The triumph of the BJP in May 2014 elections and the absolute majority it has secured in the Lok Sabha, perhaps to be replicated soon in the Rajya Sabha, ensures its rule over India for the next five years.  The Congress has been reduced to a mere rump while most of the regional parties, barring Tamil Nadu’s AIADMK and West Bengal’s TMC, have been practically wiped out. The parliamentary Left, mainly CPM and CPI, have not fared any better.


From their heyday of 60+ seats in the 2004 elections the Left has shrunk to a mere handful now.  Only in tiny Tripura can the Left count on a stable majority.  In its erstwhile strongholds of West Bengal and Kerala it is shrinking fast. The writing has been on the wall of the decline of the Left, both organizational and electoral, for some time. This has been the case particularly since the run-up to the 2009 elections when CPM, having officially broken with its outside support to UPA, began trying to broker a Third Front, opposed to both UPA and NDA. This was a disastrous move as shown by the results of the 2009 general elections.  However, none of the parties of the Left, especially the largest one, CPM, seemed to have learnt any lesson from this defeat.


Various factors led to the victory of Hindutva fascists. What was astonishing, however, was that the more it was becoming obvious that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headed by Narendra Modi was likely to win, the more the communist leaders were attempting to build an anti-Congress, anti-BJP front. Obviously for them, especially the leadership of CPI (M) there is no difference between the Congress and BJP. Indeed one of the leaders said with a smirk that BJP and Congress are the “two sides of the same coin”. Perhaps the leader who said it could not remember what the other side looked like when he flipped the coin. This type of thinking has to be discarded if the communist party has to have any relevance.


BJP and Congress may be promoting similar economic agendas but given their particular histories they have to do it in quite different ways.  Any governing party operates on many fronts. Even a similar economic agenda can manifest in very different forms on other important issues, especially in a multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-ethnic, and multi-regional country like India. BJP’s attitude towards the caste system, rights of non-Hindu minorities, and cultural diversity is miles removed from those parties who do not belong to the Sangh Parivar.  Even within the last few months, it is becoming obvious that the BJP government and the Hindutva gang let loose by it, are on the way to transforming India from a secular state to a Hindu rashtra.


The Prime Minister says that Indians were enslaved for 1200 years starting with Muslim rule. India is in tune with the US, UK, Canada concerning the Israeli attack on Palestinians. The BJP government is revising history and appointing its hangers-on to prestigious academic bodies. And so on.


In the meantime, there is relative silence in the quarters of the communist parties. A steady decline of all communist parties, especially of CPI (M), is no secret. Only a bold and drastic reorganization can lead to what is undoubtedly the need of the hour: a single, united communist party committed to a program of social justice, secularism, and democracy.  The highpoint of the communist movement in India was the glorious Telengana struggle, which ended over 60 years ago.  The first general election in India, which took place shortly after Telengana struggle was withdrawn and in which the undivided CPI participated, led to the CPI becoming the second largest party in Parliament after the Congress Party led by Nehru.  World events since then have led to a situation in which many of the disputes and controversies that led to bitter divisions and splits among the communists became outmoded or irrelevant.  At this juncture, it is simply foolish or dishonest for the leaderships of the various parties, factions, and sects that have communist in their name to claim basic ideological differences as the reason for their separate existence.  Conditions are hardly ripe for the revolutionary overthrow of the Indian ruling class as a whole. But Indian conditions do offer sufficient diversity to allow groups like the Maoists to survive in the forests of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand by extorting protection money from the numerous contractors and companies exploiting the mineral wealth of the area.  The Indian political system and elements of its ruling class can co-exist quite easily and profitably with such insurgencies, which are relatively minor compared to the ones in Kashmir and the north-east.


At this time, the crying need of the hour is to oppose Hindu rashtra on the one hand and ruthless exploitation of the environment and the people by the pro-BJP corporate-contractor mafia, like the Reddy brothers in Karnataka, on the other.  A united communist party with a dedicated cadre can play a vital role in establishing a sorely needed tradition of secularism and social justice and play a leadership role in uniting all secular groups and parties, including Congress, under this banner.

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