[Excerpts of speech delivered at a special cadre meeting of the Party on 27 August 1994 in Patna. From Liberation, November 1994.]
Seven months back we had a convention in the same place. At that time there was a view was that our Party was getting finished under the pressure of the MCC and the JD. Such ideas were floating in the newspapers. In the cadre meet we said that if you make determined efforts you can change the state of affairs in Bihar. We all united and with all-out efforts we organised the historic 18 March rally successfully. After the rally the newspapers changed their views and instead of saying that we were buckling under pressure from MCC and JD, they said that the illusions regarding JD were dispelled and that we were a force to reckon with.
So I want to reiterate that our cadres have the strength to stand united and make all-out efforts. The present situation in Bihar is that we can steadfastly advance towards revolutionary changes. Another thing seen during the period is that our leaders have developed a new work pattern. We have seen that this is a healthy workstyle because earlier we had undertaken the rectification movement for this very reason. Somewhere or the other we had seen a gap between the leaders and the cadres. Whatever work-style we developed during the rally should be followed rigorously.
All differences existing at various levels in the Party should be sorted out because alien forces take advantage of this and we have seen this in the past. That is why I would like to emphasise again that from top to bottom steel-like unity should exist.
You all have put forth your views on the document placed before you. Many good things came up. I believe the state leadership will discuss these points like the point raised by many comrades pertaining to the realistic and actual assessment of the political forces. If there is a mention in the document that JD(B) has been finished or it is of hardly any significance at the national level, this is not a correct assessment. They are still a strong opposition. Hence, if there is such a mention it should be corrected. If there is a mention about BSP like that then it too should be corrected. BSP is making inroads into Bihar. They are strong in UP and on the basis of that strength they will try to advance in Bihar. That is why we should be careful about them.
Regarding a political alliance with JD(G) and JMM many comrades have expressed doubts about the trustworthiness of these forces. Especially about JMM who in the past have hobnobbed with Congress. And also about the present situation of JD(G). I think the feelings of the comrades are correct. At present if such things like alliance with JD(G) or forming a government with them appear in the document then they should be removed. With JD(G) at the most there can be some adjustment over seats which can be discussed. Such an assessment is appropriate for the present. Some comrades have expressed doubts about the extent to which seat adjustment can take place or whether it will take place at all. I think that this doubt is also correct and that ultimately a political alliance may not come about. Even seat adjustment might not be possible. May be we will have to fight it out alone. We cannot rule out this possibility. That is why it will perhaps be better if on this matter the document speaks less on alliances. In fact, the possibility that we may have to go to the polls alone should also be mentioned. And we should be prepared for that. Yes, we will surely try to look for friends. But any political alliance or any prograrnme-related understanding may not be possible.
In Jharkhand, the second force there which could be called more progressive or left-leaning in a comparative way, the JMM (Mardi) group -- or, we can say, the Vinod Bihari Mahato group — is gradually going over to JD presently and has virtually dropped its demand for Jharkhand. Other forces like AJSU came up with big promises but eventually disintegrated or went into opportunist agreements here and there. There are two aspects to JMM. The way you talked about their leaders is correct. They are mafia elements and hooligans. But this is not how Adivasis see them in general. The people see them as the representative forces of Jharkhand. One question came up before us. That is, quite often they move closer to the Congress, or the Centre, which makes use of them. This is natural because of their class basis and their class situation. But there can be another side to this. We pose a direct question to them: you have to choose -- either the Congress or the CPI(ML). We are not talking about any such friendship where they can continue relations with Congress as well with CPI(ML) at the same time. If you have an alliance with the Congress then you cannot have any relations with CPI(ML). This is what we mean by friendship. In the all-party committee we told them this. When they started going with the Congress we broke our relations with them. In their conference, in their own way, they have also raised this issue. They have said, on the one hand, that they want a relation with CPI(ML). On the other hand, they are maintaining a relationship with Congress. In this we can hope that after getting a jolt from the Congress they will come over to us and debates will intensify within their own organisation. They had convened a people’s parliament where one person reported that he had invited Congressmen also to that parliament. This created resentment among many present there. To my knowledge, anti-Congress slogans were also raised. According to my understanding there is a debate among them on this question and some such forces opposed to Congress exist there. We want to continue to raise this question and if we cannot bring them towards us totally then at least there will be a split. This is not a question of friendship between JMM and Congress, rather it is a question of direct conflict between us and the Congress. Our efforts are to keep them away from the Congress and bring them closer to revolutionary forces. In this tug of war between the two sides, Congress pulls from one end and we from the other. So this is the substance of our tactics of joint front with them and we want to make an attempt.
Regarding JD(G) I want to clarify one thing. Nitish’s idea is that in the name of opposing Yadav excesses and Yadav domination he is uniting Kurmis and other castes. We don’t agree with such an idea. We are not in favour of making friends with other castes on the basis of their opposition to the Yadav caste. Since Yadavs are in large numbers in Bihar a large section of them are poor and middle peasantry. A big section of our forces — leaders, cadres and activists -- hail from the Yadav caste and we have our work among Yadav population in various places. And in reality we are the only Party that can challenge Laloo Yadav on the Yadav front. There is no room for any other party on this score. We are trying for a polarisation within the Yadav community. And we hope to make a new history by doing this. Because other parties have accepted that all Yadavs are with Laloo, they are resigned to the idea of thinking only of other castes. Our Party doesn’t think like this or we wouldn’t remain a communist party. We cannot go as per Nitish’s idea. We have fundamental differences with them. In fact it is the reverse. The way he is gathering Kurmi support, we have a struggle on this issue with the Kurmi kulaks.
