde changes in labour laws which seek to do away with even the limited protection for the workers.

"(iv) The handloom industry which sustains lakhs of weavers is in crisis. The hike in prices of yarn, cuts in subsidies and rising costs has led to lakhs of looms closing down. The beedi industry is also in crisis with no relief from excise and other duties. Fisherfolk with traditional  fishing methods are deprived of their livelihood by the entry of the corporate sector and big  mechanised trawlers for fishing.

"(v) Women have suffered from drastic fall in employment opportunities, particularly in the rural areas. The cuts in social sector spending has hit women the hardest and have drastically increased their work volume -- whether it is in the fetching of drinking water, collection of fuel etc. The social impact of liberalisation policies include an increase in violence against women.

"(vi) The plight of dalits and adivasis has worsened. The dismantling of the PDS, the cutbacks in social sector expenditure and the privatisation of public sector have all taken a toll on the health and livelihood of the most oppressed sections -- the landless scheduled castes and the adivasis who are deprived of access to land and forests.  Liberalisation and privatisation has drastically reduced the employment prospects through reservation of jobs for dalits and backward classes.

"(vii) The youth in urban and rural areas face the grim prospect of unemployment. Only one in 24 young job seekers got a job in the organised sector during the past three years. 41.2 million (4.12 crore) job seekers were registered with the employment exchanges as on 31st March 2001."

Take Up Social Issues

The political resolution enjoins the Party to fight for social reforms. Degrading caste practices, social oppression of women, the evil of dowry, pernicious social and religious customs are all issues which must be taken up by the Party and people mobilised. The defence of democratic values will help the advance of the Left and democratic forces. In this connection, special attention has to be paid to the struggle of women for equality and against all retrograde anti-women practices; the rights of dalits and adivasis to be treated as equal citizens and to put an end to their inhuman social and economic oppression.

Strengthen Independent Role of Party

The Party has been relentlessly campaigning both independently and jointly with Left parties against the economic policies, the attacks on minorities and the pro-imperialist policies of the BJP-led government. The Congress, however, noted that "these activities are not sufficient in scope and impact. There is need to step up the Party's continuous activities and develop sustained struggles at the local level on political and mass issues." But it should be noted that without the Party and the Left parties advancing and increasing their all India strength it will not be possible to effectively fight back these policies and move towards developing the Left and democratic alternative.  The independent role and influence of the Party has to be strengthened. The Party has to rapidly increase its political, ideological and organisational influence. The strengthening of the Party in all these spheres, the Congress noted must be taken as the main task in the coming days.

The 17th Congress also addressed the question that has been a cause of concern for the entire Party -- the inability to grow as a political force at the national level and to expand rapidly beyond the states where it has been traditionally strong.  Without such a breakthrough it will not be possible to change the correlation of class forces and  advance towards the goal of People's Democratic Revolution. The Congress noted that despite the correct political-tactical line being pursued, our progress has been "minimal". As the Political-Organisational Report notes: "The Party's overall influence is not growing. An objective review would show that except for the three strong states of West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura, the Party is stagnant, or even declining in some areas, in terms of its mass base and organisational strength.

Review of United Front Tactics

It is in this light that the 17th Congress made a review of whether the united front and electoral tactics that we have been pursuing since the 10th Congress in 1978 has led the Party more closer towards achieving its strategic goal of People's Democratic Revolution.

The Political-Organisational report noted that while we were able to strengthen and consolidate our bases in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura, the "Party has not grown commensurately as a political force with a substantially increased mass influence at the all-India level." Further,  "The stark fact is that despite our pre-occupation with parliamentary and electoral work there is not a single parliamentary constituency outside the three strong states where we can win on our own strength."  About the status of Party membership the report notes that: "Though the Party membership has increased from 1.6 lakhs in 1978 to 7.96 lakhs in the year 2001, the three strong states account for 5.85 lakhs. In the rest of India, we have just over 2 lakh members. If we exclude the membership in Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh, we have a membership of only around 85,000, in the rest of India."

United Front tactics are essential for the Party to advance. While in the electoral battle it enables us to effectively intervene to achieve the immediate aims, at the political level, it enables the Party to gain accesses to the masses under the influence of the bourgeois parties. However, it is a fact that we have not been able to make much headway. The report notes the experiences of some of the states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Assam. Maharashtra and Bihar in this regard.

The review sums up the shortcomings in our united front with bourgeois parties: Firstly, a self-critical examination shows that at various times we have failed to demarcate from the bourgeois parties  with whom we ally. Secondly, when we enter into electoral alliances with bourgeois parties we continue to maintain the unity or alliance with these parties even when they run state governments and there has been a lag in asserting our independent stand and launching struggles in defence of the people's interests. Thirdly, united front tactics have been mainly confined to electoral alliances and sufficient attention has not been paid to united platforms for mass struggles and campaigns. Fourthly, failure to conduct independent activities and assert our independent political and ideological positions vis a vis the bourgeois allies leads to blurring of our identity and at times tailing behind them. All these shortcomings have resulted in our being unable to gain access to the masses following the bourgeois parties and initiating a process of winning over sections of them towards us. At the level of the PB and CC also we have failed to intervene at the appropriate time to check such shortcomings due to our pre-occupation with keeping such allies with us.

The review has spelt out the correct approach to untied front tactics keeping in mind the need for the Party to keep gathering allies to meet the immediate tasks and to rally all the Left democratic and secular forces.

The report emphasised that in the coming days we should give priority to stepping up the independent activities of the Party at the political, ideological and organisational spheres; launch struggles and movements based on the demands of the Left and democratic programme; strengthening Left and democratic forces through campaigns and struggles; implement correct tactics of united platform and independent activities and demarcate whenever necessary; electoral or seat adjustments should not be converted into a permanent united front which hampers our independent activity and assertion of our policy and political platform and where there are state governments formed by parties with whom we had electoral understanding, we should without hesitation lead the masse in their struggle against the wrong policies of such governments.

Strengthen Organisation

In order to implement the tasks set forth in the political resolution and the political-organisational report and to advance towards the goal of People's Democracy, it is essential that the Party be strengthened. Without the Party's strength and influence growing at the all-India level such a task will be difficult to achieve. There is an urgent need to expand the Party and the mass organisations both in the weak and strong states. It should pay more attention to raise the ideological level and consciousness of the Party members at all levels; strengthening democratic centralism and adherence to communist norms.

The organisational report has set out concrete tasks for strengthening ideological work and Party education. The new Central Committee has been directed to:

(i) undertake ideological discussion to update the Ideological Resolution adopted at the 14th Congress; ii) constitute a commission to write the history of the Party; and

(iii) update the resolution on Party and mass organisations of 1981 in the light of the subsequent experience.

In a situation where US imperialism is trying to further strengthen its hegemony and the attack on the democracy, peace and progressive have intensified internationally and at the national level the threat from the communal forces has increased, the Party will have to work with increased vigour and zest to take on the challenges and responsibilities thrown up by the situation.  The Party will have to launch struggles in the coming days to defeat the BJP-led government by rallying the broadest sections of the people and all the secular and democratic forces. This, as the political resolution notes: "must be accomplished in such a manner as to pave the way for the advance of the Left and democratic forces."