People's Democracy

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


No. 16

April 21, 2013




Gujarat Chief Minister Needs to be Tried


AS we go to press, bomb blasts in Bengaluru city are being reported in the media. Repeatedly in the past through these columns we have been maintaining that terrorism of all hues and varieties is unacceptable. Terrorism is simply ant-national and there has to be zero tolerance displayed towards it --- by both the state and the society.


Unfortunately, however, soon after every such incident hasty conclusions are drawn as to who is responsible. This tends to detract from identification of the real culprits and is, more often than not, sought to be used to advance petty political considerations. The country had several such unfortunate experiences in the past. The bomb blasts at Ajmer Sharif, Hyderabad Mecca Masjid, Malegaon etc have now been proved to be the handiwork of certain Hindutva outfits and not of the originally suspected Muslim fundamentalist organisations. In any case a proper investigation needs to be done with urgency to identify the perpetrators of the Bengaluru blasts and punish the guilty.


These blasts have occurred after the announcement of the state assembly elections due on May 5. There is a tendency to use such incidents for sharpening the communal polarisation for electoral benefits, but this must not be allowed.


However, the strong persuasion of sections in the BJP to project the Gujarat chief minister as their future prime ministerial candidate raises strong pointers that a sharpening of communal polarisation would well be the mainstay of the BJP’s electoral strategy in the days to come.


The recent exposure of evidence that the Gujarat state government was receiving a continuous stream of intelligence reports after the unfortunate Godhra train tragedy, and that the situation was building up towards a communal conflagration, were not taken into account by the state administration, shows the latter’s connivance in the subsequent communal carnage that took place in 2002. Strangely, all this material was submitted to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) three and a half months before it submitted its final report. Now new petitions have been filed before the judiciary claiming that the SIT decided to cover up the crimes and has gone out of its way to misguide the court, giving a clean chit to the accused and closing the case. The judiciary must take cognisance of this fact that the records show how the state administration deliberately ignored warnings from the state intelligence and virtually masterminded the communal carnage.


Under these circumstances, by any standards of morality, the Gujarat chief minister must resign forthwith.


Not only this, in the light of this new revelation, the protest petition filed by Mrs Zakia Jafri, wife of the former MP, Ehsan Jafri, who was brutally killed during the riots, seeking the rejection of the SIT final report and chargesheeting of 59 accused beginning with Mr Modi, must be considered in right earnest (see p 3 for details). The judiciary should ensure that the process of delivery of justice in our democracy is neither tampered with nor delayed, which as the old saying goes is tantamount to denial of justice.


Undeterred by all this, the Gujarat chief minister is mounting a feverish pitch for being projected as India’s future prime minister. However, his Bihar counterpart, a vital NDA ally, has not minced words in expressing total disapproval. Thus the irreconcilable contradiction that plagues any coalition led by the BJP has come to the fore. This is: If the coalition has to be strong enough to command the numbers of a majority, then the BJP would have to put its core communal agenda on the backburner.   On the other hand, unless the communal agenda is aggressively pursued as directed by the RSS, the BJP would not be able to either consolidate or expand its own political base. 


The RSS/BJP is, however, seeing a new support base in corporate India. This is not surprising. The corporate world’s cries for profit maximisation reach a crescendo in the periods of intense economic crises. They seek a ‘strong’ leader who is ‘decisive’ enough to take actions that can facilitate their interests --- even at the expense of forsaking democracy, human rights and civil liberties. Pre-eminent historian, Eric Hobsbawm, in Age of Extremes says that the point about big business “is that it can come to terms with any regime that does not actually expropriate it and any regime that comes to terms with it..… fascism has some major advantages for business over other regimes.” He lists various advantages, among them being the elimination of labour unions, the weakening or defeat of the Left etc, which led to an unduly favourable situation to emerge from the Great Depression of the 1930s.


With little signs of reversal of our current domestic economic slowdown and with the global economy continuing to falter, the yearning of India Inc for profit maximisation needs a ‘messiah’ of this very kind. There is much historical evidence to show how the global big business, particularly the US corporate giants, had played an important role in the rise of fascism. 


It, however, must be noted that the situation obtaining in our country today is not similar to the period leading to the emergence of fascism in Germany. However, there are striking similarities in the manner in which the most reactionary sections are seeking to assume control of state power  by  using fascistic methods. Georgi Dimitrov, in his United Front, provides a scientific analysis of the nature and emergence of fascism in Germany. He says, “Fascism acts in the interests of extreme imperialists but it presents itself to the masses in the guise of the champion of an ill-treated nation and appeals to outraged national sentiments.” Further he says, “fascism puts the people at the mercy at the most corrupt and venal elements but comes before them with the demand of an honest and incorruptible government. Speculating on the profound disillusionment of the masses fascism adapts its demagogy to the peculiarities of each (situation).” 


Dimitrov could well be talking about the RSS/BJP’s current campaign. The latter openly advocates furthering the agenda of neo-liberal economic reforms and, in the bargain, get the approval of international finance capital. Notwithstanding its opposition to some reforms like FDI in retail trade (which it sought to allow when it led the NDA government earlier), it is already advocating an enlargement of the areas for the entry of FDI. Thus it acts in the interests of international finance capital.  Its relentless campaigns on the core agenda of Hindutva continues to sharpen the communal polarisation in the name of correcting “outraged national (read Hindu) sentiments.” A chilling convergence with fascist methodology! 


Such an effort to undermine the secular democratic foundations of the modern Indian republic must not be allowed to succeed in the interests of our country and the people. While working to defeat such an agenda, the Indian people need also to strengthen the struggles against the neo-liberal economic policies which continue to impose unprecedented burdens on the livelihood status of the vast majority of our people. Clearly, what the country needs today is an alternative policy trajectory and that alternative policy trajectory was highlighted by the recently concluded Sangharsh Sandesh jatha of the CPI(M). Struggles on these lines must be strengthened in order to create a better India.


          (April 17, 2013)