June 16, 2003

Report on  Political Developments  
Adopted At The June 07-09, 2003, Central Committee Meeting Held At Kolkata 


The international scene was dominated by the criminal  war of aggression on 
Iraq by the United States and Britain.  The consequences of that action are 
still unfolding and will have a major impact on relations within the 
imperialist bloc and the trend developing towards multi-polarity.  Further, 
the new aggressive phase, ushered in by September 11, of a US bent upon 
extending and consolidating its hegemony, poses serious threats to the 
sovereignty and independent decision-making powers of all countries; in 
particular of those countries which are not prepared to  succumb to its 
The invasion of Iraq by the American and  British forces took place on 
March 20th and the three-week operation has led to the occupation of Iraq by 
the imperialist powers.  The war on Iraq was long-expected given the 
fabricated charges against the Iraqi regime and the build up of the  armed 
forces in the gulf region.   President Bush and Prime Minister Blair were 
determined to oust the Saddam Hussein regime and occupy Iraq to 
accomplish their aims.  For this, it was prepared to defy world opinion and 
bypass the United Nations.  Throughout the period of the invasion, big 
demonstrations involving millions of people took place around the world; a 
continuation of the protest marches which preceded the actual war. 
The military aggression led to the death of thousands of Iraqi civilians and 
many more of its armed forces.  Tens of thousands were injured.   The 
people of Iraq were subjected to an array of destructive weapons such as 
cluster bombs, bunker busters and fuel-air explosives.  The massive aerial  
bombardment destroyed much of the infrastructure  of the country. Most of 
the cities and towns are without electricity and water supply.  Even after six weeks of the occupation, the Americans have failed to unearth any weapons 
of mass destruction which was the pretext for their  criminal aggression.   
US Occupation 
The US occupation has ushered in  widespread lawlessness and looting 
which has made life a misery for its people and destroyed much of the 
treasures of Iraq’s rich history.    The looting of the National Museum of Iraq 
symbolises this vandalism and pillage.  The Americans have connived in this 
cultural genocide.  The US plan is to directly rule Iraq for atleast two years.   
In this period, it hopes to set-up a democratic fade  and install a pliant 
regime.  The "reconstruction" of Iraq would mean  sharing the spoils of war  
for the US corporations and a  small bit going to Britain and other allies.  
The oil ministry and the oil wells are already under the control of the US.  
Reviving the extraction and pumping out of the oil, remains the highest 
priority.    Already the contracts given out to Bechtel Corp., amounting to  
$680 million and to firms like Halliburton  portend the fate of Iraq as a 
virtual colony.   
The plans to install an interim administration consisting of loyal Iraqis by 
the end of May had to be given up as the motley crowd of Iraqi leaders  
brought back from exile and financed by the United States have no 
credibility within Iraq.   Popular demonstrations against the US occupation 
are growing in numbers and size.  With the removal of the Baathist  regime, 
there has been an assertion of  Shia aspirations which is mainly led by the 
religious leaders.  Being a majority of the population, any democratic set-up 
would lead to their having a major share.  Given the direct influence of the 
Iranian  political forces, this is creating grave  apprehensions in the 
American ruling circles.   The recent flurry of warnings to Iran to keep off 
Iraq is a recognition of this growing influence. 
Once the war began, both France and Germany had to reconcile themselves 
to the fact that Iraq would  soon be under  American occupation.  Despite the 
earlier sharp divisions, both  Chirac and Schroeder  expressed the hope that 
the war would come to a speedy conclusion. In the post-war scenario, the 
feuding powers found it expedient to  reach a compromise.  The UN 
Security Council resolution of May 16 reflected this new accommodation.   
The Security Council resolution recognised the US and Britain as the 
"occupying authority" in Iraq.  It further decided to lift the sanctions 
imposed on Iraq, so that the occupying authority can begin the business of 
reconstruction of Iraq without constraints.  The UN food-for-oil programme 
would be phased out in six months, after which Iraqi oil could be freely sold 
in the market.  The UN will have no real authority in the  administration of 

Iraq except in an advisory capacity and in the spheres of humanitarian aid 
and  relief operations.   
UN Resolution : Dangerous Implications 
The UN Security Council resolution has legitimised the occupation of one of 
its member states by  two permanent members of its Security Council.  This 
is a retrograde step as it reverses the role the UN has so far played of a 
trustee during the decolonisation process of a country in transition to 
independence.   In this case,  the reverse has happened.  The "trusteeship" 
has been given over to occupying powers who have violated the sovereignty 
of an independent member country.  The UN has abandoned its 
responsibility towards Iraq after a war, waged against its charter. 
The United States, arrogant with its overwhelming  power, continues with its 
rampage.  It does not respect any international norms and expects all 
countries to fall in line with its interests.  During the war, it  threatened Syria 
with dire consequences if, it in anyway, helped the remnants    of the 
Saddam regime.  Having got a degree of compliance from the Syrian 
government, it has turned its attention to Iran, the second member of the 
"axis of evil".  The  flurry of charges against  Iran is meant  to check its  
direct influence on the Shia population in Iraq.  The hawkish sections in the 
Bush administration would also like to keep up the momentum to try and 
effect "regime change" in Iran.  The familiar charges are being trotted  out  
about Iran’s nuclear potential and the sheltering of Al Qaeda  elements 
within its borders. 
The occupation of Iraq will have far reaching consequences in the Middle 
East.    America is in control of the world’s second largest oil reserves.    It is 
bound to establish military bases in Iraq, a direct imperialist presence  which 
was absent with the overthrow of the pro-western regime in Iraq in 1958.  
Far from eliminating  terrorism, the US occupation will be a constant 
catalyst for terrorist attacks as the  suicide bombings in Riyadh in Saudi 
Arabia and in Morocco  testified.  The Saudi regime, which has been the 
most loyal to the Americans, is already caught in the  vice of growing 
fundamentalism which it patronised and its servility to the Americans. 
"Road Map" for Palestine 
The war on Iraq will herald the next step in the American plan to reorder  the 
Middle East.  The target is now Palestine.  The "road map" prepared by the 
US for peace between Israel and Palestine has been presented.  Prior to that, 
the Palestinian side came under tremendous pressure to sideline Yasser 

