People's Democracy

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


No. 21

June 08 , 2008



BJP : Posturing Cannot Hide Misdeeds

THE national executive of the BJP was held in the glow of the party's victory in Karnataka.  A concerted effort was made to project the Karnataka outcome as an inevitable step towards success in the Lok Sabha elections to be held next year. “The BJP is coming back” was the theme of the meeting.

Despite the celebratory mood, the hard facts and the divisive nature of the BJP's platform could not be concealed.  Rajnath Singh concluded his presidential speech declaring the party's commitment to cultural nationalism, removal of Article 370 and the Uniform Civil Code.  The only difference was that the issue of the Ram temple was subsumed under the garb of cultural nationalism.  The quibbling about the Hindi version of secularism being dharmanirpekshta or  panthnirpekshta shows how the BJP, in line with the RSS, cannot digest secularism as enshrined in the Constitution.

The interesting feature of the entire exercise in the national executive was to resurrect and prettify the dismal record of six years of the BJP-led NDA government. This being the most vulnerable aspect, all the speeches and resolutions laboured to whitewash the NDA government's record.  The political resolution states, “People remember the economic management of this country in the six years of Vajpayee rule and compare it with the lackluster performance of the UPA”.  Such rhetoric cannot hide the fact that the country went into the worst agrarian crisis since independence during the NDA rule, a crisis which continues.  The entire agriculture sector was in disarray and thousands of peasants committed suicide. It was under NDA rule that there was a drastic cut back in public investment in agriculture and rural development expenditure which caused acute distress among the peasantry and the rural poor.  

It was the BJP-led government which accelerated the onslaught on the public sector by privatising VSNL, Balco, Maruti and IPCL. The government was poised to privatise the HPCL and BPCL oil companies before it was ousted from power. Tens of thousands of crores of rupees were gifted as concessions to big business and the rich as indirect taxes.

The complaint of the BJP is that the Left has been pressurising the UPA government to desist from following the same path.

The BJP's resolution on foreign policy amounts to nothing more than double speak and hypocrisy.  Many of the foreign policy measures that it pursued while in government is now being attacked - whether it pertains to China, or, Pakistan.  For instance, it accuses the UPA government of a craven response to China's claims on territory.  It is the same NDA government which continued with the joint working group to discuss the border dispute and signed a statement recognising Tibet as an autonomous region of China.  The Chinese side, in turn, acknowledged Sikkim to be part of India.

It is, however, on Nepal that the BJP's stance is completely exposed. Briefing the media on the foreign policy resolution, Jaswant Singh, the former foreign minister called the end of the Hindu kingdom in Nepal a negative development.  He remarked, “As an Indian and a believer in `sanatan dharma', I feel  diminished…  There is nothing more secular than `sanatan dharma'….This is a negative development (in Nepal)”.  For the BJP, the declaration of a democratic republic in Nepal is a tragedy.  The people of Nepal are to be damned for winding up the hated monarchy. This is the real face of the BJP - an upholder of feudal Hindu monarchy.

As for Indo-US relations, the BJP complains that the UPA government's handling of relations with the USA has “reduced the relationship to a single issue - the nuclear deal”.  What this means is that the BJP wants a full-fledged strategic relationship which is not confined to the nuclear issue.  This is the same subordinate ally status that the NDA government strove for.  

The BJP national executive met in the background of the massacre of 40 Gujjars in police firing by the Vasundhara Raje government in Rajasthan.  No other state government, in recent times, has had such a gruesome record of over 50 police firings and over 80 dead during its tenure in office.  One day after the national executive, news came of the raids on the residence and other premises connected with the health minister of Madhya Pradesh, Ajay Vishnoi.  The Income Tax department found huge amounts of money and unaccounted properties. Such ill-gotten wealth was  accumulated by scams in the purchase of drugs for the health system. These two instances in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh puncture the bravado and loud talk of the good governance provided in the BJP-ruled states.  

The posturing and rhetoric in the national executive only confirm that the BJP is a party unfit to rule India.  Its deadly mix of communal politics, toadyism to big business and the United States and massive corruption and misrule in the states governed by it  has to be fought and neutralised.  Unfortunately, the Congress-led UPA government, by its wrong policies, is only helping the BJP to cover-up its misdeeds. All the democratic and secular forces in the country have to accept the challenge of checkmating the BJP.