Let the BJP-Sena Combine Reap What It Has Sown
It should have been celebration time in the BJP following its best ever show in the just concluded Bihar elections. But ironically, the party finds itself mired in growing internal crisis and dogged by growing dissent and inner-party disturbances. In Bihar, the party managed to smuggle Sushil Modi as Deputy Chief Minister into the Nititish Kumar cabinet. But this only managed to provoke ugly protests in the party’s state office by supporters owing allegiance to the party’s well-known upper caste leaders like Ashwini Chaubey and Navin Kishore Prasad Sinha.
The swearing in of the new government in Bihar was attended by a host of BJP leaders. Present alongside Vajpayee and Advani were the party’s CM from MP, Babulal Gaur, and his predecessor, Uma Bharti. Little could anyone anticipate that the BJP top brass was contemplating a coup in Madhya Pradesh to follow the celebrations in Patna. Even as Gaur was attending the swearing in ceremony in Patna, words were out about his impending exit in MP. To be sure, Gaur was soon eased out, but in the typical style of a palace coup, the BJP parliamentary board installed Shivraj Singh Chauhan as the new CM, the third in two years. In place of delivering the much promised Bijli-Sadak-Paani, the BJP is showering chief ministers on the people of Madhya Pradesh. Predictably enough, we now have Uma Bharti back in her rabble-rousing avatar, at the head of a protest padyatra to the abode of Lord Ram.
Interestingly, the BJP is not alone in savouring this moment of crisis. Giving it good company is its staunchest ideological ally from aamchi Mumbai, the Shiv Sena. While the BJP made spectacular gains in the Bihar elections, the Sena suffered spectacular defeats in the two by-elections in Maharashtra. And now the defeats have given way to bigger rebellions within the Sena, with the nephew Thackeray taking up cudgels against the heir apparent of the Thackeray lineage.
All in all, it is an interesting sight to see the BJP and the Shiv Sena pay a bit of price for all their anti-democratic sins. The rumblings of the rebellions in Mumbai and Bhopal are bound to have echoes in every NDA citadel. Left and democratic forces could not possibly ask for a more favourable environment to step up the campaign against the anti-people policies of the UPA government and let the NDA ‘feel good’ brigade enjoy its own crisis.
Summary of CC Deliberations and Decisions
( Patna , 25-27 November, 2005)
Bihar elections and after:
The RJD-Congress combine has suffered a comprehensive defeat in the just concluded Bihar elections. The outcome marks a veritable explosion of public anger against the arbitrary nature of the President’s Rule administered by Governor Buta Singh and also against the long reign of RJD-Congress misrule which had become synonymous with all-pervasive anarchy and insecurity, institutionalised loot of public funds, criminalisation of politics and state power, growing mockery of social justice and denial of democracy for the deprived. Adding to this explosion of anger is the explosion of aspirations of the people for improvement in their miserable living conditions. With no effective third front or unity of the Left, the NDA emerged as the biggest beneficiary and rallying centre for this mass resentment against the RJD regime and the overwhelming yearning for change.
The electoral outcome of Bihar however should not be viewed merely in terms of a spontaneous expression of mass sentiment. The ruling classes and their state did everything possible to ‘discipline’ and ‘manage’ Bihar . The unprecedented intervention of the Election Commission, the positions adopted by the big corporate media and the shrewd handling of the LJP by the Congress, all point to a concerted intervention by the ruling classes to streamline the political situation in Bihar and restore some credibility and capacity of an otherwise discredited and declining system. It is significant that in his first press conference after being sworn in as Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar emphasised ‘governance’ as distinct from the general rhetoric of ‘development’, as his key slogan and central paradigm.
It is also important to recognise the contradictory nature of the social and political coalition that has propelled Nitish Kumar to victory. If the JD(U) has managed to replace RJD as the largest party by playing the EBC/MBC card, the BJP too has succeeded in emerging as the second largest party, ahead of the RJD, by drawing primarily on an extensive mobilisation of the upper castes and the conservative communal agenda of the Sangh. The BJP has already started revealing its true colours and its real agenda even as it faces serious internal dissent and disturbance over its choice of Sushil Modi as the deputy chief minister. While the BJP will definitely try to use its best ever show in Bihar as a basis for a new phase of revival in the Hindi belt, developments in Madhya Pradesh indicate that the internal crisis of the party has far from blown over. Interestingly, the BJP’s closest ideological partner, the Shiv Sena of Maharashtra, is also passing through a serious crisis, even as the JD(U) is all set to increase its relative strength within the NDA.
