The meeting that Basu and Biswas addressed was held in the evening of August 5 at the Mahajati Sadan in Kolkata to commemorate the 116th birth anniversary of Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad, popularly known as Kakababu. The venue was full and so were the adjoining roads and streets. Biman Basu, Left Front chairman and senior CPI(M) leader, presided over the meeting. The programme saw the Muzaffar Ahmad memorial prizes going to the CPI(M) and AIDWA leader, Kanak Mukherjee, and to noted economist, Amiya Bagchi. Samar Mukherjee gave away the prizes. Nirupam Sen read the citations. The occasion also saw the formal publication of the third volume of the documents of the Communist movement in Bengal.
Jyoti Basu said that a reciprocal trust between the Left and the UPA government was needed to see the implementation of the CMP. The UPA could not but do without the Left and the CPI(M). The CPI(M) must at the same time undertake a drive to increase the size of both the Party and the mass organisations. It must also be noted carefully as to how far the Congress-led UPA government was able in the short and long run to fight the menace that was communalism. The union government must be vocal against imperialism. It must not abide blindly by what the IMF, the WTO, and the World Bank declares as policies and must move according to the best interests of the country and the people.
Basu also pointed out that a section of the electorates, although representing the poor and the middle class, continued to vote for the opposition. These sections must be brought within the fold of the CPI(M). People make mistakes. They also learn later from their mistakes and swing back to the correct path. The people had ensured victories for the two UF governments in the late 1960s. They have voted in the LF government for 27 long years.
Basu said that the Party and the mass organisations must further step up the efforts to help the state Left Front government in the task of implementing pro-people, especially pro-poor programmes. The Party organisation must be made more strong and wide. The rectification campaign must progress apace to rid the Party of the small number of bad elements that have crept in.
Anil Biswas explained the present situation and said that for the past decade or so, the CPI(M) “has conducted joint programmes continuously to ensure that democracy is not endangered, fascism does not strike roots, and secularism remains intact.” As a result, the political developments in India have reached a crossroads and in ensuring this, the CPI(M) has played a stellar role.
Biswas said that the CPI(M) and the Left must mount pressure on the UPA government to implement those aspects of the CMP that were pro-people and progressive. The CPI(M) must have a clear view of the class character of the UPA government for it has the Congress party at its head and the Congress represents the interests of the monopoly capitalists and big landlords. It is due to pressure from the CPI(M) and the Left that the UPA government would agree to incorporate in the CMP and later on implement pro-people programmes.
“We want the UPA government to run its full course of five years but if the union government took steps that are anti-people and undertakes programmes runs against the grain of the interests of the common man, we shall certainly protest and wage struggle against all such endeavours,” said Anil Biswas. The CPI(M) leader also said that progress must be made through coordination and struggle in the days to come. During the British period, the Communist Party waged struggle against imperialism. Later on, during the 1960s and the 1970s, the CPI(M) waged struggle against the authoritarian policies of the Congress. In view of the features of the present situation, it is necessary to adopt the new tactics of coordination and struggle to save democracy. The CPI(M) shall move forward by drawing the correct lessons from the past and face the challenge of the present times.
Anil Biswas recalled how the pioneers of the Communist movement in the country including Comrade Kakababu had built up a Party of the poor and of the toiling masses. Over the past 82 years, the Communist Party had progressed along the same lines. Mass bases of the CPI(M) have been built up in very many states of the country. The CPI(M) has continued to work for the poor kisans and workers. Big mass bases have been set up in states like Kerala, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Bengal. The CPI(M) has maintained uniquely a strong existence in other states of the country as well.
In Bengal, the Let Front government was in existence for 27 years. The principal aim of the LF government is to look to the interests of the poor and to bring about improvements in their lives. By waging relentless struggle against the forces of imperialism and by looking to the interests of the poor, and the middle class, the CPI(M) has become the second largest Communist Party in the capitalist world after the Japanese Communist Party in terms of Party Members. “We have remained within the parliamentary democratic set up and have utilised the set up in the interest of the poor and the common people,” said Biswas.
Biswas said that as the strength of the CPI(M) grew so should its ideological training sharpen. The CPI(M) has earned the trust and love of the masses in exchange of the many sacrifices it has made and the struggles it has waged in their interest. The Communists work for the interest, not of self, but of the people. The media has joined hands with the opposition to ridicule and attack the CPI(M) from a wide array of angles and outlooks. Sometimes it is said that Communists have become rich by remaining in office. Sometimes, again, it is written that the Communists suffer from abject poverty. The attacks would continue. But the base of the CPI(M) amongst the poor and the commoner shall remain intact since the CPI(M) works for the masses, concluded Anil Biswas.
Biman Basu said that the CPI(M) continued to progress along the path that was laid by the Communist pioneers like Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad. The CPI(M) moves ahead through a variety of crossroads with the help, affection, and support of the masses. Basu spoke about the importance of struggles and movements to ensure that the pro-people programmes contained in the CMP could be successfully implemented. Without the struggles and movements, the policy outlook of the UPA government could never be changed. Basu asked of the members of the CPI(M) to equip themselves with Communist values. In this connection, Biman Basu recalled Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad’s saying that the Party was greater than one’s friends and acquaintances.
Earlier in the day, the CPI(M) leadership garlanded Comrade Kakababu’s busts at the Muzaffar Ahmad Bhavan, the Ganashakti printers, and at the Muzaffar Ahmad Pathagar. The last resting place of the Communist pioneer at Gobrah in the eastern part of the City was covered with wreaths of flowers. A special number of the Anushilan periodical, containing articles by and on Comrade Muzaffar Ahmad was published.
Shyamal Chakraborti addressed a meeting at the office of the National Book Agency, one of Comrade Kakababu’s creations. Chakraborti who described Comrade Kakababu as the very symbol of the Party at the time the Communist movement had been torn asunder in two, declared the need for the CPI(M) to further strengthen the struggles and movements of the poor kisans and the unorganised workers in the days to come. He also called for further sharpening of the ideological struggle against the forces of reaction.-----B Prasant