People's Democracy

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


No. 16

April 26, 2009



Perfidy, Thy Name Is BJP

THE BJP seems to be making a habit of issuing its “vision” in instalments. Maybe, this is their way of keeping in tune with the global economic recession when payments are being deferred or at best paid in instalments. Or, maybe, it is the lack of any clarity of vision that is making them take recourse to such steps. Or, yet again, maybe, this is a convenient methodology that can allow them to completely contradict themselves and renege from their earlier promises to the people.

Following their electronic “vision” to empower all Indians to be cyber savvy came the BJP's manifesto, which as the name suggests, should have detailed their proposals if they, by any chance, form the government, post elections. However, now has come their `vision' on infrastructure development with promises of more bombardments of such `visions' in the future. This is not merely the unfolding of the lack of clarity in instalments but more like a distress sale under recession: `buy one, take two free'.

Promising to adopt a hundred projects of national importance, this document has virtually nothing that has not been said earlier by everyone including the BJP. However, there are two aspects that merit a comment. The first is the brazen negation of their attitude to India's public sector when they were leading the government between 1998 and 2004. They had established a separate ministry for disinvestment and proceeded to try and decimate the public sector systematically. Recollect the scams involved in the sale of public sector units and properties during that period. Under pressure from the Left, the first decision that the UPA government took was to disband this ministry in 2004.

Look at what they say now in this `vision' document: “India's public sector, which has amassed tremendous experience in infrastructure project implementation over the decades, is our national pride (sic). The NDA government will strengthen the public sector, and enable it to make its fullest contribution to infrastructure expansion in India. At the same time, we will also fully encourage participation by India's private sector, which has grown enormously both in size and project implementation capability. The government will fully leverage the private sector's resources and capabilities by aggressively expanding the scope of Public-Private Partnership.” Indeed, as noted above, a very convenient methodology to renege from its past position! More importantly, this is a crass cynical attempt to woo the votes of a vast section of Indians that support and depend upon the public sector.

This brings us to the second aspect, that is, Public-Private Partnership (PPP). Both the Congress and the BJP continue to emphasise this concept. However, what has been our experience of the past. Take the instance of the PPP model adopted for airport modernisation. Because the private party is currently incurring losses due to their own miscalculations and decrease in the volumes of passenger traffic due to global recession, they have been permitted to levy a hefty user development fee per passenger at the airports in Bangalore and Hyderabad. It is the public that has to pay for the business miscalculations of the private parties. This is the logic of PPP. Note that the government-run airports, even if they are making losses, are not allowed to do so since these are public utilities. Clearly, this BJP 'vision' is one of imposing greater burdens on the people.

Such a methodology of double-speak was also evident when the BJP's prime ministerial hopeful L K Advani while releasing this document turned turtle on `BJP's stand on the India-US nuclear deal'. On November 28, 2007, the following were Advani's last words in the debate on the India-US nuclear deal in the Lok Sabha. “I shall conclude my remarks by saying that the 123 Agreement, as it stands, is unacceptable to the nation because it is deeply detrimental to India's vital and long-term interests. Let me say that hereafter if NDA gets a mandate, we will renegotiate this deal to see that all the adverse provisions in it are either deleted or this treaty is rejected completely.”

Now what does he say? “I take cognisance of the fact that the government is a continuing matter. Treaty signed by an earlier government cannot be easily disregarded”. Leave alone rejecting the treaty “completely”, there is no mention of even an effort to “renegotiate” the treaty. Likewise, the word `renegotiate' does not appear in the voluminous manifesto that the BJP had issued earlier.

Clearly, the BJP was misleading the nation on the India-US nuclear deal, in an effort to mask its real pro-US imperialist stand. After all, it was the BJP-led NDA government that initiated the process of developing a strategic alliance of India with US imperialism. It was they who further strengthened relations with Israel. The UPA government under Dr Manmohan Singh's leadership has ably carried forward this process of subservience to US imperialism. Advani is now promising that if ever the BJP comes to power, it shall carry forward this process further and make India a junior subordinate ally of US imperialism.

Such are the perfidious games that the BJP plays. What they say for public consumption is entirely different and, at times, the complete opposite of their real agenda and intentions. The most blatant expression of this is their so-called acceptance of the secular democratic foundations of the modern Indian Republic. Functioning as the political arm of the RSS, they want to convert this Republic into a rabidly intolerant fascistic “Hindu Rashtra”. It is for this precise reason that they must be prevented from holding the reins of State power. Indian people must, for the sake of a better India and a better future of its people, ensure that a non-Congress, non-BJP secular alternative forms the government post 2009 general elections.

(April 22, 2009)