The UPA’s successive electoral failures in Jharkhand and Bihar have clearly exposed its growing political vulnerability and are bound to impact adversely on the already deteriorating relations among UPA partners. But as of now, the NDA is also likely to remain weighed down by the internal crises of the BJP and the Shiv Sena and the growing pressure of running coalition governments simultaneously in Jharkhand and Bihar . The situation thus remains favourable for a bigger role and greater assertion of the Left and other third forces. Inside Bihar we will have to keep up our role as a fighting opposition and explore possibilities of cooperation with other Left and democratic forces in the changed political context of the state.
The CC congratulated Bihar comrades for conducting a powerful election campaign that not only mobilised our entire base but also reached out to broader sections of the democratic opinion. The CC also thanked the entire Party, mass organisations and all our non-party friends and sympathisers for supporting and strengthening the election campaign with their contributions.
While commending the victories won in close contests and in the face of sharp polarisation between the NDA and the UPA, the CC felt that the Party should have succeeded in retaining the February tally of seven seats. The CC also expressed concern over the decline of votes in about a dozen seats which nullified the general trend of increase witnessed in 55 of the 85 seats contested this time. The decline in our votes in these important constituencies has been due not only to a consolidation of both the NDA and the RJD-Congress combine and a resultant drift in the middle sections to these two poles, but also to a degree of penetration by parties like the LJP and in some cases even the BSP in our base among the rural and urban poor. Party committees at all levels must make a proper study of the organisational and political weaknesses revealed in the elections and take determined measures to overcome them.
The new situation in Bihar is full of new opportunities and challenges. The change of Government after fifteen long years signifies a major crisis of the RJD model or school of social justice and secularism and the coming days are bound to witness sharper debates and bigger agitations over every catchword like social justice, secularism and development. This will also pave the way for newer social and political realignments in the state. We must position ourselves accordingly and reinforce our identity as the party of the rural poor and the growing voice of new Bihar .
The challenge of peace in Karbi Anglong:
The CC had a detailed discussion regarding the state-sponsored DHD-UPDS clashes in Karbi Anglong. The government of India has a ceasefire agreement with both these armed outfits, but it has failed miserably in stopping the internecine war between these two organisations which has vitiated the atmosphere in the hill districts of Assam . As a result of the latest spate of clashes since September, more than 100 innocent people, most of them Karbis, have already been killed, 1500 houses have been burnt down and more than 50,000 people rendered homeless. Instead of restoring peace and providing relief to the violence-affected people, the state leadership of the Congress and the BJP tried to exploit this situation to spread canards against our party and vilify our leaders. But through a sustained campaign for peace, relief and rehabilitation and patient and persuasive political intervention, the party has successfully foiled this conspiracy and emerged as the only credible voice of peace, democracy and human welfare in the hills of Assam .
The key demands raised by our comrades – dismissal of the Tarun Gogoi government, confinement of the UPDS and DHD militants to two single camps in the two districts and stopping them from moving around with arms, finding a negotiated political solution to the demands raised by the militants, and announcement of a Rs. 500 crore package for rehabilitation of the violence-hit people – have found wide support among the people of Karbi Anglong. Under the banner of the newly formed mass organisation of the rural poor (Kakis), comrades have also taken up the issue of non-implementation of the national food-for-work programme as provided under the recent Employment Guarantee Act. The efforts of comrades in Karbi Anglong and NC Hills have been effectively supplemented by timely political initiative and relief efforts undertaken by the Party nationally and particularly in Assam , West Bengal and Delhi .
Appreciating the courage and confidence with which comrades in Karbi Anglong have been facing the current challenges, the CC called for further intensification of the political campaign against the Congress so as to comprehensively thwart its conspiracy against the Karbi people and other tribal masses. The forthcoming conferences of Kakis and KAPC should be viewed in this political context and every effort must be made to use these opportunities and platforms for a powerful political mobilisation of the crisis-hit Karbi people.
Preparation for Assembly elections in 2006:
Assam , West Bengal , Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry are scheduled to have Assembly elections in the first half of 2006. The concerned state committees and leading teams have already identified a certain number of seats. Intensive efforts must be made to strengthen the Party organisation and expand our mass agitational activities and election network in those areas. Party committees in Tamil Nadu and Karbi Anglong are also scheduled to have their conferences before the elections. In Pondicherry we have been able to lead some successful agitations for securing relief for tsunami victims. Meanwhile Tamil Nadu has been hit again by heavy rains and flash floods. Concerned Party committees must pay due attention to the question of relief and rehabilitation and take it up as an agenda for mass mobilisation and mass agitation wherever possible.
