Special Reports

Welfare Party federal committee meets in Kolkata

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By Our Own Correspondent

Kolkata: Welfare Party of India (WPI) organized its two-day Orientation Camp for central office bearers, members of the federal working committee and state party functionaries at Kolkata during 27-28 April. Its theme was Policies, Priorities & Future course of Action. Issues discussed during the orientation camp and the main speaker about each were: Social Groups and Marginalised Sections (Women - Mrs. Sheema  Mohsin; Tribals -  Dr Lalitha Naik; Dalits - Dr.  Subramani; Minorities, general issues -  Fr. Abraham Joseph; Reservation - Aariz Mohammad Khan; Reforms in the Indian electoral system - MC Raj; Food security & health policies - Aariz Mohammad Khan; Education/RTE - Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan; Employment - PC Hamza; Indian Economic Policies - Sadatullah Husaini; Security - Mujtaba Farooq.

At the end of the two-day discussions, an open panel discussion (Dr Subramaniam, A.H. Akhtar, Mohammad Ibraheem, Ambujakson, Dr. Raisuddin, Zakir Zubairi) and an open session were  held on important issues facing the country, which should be taken up by the party.

On the third day (29 April) the second meeting of the Federal Working Committee was held. The first one was held last year in Hyderabad during 4-5 June. The meeting discussed the steps and issues taken up during the past year and the future strategy and the issues which will be taken up like state terrorism, electoral reforms, corruption, women issues, waqf, reservation and economic reforms.

The West Bengal WPI unit which facilitated these meetings also held its first public meeting on 28 April at Kolkata’s Rani Rashmoni Avenue in the Espalnade area. WPI National President Mujtaba Farooq said that people are confused with the current political practices and leadership. WPI is serious in its commitment to offer an alternate for people. Policies of national parties are changing from pro-poor to pro-corporate, he said adding that the burgeoning gap between haves and have-nots, if not addressed well, will lead to social conflict and will give birth to “Occupy Wall Street”-like movements in our country.

WPI Vice President and former Karnataka minister Dr. Lalitha Naik said that WPI stands for affirmative actions and special measures for all weaker sections and communities till they achieve complete social emancipation and dignified space in society.

General Secretary of WPI Dr SQR Illyas said that the party stands for development but not at the cost of common people as was seen in Singur in Bengal. Dr Illyas added that WPI is of the view that humanity and human beings must get precedence over economy and capital. All development should be implemented with a humane face. He criticised the motives of the Central Government on some current issues like National Counter Terrorism Centre which will give undue powers to the law enforcing authorities which will commit grave violation of human rights and innumerable number of fake encounters.

Another WPI Vice President Fr. Abraham Joseph, a priest from Kerala, attacked corruption. He lamented that corruption has made life of common people more miserable than ever. He alleged that corrupt and inept officials get political patronage. He made it clear that doors of the Party will remain closed in the face of tainted persons.

Another WPI Vice President, Maulana Abdul Wahab Khilji, a religious scholar, said that no one’s integrity is to be questioned merely on the basis of his region, religion, caste etc.

Another WPI Vice President Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan said that we are encouraged by the seemingly impossible ouster of CPIM from West Bengal and believe that people of India can do the same to all corrupt and communal forces now occupying the seats of power in the country.

West Bengal WPI president Dr Raisuddin called on the Mamata Banerjee-led government to keep the words of their election manifesto. He said that West Bengal having the tradition of accommodating social justice and progressive movements and of safeguarding communal amity is giving good response to the Party since its state unit was launched in last October. He said that, after 34 years of Left Front rule, the people of Bengal brought change at Writers Building with lots of hopes and aspirations but they are getting disappointed at the slow pace of reforms. For example, the Left government at its last days decided to provide 10% reservation to socially and educationally backward Muslims and Mamata Banerjee included it in her election promise also. The new government though recently announced many measures for Muslim uplift has not taken any step regarding this crucial matter while it is going to complete its first year in office.

He took strong exception to the government’s lack of seriousness in starting the AMU centre at Murshidabad and in controlling corruption in government schemes. The state government failed to give 100 days work under NREGS prompting mass exodus and migration of people to other states.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 May 2012 on page no. 13

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