People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 14, 2004
ADVANI RATH YATRA
Beware Of The Communal Agenda: CPI(M)
THE CPI(M) cautioned the people about the impending danger the country faced from the Rath Yatra of the deputy prime minister L K Advani given the past expe-rience. It stated emphatically that this exercise was aimed at bringing the entire communal agenda of the sangh parivar into the forefront.
Addressing a media conference at the Party headquarters on March 8, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury and CPI(M) leader in Rajya Sabha Nilotpal Basu released the route maps of Advani’s rath yatra in 1990 and the present one to bring out the hidden communal agenda in undertaking these yatras. "The route chosen, either then or now, is not accidental. In all states, the yatra passes through densely minority- populated areas. Advani himself has said that there was an ‘intrinsic link between this yatra and the previous two yatras and that there was a conceptual and emotional thread of resurgent nationalism that runs through all these yatras", said Sitaram Yechury. He pointed out that the 1990 yatra of Advani had left behind a trail of blood and conservative estimates put the number of those killed at 564. The choice of Kanyakumari as the starting point of the latest yatra is also significant in view of the RSS work there, said Yechury. (See box item)
One of the reasons for Advani to embark on this latest yatra, according to the CPI(M) leaders, was because the "shining India" propaganda campaign had boomeranged on BJP. That is why they were falling back on emotional issues in order to divert the attention of the people from the real issues, the CPI(M) leaders charged. They appealed to the people to see through this subterfuge and teach the communal forces a lesson in the coming elections.
Replying to a question, Yechury clarified that the CPI(M) was not objecting to Advani’s right to campaign but it was only cautioning the people of the impending danger given the past experience. He also objected to the use of the logo and slogan of "Bharat Uday" by the BJP given the fact that hundreds of crores of public money was used by the government in propagating this logo as part of its "shining India" campaign.
Nilotpal Basu demanded the government to make its stand clear on the exact situation of Advani’s security. He pointed out that just a few weeks ago the government had sought the Election Commission’s permission to provide government aircraft to Advani for his election campaign in view of security threat. But now as part of his yatra, Advani would be travelling in areas prone to naxal attacks. "So, was the government stand before the EC bogus?" questioned Basu.
Following is the text of the statement released at the media conference:
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is compelled to draw the attention of the people to the sinister designs of the BJP in the wake of the Bharat Uday Yatra, to be undertaken by L K Advani from March 10. The facts that are now unfolding by themselves confirm our apprehension that the ‘Yatra’ signals an attempt to bring to the fore the communal agenda.
The ‘Yatra’ is clearly a response to a growing realisation of the BJP that notwithstanding hundreds of crores spent on the ‘shining India’ campaign, the ‘feel good’ sentiment is nowhere in sight. The grass root experience of the masses, both in rural and urban areas is actually back firing and Advani himself having admitted this in a Haryana meeting.
Therefore, the ‘Yatra’ as Advani has explained announcing the programme—"As I see it, there is an intrinsic link between this Yatra and the previous two". He had left it to nobody’s imagination to understand the motivation and had further added that there was a – "conceptual and emotional thread of resurgent nationalism that ran through all of them" meaning the Yatra. This is classic BJP double speak. When ‘feel good’ constituency is evidently failing to evoke the desired electoral returns, the persistent campaign of the secular forces exposing the hollowness of these claims, their attempts to avoid the division of anti-NDA votes bearing fruits in a number of states, the Yatra becomes inevitable.
The choice of the name – ‘Bharat Uday’ itself echoes the beaten RSS theme. To them ‘Bharat’s Uday’ is not achieved through the sacrifice and martyrdom of our great freedom fighters, ‘Bharat’s Uday’ not from the yoke of British colonialism to become a free nation. And then, the antipathy of the RSS to the freedom struggle is well documented. Therefore, ‘Bharat Uday’ has to take place under the stewardship of the Vajpayees and Advanis, where some select brand of corporates and entities in the share market ‘shine’. And the Yatra will address the task of intermarrying the ‘feel good’ and the ‘Hindutva’ constituencies. The much publicised bonhomie with select ‘Muslim leaders and their opportunistic ‘trust’ on Vajpayee is failing to wash the Gujarat stain with new revelations pouring out through judicial intervention exposing the Gujarat government’s continued attempts at denial of justice. Therefore, the ‘Yatra’ has to be organised to spread the message of ‘resurgent nationalism’ and the emphasis on ‘conceptual and emotional thread’ of continuity with earlier versions have to be established!
The RSS and VHP has been active over the last few days, making the right noises to facilitate the BJP to include all the four controversial issues of Ayodhya, Article 370, common civil code and ban on cow slaughter in its ‘Vision Document’ (an euphemism for manifesto to keep the otherwise servile allies of the NDA in good humour). And more importantly, to ensure that Advani can take up these issues in course of his ‘Yatra’. Meanwhile to supplement this effort, the VHP is mobilising five lakh activists for its 12-day Ram Mahayagya in Ayodhya from March 21 to April 1.