The All India Council of the Lok Raj Sangathan held its plenary meeting on May 6, 2007 in Thane, Maharashtra. The meeting was presided over by Justice Hosbet Suresh, President of Lok Raj Sangathan. Apart from the members of the AIC of the Lok Raj Sangathan, two observers from Bangladesh as well as three activists from different organisations working amongst the people in Maharashtra had been specially invited to attend the meeting as observers. On behalf of the AIC, Dr Sanjeevani Jain welcomed all the members and observers to the meeting. She then called upon Prakash Rao, Convenor of the Lok Raj Sangathan, to present the report of the activity of the AIC in the period since its last meeting, that is since October 15, 2006.
The meeting of the All-India Council of Lok Raj Sangathan witnessed enthusiastic and spirited participation of the members of the Council and other invitees. With the tremendous initiatives taken in the Delhi Municipal Elections just behind them, the members took detailed stock of the advances made by the organization since the last AIC meeting and important tasks facing the organization in the coming period.
Assessing the three years of rule by the UPA government, Prakash Rao pointed out in his Report that attacks on the people have further increased. In the name of building world class infrastructure and Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission over seventy cities including the metros of Delhi and Mumbai are undergoing vast changes. Thousands of homes of the poor and working people are being demolished and livelihood of lakhs of small traders, hawkers are being destroyed with the sealing campaign in Delhi and slum redevelopment campaign in Mumbai. The policy of corporatisation of retail trade is affecting the livelihood of millions of small producers. The Bharat Nirman program of the government is a massive onslaught on the livelihoods of the peasantry and agricultural workers. The entire state apparatus is being commissioned to crush the struggles of the people and deprive them of human rights including the right to life and livelihood. It is being deployed to defend the interests of Indian and foreign multinationals and monopolies to plunder the labour and natural resources of the people.
The economic onslaughts have revealed that there is no difference between the UPA government and its predecessor, the NDA government. The report drew attention to the fact that this has also been a period wherein the UPA government has revealed that it is committed to forging the strategic alliance with US imperialism, does not matter what the cost to the Indian and worlds’ peoples. It noted as significant that several sections of the peoples such as traders, hawkers, peasants and agricultural workers are being drawn into struggle. The Report severely condemned the communal card being played by the ruling parties to divide and terrorise the people. It dealt with the efforts of the rulers to deploy the reservation card yet again to inflame passions, divide the student-youth along caste lines, and subvert both the struggle against caste oppression and the struggle for education and jobs for all. The report pointed out that state assembly elections have been held in four states of Punjab, Uttaranchal, Manipur and Uttar Pradesh, and local body elections have been held in Maharashtra and Delhi. As in the past, apart from state terrorism, the ruling class has tried to use these elections to stabilise its rule by choosing that party or coalition that can serve its interests at the moment. The victory of Akalis in Punjab, the BJP in Uttarakhand and Delhi, and of the Shiv Sena in Mumbai, along with the defeat of the Congress in all these elections, must be seen only in this light. .
The report highlighted that in these conditions, LRS had played a proactive role of intervening in elections. Following on the great experience of fielding candidates in the Tamilnadu local body elections in October 2006, LRS intervened in the Maharashtra and Delhi local body elections, as well as to a various extent in the state assembly elections in Punjab,
Elaborating on the work of LRS during this period, Prakash Rao explained the tremendous initiatives taken by LRS in the Ulhasnagar and Delhi municipal elections. The rich experience of building the Jan Pratinidhi Manch, with other like minded groups and individuals, to oppose the present party-dominated political process is a wonderful asset that LRS has acquired during this period. The building and strengthening of the Sangarsh samitis as mechanisms of people’s power has been a significant achievement. For the candidates of the JPM who were selected by the sangarsh samitis it was an uphill task and they stood up to it undaunted.
