Singh's 'Dream Mapping'

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has developed a habit of announcing his popular timetable to root out left-wing extremists from Indian soil. While campaigning for sitting BJP-MP V D Ram of Palamau Mr Singh derived special comfort from his unique achievement of near annihilation of Maoists in Jharkhand. He vowed to wipe out the 'naxalite menace' from the country completely by 2023? But even if his party's government returns to power after 19th parliamentary poll they will rule till 2022, not 2023. Maybe Mr Singh wants to keep one year as grace period in his pocket. Also, he congratulated himself for curbing insurgency in North East. What he says about extremism and insurgency is too clever by half. North East is literally an ethnic cauldron. There are too many insurgencies, all are non-Marxist and most of the time they work at cross-purposes, thanks to mechination of powers that be. The army itself is a sponsor of some extremist outfits. Naga rebellion against the authority of New Delhi is one of the oldest insurgencies in the country and the Centre is still searching ways to pacify Naga anger with mutual satisfaction of all.

No insurgency can be defeated unless insurgents are totally isolated from masses. Rajnath Singh's dream may be shattered after one landmine blast in the jungles of Chattisgarh. If security forces are now in a favourable position, as Mr Singh says, since 1971 when more security personnel used to get killed than Naxals, it is because Naxals are victims of ideological indecision. And in 1971 his party—Bharatiya Janata Party, was nowhere near the picture. But the repressive state apparatus run by their predeceases, has failed to wipe out the 'naxalite menace' from the soil of India. They have somehow survived the onslaught of brutal repressive machine despite regular split within split.

An ideology is to be defeated ideologically first. But the saffron ideology pursued by the BJP can hardly fight 'naxal ideology' seeking radical transformation of society. Nor can it talk in terms of ethnicity which is essential to combat any ethnic insurgency. The only politics they understand is politics of gun. For the Maoists in central India, an armed revolution is fighting an armed counter-revolution. Even if they get support of 25 percent of people in their area of operation, they won't allow the Rajnath Singhs to sleep in peace. It so happened in Vietnam where Vietnamese Communist Guerillas with a meagre 25 percent support base outmanoeuvred American troops. Despite their setbacks the maoists have been able to spread their message to new areas. So Maoists activities are reported from the deep south–Kerala.

So long as there is repression resistance is bound to croup in one form or another. The weakness of naxal movement in general lies in their disunity. As for naxalites they don't want to learn anything from their past mistakes. They are as dogmatic as they were in the '70s. Despite continuous erosion in their ranks they refuse to budge an inch from their stated ideological-political stand even if that turns out to be suicidal. With so many small groups, having limited reach to people, the naxalite idea of revolution still remains unconvincing to most people. ML groups that are now celebrating 50 years of party formation and struggle continue to derive glory from the past while failing to offer anything new in the changed context of global politics.

Rapid changes are taking place in workplaces. But the naxalities have no idea as to how to organise labour in the era of digital economy, albeit all are talking about working class leadership. The old-style of labour-organising doesn't work. Then the Maoists have no problem because with their negligible presence among labourers they can keep their working-class sign-board shinning. They think they could liberate toilers from exploitation of corporate capital only by mobilising tribals. The lack of proper massline is the root cause of their failure to win mass support.

After so many years they are not viewed as liberators, notwithstanding tremendous sacrifices they have made over the years. In truth Maoists or naxalites never raised proper ideological struggle against the forces of reaction. They never attacked the economic base of the ruling political establishment. No doubt they annihilated some notorious feudal lords but coroporate lords never felt the heat of their campaign. The mainstream media has created a demon out of naxalism. And people believe it. It is tragic.

Rajnath Singh and his fellow travellers are trying to continually agitate over jingoism and war hysteria in electioneering. His recent outbursts against naxalites, which is almost periodic and routine, is part of a dubious strategy to confuse the people. 'Balakot' is now a favourite whipping point to keep jingoiatic passion alive.

Two issues that Rajnath Singh's party evade at every BJP election rally is demonetisation and GST. To a query why the BJP's campaign has no mention of demonetisation and GST, Rajnath Singh, who headed the party's manifesto committee said smilingly that they were no longer poll issues. But these are the real issues that may jeopardise Mr Singh's dream to come back to power and wipe out naxalites completely by 2023.

Vol. 51, No. 44, May 5 - 11, 2019