Sixth Delhi State Party Conference

Breaking the barriers

The 6th Conference of Party’s Delhi State unit was held at the MP Club, South Avenue on 18-19 May 2002. 67 delegates from different districts/areas/sectors and a large number of guests and observers from among intellectuals, cultural activists and other progressive-democratic activists attended the conference. While inaugurating the Party conference, Party General Secretary Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya made a fervent appeal to all Party members to take up the challenge of defeating communal fascism thrust on the nation today by the BJP, by taking all-out mass initiatives. He said that the BJP-led central government is trying to shift the attention of the masses from its heinous crimes against mankind in Gujarat by heightening tension in Indo-Pak relations.

Party PB member Comrade Swadesh Bhattacharya, Central Observer for the conference and CC member Comrade Partha Ghosh and AICCTU General Secretary and CC member Comrade Swapan Mukherjee were present throughout the conference. Earlier, the Party flag was hoisted by veteran Com. Ajayb Singh Siddhu. The Party leaders then laid floral tributes at the martyrs’ vedi. The session was presided over by a 5-member presidium comprising Com. Ajayb Singh Siddhu, N M Thomas, Sunita, Surender Panchal and Chandan Negi.

The organizational session began with Comrade Rajendra Pratholi, secretary of the outgoing committee, presenting the work report. A lively and enthusiastic debate went on over various points brought out in the report. A total of 44 delegates expressed their views on various aspects of the report. Finally, after Com. Pratholi replied to the discussions, accepting and explaining many points, the report was unanimously passed. Out of 67 delegates present in the conference, 3 were women and 52 were below the age of 50.

The Conference focused discussion mainly on the following issues: growing threat of fascism in a metropolitan city like Delhi, particularly in the light of Ahmedabad experience; rapid changes taking place in industry and economy under globalization, and as a consequence, the need to readjust trade union practices; participation in elections (selection of candidates, constituency and propaganda work, and mass contact-work after election etc.); revitalizing mass organizations like Nagrik Sabha, RYA, AIPWA etc., and cultural activism; party building (recruiting new members, their education, functioning of branches, literature distribution and study, levy etc.); party work among women in general and working women in particular; our stand towards parties like BSP; and organizing wide and sustained mass movements on issues like power and water shortage, and transport crisis. Many issues concerning specific areas or sectors were also brought up for discussion.

The conference elected an 11-member state committee. Com. Rajendra Pratholi was reelected its secretary. Other members of committee are NM Thomas, Sankaran, Santosh Rai, Surender Panchal, Ram Abhilash, Sunita, VKS Gautam, Chandan Negi, Rajiv Dimri, and Amar Nath Tiwari.

The concluding session of the conference was addressed by central observer Com. Partha Ghosh. He emphasized that the challenge of fascism could only be met with greater and greater mass mobilization. The problem of inactive branches could be tackled only through greater mass political activity. He underlined the need to probe deeper into the failures or stagnation of the working class movement in Okhla area, so that the response of the working class to the onslaught of economic policy could be understood in a better way. He said that it must be probed as to why the masses were drifting away from the BJP while Delhi was its stronghold and it controlled the government at the Centre.

Comrade Swapan Mukherjee opined that central theme of report is to create a stable social mass base for the Party and this could only be the large section of unorganised workers of the city. He said that changes taking place in the economy have pressed us to rethink our practice of trade union movement. It has to widen its scope and cover various social aspects of workers’ lives.

The conference was concluded by Com. Swadesh Bhattacharya. He said the Gujarat was a mirror to Indian Politics. It has exposed fascist face of the BJP, and on the other hand, it has exposed politics of parties – from the Congress to the Left. It has clearly shown the end of politics of tokenism, and beginning of real mass movements. A mass movement alone can defeat fascism. He asked Party members to dedicate themselves to the preparation of 7th Party Congress. An environment of open and free discussions, debate and thinking must be created in the Party, he said.

The 5-point resolution adopted by the conference included a pledge to evolve an alternative to the BJP-Congress, a third force, in Delhi, opposition to the government’s move to bring changes in labour laws, opposition to all attempts to privatize social services like electricity, transport, water, and education in Delhi, a campaign from 23-30 May against hike in bus fare and continuing water-power crisis in city; and lastly, condemnation of the BSP-BJP government for its highly undemocratic and fascist act of arresting thousands students-youth-cultural activists assembled in Faizabad to celebrate Shaheed Mela.

– Chandan Negi