Arafat.  A "regime change" was planned for the Palestinians too.   A new 
Prime Minister, Mahmud Abbas,  approved by the western powers had to be 
installed.  The formation of the Cabinet headed by Abbas took  longer as the 
choice of the Security Minister was resisted by Arafat.   
The peace plan is another effort to cheat the Palestinians  of an independent 
state.  The plan is vague and the stages ambiguous in the road towards a 
Palestinian state.  All the illegal Jewish settlements upto March 31st, 2001  
will remain in the West Bank and Gaza. By 2005, this will mean that the 
Palestinians will be given in the name of a State, three enclaves separated by 
Jewish settlements.  There is no guarantee for the return of 3.5 million  
refugees living  outside.  Yet, this plan with the approval of the EU and 
Russia is being imposed on the Palestinian people who have, at this juncture, 
nothing else but their will to continue their resistance. Both Iraq and 
Palestine are symbolic of the new imperialist colonisation.  They will, 
therefore, continue to be the most potent symbols of resistance against the 
new imperial hegemony and Zionist  aggression.   
US-DPRK Stand Off 
The third member of the "axis of evil", North Korea, has also been 
America’s target.  After the DPRK announced the re-opening of the nuclear 
reactor and its withdrawal from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, the 
Bush administration has been mounting pressure  demanding that North 
Korea call off its nuclear programme. China which had advocated talks 
between the US and the DPRK, agreed to host a meeting in Beijing in April 
between the two governments with its own participation.   
The Beijing talks can be seen as one step towards the continuing efforts for a 
negotiated settlement on the demands made by the DPRK that the US adhere 
to the 1994 agreement and the US charge that North Korea is going ahead 
with its nuclear weapons programme.  The North Korea government has 
asserted that they have the right to run their nuclear plant which processes  
plutonium for their power needs, since the US reneged on the 1994 
agreement.  The DPRK has made it clear that it will not be cowed  down by 
the American invasion of Iraq and is fully prepared to meet any military 
threat to its sovereignty and security.   
Attacks on Cuba 
The climate of US bullying has affected Cuba too.  In the recent period, the 
US interests section based in Havana has been openly inciting and 
supporting opposition elements. The spate of hijackings have been 

encouraged by the US providing asylum to the hijackers.    In April, the 
Cuban government arrested a number of US-sponsored opposition groups 
and put them on trial.  They were sentenced to prison terms.  To curb the 
spate of hijackings, three hijackers of a ferry,  who killed two people, were  
sentenced to death and executed.    This caused an uproar outside Cuba with 
charges of violation of human rights and  brutality leveled against the Cuban 
government. President Fidel Castro and the Cuban government have 
powerfully rebutted all these charges, including the latest effort by the Bush 
administration to paint Cuba as a State sheltering terrorists.  The May Day 
rally of a million people was an effective demonstration against the US 
Trends of Multi-polarity
The inter-imperialist contradictions which sharpened over Iraq will be muted 
in the post-war period. The recent G-8 summit at Evians, France made such 
an effort.  But the divisions will remain.  One of the threats which America 
perceived from Iraq concerned the dollar.  In 2000, the Iraqi government had 
switched to the euro for its oil dealings with the European Union.  The value 
of the global oil trade is above $600 billion.  The dollar is the  currency for 
this trade.  Any switch from this would fundamentally weaken the US 
currency and its economy.  With the recent decline in the value of the dollar, 
the growing  attraction of the euro for the OPEC countries  would signify a 
serious threat  to the pre-eminence of  the American currency.  America now 
has got the  upper hand in Iraq but the world capitalist economy is still  
plagued by the difficulties of the major capitalist centres.   These 
contradictions will not  disappear.  Within the European Union itself, the 
conflict will manifest in new forms.   
In April, at the Athens European Union summit, formal clearance was given 
for eight more countries to join the Union.  They are all East European 
countries which were former members of the Warsaw  Pact and who are at 
present loyal allies of the United States.  Within the expanded 25-member 
Union, the conflicting trends for a strong independent European Union 
which serves the interests  of countries like France and Germany and the 
Atlanticists, i.e., those who advocate close ties with America, which include 
the  new entrants of  Eastern Europe alongside Britain, Spain and others, will 
It is in this background that a complex series of  relationships which will 
seek to erode or restrain the American superpower and  its unilaterism will 
continue to evolve. On one side, Russia and China continue to strengthen 
their cooperation as seen in the recent  visit of Hu Jintao  to Moscow and the 

