People's Democracy

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


No. 29

July 18, 2010




Un-Mask the Veil of Onslaughts on People



THE Supreme Court, this Monday, refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the need for political parties to declare allegiance to `socialism’ enshrined in the preamble of our constitution to get recognition from the election commission.  The PIL argued that since market forces under neo-liberal economic reforms are the determining factor for over two decades, it was a dichotomy to force political parties to owe allegiance to `socialism’.  It also reflected the so-called `eternality of capitalism’ and the `end of ideology’ predictions.  The Supreme Court, however, rejected this on the grounds that no political party has challenged this requirement so far! 


Strange as this may sound, this ruling reflects the supreme hypocrisy of our ruling classes as reflected in the present government-appointed solicitor general’s defence of the existing constitutional requirement.  `Socialism’ was inserted in our constitution’s preamble by Ms Indira Gandhi during the period of internal emergency.  The rise of authoritarianism and the large-scale curtailment of democratic rights and liberties under the emergency was sought to be cloaked under exhortations of `socialism’.  Very chillingly reminiscent then of the way Hitler used `national socialism’ to consolidate the Nazi fascist machine. 


The hypocrisy lies also in the fact that, all along, independent India pursued a trajectory of capitalist development, the very antithesis of socialism.  The public sector, so erroneously and sometimes deliberately, described as `socialism’ was nothing else but the marshalling of people’s resources through the State to create the required economic infrastructure for the growth of private capitalism.  The defence of the public sector today as the means to resist imperialist globalisation’s assault on our economic sovereignty, in no way, detracts from this class need for the creation of the public sector in the first place. 


In a period of over two decades of neo-liberal economic reforms dominating India’s economic trajectory, this Supreme Court judgement, indeed, may sound strange.  (Notwithstanding its caveat that if any political party opposes this provision then the apex court will have a relook.) This is all the more true if one looks at the unbridled loot of public resources and the country’s mineral wealth under what can be described as `crony capitalism’ at its worst under the regime of neo-liberal reforms. 


As we go to press, there is bedlam in the Karnataka state assembly where the BJP government is facing the wrath of the entire opposition that is demanding a CBI probe into the illegal mining being done by the Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC).  The Reddy Brothers owning this company are both cabinet ministers in the state government.  A conservative estimate alleges that between 2003 and now, over 30 million tonnes of iron ore has been illegally mined and exported from Karnataka, resulting in a scam worth anywhere beyond Rs 60,000 crores.  From a turnover of around Rs 35 crore in 2003-04, the OMC legally declared over Rs 3,000 crore turnover in 2008-09. 


This controversy over illegal mining has been raging both Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh for years now.  The Karnataka state Lokayukta and now the state’s governor are subject matters of media reports concerning the illegal mining operations.  Such is the state of control of this illegal mining body over the state and its politics that at least five lakhs of iron ore seized at the direction of Lokayukta, Justice Hegde, was stolen from the right under the government’s nose and illegally exported.  The BJP state government, however, claims that the iron ore was washed away by rain! (Mail Today, June 30, 2010) 


Such illegal mining, much of which takes place on land in notified tribal areas along Karnataka-Andhra Pradesh border, is peppered with many allegations that link the Karnataka Reddy Brothers with the former Andhra Pradesh chief minister, YSR Reddy.   


Beginning of this week also saw a bedlam in the Andhra Pradesh state assembly over the allotment of 1.37 lakh acres of iron ore  rich area to a private company. The executive director of this company is the son-in-law of the former AP chief minister.  The land is estimated to have reserves of 13 lakh crore tonnes of iron ore. All the land falls under notified tribal areas of Khammam district. 


Such is the loot of our country’s resources and people’s wealth by this `crony capitalism’ under the dispensation of neo-liberal economic reforms.   Seen in conjunction with the IPL scam, telecom spectrum scam, the paid news scam, this illegal mining scam only shows how far removed our economy and polity is from `socialism’.  Further, such illegal mining is distorting our parliamentary democracy where money power alongwith associated muscle power influences the voting pattern of the people.  The election expenses of candidates of major bourgeois parties, in the recent elections, make a mockery of the limits set by the election commission.  Democracy is increasingly being defined not by the people’s popular choices but by the capacity of political parties to spend exorbitant amounts of money to coerce the voters. 


Such loot and so massive a distortion of our democracy through the use of unbridled money power, however, requires a mask to hide behind.  That is the reason why none of the political parties that embrace neo-liberal economic reforms, like Congress and its allies now or the BJP and its allies earlier, have objected to the need to show allegiance to `socialism’.  Likewise, the periodic outpouring of concerns for the aam aadmi are nothing else but a mask to conceal the relentless economic onslaughts mounted on the people. 


Such masks need to be torn asunder to protect our country’s wealth and people’s livelihood.

(July 14, 2010)