Comrades and Friends,

Leaders of fraternal left parties, delegates, observers, guests, invitees, veterans, Friends from media and public,

On behalf of the Reception Committee, I welcome you all to this inaugural session of the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) which is being held in this historic, cosmopolitan city of Hyderabad. Earlier, the 17th Congress of the Party was held here in 2002. Now, the central committee gave us the honour again,of holding the 22ndCongress in this city, in the newly formed state of Telangana. As all of you know, people and the Communist movement in Telangana, in their own humble and modest way contributed to the struggles and movements for radical social change in the past. Even in the present trying circumstances, they are trying to push the struggle for social change in new directions. We all remember the heroic Telangana Armed Peasants struggle and the sacrifices made by the people under the leadership of the Communist Party to overthrow the feudal Nizam rule. This great struggle brought the agrarian question to the centre stage of independent India’s politics. Several decades have passed and many changes occurred in agrarian conditions, but land question still remains relevant. Without resolving this problem satisfactorily, India cannot become a truly modern society. In the recent period, huge mobilizations of peasantry and militant confrontations with the governments were witnessed throughout the country. In many of these peasant struggles, communists are in the forefront. These struggles for the rights of the peasants have to be further expanded, strengthened and deepened. Let me recall, an important struggle that took place in 2000 against the structural adjustment programmes implemented under the guidance of the World Bank in united Andhra Pradesh. On August 28, three youngsters were killed at Hyderabad in the brutal police firing unleashed by the then TDP government. This militant struggle put a spoke in the relentless wheels of structural adjustment policies pursued by the governments. The present BJP central government led by Modi, which was selected by the corporate class as the best bet to carry on neoliberal reforms, is trying to bulldoze all opposition to these reforms. As was never before, the time has come now to mount an unrelenting onslaught on the neoliberal policies by all classes and sections. Only uncompromising, sustained struggle against neoliberalism can create an anti-communal, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist commonsense among the people, which will recreate environment conducive for the spread of ideas of socialism. In order to weaken the unity of common people and their struggle against neoliberal reforms and delink the progressive forces from the people, Hindutva communal forces and the BJP central government under Modi, in the service of the exploiting classes, playing on the people’s anxieties and insecurities generated by market forces and unbriddled consumerism are trying to communalise every aspect of social life through aggressive and brazen promotion of their communal agenda. In these circumstances, mere work in electoral arena cannot wipe out communalism from social life. Only confronting communalism at all levels of civil society and social life can create ground for the growth of progressive, democratic, rationalistic and inclusive culture.