'The Main Enemy'

Only the exercise of franchise does not ensure freedom for the toiling people. Yet sometimes elections may play important roles in politics and help the people earn temporary victories. For example, when Indira Gandhi imposed the Emergency in order to establish herself as the supreme dictator of India, sent Jayprakash Narayan and all opposition leaders to jail, banned all Naxalite outfits and human rights bodies and unleashed a reign of terror, the Parliamentary Opposition was constrained to unite into a single party and to fight the polls unitedly. The people did not respond to the call of the boycottists and defeated the mother-son combine. This victory in favour of democracy was short-lived, but it was nevertheless a victory.

West Bengal is going to hold its assembly polls soon. What should be the stand of the progressives? Ever since Narendra Modi's ascent to power, India has witnessed many ghastly things unimaginable earlier, besides brazen wooing of corporates, and other economic policies. Killing of Muslims in the name of cow protection, growing rape of Muslim and Dalit women, assasination of rationalists for their opposition to the superstitious ideas propagated by the Hindutva organisations, destruction of the freedom of the academia, inhuman efforts to suppress farmers in order to please corporate houses and multinationals, distortion of the history of the country in a systematic manner, incarceration of social activists on trumped up charges-- these are only some of the manifestations of the shadow of fascism looming large over the country.

Given the undeclared emergency situation defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should be the principal aim of others, as far as the electoral battle is concerned. It is true that there are many corrupt persons in other parties aspiring for power through the polls, but the record of corruption among those in power in BJP-ruled states is no less disconcerting. Quite a few former important TMC functionaries accused of involvement in Sarada and Narad scandals are now in the BJP and are treated with honour in their new party. The door of the BJP is open for the corrupt persons.

The CPI (M), in its anger for the Trinamul Congress, seems not to have realised the danger of corporate-backed fascism. There are reports that during the last Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal, these leftists, out of anger, mobilised voters under its influence in some places to vote for the BJP in order to teach the TMC a lesson. No doubt there were many reasons for being angry with the TMC rule, but assisting the BJP against it was only self-defeating. It was suicidal. Among the far left organisations, the CPI (M-L) Liberation has correctly declared the BJ P as the main target in the ensuing elections in Bengal. The position of two other groups, namely the PCC, CPI (M-L), and the CPI (M-L) New Democracy, is more or less the same (defeat the BJP or BJP is the main enemy). The position of the CPI (Maoist) is grotesque, because it is difficult to make them understand that bourgeois elections may not be the final stepping stone of a proletarian revolution, it may enable the people to earn at least temporary and partial relief from tyranny. Right now, a defeat of the BJP may serve in weakening the forces of obscurantist fascism. Boycott of election is of little use if it fails to attract the people and turns to be an empty slogan. This is truer of Bengal than of Chattisgarh. A defeat of the BJP in the West Bengal polls will at least partially halt the advance of corporate-led saffronites. This check is absolutely necessary. In spite of all the bitterness against the TMC, this should be kept in mind.


Back to Home Page

Vol. 53, No. 35, Feb 28 - Mar 6, 2021