LRS worked actively on the front of judicial reforms and in building the unity and working with organizations of workers, peasants, women and youth. LRS welcomes that more and more organizations and individuals are raising their voices against state terrorism, custodial deaths and fake encounters. It is proud that amidst overwhelming odds even at times at the risk of being isolated, LRS has fought the violation of human rights despite hysterical propaganda of the state in the name of war against terrorism. It has continued its work to support the just struggles of various sections of the people for democratic rights.
The Convenor summed up the challenges faced by LRS in this period and in the coming period as well. He explained why LRS decided to participate in the political process during the recent elections instead of standing in the sidelines and merely criticizing the system. “We want to bring the people of India to power, we want to end our marginalisation. This demands we actively participate in the political process, and expose its flaws in full view of the masses. We need to build the mechanisms by which people can exercise their power. The Lok Raj Samitis, the Sangharsh Samitis we have been building and nurturing, these are the mechanisms with which people can exercise their power. They will learn to do so, both during elections, by selecting and electing candidates, and supervising the election process, as well as in between elections, wherein they have to take up the concerns of the people of the area and organise the people to assert their claims” said Prakash Rao. He summed up the difficulties that we face in the building and strengthening of the Lok Raj Samitis and Sangharsh samitis as mechanisms of peoples power. His report pointed out the objective and subjective problems which created pressure amongst us to liquidate these samitis and he hailed the work of comrades who were fighting valiantly to defend and nurture these institutions. The report emphasized the task of strengthening LRS by building the samitis as instruments that take up all the concerns of the people and by building their unity in struggle.
Following the presentation of the report, many members of the AIC intervened with elaborations. These interventions greatly enriched the summing up of the work. The AIC members received the news letter PROGRESS REPORT compiling the work of LRS since October 15, 2006 with enthusiasm. After this, the Report presented by the Convenor was unanimously adopted.
A short documentary film on the work of the Lok Raj Sangathan and the Jan Pratinidhi Manch was shown in the meeting. Following this, Bijju Nayak, member of the AIC and member of the Secretariat of the Jan Pratinidhi Manch gave a powerful presentation on the work of LRS during the MCD elections of Delhi. The presentation greatly enthused all the delegates and observers. After this, Prof Bharat Seth, Bijju Nayak and Santosh led a vigorous discussion wherein various delegates and observers fielded their questions or asked for clarifications.
The AIC meeting appreciated the work done by the LRS AIC in the front of organising workers, peasants, women and youth and assisting the building of organisations of these important sections, which are the foundations of the LRS. In this connection, the work of organising amongst different sections of the workers, the initiative taken to establish the All India Workers Council, the work of MEC, Kamgar Ekta Chalwal and Workers Unity Movement, the work of Purogami Mahila Sangathan, the work of building peasant organisations in Tamilnadu and Rajasthan, and the work of building and strengthening the Hind Naujawan Ekta Sabha was appreciated.
Shivanand presented the report of the Ghadar Jari Hai Abhiyan Organising committee which was founded at the initiative of the Lok Raj Sangathan, Mazdoor Parishad and the Communist Ghadar Party of India, amongst others. The AIC applauded the functions organised by the Lok Raj Sangathan under the theme Ghadar Jari Hai in Ulhasnagar and Padgha Gaon It welcomed the news that the Communist Ghadar Party of India was hosting a school on the lessons of 1857 on June 9, 2007 in Delhi. It approved the publication of the magazine Ghadar Jari Hai…
The AIC meeting approved the financial report presented by Raghavan, with the President exhorting all members to actively increase fund collection, as our work is greatly expanding.
Eight resolutions were passed on the key concern.
The AIC resolved that the next All India Convention of the Lok Raj Sangathan would be held in Delhi on November 17-18, 2007. Regional Conventions would be held prior to that.
The next AIC meeting has been scheduled for August 19, 2007 in Mumbai.
The AIC meeting concluded in a warm and enthusiastic atmosphere with the President Justice Suresh exhorting the members to vigorously expand the membership, vigorously develop the Ghadar Jari Hai campaign including the magazine, build and strengthen sangharsh samitis, strengthen the Jan Pratinidhi Manch, and in general develop the work with patience and perseverance, fully confident in the final victory of the people.