joint statement issued.  The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit 
consisting of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan and 
Uzbekistan has met and decided to set-up a permanent secretariat in Beijing.  
Four countries of the CIS — Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Uzbekistan — 
have decided to unify their military command.  The United States, on its 
part, would seek to find ways to arrive at a more stable understanding  with 
Russia in order to prevent the consolidation of the three countries — Russia, 
France and Germany — who came together on the Iraq issue.   
While American economic power and military might still provides it with 
the wherewithal to dictate and dominate, the world economic situation 
indicates that military  power alone will not suffice to sustain its global 
World Economy 
The report of the March Central Committee meeting had noted that the 
United States’ economy has not seen an effective revival and this, in turn, is 
affecting the prospects of the world economy at a time when the economies  
of the other two major capitalist centres — Japan and Germany — are in a 
deflationary state.  As far as the US is concerned, the  GDP growth last year 
was 2.4 per cent, less than what was required  to boost the economy.  The 
unemployment rate remains above six per cent.  The huge current account 
deficit has been sustained so far by massive inflows from abroad.  With the 
economy showing no real signs of  revival, despite successive cuts in interest 
rates, any slowing down of the capital flows  which are to the tune of one to 
two billion dollars a day would lead to a serious crisis.   Currently the US 
has run up a national debt of 86.4 trillion dollars. The decline in the value of 
the dollar can help to an extent in making imports cheaper but  any serious 
fall in the value of a dollar can lead to major difficulties for the economy.  
That is what is raising fears of deflation in the US when Japan and Germany 
are already in such a situation. Japan’s economy has been growing at the 
dismal rate of just over one per cent per year, while Germany’s growth rate 
has declined in the last quarter of 2002 and the first quarter of 2003.  The 
OECD outlook for the 30 rich countries forecasts a low growth rate of 1.9 
per cent for 2003. 
Since the second world war, government spending and low interest rates had 
helped pull the US economy out of recessionary spells.  But this time, 
despite interest rates being cut 12 times in the past three years and the 
government’s budget having  swung from a $ 237 billion surplus in 2000 to a 
projected  deficit of $ 300 billion this year, the economy shows no signs of 
reviving.  Faced with such a situation, hopes rest on the  billions of dollars of 

contracts which "reconstruction" of Iraq will bring and the lucrative income 
which can flow from the Iraqi oil industry.  Thus, the US hopes to not only 
overcome but firmly establish its hold over the capitalist world economy.   
It is in this backdrop that the United States is seeking to use its global war 
against terrorism after September 11, 2001 to shift the terms further in 
favour of US capitalism. Unlike in the military sphere where its dominance 
is overwhelming, in the economic sphere, the contest is less unequal and will 
become more intense.  
Another feature of the post-1991 world situation is that all the imperialist  
powers stand united when it comes to imposing burdens on the third world 
and the developing countries.    The slowdown in world trade and the bleak 
prospects for growth at the global level means greater pressures on the 
poorer countries.  This will be manifested in the WTO ministerial meeting to 
be held at Cancun in September, where GATS and other issue will be taken 
up for discussion.   
The drive for total hegemony by the US and for extending its economic 
interests by aggressive military actions and  unilateralism will be  met with 
resistance not only from people around the world but from its imperialist 
partners.  Despite its  triumph over Iraq, at no time has America been so 
reviled  and opposed by different forces around the world.  The feeling 
roused in this period against the US war on Iraq has to be channelised to 
strengthen the anti-imperialist struggles and the movement against 
imperialist driven globalisation. 
Sri Lanka: Talks Stall 
The negotiations which began between the Sri Lankan government and the 
LTTE fifteen months ago with Norwegian mediation, stalled with the LTTE 
unilaterally announcing on April 21 that it was suspending further talks. The 
LTTE announced it would not attend a donors conference to be held in 
Tokyo in June. The LTTE was also unhappy at not being invited to a  peace 
conference held in Washington given the fact that the US still lists it as a 
terrorist organization. There are two major reasons for the breakdown of the 
talks. The first is the demand of the LTTE that an interim administration 
outside the purview  of the current unitary Constitution be set up in the 
Tamil areas. The second is the demand that the Sri Lankan armed forces 
remove its high security zones from the Jaffna peninsula. The government 
stand is that any administrative set-up has to be under the Constitution and it 
has offered as an alternative a development-oriented structure.  As for 

relocating the troops out of Jaffna, it is linked to the demand for the 
demilitarization of the LTTE.  
The problem is complicated by the different positions adopted by President 
Chandrika Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Wickramasinghe. The 
President has said that any step to set-up an interim administration outside 
the Constitution will be illegal and she would dismiss the government if it 
agrees to it. She is also critical of the Norwegian mediators, charging them 
with trying to undermine Sri Lanka’s sovereignty. With the relations 
between the President and Prime Minister deteriorating, the chances of an 
early settlement are also difficult. Despite these problems, all mainstream 
parties want the talks to continue, which also reflects the desire of the people 
for peace. 
India-China Relations 
There have been some steps taken in the recent period which augur well for 
India-China relations. The visit of Defence Minister George Fernandes in 
April has helped the ongoing dialogue between the two armed forces. This is 
being followed up by the visit of the Prime Minister to China later this 
month.  In the meantime, there was a meeting between Vajpayee and the 
Chinese President Hu Jintao in Moscow. The visit to China is expected to 
give an impetus to the work being done by the Joint Working Group on the 
boundary dispute.


