Press Communique

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in Kolkata on February 9 and 10, 2006. It has issued the following statement:

Forthcoming Assembly Elections

The Polit Bureau discussed the forthcoming assembly elections to be held in West Bengal, Kerala, Assam, Tamilnadu and Pondicherry based on the reports from the concerned state committees. In West Bengal the CPI(M) has finalized its list of candidates and the Left Front will be discussing the total list of candidates on February 16, after which it will be released. The Polit Bureau approved the principles and criteria on which basis the CPI(M) list of candidates was finalized. The Party will wholeheartedly work for the formation of the seventh Left Front government in the state.

In this connection the Polit Bureau noted that the Congress party is willing to enter into a covert understanding with the communal forces. In West Bengal there is talk of having unofficial adjustments with the Trinamul Congress-BJP alliance. In the case of Kerala, all the caste and communal forces including the BJP-RSS are sought to be mobilized in support of the UDF. The Party is ready to counter any such move for an anti-Left combination whether overt or covert.

The Polit Bureau discussed the election tactics to be pursued in Kerala which would ensure a decisive victory for the LDF and the defeat of the Congress-led UDF. The CPI(M) will work to ensure the formation of a LDF government. The Polit Bureau discussed the tactics to be pursued and decided to finalise them in consultation with the Kerala State Committee.

The Polit Bureau discussed the election tactics to be pursued in Tamilnadu and Assam. In Assam, the CPI(M) along with other Left parties will contest the elections fighting against the Congress and the BJP. The Left parties are working to have some understanding with some of the other secular parties. In Tamilnadu, the CPI(M) will have an understanding with the DMK-led alliance and the Polit Bureau has asked its state secretariat to finalise the seat sharing arrangement without delay. The CPI(M)’s aim will be to increase the strength of the Party in the assembly commensurate to its strength.

Iran Nuclear Issue

The Polit Bureau reiterated its stand that India should not be party to any move in the IAEA for referring the Iran nuclear issue to the UN Security Council. The next meeting of the IAEA on March 6 will be taking up this issue. The Polit Bureau noted that the UPA government from the September 24 vote in the IAEA has been pursuing a line of aligning with the US and the EU-3 who are bent upon targetting Iran. The United States wants to take the same route as in Iraq by referring Iran to the Security Council. The CPI(M) emphasizes that it is in India’s national interests to maintain its friendly ties with Iran as it has vital stakes in the Middle East.

Since the Manmohan Singh government has refused to heed public opinion, the Left parties have decided to demand a debate in parliament ahead of the March 6 board meeting. If the government insists on voting for a referral to the Security Council on March 6, then the government will be put in the dock in parliament again. The CPI(M) appeals to all political parties to realize that the United States is utilizing the nuclear cooperation issue to browbeat India to fall in line with its plan to target Iran.

Nuclear Cooperation

The Polit Bureau expressed serious concern at the manner in which the United States has sought to shift the terms of the agreement on nuclear cooperation reached during the Prime Minister’s visit to Washington in July 2005. The UPA government is getting into a foreign policy trap. The US Ambassador to India has made it amply clear that nuclear cooperation will come at a heavy price i.e. the sacrifice of India’s independent foreign policy.

It is extremely unfortunate that the government has conducted its negotiations with the USA in a clandestine fashion. The proposal for separation of civilian and military nuclear facilities given by India has not been made public. This has raised apprehensions in the Department of Atomic Energy and the scientific community. The rationale given by the UPA government that the nuclear cooperation must proceed at any cost is illogical and flawed.

The UPA government and the Congress party seem impervious to the perception growing in the country about the pro-US orientation of these policies.

Communal Activities

In the states where there are BJP governments, the RSS and other communal forces are stepping up their activities directed against the minorities and raising the communal agenda. In Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the state government is patronizing such activities. In Gujarat, the Modi government is scuttling all steps to bring those guilty of the pogroms in 2002 to justice. In Dang district, the VHP is mobilizing tribal people under the guise of a religious festival to target the Christians.

In this connection, the Polit Bureau noted that the Congress party which is the main opposition in these states has remained passive and is not countering these forces. In the North East, some of the extremist organizations such as in Tripura are being encouraged by the Congress leadership there.

Against Price Rise

The prices of essential commodities are registering a rise. The price of wheat, atta, vegetables, edible oils are all going up, making the life of ordinary people difficult. The government claims that the rate of inflation is under control but the reality is different. The Polit Bureau demands that the UPA government take steps to check price rise and strengthen the public distribution system.

Nepal: Struggle for Democracy

The people of Nepal have exposed the farcical nature of the municipal elections held recently by the king. Only 2 per cent of the people voted in the elections and there were no candidates in many of the seats. The king had touted the municipal elections as part of the so-called road map to democracy.

The Polit Bureau welcomed the agreement between the seven-party combination and the Maoists and the major step taken by the Maoists to participate in the political process.

UPA Government’s Direction of Policy

The Polit Bureau expressed unhappiness at the way policy matters are being decided by the UPA government. There is widespread opposition to allowing FDI in retail trade. This was reflected in the discussion in parliament during the last session. The Left parties had submitted a note in November to the UPA-Left Coordination Committee. Without giving a proper response the cabinet has now decided to allow 51 per cent FDI in retail trade for single brands. This is just the beginning of a piecemeal opening up of the FDI in retail.

The CPI(M) has serious objections to the way such policy decisions are taken. It has decided to mobilize all political parties and support the traders and merchants organizations in the country to put up an effective resistance to the opening up of retail trade. The four-day strike of 22,000 employees of the Airports Authority of India against privatization of the Mumbai and Delhi airports was a significant struggle against privatization and the dismantling of the Airports Authority of India which is a profitable public sector enterprise. Here again, the Left parties had given a written note objecting to the move after repeated efforts to dissuade the government not to proceed with the privatization.

The CPI(M) Polit Bureau took stock of this approach of the UPA government. It decided to review the UPA government’s overall performance. It has decided to consult the Left parties and work out appropriate steps after all the parties have held consultations on the matter.

In the meantime, the CPI(M) and the Left parties will convey some of the opinions which will be formulated, to the UPA-Left Coordination Committee to be held on February 13.

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) decided that on issues such as Iran, FDI in retail trade and so on, the Party should actively seek the support of other political parties within and outside the UPA and forge joint platforms with them on such issues.

The Polit Bureau decided to take up the following programmes and activities as immediate tasks:

1. Bush Visit: As per the call given by the Left parties to organize big protests o the occasion of President Bush’s visit to India, all Party units should gear up for holding demonstrations and rallies on March 2, 2006 when Bush will begin his official visit. There should be a big protest in Hyderabad when Bush visits that city. The Left parties are already in contact with other parties and organizations to make the protest demonstrations and rallies a big success.

2. Bhagat Singh’s Martyrdom Anniversary: March 23 this year will be the 75th anniversary of the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. The Polit Bureau has decided to observe March 23 all over the country as a day of dedication to the ideals of Bhagat Singh and his colleagues which were anti-imperialism, secularism and socialism. All Party units should observe this day in a befitting manner.

3. Against Price Rise: The Party units should organize agitations against price rise of essential commodities and for strengthening of the public distribution system for effective supply of essential commodities.

4. REGA: The Rural Employment Guarantee Act has become operational in 200 districts. The Party and the mass organizations must take the initiative to mobilize the rural masses to access their rights and benefits under the Act and to prevent vested interests from sabotaging its proper implementation.

Next C.C. Meeting

The next meeting of the Central Committee will be held on March 11 and 12 at New Delhi. The Polit Bureau will meet on the 10th of March.