Second National Conference of AIALA:
The Second National Conference of AIALA is scheduled to be held at Rajamundry in Andhra Pradesh on 30-31 January, 2006. In the run-up to the national conference, state conferences have already been held in West Bengal , Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. State conferences have also been planned in Jharkhand and Bihar . Membership reports from most states show an encouraging trend of increase, but in Bihar , Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, the three states that accounted for more than one million members in the first conference, the membership campaign has been affected by Assembly and panchayat elections. Every effort must be made to catch up in the coming weeks and surpass the November 2003 membership by all means.
Comrade Rameshwar Prasad, CCM and General Secretary of AIALA, is currently in jail. Several old and fabricated cases have been revived against him including a case of attempted suicide for staging a monthlong hunger strike in the wake of the Bathanitola massacre perpetrated by the Ranvir Sena in 1996. The demand for his release must be highlighted in the course of pre-conference preparations and campaigning.
In spite of an impressive membership base, the AIALA is still at a very primary stage in terms of independent and regular organisational functioning and development of mass agitations. Party State and District Committees must pay due attention to this particular aspect. Apart from local struggles on issues like land and wages, AIALA must everywhere play a central role in taking up issues pertaining to the Employment Guarantee Act and food-for-work schemes, exercising mass supervision and exerting mass pressure on the functioning of panchayati raj institutions and elected people’s representatives, and taking up issues of rural development and basic amenities like health and education.
Central Education Camp:
The next central education camp will be held at Nagbhushan Bhawan, Bhubaneshwar on 2-4 February, 2005. The subjects to be covered in the camp will include Mao Zedong thought and Indian revolution, historical overview of major debates and junctures in the Indian communist movement, and study of our Party programme vis-à-vis the programmes of the CPI/CPI(M) and the Maoists. The quota of participants for different states/sectors is as follows: Bihar 20, Jharkhand 10, UP 10, West Bengal 10, Andhra Pradesh 10, Assam 5, HDPC 5, Tamil Nadu 5, Orissa 5, Delhi 5, Tripura 3, Punjab 3, Uttaranchal 3, Rajasthan 3 Railways 3, MP 1, Chhattisgarh 1, Pondicherry 1, Kerala 1, Karnataka 1, Haryana 1, Gujarat 1, Andaman 1, Women 10, Central organs and central office 2 each, Shramik Solidarity 1. CC members may also attend. Each participant will have to deposit Rs. 350 to cover the expenses of the camp. State Committees/departments should send the names of respective participants within 20 December to the Central Office. Care should be taken to ensure that both veteran and emerging Party cadres get an opportunity to participate in the camp.
Membership Renewal and Recruitment:
The task of recruitment of new members and renewal of existing members must be completed within the constitutionally stipulated time. CC reminds all state committees and departments to make special efforts to ensure that at least 1000 women, 500 workers/employees and 500 students/youth are recruited as fresh candidate members.
On behalf of the CC, Comrade Rajendra Pratholi will from now on look after the student department, in addition to his existing responsibilities.
The CC has asked all State Committees to organise protests on December 13, the inaugural day of the WTO’s Hong Kong Ministerial, against the WTO diktats and the Indian Government’s collaborationist stance.
December 18 should be observed as Sankalp Diwas by the entire Party through suitable programmes chalked out by State/District committees. On the first anniversary of Comrade Mahendra Singh’s martyrdom protests should be organised and memoranda sent to President against the UPA/NDA governments’ failure to punish the killers and prosecute the main accused – former Giridih SP Dipak Verma and former BJP minister Ravindra Rai.
