CPI (ML) 8th Bihar State Conference
The 8th Bihar State Conference of CPI(ML) was successfully held in Bettiah, Western Champaran from April 14-16. Though W Champaran has been an old centre of our work, this was the first time a major state level programme was ever held there. Comrades of Western and Eastern Champaran were involved in the Conference preparation – a challenging task, given that there are very sharp contradictions with feudal forces in Bettiah, who tried to prevent traders and so on from cooperating with the Conference. For the conference, Bettiah town was beautifully decorated with Party flags and banners. Around 17 gates were made welcoming the delegates. The successful organizing of the Conference has given a boost to the Party’s profile and prestige. It will provide an impetus for further expansion of Party work in this region.
Delegate elections were held amidst much enthusiasm, and 492 delegates were elected from 24 districts. In all, 593 delegates were to participate; however 562 delegates ultimately did participate in the conference, representing more than 50,000 Party members. More than 100 delegates were participating in a State Conference for the first time. Compared to the last Conference, the number of delegates from student-youth and peasant front doubled this time, while the number of worker-employee delegates trebled and the number of women delegates increased by 50%. During this period, Party membership too registered an annual increase of 10,000. The number of branch committees nearly doubled (from 1300 to 2500) and their stability reflects the functioning of organizational network at the grass-root level.
The conference venue was dedicated to the memory of Comrade Yogeshwar Gope while the conference hall was named after the martyred peasant leader Comrade Shafayat Ansari. Inaugurating the conference, General Secretary Comrade Dipankar said that CPI (ML) was the real inheritor of all peasant movements in Champaran, before and after independence. Terming the Communist victory against monarchy in neighbouring Nepal as a victory of democracy and people’s assertion, Comrade Dipankar called upon comrades to create a similar mass upsurge in Bihar also.
A 7-member Presidium comprising Comrades Rameshwar Prasad, Pawan Sharma, Ramadhar Singh, Meena Tiwari, RN Thakur and Dhirendra Jha conducted the proceedings of the conference wherein more than 70 delegates expressed their views. The Conference was addressed by Politburo Members Comrades Swadesh Bhattacharya and Ramji Rai as well as Central Observer Comrade Janardan Prasad
The conference dealt in-depth with the functioning of Panchayat representatives, the issue of making the movements against Nitish Government more broad-based, militant and consistent and the issue of expanding as well as strengthening the Party. The political-organisational report presented in the conference emphasized the need for imparting a leftward orientation to the mass movements erupting against Nitish’s farcical claims of good governance and development. It noted that Nitish had replaced Laloo-Rabri’s catch-phrase of ‘social justice and secularism’ by World Bank-inspired idioms of ‘good governance and development’ which were equally hollow. In the name of good governance, feudal-police-bureaucratic rule had been imposed and in the name of development, corruption was prevalent everywhere. Though there are officially no SEZs, land grab by the back door is rampant.
In the concluding session, Comrade Dipankar called upon the delegates to strengthen the Party ideologically and to ensure its all-round expansion by intensifying political initiatives. He stressed the need to make the oppositional role of our Assembly and Panchayat representatives still more concrete and consistent. He also called upon comrades to impart a new context to the land struggle and organize the peasants under the banner of our peasant association on the issues of land grab by government, comprehensive agricultural development and land reform.
The conference resolved to intensify initiatives for student union elections and campus democracy against the prevailing campus anarchy. It called upon RYA to establish its identity at state level by intensifying initiatives on the question of employment. The conference approved plans to organize women in its fold on a large scale by recognising the new churning among working women, their increasing participation in public life, their increasing assertion on the question of their dignity and rights and their heightened anti-establishment consciousness. Assertion of the women delegates and panchayat representatives from among women was a notable feature of the conference.
The Conference resolved to intensify our preparations for impending elections, keeping in mind the new contours of constituencies carved out through delimitation.
The Conference elected a 45-member State Committee which in turn reelected Comrade Nand Kishore Prasad as State Secretary. Twelve new members were inducted in the new State Committee.