People's Democracy

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


No. 25

June 23, 2013




Channelise Political Churning Into

Alternative Policy Trajectory


AS we go to press, the Janata Dal (United) government in Bihar led by Nitish Kumar has decisively won the vote of confidence by securing the support of more than 50 per cent of the strength of the Bihar state assembly. In response to the JD(U)’s withdrawal from the NDA over the question of BJP announcing the virtual projection of Narendra Modi as its future prime ministerial candidate, 91 BJP MLAs in the Bihar assembly walked out  before voting.  However, even if they were present and voted, it would not have changed the outcome. 


Clearly, these recent developments have set in motion the process of a new political churning in the country.  On the one hand, the UPA-2 has been reduced to a minority, bereft of all the Congress party’s major allies except the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).  Its survival in government has, for some time now, been crucially dependent upon the outside support provided by the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).  On the other hand, the BJP-led NDA has been left with only two of its allies – the Shiv Sena and Akali Dal. 


JD(U)’s exit from the NDA  reflects the irresolvable contradiction of the BJP-led NDA.  The BJP, acting as the political arm of the RSS, has chosen to consolidate its own social following by projecting Narendra Modi with all its consequent implications of aggressively pursuing the hardcore Hindutva agenda.  The more the BJP seeks to consolidate itself on these lines, the lesser is its capacity to draw allies in order to muster required numbers following the next general elections to form a government.  This irresolvable contradiction itself contributes to the current political churning process. 


It is, indeed, the irony of our times that in this entire episode of the projection of Narendra Modi, Mr L K Advani is being projected as the moderate and liberal face of the BJP.  The BJP of today emerged from the infamous rath yatra that he launched in September 1990 from Somnath to Ayodhya under the slogan mandir wahi banayenge (we shall build the temple at the disputed site where the Babri Masjid stands).  This rath yatra left behind a bloody trail of communal riots and sharpened communal polarisation to dangerous levels grievously, threatening the secular democratic foundations of the Indian Republic. It is this rath yatra that laid the basis for the eventual demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. 


While such developments will continue to contribute to the political churning in the run-up to the general elections in 2014, what is not getting sufficient attention of these major political parties and their formations is the increasing burdens that are being heaped on the people.  The economic slowdown continues to worsen and its consequences like growing unemployment and unbridled inflation are making the life of the aam admi more miserable.  The fuel prices continue to be hiked periodically.  While the peasantry, in many parts of the country, has not yet recovered from the effects of a severe drought, the early monsoon is playing havoc with many of the major rivers being in spate causing widespread damage through floods.


The current political churning, thus, appears completely alienated from the woes and miseries of the vast majority of our people.  The people are looking for relief from the burdens that are continuously invading their already low levels of livelihood.  As repeatedly argued in these columns in the past, any relief for the people is possible only when the current neo-liberal policy trajectory is replaced by a pro-people alternative policy trajectory. It is equally clear that such an alternative policy trajectory is beyond both the Congress and the BJP given the commitment of both to neo-liberal economic reforms and proximity to US imperialism.  Thus, such an alternative policy trajectory will necessarily have to be evolved in political opposition to both the Congress and the BJP. 


The CPI(M), through its recent Sangharsh Sandesh Jathas, had put forward an alternative policy framework that will both provide people with the much-needed relief as well as spur economic growth by enlarging the aggregate domestic demand on the basis of the economic empowerment of the vast mass of our people.  In working towards a political alternative that is capable of following an alternative policy direction, the CPI(M)’s 20th Congress Political Resolution has defined the Party’s political line:


“The CPI(M) has to politically fight the Congress and the BJP. Both are parties which represent the big bourgeois landlord order which perpetuates class exploitation and is responsible for the social oppression of various sections of the people. They pursue neo-liberal policies and advocate a pro-US foreign policy. Defeating the Congress and the UPA government is imperative given the crushing burden of price rise, unemployment, suffering of the farmers and workers on the one hand and the brazen corruption and big sops to big business and the wealthy sections. Isolating the BJP and countering its communal and rightwing agenda is necessary and important for the advance of the Left, democratic and secular forces.


“As against the Congress and the BJP, the CPI(M) puts forth the Left and democratic alternative. Only a Left and democratic platform can be the alternative to bourgeois-landlord rule. This alternative needs to be built up through a process of movements and struggles and the emergence of a political alliance of the Left and democratic forces. In the course of these efforts, it may be necessary to rally those non-Congress, non-BJP forces which can play a role in defence of democracy, national sovereignty, secularism, federalism and defence of the people’s livelihood and rights. The emergence of such joint platforms should help the process of building the alliance of the Left and democratic forces.


“In the present situation we should strive for joint actions with the non-Congress secular parties on issues so that the movements can be widened. On specific policy matters and people’s issues, there can be cooperation in parliament with these parties. As and when required, there can be electoral understandings with some of these parties.” (Paras 2.137 to 2.139)


A National Political Convention has been convened by the Left Parties on July 1, 2013 at New Delhi.  This convention will discuss and adopt a Declaration containing the Left Parties’ approach towards an alternative policy direction for the country.  On the basis of this declaration, Left Parties  will appeal to all non-Congress non-BJP secular democratic forces and parties to support and work for an alternative policy trajectory for the country.  This is the direction in which the current political churning, in the interests of the country and the vast mass of the people, must move. 


(June 20, 2013)