Seminar in Ranchi :
Increasing Attacks on Jharkhandi People and the Importance of an Unified Resistance
CPI(ML) Jharkhand unit organised a seminar on "Increasing attacks on Jharkhandi People and the importance of an unified resistance" on Nov. 20 in Ranchi . CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya spoke as the main speaker in this seminar. He said that incidents of repression by the state have increased during last five years after the formation of Jharkhand state. Almost all the districts have witnessed incidents like Tapkara, Doranda and Markachho, where police attacked and killed innocents. The BJP Govt. in the state is utterly unconcerned toward the people of Jharkhand who fought for a separate state to fulfil their democratic aspirations and resolve various social and cultural issues. For BJP, Jharkhand is merely 'another' small state which it wants to turn into one more 'laboratory' like Gujarat, Rajasthan, MP and Chhatisgarh. It is sowing seeds of communal and divisive politics among adivasis and other communities and building its network of corrupt power-brokers at all levels. While BJP rule in the state is betraying the aspirations of the people of Jharkhand, particularly tribals, it is working as a part of a much bigger nationwide work-plan of a 'tribal belt' to perpetuate its divisive politics and fascist agenda of Hindu Rashtra.
Tribals and toiling masses massively participated in Jharkhand movement but the leadership of the movement rushed into alliance with the BJP and other parties of the ruling class in a haste without thinking of the consequences. And now the people are paying the price for going into such alliance. Comrade Dipankar also referred to a similar trend in Karbi Anglong where the movement for autonomy under the banner of communist party was weakened by a section which went towards the BJP. This section even tried to isolate the left forces by terming them anti-tribal. But this boomeranged into today's crisis where Congress and BJP succeeded in propagating hatred among Karbi and Dimasa people who never had any incident of ethnic conflict earlier and fought unitedly for the autonomous state.
He further added that lack of unity apparently visible today over various issues of the tribal population is actually a manifestation of the deviations in the Jharkhand movement. And it is in this context that there is a need for a much deeper integration between left politics and issues of the tribal people. This in turn requires to broaden and sharpen the struggles of adivasis and working people with a left orientation.
He also condemned the BJP Govt. for depriving the tribal people of democracy at grass roots by not holding the Panchayat elections and for making Jharkhand a grazing pasture of multinational corporations in the name of industrialisation. Jharkhandi youth will remain deprived of employment opportunities while the giant MNCs will exploit the rich natural resources of the state. He said that Food for Work Scheme and National Employment Guarantee Act must be implemented in every district of the state and the rampant corruption in these schemes be stopped immediately.
The Seminar was also addressed by Adivasi Adhikar Morcha leader Salkhan Murmu, CPI(ML) MLA Vinod Singh and JP Minj among others. The Seminar was initiated by Party's Jharkhand Secretary Subhendu Sen and proceedings were conducted by Anant Prasad Gupta.
Defeat of Impeachment Motion Against JNUSU President for Supporting
Black Flags Against Manmohan
After the UGBM on the 26 of November, JNUSU President Mona Das congratulated the JNU students for turning out in large numbers in the UGBM and upholding the right to protest and dissent, by defeating the impeachment move moved against the JNUSU President for expressing solidarity with the protest against Manmohan Singh. She asserted, “‘Censure’ by a Mahajot of NSUI-ABVP-JPF with SFI-AISF can never silence the voice of dissent !” AISA leaders in JNU pointed out that the censure verdict that was passed at the UGBM was not a reflection of the progressive democratic voice of the JNU student community, but was rather the product of an unholy coalition of SFI-AISF with the right-wing forces of NSUI-ABVP-JPF. The reality of the censure motion is revealed by the fact that while there were 277 votes against the censure motion, SFI-AISF had only 173 votes on their own in this UGBM. This can easily be calculated by taking the difference of 458 pro-censure votes, where SFI-AISF voted with NSUI-ABVP-JPF and 285 pro-impeachment votes, where SFI-AISF did not vote with NSUI-ABVP-JPF. Had SFI-AISF been honest enough to explicitly state their slogan of ‘No Impeachment, Only Censure’ in their Censure Resolution, then NSUI-ABVP-JPF would not have voted for it, and the Censure Motion would have managed only 173 votes and would thus have been defeated by a margin of (277-173=) 104 votes! The SFI-AISF is trying to take credit for defeating the impeachment, but the vote break up shows that the impeachment motion required 491 (2/3rd of total participants in the UGBM) to win. Even when SFI-AISF stood with NSUI-ABVP-JPF on the Censure Motion, this Mahajot had only 458 votes – 33 short of 491! The pro-protest forces proved that they did not need SFI-AISF’s numbers, to defeat the impeachment motion!
SFI-AISF’s call for censure failed to win the support of the Left, progressive and democratic section of the campus; it could not keep even its own ranks united on it. The anti-censure position won a far greater support among the students committed to protest and struggle against right-wing forces.”