Will hold a public awareness campaign about Education, Water, Electoral Reforms and Betterment of Minorities
The two-day national executive committee meeting of the Socialist Party held in Delhi under the chairmanship of the party’s president Bhai Vaidya, a veteran socialist and former Home Minister of Maharashtra. In the meeting, the results of the Lok Sabha 2014 elections were analyzed, political and economic resolutions were passed and party’s agenda for the next five years was set. The meeting was attended by the members of the national executive committee from the various states as well as by presidents of the state units. Apart from them, the meeting was also attended by Dr. G. G. Parikh (Editor, Janata Weekly), Ravikiran Jain (senior advocate and office bearer of PUCL), Dr. Sunilam (senior socialist leader from Madhya Pradesh), Shyam Gambhir (senior socialist leader from Delhi) and Anil Nauriya (senior advocate and scholar of modern Indian history) as the special invitees. The general secretary of the party Dr. Prem Singh cordially welcomed all the delegates.
Bhai Vaidya in his presidential address said that the RSS has won this election on the basis of communal polarization achieved with the help of corporate and media. If a stable third front could have been constituted against the neo-liberal policies and corruption of the UPA government then the BJP would not have got absolute majority. Despite having spent money in torrents, only 31 percent of the voters have supported the BJP. Bhai Vaidya also cautioned that the BJP led NDA government will further accelerate the neo-liberal policies of the Congress. At the same time, the RSS will try its best to push its anti-constitutional and anti-social communal agenda. One can see that the government has already started implementing its neo-liberal and communal agenda openly from the very first day. This will further increase the predicament of the deprived masses. In order to challenge this neo-liberal-communal nexus, he has called for a socialist-communist unity.
Justice Rajindar Sachar, senior member of the party, speaking on the occasion said that it is a matter of grave concern that the faction which opposed the freedom movement and was responsible for the murder of Gandhiji has come to power with absolute majority. The members of the Socialist Party need to work at the grass roots level to strengthen the democratic institutions as well as for the values of the freedom movement and the Constitution. He categorically asked the young activists of the party to go amidst the public, whose lives have been destroyed because of the neo-liberal policies, and explain to them that their basic needs like education, health, water, electricity etc. can never be met as long as privatization is there.
Through the resolution passed in the meeting, the Socialist Party again demanded the introduction of a ‘Full Employment Guarantee Law’ making employment a Fundamental Right. Reiterating its commitment to the Public Sector, the party learnt with alarm the announcements by the newly formed central government to dismantle and discourage Public Sector by allowing even 100 percent of FDI in a sensitive sector like Defense, directly responsible for the country’s sovereignty and independence. The Socialist Party expressed complete opposition to this decision. The party also opposed the privatization of the departments/undertakings associated with the basic needs of the public like Power and Railways as also the disinvestment of companies like BALCO and BHEL. The Socialist Party has also warned the nation that the proposal of the government to bring the Public Sector Undertakings under one ‘holding company’ might be a ploy to sell them to the private sector.
In the resolution, the party has severely criticized and opposed the anti-constitutional statement of Najma Heptullah, Minister for Minority Affairs, in the current government, that the Muslims are not a minority. The statement shows total ignorance of the constitutional principles and settled position of the Supreme Court that religious minorities, including Muslims, are recognized features of the Constitution. The party further condemned the statement of the minister that the 15 point program for the minorities, which has been in operation for the last three decades, should be discontinued. The party rather is of the strong opinion that this program needs to be strengthened and properly outlined with the active consultation and participation of the concerned organizations and members of the community concerned. The government’s intention to abolish Article 370 has also been severely opposed in the resolution. Reiterating the support for Irom Sharmila’s satyagrah, the demand to remove the AFSPA was repeated.
In the resolution regarding the electoral reforms, it was demanded that the practice of the donations from corporate houses to political parties for election expenses should be stopped; not only the candidates but the party should also submit accounts of election expenses; the security deposit for candidates should be rupees two thousand in the legislative assembly elections and rupees five thousand in the Lok Sabha elections; and the government should bear the election expenses so that poor citizens can also contest elections. According to the current voting system, the party which gets 33 percent vote share gets about 60 percent of the seats whereas the party which gets about 8-10 percent of the vote share does not get even a single seat. The Socialist Party in its resolution has demanded that a new system should be adopted according to which the political parties should get seats in proportion to their vote share. Especially the electronic media has played a key role in these elections. It is commonly believed that its role has been partisan and misleading instead of being neutral and factual. In order to prevent this from happening in future, an institution akin to the Press Council of India should be formed to regulate the electronic media.
It was decided in the meeting that the Socialist Party will run a nation-wide public awareness campaign in the next five years against the marketization of education and water; in favor of electoral reforms; and for the protection and betterment of the minority communities.
The Socialist Party believes that the model of alternate development can be based on the ideas of Gandhi and Lohia. With the view to develop the Socialist Party as the ‘green party’ of India, a special session on ‘Development and Climate Change’ was organized. Professor Sanat Mohanty, Bharat Dogra, Sandeep Pandey and Monish Babbar addressed the session.
A special session was organized under the aegis of Lok Rajneeti Manch (Peoples Political Front) which was formed before the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. This session was addressed by many peoples’ movement activists and public intellectuals including Ravikiran Jain, Shamsher Singh Bisht, Kamla, Manjoo Mohan, Sandeep Pandey and Dr. Prem Singh. After the discussion it was decided that considering the existing political challenges, the Lok Rajneeti Manch should be made active and influential.
Renu Gambhir, president of the Socialist Party, Delhi, presented vote of thank to all the participants.
Dr. Prem Singh