For six days and six nights between 25-30 November the slogan of ‘Red Resistance to Saffron Subversion’ reverberated throughout Bihar as hundreds of delegates from all over the country converged on capital city Patna to attend the CPI(ML)’s seventh Party Congress.
Taking place at a historical juncture when the footsteps of communal fascism are getting louder and US imperialism is systematically tightening its noose around India, the CPI (ML) Congress pledged to convert its successful mass struggles in the flaming fields of Bihar into a countrywide movement for revolutionary change.
Delegates and guests at the Congress received a warm and enthusiastic welcome, and found that the whole of Patna had (christened as ‘Vinod Mishra Nagar’ for the occasion) turned into a huge red wave with festoons and flags dotting every road leading to the Congress venue at the heart of the city. A massive ‘hammer and sickle’ adorned the venue, and at the gate was placed an impressive sculpture depicting the struggles of toiling masses, prepared by the artists of Party’s cultural wing.
The inaugural session of the 7th Congress started with the hoisting of the red flag of the Party by veteran comrade Ramakant Dwivedi ‘Ramta’ on 25 November 2002 at Chandrashekhar Manch (Muktaakash Manch of Bharatiya Nrityakala Kendra) at 1 pm. The session felicitated a number of veteran communist leaders and fighters of the revolutionary peasant movement. Addressing the inaugural session, Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya set the tone for the entire Congress when he called upon all Left forces to form a broad-based confederation to beat back the fascist-imperialist offensive. Accusing the Congress of legitimizing the Hindu fundamentalist agenda by playing the ‘Hindu’ card in the Gujarat elections he said that attempts by sections of the parliamentary Left to move closer to and join hands with the Congress would only result in their losing credibility in the eyes of the Indian people. It would be a historic blunder if the Left failed to unite and provide a third alternative to the people at this critical hour, he warned. Renowned NAPM activist and Magassassay Award winner Sandip Pandey stressed the need of unity of revolutionary communist organisations like CPI(ML) and social movements to take on fascist danger.
For the next four days following the inauguration of the Party Congress over 700 delegates from all parts of the country discussed the draft political-organisational report placed before them that dealt with a range of pressing national and international issues.
Putting the entire Seventh Party Congress in context the report called upon the delegates to take a fresh vow to hold high the great red banner of the
Party inherited from its martyrs. Pointing out that the Party lost the General Secretary Comrade Vinod Mishra and two of its senior leaders Comrade Nagbhusan Patnaik and Comrade Anil Baruah within just one year of the last party Congress in Varanasi the report said that it has been a measure of the tremendous resilience and revolutionary spirit of the entire Party that it has been able to withstand these successive blows.
Discussing issues on the international front delegates were unanimous in the draft report’s characterization of the United States led so called ‘War on Terror’ as the greatest threat to world peace. Using the horrific events of September 11 in New York as an excuse to pursue its long-planned imperialist agenda the United States has been waging nothing short of a terrorist war on a global scale, first in Afghanistan and now on
‘Under the banner of the global war on terror, US imperialism wants to crush every pocket of resistance and every quest for an alternative international order by installing pro-US regimes in every non-compliant state which the US designates as a rogue state’ said the draft report.
The New Central Committee:
Members of the new Central Control Commission
1. Raja Ram (Chairperson)
The issue of the recently concluded 16th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party formally accepting ‘capitalists’ as party members came up for much debate among delegates. While expressing serious reservations and concerns about the orientation and fallouts of the Chinese ‘experiment’ with building a ‘socialist market economy’ the CPI(ML) delegates finally agreed not to jump to any hasty conclusions and underlined the need to keep a close watch on the Chinese experience and study it with an open mind.
On the national front the draft report clearly pointed to the rising menace of communal
fascism promoted by the BJP, the RSS and other members of the ‘Sangh Parivar’ as the single biggest challenge facing the Indian revolutionary movement today. "Even though the BJP’s grip on power and the state system in India is still far from total, we have already been witnessing a growing consolidation of the essential features of what can only be characterized as the Indian variety of fascism", said the report.
The report stressed a 12-point democratic programme to intensify worker-peasant struggles, strengthen the militant mobilisation of the rural poor and sharpen anti-fascist anti-imperialist resistance of the Indian people. While calling for a Left-led third front to challenge the growing trend of two-party domination in Indian politics, delegates emphasised the need to combine struggles in both parliamentary and extra-parliamentary arena. The report called for developing issue-based cooperation with a wide array of forces ranging from the Left and other non-BJP, non-Congress parties to various anti-communal anti-globalisation trends including those among dalits, adivasis, religious minorities and nationalities.
Among the various tasks ahead of the Party, the report stressed the need to form a powerful all-India organisation of agricultural labourers and also to radicalise the movement of middle peasants and small farmers to meet the challenge of the deepening agrarian crisis. The draft report also dealt in detail with the experience of the Party’s work on a variety of different fronts ranging from participation in elections to building class and mass organizations over the past five years. Engaging in a free and frank debate over problems and prospects facing the Party, delegates made numerous suggestions most of which were incorporated into the final report.
Following the unanimous adoption of the political and organizational report by the Congress, elections were held for the constitution of a 5-member Central Control Commission and a 41-member central committee. The new central committee re-elected Comrade Dipankar Bhattacharya as the General Secretary of the Party.
On November 30, tens of thousands of people assembled at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan to attend the concluding ceremony of the Party Congress. CPI(ML) leaders apart, this session was also addressed by fraternal delegates from neighbouring countries including Comrades Madhav Nepal (Nepal), Farooq Tariq and Abdul Mazid Kanju (Pakistan), Badaruddin Umar, Anu Muhammad and Zonaid Saki (Bangladesh), E Thambaiah (Sri Lanka) and Nay Myo Hliang (Myanmar); and also Doug Lorimer from Australia and Tone Buberg from Norway. The presence of a significant international delegation, especially from all over South Asia, conveyed a refreshing message of growing cross-border solidarity among progressive forces and presented a sharp contrast to the ruling classes’ politics of jingoism and communal divide. Comrades Chandrashekhar and Tarsem Jodha from CPI(M) Punjab led by Com. Pasla and Comrade PK Murthy of CPI(ML)(Unity Initiative) were also present.
Like the previous Party Congresses, the Seventh Congress too was marked by an intense mobilisation of the entire Party and its mass base. This was the first open Congress held in Bihar and the entire Party in Bihar right from the State Committee down to the block-level committees and panchayat-level branches worked day and night for months together to make the Congress a resounding success. The Seventh Congress will also be remembered for the tremendous support it received from the progressive intelligentsia and the working people of Bihar. At a time when the fascist forces are threatening to replicate the Gujarat model all over the country, the Seventh Congress resolve to strengthen and spread the spirit of the CPI(ML)-led revolutionary movement in Bihar has rekindled a new optimism in the revolutionary-democratic camp. q