People's Democracy

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


No. 30

August 03 , 2008


Left Will Continue Fight Against  UPA Govt & Communal Forces

Prakash Karat

THE Manmohan Singh government was able to win the vote of confidence on July 22.  But it is a tainted victory - tainted by the  use of money power on a scale never seen before in the corridors of  power in New Delhi. At least 16 MPs belonging to the opposition non-Left parties were bought over, intimidated, or, blackmailed into either voting for the government, or, to abstain.

Can there be any greater shame for the prime minister and the Congress leadership?  But the worrying thing is that there is no sense of remorse or guilt at these immoral and shady practices.  Such is the degeneration of the Congress party in its lust to remain in office.  

Manmohan Singh has bettered the record of his predecessor P V Narasimha Rao,  who was the prime minister between 1991 to 1996. Manmohan Singh was the finance minister then. In August 1993, the CPI(M) brought a no-confidence motion against the Congress government. At that time, the Narasimha Rao government was in a minority. How it acquired a majority is well-known.  Seven MPs were purchased.  After a CBI investigation, the JMM (Jharkhand Mukti Morcha) bribery case was launched. Narasimha Rao and Buta Singh were sentenced to three years imprisonment for corrupt practices by the trial court and later acquitted by a single judge bench of the Delhi High Court.

Prior to the trust vote, the Left parties had put the Manmohan Singh government in the dock for going ahead with the nuclear deal with the United States and its failure to tackle price rise and other burning problems of the people.  Now another charge of bribery and subverting parliamentary democracy has to be added.

If offers of a berth in the union cabinet, threats of unleashing investigating agencies against unwilling opposition MPs and bribes running into crores of rupees have enabled the government to survive, how long can this last? A few months later, the Congress-led coalition has to go to the people in the Lok Sabha elections. A just punishment awaits them.

In the meantime, the Manmohan Singh government has opened the doors to unscrupulous bargains and pressures.  The volte face of the Samajwadi Party, from opposing the India-US nuclear deal into advocating it, emboldened the Manmohan Singh government to go ahead reneging its assurances to the Left parties.  Even before the trust vote, the indications of the shape of things to come were revealed. Amar Singh, the Samajwadi Party leader, demanded that the prime minister mediate between the two warring Ambani brothers. All those who extended support will extract their price.  

The CPI(M) and the Left parties have launched a campaign.  They are going to the people exposing the dangers of the nuclear deal with America.  How it will affect our sovereignty and independent foreign policy.  How the nuclear deal will not provide the minimum energy security needed.  How this deal has scuttled the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline.  How the UPA government is converting India into a military ally of the United States.

The government has dismally failed to curb the price rise of essential commodities. Not only that, it has weakened the Public Distribution System and carries on with the bogus distinction between those below the poverty line and those above the poverty line.  The Manmohan Singh government, because it is committed to follow the policies dictated by Washington, the IMF and the World Bank, is refusing to take the measures suggested by the Left parties to curb price rise. So the people continue to suffer from back-breaking price rise while the Manmohan Singh government is busy pushing through the nuclear deal at the IAEA and the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Several ministers of the union cabinet are now engaged in this job.  

This, at a time when the agrarian crisis is seriously affecting the farmers and the rural poor.  But the Manmohan Singh government is now under pressure from president Bush to accept the World Trade Organisation agreement on agriculture and Non-Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) which will harm the interests of our farmers and the country.

What happens to the nuclear deal now?  The fight against it is not over.  The Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA is already exposed as a document that does not have what the government claims it has got. In the Nuclear Suppliers Group, if India gets an exemption, it will be restricted by the provisions of the Hyde Act  adopted by the US Congress. Even after that, the 123 agreement has to be adopted by the US Congress before the final step is taken by the Indian government to operationalise the deal. So, the fight to stop the operationalisation of the deal has to be continued at all levels.

The campaign launched by the Left parties is mobilising the people against the surrender of India's vital interests to America and the government's refusal to take appropriate measures to tackle price rise and against the other anti-people policies.  

While doing so, the Left parties will continue to steadfastly oppose the communal agenda of the BJP.  The BJP leaves no stone unturned in using every issue - Sethusamudram controversy, Amarnath land dispute, recent terrorist attacks etc - to whip up passions and thus sharpen communal polarisation.  

The Congress leadership thought it had isolated the CPI(M) and the Left parties by winning over the Samajwadi Party to its side.  Though they have been able to win the trust vote with the help of the Samajwadi Party and those MPs who have defected, politically the CPI(M) and the Left have not been isolated.  By mobilising various parties against the nuclear deal and against the UPA government, more forces have joined hands with the Left parties after the withdrawal of support to the government. The Bahujan Samaj Party, the UNPA, the Janata Dal (Secular) headed by Deve Gowda and the Rashtriya Lok Dal headed by Ajit Singh joined hands with the Left to oppose the Congress-led alliance.

After the trust vote, these parties have met and decided to go to the people and campaign on the immediate issues before the people.  These include the relentless price rise, agrarian distress, the India-US nuclear deal, the fight against communal forces and the gross misuse of government agencies for political purposes and the corrupt practices indulged in to win the vote in the Lok Sabha.  

So, on the one hand, there is the Manmohan Singh government which is basking in the success of its confidence vote but increasingly isolated from the people and covered with moral opprobrium for its corrupt practices. On the other hand, there are the Left parties which are rallying other democratic and secular forces to carry on the fight against the anti-people policies and the anti-national foreign policy of the Congress-led government.

The Congress-led government may think it can utilise the situation after the trust vote to push through various legislations like the pension bill, the banking amendment bill and the foreign educational providers bill which the Left had been opposing. They should know that on all such neo-liberal measures, the Left will mount big struggles and popular mobilisation. The Left will work hard to see that such legislation is defeated in the floor of the House.

The August 20 general strike called by the central trade unions will be an important landmark in the struggle against the Manmohan Singh government.  We must endeavour to bring about a new political alignment that will be able to fight the Congress-led government and the BJP and the communal forces.