MY LIFE AND STRUGGLES – 30
ORGANISATION – CRUCIAL ISSUES
Last years of 1960s and 1970s were very crucial period for NFPTE. Differences in dealing with workers’ problems as well as ideological line divided NFPTE in to almost two equal parts.
Federal Council held at Vijayawada on 9-14 May 1970 was witness to sharp debate on the line to be taken against anti-worker stand of government. There was severe criticism against Gnaniah – OPG leadership for not organising serious struggles against victimisation of 1968 strike. NFPTE leadership was indefinitely waiting for leniency to come from government, doing nothing, accused progressive leadership led by Coms. K.G.Bose, N.J.Iyer, K.Adinarayana and L.A.Prasad.K.G.Bose and A.S.Rajan were elected as President and Secretary General of NFPTE, in a bitter contest, defeating OPG team. It was a bolt from blue to dominant leadership; a victory for progressive section. Defeated OPG – Gnaniah group created difficulties for new leadership to function, misusing their proximity to administration and government. They were unable to accept the unexpected defeat.
Next Federal Council was held at Calcutta from 28 October to 3 November 1971. KG Bose and AS Rajan were once again elected as President and SG. Well knowing that they cannot win in election, OPG group walked out, prepared a parallel list and submitted to government. Instead of accepting duly and constitutionally elected list, government refused recognition to both. Misusing political connection, OPG group managed to get recognition later.
When majority is lost, it has always been the tactics of revisionists to divide organisation and keep at least one portion of it with them. Unity and democracy is not very important to them. This can be seen again in post-1991 Bhopal AIC election, in which OPG and team was defeated
P and T, Bonus and ED Conventions at DelhiP and T, Bonus and ED Conventions from 10 to 12 December 1972 held at Delhi organised by NFPTE led by KG Bose group were great success. More than 2,500 workers attended from all parts of India. 500 workers participated from Kerala alone. Along with other comrades, I also participated.
Many Kerala comrades reached Delhi, even without a sweater or woollen shawl. It was December and severe biting cold. Suffered a lot. Staying arrangement for Kerala team was made in a well-covered, underground hall of a factory in Narayana, which gave some relief.
Bonus Convention was jointly organised by Confederation of CG Employees and All India State Government Employees Federation. Demand of ‘Bonus for All’ was raised and approved by the Convention. Decided to observe ‘Bonus for All Day’ on 19th January 1973. In addition to employees’ leaders, Prof. Madhu Dantwade M.P., Dr. Mathew Kurien M.P., P.Ramamurty (CITU), Gyan Chand (UTUC), George Fernandez (HMP) and others addressed.
There was an interesting scene during ED Convention. When Com. P.Chellappan Pillai, Kerala Circle Secretary of Postmen and Class IV Union, started speaking in Malayalam, delegates wanted translation. Com. L.A.Prasad, General Secretary, Administrative Union immediately took mike and translated. A GS hailing from T.Nadu, translating Malayalam speech of Circle secretary, Kerala in to Hindi!
After P and T Convention, a huge procession started from Convention site to Raisina Round about, passing through main roads of the capital. Com.N.J.Iyer wearing a red cap, leading the procession, was a sight to see. A real Commander of the working class. Police tried to stop at several points, but the jatha marched ahead till it reached Raisina round about, near Parliament. (Now processions are stopped in front of Parliament Police Station. But during that period, processions were allowed up to Boat Club, just opposite and near to Parliament). Communications Minister Shri H.N.Bahuguna came and accepted the Memorandum presented. Later he met union delegation at his house and discussed the issues.
These conventions created enthusiasm and inspiration amongst the participants and workers at large. It was also a show of strength. Proved that majority of workers are with KG Bose group. ED issues were focussed. Demand of Bonus to CG Employees high lighted, which was main demand of 1974 Railway Strike (to be continued).Photos: 1. Parliament 2. K.G.Bose 3. P.Ramamurthy 4.George Fernandez 5. N.J.Iyer 6. K.Adinarayana