On 6th July 2014, a political meeting was organized in Delhi by Lok Raj Sangathan (LRS). The meeting discussed the political situation in Delhi and charted a course of political action in the interests of the working class and people of Delhi. A correspondent of the Mazdoor Ekta Lehar covered the meeting.
The President of LRS, Shri S. Raghavan chaired the meeting. Addressing the gathering, Shri Raghavan asserted that it is completely unacceptable that the role of the people is restricted to casting their vote in elections. People have no say either in who should form the government or in what policies the government should implement. He pointed out that the Lt. Governor of Delhi acts on the behalf of the President, who in turn acts on behalf of the party in power at the Centre. It is completely unacceptable for the ruling party in the Centre to decide when elections should take place in Delhi, based on its narrow electoral calculations.
He highlighted the flaws in the existing system and stressed the need for changes in our system of electoral democracy so that the decision making power actually vests with the people. The most important task, he said, was for people to get organised in their non-partisan samitis, so that they could select their own candidates for the election from their area, highlight their problems, hold the elected representatives accountable to the electorate, recall them if their work was unsatisfactory, as well as propose legislation in their interests.
A highlight of the meeting was the interventions by a number of candidates who had stood for elections to the Delhi Assembly in 2013. These were candidates from the working class and youth, who have been fighting indefatigably for the rights of the workers, women, youth and all the oppressed and marginalized people. They had been selected as candidates by the samitis in their constituencies, in recognition of their work. They dwelt on the problems faced by the people in their constituencies, the hostile attitude of the state and the ruling class parties to the toiling masses, as well as the flaws in the political system and process which ensured that it was candidates selected by the ruling class and their main political parties who had any real chance of getting elected. Workers, peasants, women and youth were effectively deprived of any real say in this system.
Leaders and representatives of the Communist Ghadar Party, Social Democratic Party of India, United Muslim Front, Citizens for Democracy, Purogami Mahila Sanagathan, Mazdoor Ekta Committee, and Hind Naujawan Ekta Sabha were amongst those who participated in the deliberations. Delegations from Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab also participated in the meeting. The vast majority of participants were school and college girls and boys from working class background.
Addressing the meeting, Guruji Hanuman Prasad Sharma, Vice President of LRS, pointed out that the existing state is a continuation of the state that was developed by the British colonizers after crushing the ghadar of 1857. The 1950 Indian Constitution can be seen as a continuous development of the various Government of India Acts of the British from 1860 to 1946. The direction of the Indian economy was also decided during the British rule by industrialists who had prospered under the British Raj, through the Tata-Birla Plan, which ensured that the interests of the big capitalists and their imperialist mentors would be protected at all cost. He concluded his address by appealing to the people to unite and get organized, to build a powerful movement for the empowerment of the working class and toiling people.
The spokesperson of the Delhi Regional Committee of CGPI, Comrade Santosh Kumar elaborated on how in the existing system, real political power is in the hands of the big capitalists, the Tatas, Birlas, Ambanis, etc. while elections are held to legitimize the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and sort out the contradictions within the ranks of the ruling class. Through numerous examples, he showed how the elected representatives serve only the interests of their respective political parties and their capitalist sponsors, not the interests of the people. He concluded by saying that we need to bring about a revolutionary change whereby the state will be in the hands of the working class, which will defend the rights of the people.
Shri N D Pancholi of the Citizens For Democracy said that he was very happy to see such a discussion as there is great need for such programs. All the parties that have come power have gone back on their promises. Such parties do not want people to become aware of their power. People will only recognize their power when they unite and organise themselves. He emphasised the need for people to unite and win their rights. He pointed out the previous government had amended the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act to include as terrorist those who threaten the economic security of the country implying that this act can now be used to suppress striking workers. He concluded by re-emphasising that people must become aware of their power by getting organised.
In his intervention, the spokesperson of the CC of the CGPI, Comrade Prakash Rao applauded the work of Lok Raj Sangathan in organizing people and making them politically conscious. The work that began more than 21 years ago, with a historic rally at Ferozeshah Kotla in February 1993, for a fundamental change in the political system to empower the people, has begun to bear fruit. This can be seen in the active participation of members of various people’s committees in this discussion today.
All the problems facing workers, peasants, women and youth stem from the fact that they are deprived of political power in the present system and it is the ruling bourgeoisie that wields power. The central struggle is to end the division between rulers and the ruled. People must be enabled to govern themselves. Since the present political system and the Constitution on which it is based blocks the striving of the workers, peasants, women and youth, we have the right and duty to challenge it and fight to change it. He extended full support of the CGPI to the call to action issued by the LRS at the meeting.
The declaration issued by this political meeting called upon people and their samitis to organize public meetings in their workplaces and residential colonies on an immediate basis to
- Highlight the problems faced by the people in their respective constituencies— price rise of essential commodities, drinking water and sanitation, housing, health care and education, the safety of women and girls, the rights of workers and working people, etc.
- Demand that the current elected representative come to these meetings and render account of what they have done and what they are going to do regarding the burning problems facing people.
- Demand immediate elections to the Delhi Assembly.
It called on the people of Delhi to campaign for the following:
- It is people organized in their samitis who must select from amongst their peers, candidates who would best serve the collective interests of their constituency as also the interests of the entire people of Delhi. Political parties and other organisations can propose candidates for selection. However no political party or organisation must be permitted to impose its candidates on the people in the coming elections. It is the right of the people to select their own candidates.
- Candidates who propose to stand for elections must give an undertaking that they will render periodic monthly accounts of their work in front of the samitis in public meetings organized on a non partisan basis. They must agree to being recalled, if their work is found unsatisfactory.
- Candidates must give an undertaking that they will put forth in the Delhi Assembly any legislation that the people of Delhi propose. We must work out mechanisms to ensure this. These could include the status of so called unauthorized colonies, the nationalisation of the Discoms, the ensuring of water supply to people as a right. They could include the long standing struggle of workers for a guaranteed living wage, the immediate abolition of contract labour in jobs of a permanent nature, and the registration of all workers as workers with guaranteed and enforceable rights including social security and pension. Rights of street vendors, of the rural community, of slum dwellers, must all be legally established and enforceable.
It appealed to every organization of the people, whether in work places or residential areas, in rural areas or urban areas, to take up the struggle for renewal of democracy so as to vest sovereignty in the people, as an integral part of the struggle for the rights of all.
The meeting passed the following three important political resolutions:
1) On Iraq & Syria
this meeting calls upon the people of our country to unite and fight in defence of peace and sovereignty of all nations and states in Asia against the imperialist plans to re-divide the world. It resolves to organize a country-wide campaign to make the people understand and oppose the US policy.
2) On rights of workers under attack
In the context of the Rajasthan Government’s recent proposal to amend labour laws, this meeting resolves to step up the struggle in defence of the rights of workers as part of the struggle to defend the rights of all. It resolves to launch a country wide campaign in defence of rights of workers.
3) On Communal Hysteria and Violence
A grave situation prevails in Moradabad and the whole of West Uttar Pradesh, as a result of the deliberate incitement of communal passions by various political parties. A similar situation is being created in Maharashtra and Assam. This meeting resolves to2 step up the united struggle of the people of our country for an end to communalism and communal violence, and for punishment of all those responsible for organizing the same. This meeting resolves to continue the countrywide campaign to expose and oppose the role of the state and various political parties in organizing communal violence.
Mazdoor EKta Lehar hails this initiative taken by Lok Raj Sangathan.