National Situation

Indian Stand on Iraq 
The Vajpayee government adopted a double-faced stand throughout the war 
on Iraq. It refused to categorically oppose the war being planned by the 
United States. But it was forced by public opinion and the opposition parties 
demands to agree to a resolution in Parliament which opposed the war and 
called for the withdrawal of US and British troops from Iraq. Even here it 
adamantly refused to use the term condemn to characterize the aggression. 
Soon after, the BJP-led government was eager to erase this trace of criticism 
of the US action and to make amends. It got the opportunity when the US 
asked India to send a contingent of troops for policing the country under US 
occupation. The Indian government was ready to comply and kept a division 
of the army ready for the purpose. However, since this would not be part of 
an UN peacekeeping force, the government was forced to wait for the  UN to 
adopt a resolution on Iraq. 
The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution which recognized the  US as 
the occupying authority. It did not sanction a UN peacekeeping force. The 
US would run Iraq as the occupying authority and not the UN. The 
government is trying to get over this problem by citing a clause in the 
resolution which calls upon member states to cooperate in stabilizing the 
situation in Iraq. 
The US wants to withdraw the bulk of its troops deployed in Iraq as it does 
not want its army to do the job of policing and putting down the continuing 
protests. It has approached l5 countries to send troops to replace its armed 
forces. It will be shameful if the Indian government sends the Indian army to 
do the job of policing under an illegal American occupation. It will mean our 
soldiers will have to suppress the people who are opposed to the American 
occupation. Our soldiers cannot be made to act as paid mercenaries of the 
US. The Party must conduct a big campaign to stop the sending of  Indian 
troops to Iraq.    
Since the last Central Committee meeting in March, the Party  intensified the 
anti-war campaign given the imminence of the US attack. After the war 
began, the Party organized, along with other Left and democratic parties big 
anti-war protests. Such protests were conducted in all the states, the notable 
being in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kannur, Alleppey, 
Bhopal, Guwahati, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Patna and other 
state capitals. The biggest anti-war demonstration took place in Kolkata on 
March 30 in which several  hundred thousand people participated. West 

Bengal witnessed a sustained fortnight long anti-war campaign. In many 
places, local protests were organised by groups, some spontaneously.  The 
movement would have acquired a wider sweep if the non-Left parties had 
gone to the people and mobilised them. The  Congress was the main culprit 
in this regard. It did not even agree to be part of the joint call given by eight 
parties to observe  March 31 as a national day of protest. 
India-Pakistan Relations 
A new turn was given to Indo-Pakistan relations after the Prime Minister’s 
speech at Srinagar in which he called for resuming talks with Pakistan. This 
opened the way for efforts to revive dialogue between the two countries and 
escalate tensions. This is a welcome development. Since the failure of the 
Agra summit in January, 2001, the Party has been advocating the resumption 
of  bilateral dialogue which would cover all outstanding issues between the 
two countries. However, with  the September 11 events and the US military 
attack on Afghanistan, both the Vajpayee government and the Musharaff 
regime began to rely on the US to act as the mediator between the two 
countries. After the  terrorist attack on Parliament on December l3, 2001, 
tensions escalated dramatically and India stationed half a million troops on 
the border, with Pakistan doing the same. The US government sent a series 
of its representatives to intercede between the two countries. Contrary to the 
BJP government’s expectation, the US relied heavily on the Pakistani regime 
in its operations to oust the Taliban regime and occupy Afghanistan. It 
continues its close military coordination with the Pakistani regime to 
apprehend the Al-Qaeda elements. 
The US has been mounting pressure on both governments to resume talks. 
Colin Powell promised to turn his attention to the sub-continent once the war 
on Iraq was over. It is in such a situation that the Vajpayee initiative has 
taken place. Despite this background, resumption of a bilateral dialogue is in 
the interests of both countries. There should be sufficient ground prepared 
for the dialogue to be sustained and for the agenda to be finalized. There are 
many hostile elements working on both sides, but among the common 
people there is an urge for peace and normalcy.  Promoting a composite 
dialogue on all outstanding issues will help to normalise relations. 
Immediately the return of high commissioners and restoring travel links will 
help to improve relations. 
Jammu & Kashmir 
Within Jammu and Kashmir the situation is favourable for talks for a 
political solution. The assembly elections and the assumption of an elected 

government relatively devoid of the past practices of rigging, has roused the 
expectations of the people. The political process has been enlivened to some 
extent. However, the Centre is unable to take any serious initiative in this 
regard. The NN Vohra mission cannot be expected to yield much result 
given the earlier experiences with similar envoys. The Central government 
must seriously discuss with the state government and the elected 
representatives on how to promote a wide-ranging dialogue with all groups 
and forces. The stumbling block has been the BJP’s stand on Article 370 and 
rejection of autonomy.  The question of devolving maximum autonomy 
within the framework of the Indian Union cannot be avoided anymore. 
It is apprehending this favorable situation, that the hardcore extremist groups 
stepped up their violent attacks to vitiate the atmosphere. The horrible 
massacre at Nadimarg in which 24 people belonging to the pandit 
community were killed was designed to create communal tensions. The 
jehadi groups are desperately trying to step up their attacks on the security 
forces. The Indo-Pakistan dialogue will be a further setback to these 
fundamentalist forces. 
Political Situation 
As the assembly elections to the four states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, 
Chattisgarh and Delhi near, the political tussle between the BJP and the 
Congress has intensified. The fifth state Mizoram is not in the same category 
as the other four, as the main fight is not between these two parties. For both 
these parties, the stakes are high. The Congress runs the government in all 
these four states. It is intent on retaining them. For the BJP, all the four 
states have been its traditional strongholds. It has ruled in all the three states 
(Chattisgarh was part of Madhya Pradesh) in the past. Together, these states 
have  72 members in the Lok Sabha. So these elections have a bearing on the 
next parliament elections too. 
The BJP has been occupied with the preparations for these elections. During 
the February Union Cabinet reshuffle, the BJP selected its leaders to head 
the campaign in these states by sending Uma Bharati and Vijayraje Scindia 
to MP and Rajasthan respectively. In the recent Cabinet reshuffle, two more 
ministers were added from these states.  The BJP has not bothered to 
camouflage the fact that it is now completely dominating the Cabinet at the 
expense of its NDA partners.  Among those inducted are Chinmayanand, a 
VHP swami who is a leading light in the Ram temple movement.  He has 
been allotted a portfolio in the Home Ministry.  There can be no greater 
signal as to who calls the shots within the government.  The Cabinet 
reshuffle has not strengthened the coalition.  The exit of Ajit Singh from the 

