The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) held a meeting on July 20, 2013 at New Delhi. It has issued the following statement:
Food Security Ordinance
By using the most undemocratic route of an ordinance for the Food Security Bill, the UPA Government wants to impose its writ on Parliament.
The ordinance, as the Bill before it, legalises the targeted system by automatically excluding 50 per cent of urban population and 25 per cent of rural population from its ambit at a time when in many States the coverage of the population is near universal. The present 35kgs entitlement to BPL families will now be cut down by 10 kgs to just 25 kgs for a five member family and even less if the family is smaller. This is punishment for a State like Kerala, where the family size may be three or four and therefore the entitlement will be only 15 kgs to 20 kgs. The CPI(M) had demanded that the minimum should be 35 kgs per household and increased if there are more members but the Government has preferred to cut down on existing entitlements. This is food insecurity not security.
The Bill is highly centralized and gives all powers to the Centre and all responsibilities including a substantial share of the financial responsibility to the States. The ordinance ordains that the entire process of identification of beneficiaries according to guidelines yet to be issued by the Central Government has to be completed within 180 days. This has been done without any consultation with the States. The ordinance, in a mischievous addition, gives the Central Government the right to introduce cash schemes instead of food in the Rules as and when it decides, in other words to impose its anti-people scheme even if the State Governments oppose it.
The CPI(M) will move concrete amendments to the Bill to make it universal with a minimum entitlement of 35 kgs at maximum two rupees a kg (rice and wheat) and move for deletion of all the centralizing clauses and make it mandatory to consult State Governments on all issues of cost sharing. It will also move for deletion of the clauses in relation to cash transfers and linkages with AADHAR.
Harmful Economic Measures
The Polit Bureau sharply criticized the measures being adopted by the UPA government in order to tackle the deteriorating economic situation in the country. The UPA government is bent upon increasing the reliance on foreign capital as shown by the recent announcement to increase the FDI level in various sectors.
The decision to double the price of natural gas from April 2014 is a blatant move to enrich the Reliance company. This price increase should be rescinded.
The Polit Bureau condemned the repeated increase in the price of petrol. In the last six weeks, petrol prices have been increased four times totaling Rs. 6.50 per litre. This has only further fuelled price rise and hiked up the retail inflation rate.
Modi’s Vitriolic Campaign
The Polit Bureau condemned the communal overtones in the speeches and remarks made by BJP leader Narendra Modi. This has exposed the pretence that his “development agenda” is the main plank for the forthcoming Lok Sabha election campaign.
The CPI(M) demands that the role of Narendra Modi as the Chief Minister of Gujarat during the communal violence against the minorities in 2002 be properly investigated including the false encounters and necessary action be initiated.
J & K Atrocity
The Polit Bureau expressed its deep concern at the recurring incidents of excesses by security forces in Jammu & Kashmir. The latest instance is the firing by BSF personnel on protesters in Ramban district in which four people were killed and many injured.
The Central government has failed to implement the measures which are required to remove the repressive security apparatus affecting the people, which include a reduction in the deployment of the army and security forces and the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from most parts of the state.
Brazen Attack in West Bengal
The panchayat elections in West Bengal is witnessing a brazen and massive attack on democracy. Till now three phases of the panchayat elections have been held. These polls have been marred by large-scale booth capturing, false voting, blockade of villages and violent attacks on opposition candidates and their polling agents. Hundreds of booths were captured in West Midnapore, Bankura, Burdwan, Hooghly, East Midnapore and North & South 24 Parganas. In Burdwan district alone 890 booths were fully or partially captured and the polling rigged. The state police have remained bystanders or connived in the rigging efforts. The central police forces were not deployed at the polling stations in violation of the High Court and Supreme Court orders.
Even before the polling, around six thousand Left Front candidates were not allowed to file nominations. So far 19 CPI(M) and Left Front members and supporters have been killed.
What is being witnessed in West Bengal is an outright attack on democracy and democratic rights. The ruling Trinamul Congress is threatening the State Election Commission and making open calls to incite violence against the opposition.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly condemns this violence and terror campaign launched by the Trinamul Congress.
Save Democracy Campaign
The Polit Bureau decided to call for a countrywide campaign to “Save Democracy and to Defeat the Violence and Terror in West Bengal”. All Party units will conduct this campaign on August 7, 2013. This campaign will inform the people about the murder of democracy in West Bengal and mobilize support to demand a halt to the violence and terror. The Polit Bureau appealed to all democratic forces in the country to condemn the TMC’s violent campaign to suppress the Left Front and the opposition in West Bengal.
Kerala CM Should Resign
The solar panel scam in Kerala is not an ordinary case of fraud and cheating. The involvement of some of the staff in the Chief Minister’s office with the scamsters has come out; one of whom has been arrested. The links of the Chief Minister Oommen Chandy with this affair have also surfaced. The LDF has demanded the resignation of the Chief Minister and holding of a judicial enquiry in the light of this exposure.
The Polit Bureau condemned the brutal police repression unleashed against the protests. It endorsed the demand for Chief Minister’s resignation and supported the call for an indefinite struggle to achieve this demand.
The Polit Bureau congratulated the workers of the Neyveli Lignite Corporation in Tamilnadu for their successful 13-day united strike. As a result of this struggle and the stand taken by the AIADMK government, the 5 per cent disinvestment of shares will not take place and the shares will be transferred to public sector undertakings of the state government.