Daya Varma


Historically the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Indian National Congress have played a crucial role in forging Hindu-Muslim unity, which is  opposed by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), the political wing of Hindutva fascism. There has been a let down in the role of CPI over years and with its division into CPI and CPI(Marxist), electoral politics had a sway. Against the historic and glorious  tradition of the Communist Party, the two General Secretaries  led the two parties to opportunistically ally with BJP to topple the present government  on the non-issue of Indo-US nuclear deal.


Hindu Muslim divide has been a major obstacle in the evolution of the Indian nation and was partly responsible for the partition of India in 1947. However there have been important forces both among Hindus and Muslims against this divide. These forces were primarily represented by the Indian National Congress (Congress) and the Communist Party of India (CPI). Yet there were fundamental differences in the approach of these political formations on this issue.


While Congress recognized this divide and attempted to combat this through a secular platform, CPI did not treat the two as separate entities in the struggle for a new independent India. The approach of CPI was rational and as far as its influence existed it brought the two communities together as one. Over the years there has been some shift in the position of CPI and its approach became similar to that of Congress the key element of which was secularism like that of the Congress. Parliamentary politics had its own role to play in this evolution.  However the lowest point was reached when the General Secretary of the CPI(Marxist) Prakash Karat was able to hook the General Secretary of CPI, Bardhan, into allying with Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), the political wing of Hindutva fascism on the non-issue of India-US nuclear deal. Fortunately the attempt of these two leaders to topple the Congress-led UPA government of Dr. Manmohan Singh failed. No one talks about the Indo-US nuclear deal any more, which is surprising since it was the issue for the make and break of the existing government.


Having erred once, the two bankrupt leaders of these great parties had no choice but to float the idea of an alternative front.  This non-starter novel front  will exclude Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal  and Sonia Gandhi’s Congress but will welcome Mayawati and Chandrababu Naidu, whose union and flirtations with BJP is well known. Obviously it is an alternate electoral alliance with grim prospects but more importantly it sees  Hindutva fascism no more than a communal formation to be opposed by secular slogan-mongering.


In this blunder the leading role was most probably played by Karat with Bardhan following the lead in his enthusiasm to get the two parties merge into one. As is customary the leader of a communist party never makes a mistake and members not only abide by the decision of the leader but often find additional reasons to justify the leadership such is the legacy of Stalin.    However it is time for rebellion against reactionaries. It is time that ranks of the two parties call for a special Congress to reorient the strategic policies for the years ahead. In his article “CPI(M)’s tragic denouement’  (EPW, Oct 18, 2008)  Sumanta Banerjee laments  that CPM has given up its 1964 program of establishing a “state of people’s democracy led by the working class”. This is a fossilized thinking to expect a program adopted nearly one-half century ago to remain valid in India which has experienced  drastic transformation in its polity. It is rather time to save India from the impending clutches of fascism and  the ranks of CPI and CPI(M) have a role to play.   

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