Ministry and  the  fiasco over the induction of Mamata Banerjee highlight 
the further marginalisation of the non-BJP parties. 
In Uttar Pradesh, the opposition to the BSP-BJP government has 
strengthened with the Ajit Singh-led RLD joining hands with the Samajwadi  
party and the Congress decision to work together with the rest of the 
opposition.  This has revived the chances of putting the Mayawati 
government in the dock.  
RSS-BJP Coordination   
The RSS has directly intervened to ensure coordination between its different 
affiliates and to smoothen government-party relations. The RSS convened a 
three-day meeting in Delhi in April which was attended by all the important 
ministers and leaders belonging to the RSS starting from Vajpayee, Advani, 
Joshi and others. Sudarshan, the RSS chief, presided. It was decided that 
each RSS organisation, though it would function independently, would 
coordinate its activities with the others. Significantly, the BJP leadership 
assured that it was committed to the Ram temple and to help the VHP’s 
efforts in this regard. 
The RSS orchestrating the BJP and government is no more sought to be 
hidden and is proclaimed openly. Such conclaves testify to this organic link. 
The refusal by the Supreme Court to vacate the stay on the acquired land at 
Ayodhya has not deterred the BJP government or the RSS combine. The 
Court order to excavate the land beneath the site where the Masjid stood, is 
part of  a plan to give the temple demand legitimacy by spurious 
archaeological  evidence. The government has followed this up with a 
submission before the Liberhan Commission that there is historical evidence 
substantiating  that a Ram temple existed at the site where the Masjid stood. 
The VHP’s programme of trishul distribution particularly in the states like 
Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh was meant to raise communal tensions and 
help the BJP with communal polarization. The decision of the Rajasthan 
government to ban such ceremonies and the action taken in arresting 
Togadia, who sought to defy the ban, showed how a firm stand can counter 
such disruptive activities. However, the Congress leadership does not  have a 
common stand on the matter. In Kerala, A.K. Antony, the Chief Minister 
announced that he saw no need to ban a similar ceremony in the state and 
justified it in the name of  maintaining harmony between different 
communities. In Madhya Pradesh, the Congress leadership has displayed 
crass opportunism in competing with the BJP for  a Hindu platform. After 
advocating a total national ban on cow slaughter, the Chief Minister 

Digvijay Singh went ahead with raising issues such as Uma Bharati’s 
polluting a Hanuman temple by offering a cake to the deity and organizing 
religious recitals  by her brother who defected from the BJP. 
Congress Conclave 
The Congress party has also been gearing up to face the elections. The 
Srinagar conclave of l5 Congress Chief Ministers was meant to streamline 
the state governments’ functioning and to highlight the positive aspects of 
their functioning.  It also saw the pronouncement by Sonia Gandhi that the 
Congress is willing to enter into electoral alliances to take on the BJP-led 
alliance.  The decision, though belated, to join hands with the Samajwadi 
party and other opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh will be helpful in fighting 
the BJP-BSP combine. 
Party’s Stand on Forthcoming Assembly Polls 
In the four states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Delhi the 
main fight will be between the Congress and the BJP. The BJP will try hard 
to make a comeback in these traditional bastions. That will give a big boost 
to the BJP and the communal forces. The aim must be to prevent it from 
coming to power  and run governments in these states. These elections are 
also important as they will have a direct bearing on the Lok Sabha polls.  
In the four states, the Congress governments have been implementing the 
policies of liberalisation and privatisation. There is also popular discontent 
because of their failure to tackle the drought effectively and to deal with 
other problems of the people. In such a situation, while calling for the defeat 
of the BJP we should also expose the Congress government’s record and 
oppose the anti-people policies. 
Neither the Left nor the non-Congress secular parties have any significant 
strength in these states except a few pockets. We should contest a limited 
number of seats where we can effectively intervene in the electoral arena 
and which can help us to strengthen our mass base. We should adjust with 
the CPI and secular opposition parties in those seats where they have a base 
and in general call for the defeat of the BJP. Our Party should conduct an 
independent campaign in this regard. 
Economic Situation 
The effects of the deep agrarian crisis are being experienced by the vast 
sections of the rural population.  The adverse effects of the drought 

