People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 21

May 23, 2004



A Dramatic Week Ends With A Secular Govt In Place


IT has, indeed, been a dramatic week. By the time we reach you, an alternative secular government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh would have assumed office. The highlight of this week, however, has been the sensational renunciation of the prime minister’s office by Sonia Gandhi. More on this later.


The week also saw a graceless belligerence by the RSS/BJP. After having been soundly defeated, they chose to once again highlight the so-called ‘foreigner’ issue and decided to mount a protest movement. The NDA announced its decision to boycott the swearing-in ceremony. Certain BJP leaders seeking to enhance their inner-party positions threatened to resign as Uma Bharti announced, or, shave their heads and lead an ascetic life like Sushma Swaraj.


The fascistic mindset of the RSS became abundantly clear while it sought to rouse emotional passions on the foreigner issue. It is a different matter that it found a poor cynical response from the people. It also clearly exposed the nauseatingly frequent rhetoric of Vajpayee, until recently, that the opposition should play a constructive role in parliamentary democracy. Vajpayee would never tire to harangue the country on this score. The fact that they chose to mount such a campaign was a feeble attempt to retrieve some of the ground it lost in the elections.


On the economic front, this belligerence reflected in an orchestrated exodus of funds parked in the stock market leading to a drastic fall of the sensex. While seeking to blame the Left for such a fall, the BJP was only seeking to conceal the fact that much of the unclean money that was raised during its regime and parked in the stock market was withdrawn in the shock aftermath of their defeat. So influenced were they by opinion and exit polls that they could scarcely believe the results. In the consequent panic, they scurried to transfer the ill-gotten wealth to safer destinations. This is the real story of the stock market crash that needs to be probed by the new government. Such efforts at manufacturing instability, however, did not succeed with the subsequent stabilisation and rise of the sensex.


Sonia Gandhi’s renunciation, however, took the winds out of the RSS/BJP sails. Clearly, Ms Gandhi seems to have made up her mind on this issue quite some time ago. If that was the case, the appropriate moment to reveal her plans should have been when she was elected as the chief of the Congress Parliamentary Party after the elections. By her own admission, she said that she was too overwhelmed by the results and the support of other parties to make such renouncement. Nevertheless, she did what she did. Much analysis from various quarters will appear in the coming days to interpret this decision. But the fact remains that in contrast, the power hungry unscrupulously greedy character of the RSS/BJP leaders, some of whom till recently moved with a larger than life image in an imaginary artificial world, appear today in very poor light. Be that as it may, the reality is that India has now a Congress-led coalition of secular forces in office at the centre.


The CPI(M) had always determined its approach towards any government on the basis of the policies followed by the government and not on the basis of the personalities leading such a government. This secular government is to function on the basis of a common minimum programme. The CPI(M) is awaiting the evolution of such a programme and will take future decisions on the basis of its evaluation of this programme.