(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
July 06 , 2008
Gameplan Of Communal Forces
Clearly, the RSS/BJP is bracing itself to unleash a fresh offensive of communal polarisation in the run-up to the forthcoming general elections, hoping that these would come earlier than schedule. As we go to press, the BJP has given a nationwide protest call amounting to a Bharat bandh on July 3 in protest against the Jammu & Kashmir government's decision to revoke the allotted land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board. Additionally, week-long protest demonstrations from July 4 to 11 all over the country are planned.
As always, emotions are being roused that this act of revocation of land is an `anti-Hindu' move. The argument forwarded is that if the Muslims can be subsidised and facilities provided for the Haj pilgrimage, then why are Hindus deprived for the Amarnath yatra. This is a pure and simple Goebellisian (Goebells was Hitler's minister for propaganda) method of spreading disinformation. As argued in these columns last week, the issue of this land transfer aroused fears of altering the demographic composition in that area and also transgressing on the powers of state governments. The annual Amarnath yatra has, unfortunately for some years now, been the occasion for the communal forces to whip up passions by shouting provocative slogans during the yatra. This is completely contrary to traditions of religious harmony in Kashmir. In fact, it is the Muslim families of Batagund who have been the virtual custodians of the holy cave and prepare the facilities for this annual yatra. The RSS/BJP is clearly making the yatra hostage to its communal politics. All affiliates of the RSS like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad have joined in giving this bandh call on July 3.
The BJP's prime minister hopeful L K Advani has clearly spelt out that following the Ram Sethu controversy and the issue of the hanging of Afzal Guru, the Amarnath yatra will be the third of their communal planks to be exploited for electoral gains.
As noted earlier in these columns, the BJP national executive has resurrected its hardcore communal agenda of building the temple at Ayodhya; uniform civil code and abrogation of Article 370 as the foundations of its electoral campaign. Additionally, the BJP president has called for the replacement of dharma nirpekshata with panth nirpekshata in the Hindi translation of our Constitution.
For these elections, the BJP has identified three `I's - inflation, internal security and `incompetence' of the UPA government - as its main mascots. Recollect that in the 1998 election campaign, they had forwarded three `B's - bhook, bhay, and bhrashtachar (hunger, fear and corruption) - promising to eliminate them. Their track record in their six-year rule has only shown them to have compounded each of these issues. The deep agrarian crisis leading to distress suicides of the farmers had begun during their tenure due to the faulty policies that the Vajpayee government pursued. Starvation deaths and large-scale malnutrition amongst women and children became rampant during this period. Far from eradicating bhook, their policies and rule compounded the problem. As regarding bhay, nothing more need be said after the Gujarat communal genocide of 2002. In the run-up to the 2004 general elections, through these columns, we had detailed the series of scams and corruption scandals under their rule, the highlight of which was the infamous `Tehalka' exposure.
Similar will be the case with their three `I's. People have not forgotten that during their six-year rule, the prices of petroleum products were increased 33 times. That is when the international oil prices were not showing such run-away escalation as in the recent period. As far as internal security is concerned, under their rule, despite having enacted POTA, the parliament was attacked, terrorist attacks took place on the Red Fort, Akshardham temple in Gujarat and twice at the Raghunath temple in Jammu & Kashmir, not to forget the innumerable lives lost in communal clashes. The BJP-led Vajpayee government failed miserably in detecting the Kargil intrusions which finally had to be settled by winning the war against Pakistan. Those who failed to even protect the borders of our country can hardly speak of `incompetence'.
That the BJP is today emboldened to nurture hopes of returning to power by leading a coalition is mainly due to the fact that the opportunities present for the UPA government to strengthen the secular democratic dispensation at the centre and to work for significant improvement in the people's livelihood were largely squandered. Many a promise contained in the Common Minimum Programme remained on paper. Even those implemented, under pressure from the Left, suffer from bureaucratic hurdles and corruption. Thus, even the potential benefits that could have been delivered to the people are not being done. It is, indeed, ironic that the UPA government, which, in the first place, was formed with the Left's outside support precisely to have a secular government at the centre is providing grist to the mill of the communal forces due to its faulty policies.
It is high time that the UPA government scrupulously adhere to the Common Minimum Programme and work for its implementation in right earnest, instead of passionately pursuing issues like the Indo-US nuclear deal which do not figure in the CMP. It needs to be remembered that the CPI(M) and the Left extend outside support to this UPA government on the basis of this CMP. This support, therefore, cannot be taken for granted, if the CMP is violated.