conditions, which began in 2002, continue.    There has been a fall in the 
production of crops allround adding to the squeeze on the purchasing power 
of the peasantry. It is not just the drought which is responsible for the 
distress in the agrarian sector.    A decade of cuts in public investment in 
agriculture has had its direct impact on  rural employment.  
In a situation where employment  as a whole is shrinking, rural employment 
is the worst affected.  NSS data shows that the annual growth rate of 
employment in the rural areas has plunged from 2.03 per cent between 1987-
88 to 1993-94 to 0.58 per cent between 1993-94 to 1999-2000.  This is well 
below the rate of growth of rural population which indicates a substantial 
increase in rural unemployment.   
According to a study done by Prof. Utsa Patnaik, the absolute amount of per 
capita food availability in the year 2002-03 was the lowest of the last six  
decades and lower than the years of the second world war, which saw the 
Bengal famine.  The agricultural  distress is manifested in continuing 
suicides by farmers and the mass migration of rural poor to urban centres 
and to other states to work on below subsistence level wages.  The suffering 
of the people has been enhanced by the  paltry and inefficient drought relief 
measures taken, whether it be in Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh or other states.  
The Central government stubbornly refuses to release the huge stock of 
foodgrains for a massive `food for work’ programme, which can generate 
employment and create rural infrastructure which has been starved of public 
funds.  In the coming days, the Party will have to actively intervene to take 
up the issues  affecting the rural poor and the peasantry.  The situation will 
worsen further if monsoons are deficient this year too.  Already the heat 
wave around the country has caused a lot of suffering. More than one 
thousand people have died in Andhra Pradesh alone.  Most of them are the 
poorest sections whose physical debility has precipitated these deaths.   
The Central government has been trying to push forward its privatisation 
drive of the public sector units  even as it faces growing resistance.  The 
government was put on the defensive on the HPCL and BPCL disinvestment 
proposals in both Houses of Parliament.  Due to allround  opposition in 
Orissa, the Nalco sell off had to be indefinitely postponed. Now the 
government is aiming to disinvest part of the shares it holds.  The 
government is pushing forward with opening defence production to the 
private  sector and the  privatisation of major airports.   
In defence production, the government has approved the production of 
weaponry such as missiles, torpedos, guns and ammunition   in the private 

sector.  While Indian private sector can have 100 per cent ownership  in the 
defence industry, foreign direct investment is also allowed upto 26 per cent.  
By letting  foreign arm manufacturers to  build factories and having  share 
with  the local partners, the Vajpayee government  has opened the vital 
defence industry sector to the big multinational arms manufacturers. It is 
significant to note that neither China nor Pakistan, our neighbouring 
countries, have gone so far.   With this opening up, there is no vital sector 
left  which has not been opened to foreign capital by the Vajpayee 
West Bengal Victory in Panchayat Elections 
The West Bengal panchayat elections assumed national significance being 
the sixth successive elections held after the path-breaking measures taken in 
rural Bengal in implementing land reforms and nurturing local democracy 
through panchayat system.  The CPI(M) and the Left Front had to face a 
concerted and determined vilification campaign from its opponents and the 
media during the election campaign.  The main opposition parties — the 
Trinamool Congress, the BJP and the Congress — came to an understanding 
to fight the elections.  Such an understanding extended to one-third of the 
total seats and they roped in some of the  smaller parties like  the 
Jharkhandis and splinter groups like the PDS and two of the major naxalite 
Having no policy framework to counter the Left Front’s remarkable record in 
the panchayati system, the rural vested interests rallying behind the 
opposition  resorted to physical attacks and killings targetting the CPI(M). 
This was then distorted and portrayed as a rein of terror being created by the 
CPI(M).  Of the 42 people killed during the entire campaign, 26 belong to 
the CPI(M). This, in itself, nailed the lie about the CPI(M)-sponsored 
violence.  What was witnessed in the elections was a sharp class struggle 
with the rural vested interests out to deprive the rural poor of their gains.   
The performance of the CPI(M) and the Left Front this time was better than 
in the 1998 polls.  The Left Front won 65.7 per cent of the gram panchayat 
seats; 74.2 per cent of the panchayat samiti seats; and 86.7 per cent of the 
zilla parishad seats.  Of these, the CPI(M) alone got 58.6 per cent of the 
gram  panchayat seats; 67.4 per cent of the panchayat samiti seats; and 76.8 
per cent of the zilla parishad seats — altogether  in the total three-tier seats, 
the CPI(M) got 60.05 per cent.  Of the total seats, the Left Front won 67.2 
per cent this time as compared to 58 per cent in 1998.   This sweeping 
victory is a striking endorsement by the rural people of the Left Front’s 
performance in the panchayat system. 

The Trinamool-BJP alliance has suffered a serious defeat — the BJP 
managing to win only one seat in the zilla parishads in the entire state.  The 
victory of the Left Front  has once again highlighted the relevance of the 
alternative policies adopted by the CPI(M) and the Left Front government in 
West Bengal. 
This victory has been achieved in the face of a determined onslaught by the 
bourgeois-landlord parties.  As in the  case of the Tripura elections, the Left 
forces have to face an allround attack which seeks to dislodge it from its 
vantage positions.    This victory is, therefore, highly commendable and 
testifies to the deep-roots of the Party and the Left among the people in West 
After the decisive victory registered by the CPI(M) and the Left Front in the 
recent assembly elections, the extremist forces have sought to vent their 
frustration by intensifying their attacks on innocent people in remote areas.  
On May 6, at Satchhari, a remote hamlet close to the Bangladesh border, a  
NLFT extremist gang committed a brutal massacre, killing 21 people and  
injuring  six.  Most of those killed were supporters of the CPI(M).  This was 
followed by another attack, the next day, when another extremist gang killed 
nine people at Maharchhara  at Kalayanpur market place in Khowai sub-
division.  Apart from this, key CPI(M) cadres  and  their families have been 
targetted and assassinated.   
After the elections, the bulk of the Central security forces which were 
deployed have been withdrawn.  Despite repeated requests, the borders are 
undermanned with insufficient deployment of the Border Security Force.   
The Central government, which goes on proclaiming its commitment to fight 
terrorism, must address the terrorist violence in Tripura in a more serious 
fashion and ensure  adequate deployment of security forces to check the 
extremist gangs which cross the border for their  nefarious activities. 
The Congress party is continuing its tie-up with the INPT disregarding the 
adverse verdict given by the people on this unscrupulous alliance.  The Left 
Front government has to take up its  commitments to the people for ensuring 
development and providing relief to the people, while  taking strong 
measures to put down the terrorist depredations.   