In this context I want to say one thing. Last time on the questions of reservations, Mandal and backwardism, Laloo had created a wave and won the elections. It is true that he will make such an effort again. As the popular saying goes you cannot bath in the same river twice. There are many reasons for this. At that time their party had a national upsurge. It had national leaders. And now that party is finished. VP Singh is retiring from politics. They have a big problem before them. Hence they won’t be able to create a big wave this time. Whatever percentage of reservation they might talk about we would like to raise the question of creamy layer because they have always maintained that there is no creamy layer. We have always maintained that Laloo is the representative of the creamy layer and hence it is natural that he won’t accept it. But we would like to make this point that whatever be the percentage of reservation, the creamy layer has emerged from the backward castes which reaps all the benefits because in total the chances of employment are limited. Whatever possibilities exist will be taken away by the creamy layer. Whether they are Kurmis or Yadavs, a big section of any caste will never benefit from this. The extremely backward castes will never get anything.
Because Bihar has caste divisions and no party denies this division the question of creamy layer becomes very important for us. Every party sees this caste reality and on this basis decides its tactics. The only difference being that some parties like CPI and CPI(M) — become lackeys of JD on the basis of the present caste structure or natural contradiction in it. We also talk of caste but our efforts are always aimed at creating a split along class lines within the caste. It is another thing for those castes which cannot be split along class lines. There are some castes which wholly comprise poor peasantry and agricultural labourers. That is another thing. But wherever there are castes in which the scope for class polarisation is present we are to bring it to the forefront. And this is where communists differ from others. In this context, the idea of creamy layers might have come in the form of Supreme Court judgment but it is a helpful tool in our work. Because with this we can take the idea of division on class lines within various castes and make them understand it and prepare for a split. That is why wherever parties are denying the creamy layer we must raise the point of creamy layer so that we can bring the poor and middle peasantry of the backward castes towards us. For this they have suggested some parameters to identify the creamy layers. Likewise we should also suggest our own parameters to identify who are the creamy layers. You should think of this. Let the Party state committee work on this. We can begin with the wards of the MLAs, MPs and Class I officers etc.
Another question came up here. There was a view that since we had earlier given a call for a Left government we must try more for unity with the left parties instead of JD(G) etc. We have not strayed from our basic principle on this point. We too want left unity and have always wanted it. This has been our number one effort -- to come closer to other left forces and move forward with them together. We have not retraced our steps on this point. But no positive reply has come from the other side. Wherever and on whatever matter joint activity is possible, we would always join them. But in the concrete political situation of Bihar we stand opposed to each other. Regarding CPI(M), be it Dharbanga, Katihar, Nawada or Ranchi, in many rural areas we have had struggles with them and in some cases they have turned into bloodied struggles too. It may be different in other areas but in these rural areas of Bihar the CPI(M) has sided with feudal forces. That is why, seen from outside these are CPI(M) vs. CPI(ML) struggles, but seen in depth it is direct class struggle. The poor and landless peasants are with us and they are siding with the feudal forces.
We have made some political attacks on CPI. But the aim is not to abandon CPI. And we are not making these attacks with the decision that all is over with CPI. In fact, on the contrary, we have done this to intensify the debate that has surfaced within the CPI and we have made some gains. We have met some of their leaders and they have informed us of the debate within their party and also informed us about the demand of a section that without bothering whether we should go with Laloo or George we must first shake hands with CPI(ML). And both the parties must sit down and decide whom to go with. Our aim is to intensify this debate. Compared to CPI(M) which is rigid, the CPI position is often changing. Hence, it is not difficult for them to go here and there, sometimes with Congress and Aat other times with someone else. This opportunism which is the weakpoint of CPI is also the positive side of CPI. This is the hope that the CPI will make a somersault again. If our strength increases and it appears to CPI that Laloo Yadav’s position is shaky and that an alliance with us can be strengthened. Then it will jump from Laloo’s fold to the side of CPI(ML). That is why our dialogue with CPI should be maintained at all levels.
Another point was raised here by some comrades. That was with regard to lack of initiatives on our part on general but popular issues of affecting the masses like floods, diarrhoea etc. I think the comrade who made this point has made a positive criticism. The state leadership must think in details and we should become such a political force which can take initiatives on all the problems of the people of Bihar and that is why leaders must give statements on such issues and take out teams for assessing such situations. Or else we’ll have a one-sided identity.
Now the next challenge before us is the elections. We have a limited aim in this election. By limited aim I mean that we must for the time being get the status of a recognised party and we have to guarantee it in this election. In the last election, we required 1,400,000 to 1,500,000 votes for this status and we fell short by 400,000-500,000. So this time we have to complete this target. How many seats we get or fail to get is one thing. But the more important thing is if in the last elections our target was to get 1,000,000 votes this time our target should be to get 2,000,000. This is the target we need in order to acquire the status of a recognised party in Bihar. Because becoming a recognised party in a state makes a lot of difference at the national level. That is why I want to bring this before you as a challenge.
And finally I would like to reiterate steel-like unity. I am saying steel-like unity because when getting into a war special type of discipline is required. Before the war anyone can express his/her view, take part in the debates etc., but once the battles are on everyone must move the way the troops move.