People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
December 31, 2006
BJP’s Lucknow Session: RSS Hand Evident
THE National Council session of the BJP, held in Lucknow, has come out with a full-fledged platform of communal politics. All the ingredients of the RSS worldview are fully incorporated in the presidential address of its newly elected president, Rajnath Singh, and in the political resolution. In his presidential speech, Rajnath Singh harped on building the Ram temple at the disputed site at Ayodhya, abolition of article 370 of the constitution and adoption of a uniform civil code. Running through the address was the theme of Muslim baiting, covered up as “minority appeasement.” Narrating the record of appeasement of the minorities, Rajnath Singh warned that “the Congress is taking the country towards another partition,” a charge echoed in the political resolution.
The attack on secular nationalism and the championing of Indian identity and nationalism based on religion is reminiscent of the communal politics of the Hindu Mahasabha and RSS in the pre-independence days. That the BJP, anchored by the RSS, persists in a politics that was set against the national movement, is once again confirmed by the Lucknow proceedings.
In order to buttress the “minority appeasement” theory, the BJP seeks to discredit the Sachar committee report on the status of Muslims by calling it “one-sided and pre-meditated.” There is nothing whatsoever to refute the hard facts and the reality of the deprivation and discrimination faced by the Muslim community presented in the report. In the same breath, the BJP seeks to blame the plight of the Muslims on the Congress and the secular parties which have ruled at the centre for 53 out of the 59 years since independence. There is no remorse or introspection at the barbarous way in which the Muslim community has been treated in Gujarat. Four years after the state-sponsored pogroms, the state government refuses to even fulfil its elementary responsibility of rehabilitation and compensation to the victims of the violence.
There is not a word against the aggression and attacks worldwide on the nations’ sovereignty by US imperialism. The efforts of the United States to pressurise India on foreign policy and domestic policy issues have been studiously ignored except on the issue of the India-US nuclear cooperation agreement, where the BJP is more concerned about its jingoistic position regarding nuclear weaponisation. It falls back on an anti-China position, with Rajnath Singh even claiming that “China has been dominating us” even during the earlier tenure of the Congress. While protesting that the government did not take on China on its claim about Arunachal Pradesh, the BJP conveniently forgets that it is the Vajpayee government that sought to speed up the negotiations on the border dispute and agreed that special representatives from both sides should supplement the efforts of the joint working group.
After opposing the resumption of dialogue with Pakistan, the party now criticises the setting up of a joint mechanism to fight terrorism. Both on Jammu & Kashmir and the Siachen issue, the BJP goes back on all the efforts made by the Vajpayee government to settle the dispute through negotiations.
HYPOCRISY ON LIVELIHOOD ISSUES
The most hypocritical position is the one that has been adopted regarding economic policies and the people’s livelihood. The BJP has delinked its own policies and practice in government when it makes a critique of the UPA government’s policies. It laments farmers’ suicides but forgets that the record number of suicides that took place in the six years when it was in government. It opposes FDI in retail when it is well known that the first steps to open up retail trade through allowing wholesale and cash and carry outlets were sanctioned by its government. After pursuing neo-liberal policies when in government, which led to big cutbacks in public investment in agriculture and the social sector, the BJP’s concern for the living conditions of the common people has got the least credibility.
Even as the main opposition in parliament, the BJP has shown more concern for the hanging of Afzal Guru and Muslim baiting in the name of fighting terrorism than the serious problems of land, jobs and employment for the millions of our people. When the BJP complains that the recommendations of the National Commission of Farmers headed by Dr M S Swaminathan are being ignored, it is only exposes its own culpability for not allowing any debate on the commission’s report in parliament. Due to its continuous disruption of the winter session by the BJP, this important report, vital to the farmers’ interests, could not be discussed.
BJP REMAINS RSS’ MASK
So, to sum up, the Lucknow session of the BJP has produced a right wing, communal platform which consists of minority baiting, right wing economic policies, opposition to dialogue with Pakistan and jingoistic pseudo-nationalism in the name of fighting terrorism. The hand of the RSS is all through evident in shaping this platform.
For those who, a few years ago when the BJP came into the central government, thought that the experience would moderate it and it would evolve into a conservative right wing party, such hopes are finally extinguished. The BJP is what it had always been --- a political front for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to carry out its political agenda. For the few parties that are still clinging on to the National Democratic Alliance, the time for reckoning has come. It is not enough for them to distance themselves from the Hindutva agenda by saying that it is the BJP agenda and not the agenda of the NDA. By partnering the BJP, they have been yoked into the RSS-Hindutva project. Parties like the AGP and the National Conference have moved away from the NDA. The Telugu Desam Party has also severed all connections with the NDA. Neither the JD(U) or the BJD nor Deve Gowda’s party in coalition government with the BJP in Karnataka can escape the ignominy of being associated with such a reactionary party.