Kerala Events 
During the last Central Committee meeting in March, the Muthanga forest 
firing incident had taken place and a demand for a judicial enquiry raised.   
In the face of the adamant stand of the Antony government not to order such 
an enquiry, a big struggle was launched on  this demand.  The LDF called 
for  the picketing of police headquarters in all district centres on March 17.  
On that day, the police unleashed brutal repression, the like of  which had 
not been seen in Kerala for a long time.   Hundreds of CPI(M) and LDF 
activists were injured in brutal lathicharges.  Amongst those seriously 
injured were members of the state secretariat, Sivadasa  Menon and 
Karunakaran and CPI(M) MPs, N.N. Krishnadas and Ajayakumar.  Around 
800 persons had to be treated in hospitals.  The Antony government finally 
ordered a CBI enquiry as directed by the National Human Rights 
Commission which did not accept the report submitted by the state 
government.  Such repression was resorted to by a government which is 
facing increasing opposition for policies which seek to reverse the 
progressive gains made in the state. 
It is in this background that a division surfaced  within the Congress party 
during the elections to the Rajya Sabha.  The group headed by Karunakaran 
put up its own candidate against the official nominee and polled 26 votes.  
At the instance of the Congress high command, efforts have been made to 
maintain unity, but the differences persist.   
The UDF, being a combination of all caste and communal forces led by the 
Congress, has  followed a policy of appeasing different communal groups  
with the sole purpose of consolidating its power and to isolate the CPI(M) 
and the LDF.  The harmful effects of such a policy are being witnessed in 
the state.  The recent killings in Marad near Kozhikode where nine people 
were massacred by a gang of Muslim extremists is a danger signal. This 
attack was in retaliation to the communal violence which erupted last year in 
the same place.  The RSS has its influence amongst the Hindu fishermen 
community and Muslim extremists like the NDF are making inroads among 
the Muslim fishermen.   The spurt in communal and caste activities, instead 
of being combated, is actually being nurtured  by the Antony government.  
This was seen in the refusal to prohibit the VHP’s trishul distribution 
ceremony and the failure to take strong action against organisations like the 
The BJP is seeking to exploit the caste and communal platform as seen in 
the  wooing of the SNDP and appearance of BJP leaders like Advani and 
M.M. Joshi on its platform.  The Party and the Left and democratic forces in 

Kerala will have to intensify their efforts to combat all these reactionary 
forces both on the political and ideological plane and to rally all sections of 
the working people to fight back the efforts to inject sectarian ideologies and 
divisive politics in the state. 
Women’s Reservation 
The Vajpayee government decided to table the women’s reservation bill for 
adoption in the Lok Sabha in the last session. This followed an all parties 
meeting and the usual plea that no consensus could be arrived at. However, 
when the Congress President and the CPI(M) leader in the Lok Sabha gave 
in writing that they are committed to support the bill in the present form, the 
Government was forced to take up the bill. The bill was faced with 
opposition from the Samajwadi party, the RJD, the JD(U) and some others.  
But those supporting the bill had three fourths support in the house. Yet, the 
Prime Minister decided to refer the matter to the Speaker, who after another 
all parties meeting decided to defer the matter, till an agreement was arrived 
at. The BJP is veering to the position which is that of the Samajwadi party 
and  some others that it is better to change the method of reservation by 
reserving one- third of  the list of candidates put up by each party. The 
CPI(M) has taken a firm stand in support of implementing the one-third 
reservation in seats as provided in the bill.  
There have been other measures announced by the Vajpayee government 
which require a critical response. 
Change in Procedure of Election for Rajya Sabha 
The government has got a bill passed in Parliament which will 
fundamentally change the method of election to the Rajya Sabha and also 
bring about a basic change in the character of the Council of States.   The 
legislation makes a change in the criteria for being a candidate for the Rajya 
Sabha elections.  It does away with the requirement that a candidate belong 
to the state concerned.  Anyone can now contest for a Rajya Sabha seat, if 
he/she is enrolled as a voter anywhere in the country.    This goes against the 
basic premise of the Rajya Sabha as provided in the Constitution that it is a 
Council of States  recognising the federal principle.   
The second change  made is in the mode of election.  The legislation 
provides for an open ballot by members of the legislative assembly to elect 
Rajya Sabha members, instead of the present secret ballot system.  The 
democratic structure existing at all levels involves secret ballot for any 
election.  This is an inherent part of the democratic system.    The secret 

ballot has been given up because of the inability of some parties to exercise 
minimum discipline over their MLAs. Floor crossing and bribery should not 
be checked by giving up the principle of secret ballot.   
It is surprising that the  legislation got the support of the  Congress and other 
major opposition groups.  It is necessary to explain the harmful 
consequences of this decision to the people and all democratic forces rallied 
against the erosion of the basic principles  contained in the Constitution.   
Size of Ministries 
The Union Cabinet has decided to bring a bill to limit the size of the 
ministries at the Central and state levels. This would require a constitutional 
amendment. The CPI(M) is in favour of limiting the size of the ministries 
given the overall trend of expanding the ministries to huge numbers. But the 
government proposal is self-serving and flawed. It proposes the size be 
limited to ten percent of both the upper and lower houses of parliament and 
in the case of the states ten percent of the unicameral or bicameral 
legislature. By this  the Central ministry can be the size of 79 (ten percent of 
790 MPs). 
All recommendations for reforms so far have suggested that the size of the 
ministry should be limited to ten percent of the lower house. Even the 
Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution which is cited by 
the Cabinet for its proposal has recommended that the limit be ten percent of 
the popularly elected house. 
The Vajpayee government was already 78 when the proposal was made and 
with the recent reshuffle it has gone up to 80. This is the biggest ministry 
after independence with 60 ministers alone from the BJP. If the actual 
recommendation of ten per cent of the lower house is accepted, then the 
Union Ministry cannot be more than 54. Further some states which have 
upper houses can have bigger ministries as compared to equally big states 
who have only the lower house.  Checking the increasing size of ministries 
and wastage of public money requires that the limit be kept to 10 percent of 
the lower house. Some relaxation can be given to smaller states with less 
than l00 member in the legislature as in the case of the north-eastern states. 
National Judicial Commission  
The proposal to set up a Commission is supported by the CPI(M) and other 
parties and lawyers groups. However the composition of the Commission 
suggested by the Cabinet does not give any independent character to the 

