January 20, 2002
THE CPI(M) in Uttarakhand took an organisational step forward with the announcement of its decision to constitute a separate State Organising Committee of the party for the new state. The announcement was made by the CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, Prakash Karat, at a press conference at Dehra Dun recently. This was his first visit to the region after the creation of a separate state. Though the official name of the state is Uttaranchal, the people in the region have not taken to this arbitrary change by the BJP and are still struggling to get the state renamed as Uttarakhand.
Prakash Karat took the opportunity to expose the impropriety of Advani, Joshi and Uma Bharati continuing as ministers in the government even after being accused of involvement in the infamous Babri Masjid demolition case. He said the communal agenda being pursued by the BJP and its government and their surrender to the neo-liberal policies have created a difficult situation for the country and the people. Growing unrest among the various sections of the people is showing itself in mass actions of the youth, peasants and the working people. The hill region constituting the new state, is no exception to this adverse development in the situation. Referring to the IDPL, a very crucial industry linked to the health care system of the people, he said it has been allowed to decay by the BJP government. No solution has been found by the government despite mass protests and alternate plans presented by the various workers’ unions. After the creation of the new state, further privatisation of state sector enterprises is making news, he added.
FOR DEMOCRATIC DECENTRALISATION
A representative meeting of the district committee members and branch secretaries, chaired by Bachiram Kanswal, was held in Dehra Dun in which CPI(M) units of different districts in the state, took part. Prakash Karat addressed the meeting and spoke of the challenges that the party faced in the newly created state. In the new situation, development of the new state takes on a special place; for that the party will have to put forward an alternative model of development and its committees will have to devote special attention to developing such a model, a model based on the principles of democratic decentralisation. It is only by launching a programme of struggle for the development of the state that the advance of the party will be assured. He pointed out that the party in the state was not starting in a void, it inherits the capital of long struggles and a sizeable number of the party membership of the parent state and can easily build up from that base. Activists of the CPI(M) in the region have a glorious tradition of democratic struggles and of sustained work among youth, students, working class, peasants and women. The area is also well known for its role in the anti-imperialist struggles and participation in other progressive movements.
ORGANISING COMMITTEE FORMED
As the party looks forward to a period of mass struggles, a need for building a state centre becomes a primary task, a centre which is adequately equipped with sufficient number of cadres and financial resources. Concrete decisions in this regard will have to be taken by the party units at various levels soon. Prakash Karat announced the decision of relieving Vijai Rawat from the UP state committee, along with five other state committee members from the region. An 11-member state organising committee, with Vijai Rawat as secretary, was constituted. The other members are Bachiram Kanswal, Gangadhar Nautiyal, Surendra Sajwan, Indu Naudiyal, Vedika Ved, Rana, Bharat Negi, R P Joshi, Avtar Singh, and R P Jhakmola. The committee may be enlarged later to include some leaders of mass organisations as and when feasible. Prakash Karat laid special emphasis on developing a functioning state committee and a state centre.
The CPI(M) in the state should emerge as a unifying force, especially since the newly formed BJP government has already begun inter-district and intra-regional feuds on almost all issues, beginning with the name of the state, the permanent capital of the state, the location of the state secretariat, the High Court, labour commissioner’s office and offices of other departments. And these feuds are likely to further grow. The chief minister’s attack on pubic schools, many of which happen to be Christian institutions, only confirms the BJP’s divisive agenda for the state. In such a situation, the CPI(M) has a daunting and challenging task of defending and advancing a cosmopolitan and tolerant heritage of this multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-national state. It is only by doing so that the battle for development and advance can be secured. The causes for a decade long agitation need to be addressed and solutions to the problems that gave rise to the formation of the new state, have to be found. This too cannot be done without the participation of the people and a determined struggle by them. Vijai Rawat thus briefly outlined the tasks ahead for the CPI(M) in the state.
CALL FOR PARTY BUILDING FUND
A meeting of the state organising committee was held at the State Guest House later, in which Prakash Karat was also present. The meeting endorsed some of the earlier decisions taken by the regional committee meetings and decided to commence its work from Dehra Dun as the state centre. A decision to raise at least Rs one lakh for the state party building fund was taken It was decided to make an appeal to the sympathisers from within and outside the state, for donating funds for this task. A proposal to begin the work of the state centre with at least three functionaries, was discussed. It was decided to hold the next meeting of the organising committee at Hardwar. It is expected that by then infrastructural arrangements for the state centre, including residences for functionaries, will be made. It was also decided that a draft for the development of the state, encompassing issues relating to forests, land, energy, water resources, employment, agriculture, ex-servicemen, education, women, environment, health care, public distribution system, disaster management, tourism, and IT, etc, will be made available for discussion for the party soon.
Bachiram Kanswal concluded the meeting with a comment that a functioning state centre and a committee were the need of the hour.