A DAY after the CPI(M) Gujarat state committee meeting on December 8, a Party state workshop was held in Ahmedabad on December 9 to give a boost to mass front work in the state. It was attended by 67 state office-bearers and other main activists working on the trade union, kisan, women, youth, student and lawyers’ fronts from 14 of the 16 districts where the Party exists. It was the first time that such a workshop was being held in Gujarat.
This workshop was being held in the background of some important actions led by the mass fronts in Gujarat. On November 30, to coincide with the Kisan Mukti March in Delhi, the AIKS and CITU in Gujarat organised a 1000-strong joint rally in Ahmedabad, which was also well covered by the media, along with the Kisan Mukti March. The AIKS has also taken up the burning issue of the fall in milk prices. The CITU-affiliated state level unions of anganwadi and Asha workers led struggles in the state recently, which resulted in them getting arrears of several months of their honorarium. The DYFI took up the issue of the leaked question paper (to favour RSS men) of the police recruitment examination, for which nine lakh youth appeared to fill just nine thousand posts. The examination had to be cancelled because of the paper leakage, leading to a great uproar all over the state. The AIDWA took up issues of price rise and atrocities against women. The SFI has begun good work in Ahmedabad and is bravely facing threats from the ABVP and the state machinery.
After the introductory speech by state secretary Pragjibhai Bhambhi, Central Committee member Ashok Dhawale, after a brief analysis of the current political challenges and the resistance building up against them, explained the crucial importance of mass fronts, their independent and democratic functioning, the need to consistently take up local peoples' issues through struggle, the method of their organisational consolidation and expansion from primary unit to state level, and their relationship with the Party.
A 15-point questionnaire in three sections – movement, organisation and Party building – had been prepared and it was explained by Central Committee member Arun Mehta, who also placed various aspects of the changing political situation in Gujarat.
All the comrades then dispersed into their mass front groups and collectively filled the 15-point questionnaire that took stock of the present situation of each mass front and also set future tasks to be fulfilled in the next six months.
The decisions taken in these group meetings of the mass fronts were then reported to the workshop by the following: trade union - H I Bhatt, kisan - Purushottam Parmar, women - Hansa Baria, youth - Altaf Sayyad, student - Nitish Mohan, lawyers – Adv Mahesh Thakar. The workshop concluded in the evening amidst great enthusiasm after a brief summing up by Pragjibhai Bhambhi, Arun Mehta and Ashok Dhawale.
The state workshop took the following important decisions as regards future tasks:
1. To organise district level rallies on December 26 by CITU and AIKS on burning issues of the working class and farmers, together with the issues of the people, as part of a concerted campaign to prepare for the All India Strike.
2. To mobilise all Left and democratic forces, trade unions and kisan organisations, to make the All India Strike on January 8-9 a great success. Two joint meetings – one of trade unions and one of kisan organisations – are being held on December 13 for this in Ahmedabad.
3. To organise a large statewide joint rally in February of our mass fronts on people's issues and against the neoliberal policies and communal conspiracies of the BJP governments.
4. To carry out the Party renewal for 2019 stringently through the branches in every district, as a first step towards streamlining the Party organisation.
5. To organise a state level political class for the student and youth fronts in the beginning of February, followed by other political classes.
SFI AND AIKS PROGRAMMES
As part of the nationwide SFI campaign called ‘Harmony over Hatred’, the Gujarat SFI organised a seminar on this theme in Ahmedabad on December 8. The seminar was inaugurated by AIKS president and SFI/DYFI former vice president Ashok Dhawale. He exposed the thoroughly reactionary facets of the RSS-led Sangh Parivar that has nothing but hatred as its hallmark. He contrasted this with the unity of the Indian people during the glorious freedom struggle and called for a massive campaign to promote harmony, bringing working people of all religions, castes, communities and languages together, in order to achieve a radical socio-economic and political transformation. CITU state president and SFI/DYFI former CEC member Arun Mehta also placed his views. SFI state convenor Nitish Mohan made the introductory remarks, state organising committee member Urman Purhit conducted the seminar and state joint convenor Mahendra Chavda proposed the vote of thanks. The seminar was attended by several SFI activists and other citizens.
On December 7, the AIKS Gujarat state committee organised a convention of milk producer peasants at Mandvi in Surat district. It was addressed by Ashok Dhawale, CITU state president Arun Mehta, AIKS state president Dahyabhai Gajera, CITU district secretary Mansukh Khorasia, joint secretary Bharat Patel and AIKS district convenor Makabhai Choudhari. Many of those who attended were adivasi peasants. It was decided to begin a struggle against the fall in milk prices and for the implementation of the Forest Rights Act. Concrete steps were decided after the convention to strengthen the work of the AIKS, DYFI and SFI in Surat district.