(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
July 20 , 2008
Stop Deal Defeat Trust Vote
THE Manmohan Singh government will now take a trust vote in the Lok Sabha at the end of a two-day session on July 22 to prove its majority, thus, legitimacy. It requires this legitimacy to provide political and moral legitimacy to the India-US nuclear deal which will be set on an auto-pilot course once the IAEA Board of Governors approves the Safeguards Agreement with India.
For precisely this reason, the government needs to be defeated in order to ensure that the India-US nuclear deal does not get this required legitimacy. Those of us opposing this deal on its own content and, more importantly, as it serves as the conduit to trap India into the US imperialist web of global strategic designs, will have to vote in full strength to ensure this.
This, naturally, raises the question whether the CPI(M) and the Left would like to be seen on the same side as the BJP and the communal forces in voting against the Manmohan Singh government. Particularly since the Left's outside support to this UPA government, based on a Common Minimum Programme, was aimed at keeping the communal forces away from the reins of State power.
The moot question here is to protect the country from the consequences of this India-US nuclear deal which imply protecting India's sovereignty, independent foreign policy and independence in dealing with our security concerns. This requires that this government be defeated in this trust vote. The Left will, thus, discharge its responsibility in our national interest by voting against the government.
This objective is not and can never be contingent upon who else is voting against this government and for what reasons. There is a popular analogy : as a passenger in a train, one cannot determine or choose who the other co-passengers are. However, because of the co-passengers, one cannot abandon the objective of reaching one's destination. The Left is clear. It shall work to achieve its objective of upholding our national interests and preventing India from becoming a subordinate ally of US imperialism.
The BJP, indeed, has its own reasons for voting against the UPA government, in its restless urge to return to power. The process of strengthening the strategic relationship with US imperialism was, indeed, begun by the BJP-led NDA government. Unfortunately, the UPA government carried this forward. The BJP's main grouse may well be that such an India-US nuclear deal should have been concluded under the patronage of its government and not by Manmohan Singh. This is obvious from the fact that during the entire tenure of the 14th Lok Sabha, the BJP, as the principal opposition party, did not even move the customary no-confidence motion. If it was so strongly opposed to this deal, then it could very well have moved in such a no-confidence motion. The fact that it chose not to do so clearly shows that it does not wish to displease the US Bush administration.
By now it is clear that the prime minister had made serious efforts to rope in the support of the BJP for the deal. By describing the former prime minister Vajpayee as the `Bhishma Pitamah' of Indian politics, he negotiated and it is widely believed that he had allayed the BJP's objections to the deal in writing. If the media reporting are true, then it is the BJP and its leadership that backed out after accepting the PM's assurances in the background of the fact that the BJP had scarcely played the role of the opposition on any issue against the Manmohan Singh government. The BJP, thus, may well be opposing the trust motion for its own reasons of enforcing early elections which it may consider to provide it some electoral benefit. None of this, however, can constitute any reason for the Left to reconsider its decision and, thus, permit and facilitate India's strategic relationship with US imperialism as the latter's subordinate ally.
It must be borne in mind that in the Left-ruled states of West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura, the BJP does not have a single elected MLA, leave alone a Lok Sabha MP. The CPI(M)'s consistent and unequivocal opposition to communalism is there for all to see. Even after winning 54 of the 61 Left MPs to the 14th Lok Sabha by defeating Congress candidates, the Left did not hesitate to support a secular UPA government from the outside led by the same Congress party. The Left, hence, requires no certificates from anybody for its secular credentials.
On the contrary, look at the record of the Congress party. During these last four years, in 13 state elections, many of them being ruled by the Congress and its allies, the BJP and its allies have been able to defeat the Congress and form governments. It is the failure to implement alternative policies by the Congress that renders it helpless to stop the popular discontent arising out of its own policies from benefiting the communal forces.
Further, in the post-Babri Masjid demolition period, when a secular United Front government was formed in 1996, the Congress extended outside support. Within a year, under the threat from the Congress' withdrawal of support, the UF government had to change its prime minister. Within the next year, however, the Congress withdrew support from this government paving the way for the Vajpayee government to rule the country from 1998 to 2004. Not only did it facilitate the coming to power of the communal forces, the Congress party, on both occasions, sided with the BJP in the parliament in destabilising the UF governments. Thus, hurling charges against the Left for helping the return of the communal forces, is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black!
The experience of the past four years has shown that the growing popular discontent due to the economic burdens imposed on the people as a result of the policies pursued by the Manmohan Singh government is presenting the communal forces a big electoral advantage. The inability to contain the run away inflation and rising prices of essential commodities, the inability to alleviate the misery in rural India due to the deepening agrarian distress and the inability to mount a sharp ideological and political offensive against communalism by the Congress-led UPA government is today the biggest reason for the communal forces to feel emboldened.
The CPI(M) and the Left, while relentlessly combating communalism, will work to ensure that India is not reduced to the status of a subordinate ally of US imperialism.