A meeting of the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) was held on August 3 & 4, 2018 at New Delhi. It has issued the following statement:
Support to Kisan-Mazdoor Agitations
The Polit Bureau reiterated the CPI(M)’s support to the kisan-mazdoor jail bharo on August 9, 2018. Among other issues the peasant organisations are demanding a complete liberation from all kinds of debts for the toiling farmers and agricultural workers; legal guarantee of minimum support price of one-and-half times of cost of production for all agricultural products; immediate vesting of land in the name of tillers and implementation of the Forest Rights Act; minimum pension of Rs 5,000 per month to all agricultural workers, poor and middle peasants as also for a comprehensive crop insurance scheme.
The Polit Bureau also extended its support to the big mobilization of peasants, workers and agricultural labourers that will take place in New Delhi on September 5, 2018. This protest in Delhi will highlight the issues of crores of workers, peasants, agricultural workers, artisans and other toiling people, to demand enhanced employment generation, better working conditions, better lives and better future for their children.
Reverse SC Judgment on PoA Act
The Polit Bureau noted the belated decision taken by the Union Cabinet to clear a Bill to reverse the judgment of the Supreme Court that diluted the provisions of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, under pressure from large-scale protest actions. However, this is not enough.
It is essential that in order to safeguard the provisions of the Act from any future misinterpretation and prevent its dilution, the Act should be brought within the ambit of the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution.
The Polit Bureau extended its wholehearted support to the demands raised by various organisations on this issue as also the demand for the release of all those under detention in connection with the April 2 bandh. Perpetrators of violence against Dalits on that day must be punished.
Don’t Deny Citizenship to any Indian
The Polit Bureau took stock of the situation consequent to the publication of the draft NRC rolls in Assam. It condemned the misleading statement made by the BJP President with regard to the exclusion of 40 lakh people declaring them as “illegal migrants”. Such irresponsible statements only add to the fear and anxiety of an already harassed people.
It is evident that a large number of women have been left out despite producing panchayat certificate as well as ration cards and other supporting documents. Strangely, in a single family, some members are included while others are excluded.
The Polit Bureau reiterates its demand that all the complaints regarding non-inclusion must be thoroughly and seriously examined and corrected. The time limit for claims on inclusion of names must be extended to allow people to file their complaints. Only then the final NRC should be published. It has to be ensured that no single Indian should be denied citizenship.
Carry Out Electoral Reforms Urgently
The Polit Bureau, while emphasizing on the urgency of electoral reforms, rejected the proposal for simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies being mooted by the BJP government as inherently anti-democratic.
Such far-reaching electoral reforms should be all comprehensive and should address concerns about electoral funding, corruption, corporate control, proportional representation, non-partisan and independent nature of the election agencies, role of media etc. These far reaching measures need to be put in place before the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
In this context, the Polit Bureau demands the rollback of the scheme for electoral bonds; the amendment to the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act made through the Finance Bill that paved the way for Indian subsidiaries of foreign companies to contribute to political parties as also the amendment to the Companies Act to remove the ceiling on political donations.
The CPI(M) in consultation with all stakeholders will convene a meeting of such parties at the national and state levels in pursuance of this agenda.
Draft HECI Bill: Regressive
The Polit Bureau called upon educationists, intellectuals, teaching fraternity, students and all other concerned individuals and organisations to build a broad resistance to the proposed Higher Education Commission of India.
The NDA-II Government has repeatedly targeted Public-funded Higher Education and Research in the last four years. It has been asking public-funded Higher Educational institutions to generate a part of their costs through internal resources and loans, drastically reducing seats and fellowships for M.Phil. and Ph.D. research programmes, further curtailing SC/ST reservations, and promoting short-term contractual employment of faculty and administrative staff instead of permanent recruitment.
Higher Educational Reform under the NDA-II Government is guided by twin concerns of privatisation and social exclusion that threaten to destroy the foundations of Higher Education in independent India and impede the salutary role it has played, over decades, in empowering the common people with learning, jobs and social confidence. Both of these are strongly reflected in the Draft of the HECI (Repeal of UGC Act, 1956) Bill, 2018.
Don’t Introduce NMC Bill
The proposed National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill by the Modi government is a systematic attack on whatever little achievement we have made in the realm of medical education, science, research and health care system. Instead of reforming and strengthening the Medical Council of India (MCI), what is sought to be put in place is a bureaucratic organisation negating the federal structure of our Constitution. In its attempt to appease the giant MNCs, corporatisation of health system and suppressing dissenting voices, the all-important ‘patient’ is criminally ignored. Both medical education and health care system will be costlier and beyond the reach of the poor, backward and marginalised sections of our population.
The Polit Bureau expresses its solidarity with the medical fraternity who are already up in arms against this damaging move of the government and calls upon every section of our society to oppose this draconian Bill.
Attacks in Bengal & Tripura Continue
The Polit Bureau condemned the continuing attacks against the Party and the Left in Tripura & West Bengal. In Tripura, the targetting of Party offices and cadres by the RSS/BJP continues unabated. In West Bengal also there has been no respite in the attacks by the Trinamul Congress goons and the state administration.
The Polit Bureau noted with concern the increasing instances of mob lynching that have been reported from some states. The Supreme Court observations on mob lynching have held up a mirror to the Prime Minister and the BJP Central Government under whose watch such crimes are being committed and vigilante groups are allowed to rule the roost. Many BJP leaders have come out openly in support of such criminals. The very fact that the culprits, even when identified, go unpunished speaks volumes of the patronization provided by RSS/BJP to them.
The Polit Bureau reiterates its demand for the enactment of a comprehensive law in the current session of Parliament to meet the apex court directions.
Attacks on Independence of Media
The Polit Bureau expresses its grave concern over the increasing intimidation of the media. During the course of the last four years of the BJP rule most of the mainstream media have been coerced into submission. All those who dare to speak critically of the government or expose its various misdeeds have been coerced into silence. There are reports of television programmes critical of the government being blocked. Such intolerance for criticism and open threats to the media broods ill for democracy.
Failed Attack on Pinarayi Vijayan
The Polit Bureau condemns the attempt to attack Polit Bureau member and Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan within the premises of the Kerala House in New Delhi. How such an incident could occur needs to be probed.
Talks with Pakistan
In the background of the Prime Minister designate of Pakistan expressing his desire for holding talks with India including on the Kashmir issue, the Polit Bureau demands that the government of India should come out with its response.