body. First of all, it has representatives only from the higher judiciary 
(three), the executive(the Law Minister) and an eminent person nominated 
by the Prime Minister. There are no  jurists or members of the bar to provide 
it with an independent character. The government has to reconsider the 
composition of the Commission and come up with a fresh proposal.  
Supreme Court Judgment Facilitates Profiteering in Education 
The Supreme Court judgment in the Pai Foundation versus the State of 
Karnataka has led to a complete deregulation of private institutions in the 
matter of charging fees and admission norms. The 11 member Constitution 
bench was meant to look into the position of minority-run institutions but its 
verdict covers all private institutions. The judgment has overturned the 
social control over private professional educational institutions set out in the 
earlier Unnikrishnan case. By this judgement, the floodgates have been 
opened for a market-centred, commercialized higher educational system. 
Students and their parents will have to pay exorbitant fees and the concept 
that education is a “public good” and a basic right has been done away with. 
The CPI(M) strongly opposes this concept of higher education and calls for 
effective legislation to empower the State to regulate private educational 
institutions in the matter of admission norms and fees. 
21st May Strike 
The 21st May general strike called by the Central trade unions and supported 
by the national platform of mass organisations was a good success and met 
with a big response from the working class and other sections of the working 
people like the peasantry, agricultural workers, women, students and youth.  
The strike was one of the major working class actions in recent times.  The 
general strike was by and large successful in the  coal, port and dock, 
fertiliser, steel, banking and insurance, oil and defence industry.  The strike 
also met with response from state government  employees in some of the 
states and sections of the employees of the Central government.  Workers in 
the unorganised sector also participated in the strike action in large numbers.   
The general strike assumed the shape of a bandh in West Bengal, Kerala and 
Tripura and the general strike had a wider impact in states like Andhra 
Pradesh, Jharkhand, Assam and Orissa.  Thousands of activists picketing the 
work places were arrested.  So were peasants and other sections participating  
in the rail  and rasta roko in different parts of the country.  There were 
lathicharges in scores of places.  In many places, workers belonging  to the 
INTUC or the BMS unions joined the strike call. 


The momentum built up by 21st May strike must be carried forward, so that 
the struggle against the policies of the Centre  and those state governments 
pursuing such policies can be fought with greater vigour.  
In the coming period, the growing economic difficulties of various sections 
of the working people must be taken up by the Party at all levels.  The 
impact of the Central government policies and that of the state governments 
which follow similar policies are leading to  growing hardship  for rural and 
urban poor and the middle classes.  Rising unemployment, privatisation, 
deterioration in civic facilities, public health and education, erosion of 
savings by the drastic cut in interest rates and openly naked pro-rich policies 
are all  issues on which the people can be moved for  local struggles and to 
develop wider movements.  The Party must work towards carrying  forward 
the countrywide resistance against the economic policies which has got a 
fillip from the May 21st general strike.   
The distress amongst the peasantry caused by the agrarian crisis as a result 
of the policies of the government must be taken up as an urgent priority.  
Issues  of crash in prices, lack of credit, usurious debt, lack of electricity and 
other inputs, employment, decent wages and provision for cheap food for the 
rural poor are all to be taken  up urgently by the kisan and agricultural 
workers movement with  the active participation of the Party.   
The Party must work towards rallying all the democratic and secular forces, 
so that the BJP and the RSS outfits who are out to communalise the 
atmosphere are checked and isolated from the people.  In this context, 
wherever the BJP makes a bid to expand its influence and consolidate its 
hold, the Party must work out appropriate tactics to rally wider sections of  
people against these moves.   
The Vajpayee government’s pro-US imperialist policies came to the fore 
during the war on Iraq.  The campaign to expose this pro-imperialist policy 
and link it to the imperialist penetration in our economy and society and to 
rouse anti-imperialist feelings, so that the fight for the reversal of such 
policies can be  strengthened must be taken up as a basic task.   
In the recent period, many social questions have come to the fore.  The 
menace of dowry has affected all strata of families and  inflicts misery on 
tens of thousands of young women. The Party must take  the lead in fighting 
against such social oppression.  The Party should continue to champion the 
cause of women’s  reservation in the legislatures and Parliament.
The Party should conduct a fortnight long campaign from August 16 to 31 to 
highlight these issues: Economic policies which erode sovereignty and have 
ruined the livelihood of millions of peasants, workers, artisans and 
agricultural workers will be one of the themes of the campaign.  The 
campaign will also take up the threat posed by the communal agenda of the 
BJP-RSS combine and its fall-out.  The Party will also highlight the growing 
influence of imperialism in our society due to the pro-imperialist policies of 
the Vajpayee government. The Party will put forward its alternative policies 
on all these issues during the campaign.  The campaign will culminate in 
state-level rallies.