An Experience to be Lived for Days to Come
Adv K Prekash Babu
The state of Kerala hosted the 23rd Party Congress at Kollam, the panoramic coastal town from April 25 to 29, 2018. Pannian Raveendran, the national secretariat member was the chairman and Kanam Rajendran, Kerala state secretary and also a national secretariat member was the general convener of the organising committee. The organizing committee office functioned at Asramam at Kollam near the main venue of the Congress, named A B Bardhan Nagar. The district in Kollam, with a party membership of nearly 31000, had already been turned Red on April 9 itself when the Flag Day was observed which was the commemoration day of Com Rajeswara Rao, our former Party General Secretary. Red Flags were hoisted at 3000 centers and one lakh houses belonging to the party members and active workers of the mass organisations in Kollam district. All over the state, all party branches and local, mandalam committees hoisted Red Flag on that day.
The Flag hoisted at the Party Congress Venue was brought from Kayyur, the land of ever living Martyrs. Pannian Raveendran handed over the Flag to Binoy Viswam, leader of the March on April 19, 2018, the other members of the March were K P Rajendran, V . Chamunni, P. P Suneer, Adv. P. Santhosh Kumar, Adv P Vasantham and Mahesh Kakkath.
The torch to lighten the venue of the Party Congress was brought from the Vayalar Martyrs’ Memorial. On April 24, 2018, Kanam Rajendran handed over the torch to P Prasad, the captain of the March. Adv V B Binu, Chittayam Gopakumar, MLA, P Muthupandi, Subhesh Sudhakaran, Deepthi Ajayakumar were the members. The Flag Pole March commenced from Sooranad Martyrs’ Memorial, K R Chandramohanan was the leader of the March. J Chinju Rani, AP Jayan, C K Sasidharan, C K Sivaraman were the members.
The Flag March from Puducherry, led by R Viswanadhan, leader of the party, Puducherry reached Kerala on April 24. The march was received at Neyyattinkara in Trivandrum
From March 13 onwards, five national seminars were organized by the sub-committee for seminars in different district capitals and one at the state capital high lighting the burning issues faced by the country in the present context of growing unrest due to the undemocratic, communal, capitalist policies adopted by the Sangh Parivar led BJP government ruling at the centre .
On March 13, a seminar on ‘The Politics of the Media and the society ‘was conducted at Kottayam. Pannian Raveendran inaugurated the seminar and Rajaji Mathew Thomas was the moderator. Gowridasan Nair, Jacob Thomas and P K Krishnan participated.
On March 23, at Trivandrum, a seminar on “The Present Day India and the threats posed by the Communal –Fascist forces“ was inaugurated by Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of the CPI(M). Kanam Rajendran was the moderator and D Raja, national council secretary, CPI, C Divakaran, MLA, national council member, CPI and K Muralidharan, former KPCC president, participated.
The next national seminar on “The 25 years of Globalization in India” was at Ernakulam on March 24, which was inaugurated by Kanam Rajendran. Dr Thomas Isaac, minister, finance, K Prekash Babu, K Sankaranarayanan, Dr Raviraman, Dr Jaya Mehta participated. Rtd Justice K Balakrishnan was the moderator.
The Seminar on ”The Onslaught against the Right of Expression” on March 24 at Kozhikode was inaugurated by Prof Kamal Mitra Chenoy and Sathyan Mokeri, P Vasantham, A P Kunjamu, Dr V Sukumaran, Alamkode Leelakrishnan participated. P K Gopi was the moderator.
At Thrissur, the seminar on “Contemporary Relevance of Marxism “was inaugurated by Pannian Raveendran on March 31. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, state secretary CPI(M), Dr S P Shukla and V S Sunil Kumar, minister, agriculture, participated. C N Jayadevan, M P, was the moderator.
From April 4 to 20, 2018, district wise seminars were organized. On April 4, the seminar on “The role of communist parties in art and cultural movements” was inaugurated by K E Ismail, national council member of C P I. Adv K Raju, minister, forest was the moderator. Dr Vallikavu Mohandas, P K Medini, K P A C Lalitha, M A Nishad participated. The seminar at Kottarakara on fascist onslaught and on education was inaugurated by V S Sunil Kumar, minister, agriculture and V P Unnikrishnan was the moderator. Suresh Kurup, MLA, and Subhesh Sudhakaran participated.
The seminar on “The challenges faced by the Indian Women“ at Chadayamangalam was inaugurated by Annie Raja, NFIW general secretary and Adv P Vasantham was the moderator. Dr R Latha Devi, Sindhu Sooryakumar, Prathibha Hari, MLA and Bhagyalekshmi participated.
The seminar on “Issues in agricultural sector at Pathanapuram on April 7, was inaugurated by K Prekash Babu and the moderator was P Prasad. K Krishnan Kutty, MLA, V Chamunni and K V Ramakrishnan participated .
The seminar on “Trade Union Movement“ on April 11 at Karunagapally was inaugurated by Pannian Raveendran. R Ramachandran was the moderator and Elamaram Kareem, K P Rajendran and R Chandrasekharan participated.
The seminar on “Religion and Secularism“ was conducted at Kadapakada, Kollam on April 12, was inaugurated by C Radhakrishnon, eminat wrier and Mullakara Rathnakaran, MLA, was the moderator. M K Muneer, MLA, Swami Sandeepandagiri, Dr Geevargeese Mar Koorilose participated.
The seminar, on “The issues of Traditional Industrial Sector” at Chathanoor on April 13, was inaugurated by C Divakaran, MLA and N Anirudhan was the moderator. J Udayabhanu, N K Premachandra, MP and Aanathalavattam Aanandan participated.
