Press Statement

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met on 15-16 June 1999 at New Delhi. It has issued the following statement:

Remove Intruders: Defend LoC

The Polit Bureau strongly condemned the systematic and large-scale infiltration of armed intruders by Pakistan across the Line of Control in the Kargil area of Jammu & Kashmir. It is clear now that this aggressive action violating the Line of Control was planned by the Pakistan side with a view to threaten the Srinagar-Leh highway and make India’s position in Siachen precarious. The Pakistan government also anticipated the internationalisation of the Kashmir issue as a result of the stepping up of hostilities.

The Polit Bureau expressed its high appreciation for the arduous struggle being waged by the ordinary soldiers and officers in the most difficult conditions in the operations against the armed intruders. The Polit Bureau pays its homage to all those who have laid down their lives in this battle. It conveys its heartfelt sympathy to all the families of those who have lost their lives.

It is highly unfortunate that such a widespread infiltration went unnoticed and unchecked because of major lapses on the side of the Indian authorities, a matter which will have to be taken up seriously at the appropriate time. The initial handling of the serious situation in Kargil by the Vajpayee government was marked by irresponsibility, lack of cohesion and incompetence. Such mishandling stemmed from the complacent attitude and misreading of the outcome of the Lahore visit of the Prime Minister. The Pakistan initiated conflict in Kargil has also exploded the illusion of the Vajpayee government that peace can be assured through nuclear deterrence.

The Polit Bureau is of the firm opinion that at the present juncture, all efforts, military and diplomatic, must be concentrated to remove the intruders from areas within the Indian side of the Line of Control. This exercise in defence of the legitimate territorial rights of India can be explained and accepted by international public opinion. The Polit Bureau reiterates its support for all the necessary measures to be taken to ensure that the Line of Control remains inviolate.

The Indian government should adopt all necessary measures to accomplish this aim and should not accept any move to internationalise the Kashmir issue. There are foreign powers who would like to utilise the present situation to bring Kashmir on the international agenda as a basis for future intervention. There should be no excessive reliance on the United States to buttress India’s case as this would open up opportunities for internationalisation of the issue.

The Polit Bureau does not want the Pakistan intrusion to become the reason for a wider conflict between India and Pakistan. It will allow imperialist powers to directly intervene in the dispute between the two countries. A full-fledged war would be against the interests of both the peoples of India and Pakistan. After clearing off the intruders, India and Pakistan should continue to hold talks bilaterally as per the Shimla Accord and the Lahore declaration.

Thousands of residents in the Kargil area have been displaced by the shelling from the Pakistani side. The steps taken to provide shelter and rehabilitation have been meagre and insufficient. Both the central government and the Jammu and Kashmir government should make more comprehensive and permanent arrangements for the relief and rehabilitation of the people affected by the conflict.

Election Preparations

The Polit Bureau opposed the BJP President’s suggestion to postpone elections in view of the conflict in Kargil. The elections should be held as scheduled so that an elected government is in place as soon as possible.

The Polit Bureau heard reports about the political situation at the national level and in the different states in view of the forthcoming elections. The Central Committee of the Party in its meeting held in May 1999 had adopted the line to be pursued by the Party in the elections. The main task is to defeat the BJP and its allies and to ensure that there is no repeat of the disastrous performance of the BJP government.

The Polit Bureau emphasised the importance of strengthening the Left representation through these elections. This can be ensured by the CPI(M) and the Left emerging successful in its strong bases in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura and in other areas too. The success of the Left nationally is important for advancing the struggle against the reactionary communal forces represented by the BJP and for alternative policies. In the recent years, the right-wing communal forces have been able to advance cashing in on the discontent engendered by the policies pursued under Congress rule. The economic policies and the misrule of the Congress contributed to this rightward shift. The CPI(M) and the Left should work to prevent a two-party system emerging in the country which will not be in the interests of the people.

In countering the main threat posed by the BJP alliance, the CPI(M) and the Left will work to mobilise the secular and democratic forces so that a third alternative can be developed. However, in the fight against the threat posed by the BJP alliance, it will be detrimental to adopt a position of equidistance against the BJP and the Congress as advocated by the Nationalist Congress and the Samajwadi Party. At the present juncture all efforts must be concentrated to prevent the BJP from coming back to power.

The Polit Bureau decided the election tactics in the various states keeping in mind the main task of defeating the BJP alliance. Specific tactics were finalised for the states particularly Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Bihar and Punjab.

The Polit Bureau decided to hold a meeting of the Central Committee on July 24-25 to finalise the election manifesto and the details of the election campaign.

Functioning of Caretaker Government

The Polit Bureau sharply criticised the way the Vajpayee government is violating the norms expected from a caretaker government. It noted that efforts are being made to make policy changes in the Telecom sector with respect to private telephone operators. This was the purpose for shifting out Jagmohan as the minister from the communications ministry. The Polit Bureau reiterated that the caretaker government has no right to make any policy changes, which will benefit the private telephone operators and deprive the government of revenue due from contractual obligations.