the panchayats, even if implemented honestly, invariably generates mass grievances because of the sheer mismatch of demand and supply. Unless these contradictions are properly grasped and handled by relying on the people and keeping revolutionary communist politics in command, even long-standing leaders of people’s struggles run the risk of being corrupted by and assimilated in the ruling class scheme of panchayat politics.

6. For years there was no panchayat system in Bihar and Jharkhand. The system was introduced in Bihar only in 2001 and Jharkhand had its first panchayat elections only in 2011. Our performance in panchayat elections has been better in Jharkhand than in Bihar. In Bihar we have been winning in the range of 15 20 Zila Parishad seats, 100-125 Mukhiya (directly elected panchayat president) seats, and 100-150 panchayat samiti members. In Jharkhand we won 20 ZP seats, 144 PS seats and 120 Mukhiya seats. Subsequently, we could win the chairperson post in Garhwa district while losing the chairperson post in Koderma in a tie and finishing third in Chairperson post and second in vice-chairperson post in Giridih district where we have a powerful opposition group of 8 ZP members. In Jharkhand we also won the Block Pramukh (president of panchayat samiti) post in 5 blocks. In other states our scale of success in panchayat elections is still very low.

7. More than winning elections, the main challenge in the panchayat arena is how we use these victories in the interest of the movement. Our Party line clearly enjoins us to use the panchayats as a platform of class struggle, as organs of service to the people, of struggle for people’s rights and resistance to the dominant feudal-kulak power and the state led by the big bourgeoisie. Party members elected in various levels of Panchayats must strictly implement the Party line and subordinate themselves to committee discipline and mass supervision. Following the serious discussion initiated in the Bardhaman convention (2006) and subsequently in the 8th Congress (2007) and the July 28 call of 2010, there has been some improvement on this score, but much remains to be done.

8. The whole Party, especially the state and district committees of the Party must pay much greater attention to our panchayat practice and guide and help the block and panchayat-level committees in integrating our panchayat practice with extra-panchayat mass action and the Party’s overall political line. There have been a few recent instances of combining our representation and intervention in panchayats with successful mass political mobilisation. In Garwah district, our chairperson Com. Sushma Mehta was abducted by an armed group of Maoists while the police wrongfully arrested one of our Mukhiyas charging him with complicity with the Maoists. In the face of a powerful mass protest Maoists had to free Com. Sushma and other abductees even though the arrested Mukhiya is still in jail. All parties of the ruling classes including the Congress and the BJP have conspired to topple the district council by bringing in no-confidence motion, but such moves have so far been successfully foiled. In Birni block of Giridih district, elected panchayat representatives led a powerful mass agitation for restoration of electricity supply. In a panchayat in Sandesh block in Bhojpur, panchayat representatives successfully forced the block and district administration to delete non-deserving names from the BPL list. In a couple of panchayats in Patna district, our Mukhiyas successfully defied feudal resistance and administrative pressure to distribute diesel subsidy among tenants, eventually forcing the state government to change its policy and extend subsidies to all tenants.

9. The best experiences of intervention in and utilisation of panchayat have come from areas where there is a strong Party organisation and a live environment of struggles and popular assertion. The moot question is how to integrate the panchayat work with the perspective and priorities of class struggle in the area. Only by subordinating the panchayat work to the extra-panchayat perspective and priorities of struggle can we strengthen the movement