The seminar on “The politics of Environment“ was inaugurated by Binoy Viswam at Sasthamkotta, on April 10, and the moderator was P Prasad. Prof M K Prasad and Leelakrishnan participated.
On April 8, all over Kerala office bearers of the Party from Branch level visited houses in their respective area to spread the message of the party and to receive mass contributions. The CPI district council, Kollam, also resolved to direct the party branches to collect fund from the public by using coupons and receipts and from that sum they have to deposit Rs.2000 at the district party office. In Kollam district, the party has 1700 branches. The district party got Rs.34 lakh from the branches, thus collected.
In Kollam district, Hundika boxes were distributed to the houses of 25000 party workers on November 2017 to raise funds from the party members and from April 10 to 15, the DC leadership collected the sum. Party got nearly 1 crore 50 thousand rupees from the hundika boxes.
The organizing committee and the district party unit decided to plant one lakh seedlings mostly of cashew nut trees as a part of the 23rd Party Congress. We planted the seedlings at the open area of school compounds, hospital compounds and other open spaces and in the premises of the houses of the Party members.
The Party at Kollam also decided to organize organic cultivation in various parts of the district. The first of such cultivation was organized in a paddy field at Sooranadu in Kollam district. The paddy land is owned by the family of Pandalam P K Madhavan Pillai (late), the veteran Kisan leader of the state. Altogether in seven paddy fields rice was cultivated and nearly 20 places vegetables cultivated for feeding the delegates. The agricultural commodities produced in excess were open for sale in the stalls arranged in the exhibition hall.
The district council decided to arrange volunteer’s training at the local level. All the local committees (two local committees in one village and 40 local committees in Kollam district alone) gave training to the red volunteers and arranged a passing out parade of red volunteers at the local level also. All these helped the party leaders to organize the Red Volunteers March, which was the highlight of the culmination of the 23rd Party Congress. The Red Volunteers March lead by the Peoples Service Core from the districts of Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Idukki and Ernakulam turned the Kollam City into a red sea.
The cultural programs arranged in Kadapakkada Sports club auditorium in connection with the Party Congress were also beautiful. The dance by the Cine Artist Asha Sarath and team and by the artist from Tamil Nadu, Manipur and West Bengal and other progressive dramas attracted a huge crowd.
In connection with the Party Congress, the sports sub-committee organized shuttle-badminton tournament and volly ball tournament in various parts of the district.
Competitions including painting and drawing were also organized by the Arts sub-committees and prizes were distributed for the entire runner ups and those who won the competitions.
The district unit of the Party, apart from all these initiatives, decided to construct and donate 23 houses for 23 houseless families in Kollam district. The beneficiaries will be selected by the Mandalam Committees. This project will be completed by December 2018, as the completion of the project will take more time. But the first home built in connection with the Party Congress was opened on June 2, 2018 by Adv. K. Raju (minister for forest and animal husbandary and member of CPI state council) in a village area in Vettikkavala local committee of Kollam DC.
The 23rd Party Congress at A B Bardan Nagar from April 25-29, 2018 was indeed a spectacular event. It reflected the mass support of the party and the unity of its cadres both politicaly and organisationaly. The opening session was on April 26 morning which was inaugurated by S Sudhakar Reddy, general secretary, CPI. The national leaders of other left parties, CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI (ML) central committee member S Kumara Swamy, SUCI central committee member S Kumara Swami, SUCI central committee member P V Kathiravan addressed the session. Family members of the late communist leaders of Kerala, important personalities from the cultural and social fields participated in the inaugural session. Messages of greetings from 35 International communists and workers parties world over were received. All these parties wished the growth of traditional and fraternal friendship we have with them.
The delegate session was conducted by the presidium under the chairmanship of Gurudas Das Gupta, deputy general secretary of the CPI. In the first delegates session party general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy presented the draft political report, D Raja, central secretariat member, presented the political review report and Dr K Narayana, central secretariat member, presented the organization report. Next one and a half days these documents were thoroughly discussed and taken up in separate commissions. The commissions also processed the amendments. In the concluding delegate session, the reports of these commissions were presented and approved. The party congress plenary elected the new national council and 11 member central control commission. The new national council, chaired by Kanam Rajendran, met and elected the 31- member new national executive, general secretary and 11 member national secretariat.
The public meeting was scheduled at Asramom Ground (CK Chandrappan Nagar) in Kollam City. Not only the Kollam town but the whole district was decorated with flags and banners. The stage of the public meeting which was a replica of the red fort was a mass attraction. The historic march of nearly one lakh red volunteers was witnessed by the whole state through news channels and social media. It seemed that the entire population of the Kollam town turned up to see the procession. The party workers, sympathizers from all over Kerala and nearby states were also present to witness the concluding public meeting at CK Chandrappan Nagar of the historic 23rd Party Congress.
The organizing committee of the 23rd Party Congress and the 31000 members of the party in Kollam district deserves special mention for the thumping success of the organizational part of the party congress. The entire committee had worked day and night for the success of the event. More than 900 delegates and those who accompanied them were provided very good accommodation in the city of Kollam itself. Delegates were provided with excellent food served from the kitchen of the party congress prepared from the organic vegetables and rice specially cultivated by the party units in Kollam district. The delegates were presented with Aranmula Kannadi, honey, cashew nut and other spices which bear the mark of Kerala. This was the fourth time that the state of Kerala hosted the CPI Party Congress. 23rd Party Congress at Kollam was an event which will always remain in the memory of people of Kerala.