Vote for anti-BJP Forces

[Following is a statement issued by S Bhattacharya, PCC, CPI(M-L), West Bengal State Committee]

The PCC, CPI(M-L) thinks that as long as it is urgent to participate in elections in a parliamentary democracy, the elections and election results are, in reality, reflections of class struggle and class consciousness. The principal reason of the fall of the Left Front in West Bengal was its following the neo-liberal policies of the centre and silencing the life-force of public debate by setting up party hegemony over public life. Some ghastly examples of following neo-liberal policies were the effort to bring the Salem group, linked with the US multinational Dow Chemicals and accused of mass-scale slaughter of communists, and the plan to set up a nuclear plant when environmental movements against nuclear plants were going on all over the world. The people were getting restive over the party-based commandism and ruling apparatus. The first large-scale protest against this took place in the ration movement and then, using the farmers' revolts in Singur and Nandigram, the Trinamul Congress ascended to power.

Just as there are many instances of pro-people good works during the first phase of Left Front regime, it would be mendacious to deny the good deeds of the Trinamul Government in social welfare. When a honest revolutionary party speaks of the of struggle in parliamentary democracy, it honestly evaluates the roles of different ruling class parties. In the sphere of public health, the TMC government has done many good things; introducing the Sasthya Sathi and Duare Sarkar on the eve of the polls are good initiatives that should benefit the poor, toiling people. Real facts about the number of farmers who have benefitted from the setting up of mandis and introduction of MSPs. The wages of the tea garden workers have risen somewhat compared to the earlier regime. One important allegation against the TMC government was pampering corruption. But a greater allegation is to deny, in a more naked form than the Left Front regime, political space to democracy and healthy competition and the sordid form of this denial was the attempt to eliminate the opposition from the panchayets by using administrative power and the army of lumpens, thus capturing 34% of seats without any contest. That was the watershed moment of TMC rule, when a section of the people became hostile to this outfit.

The rule of any ruling class will have anti-people character and that is why the people give expression to their passive grievances through the ballot boxes. In 2011, even at the time of defeat, the CPI(M) polled about 40% votes. Yet the CPI(M) did not build up any effective and active resistance against the bad deeds of the TMC rule. They followed the traditional practice of the ruling parties, namely waiting for the people to get disgusted over a long time and to bring back the old. Although the revolutionary leftists were trying to build up struggles in some pockets, their many-sided divisions and confusion regarding overall intervention made their role extremely limited in building up any political alternative.

In this situation of Bengal, a dreadful, all-pervasive fascist ruling party came to the fore at the centre. The absolute power at the centre has been captured by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the party which politically represents the long-term aggressive communal Hindutva and the social movement and work for one nation-one language-one culture. Just after ascending to power, they have formed a unity between Hindutva and corporate interests, have become lackeys of corporates, have begun to dismantle all democratic institutions one by one and are striving to establish a unitary fascist rule by destroying the constitutional federal structure of India. This anti-people, tyrannical rule of theirs are facing mass resistance, although in a scattered way. The first large-scale resistance was the citizenship movement. Although the BJP has tackled this movement through state repression and communal riots, the countrywide farmers' movement has formed a wall against their fascist advance. The farmers' rebellion has not yet reached a decisive phase of victory, and various weaknesses are yet to be overcome for creating the preconditions for victory. Two important conditions are, firstly the heightening of peasant consciousness to a level where the questions of unity of various classes within the peasantry, of peasant-worker unity and unity of the Indian people emerge as the principal. The second condition is to preserve and expand the remains of the parliamentary federal structure that states like West Bengal and Tamil Nadu have retained.

For this very reason, the BJP has employed all its might for capturing power in Bengal. Mamata Banerjee and her party have to tackle the BJP's strategy of hurting the federal structure just for the sake of preserving their own existence. The politics of defection does not determine whether they are doing it, because such defections constitute an eternal ruling class technique of satisfying lust of power or hiding the defectors' sinful acts. With a view to winning at the hustings, Mamata is trying to convey to the people the message of rectifying some past mistakes, while maintaining the ruler's technique of admitting mistakes while in power. But the CPI(M), although outside the corridor of power, refuses to admit that the policies in Singur and Nandigram were accompaniments of neo-liberalism.

In order to give political form to the ongoing class struggle in Bengal, what was urgently needed was a continuous and comprehensive strategy and tactics. The failure of leftists on that score has been taken full advantage of by the grab-all, fascist political force, the BJP. The objective reality is that the TMC is still the principal force that can check the advance of the BJP at the coming polls. In some cases, there is the possibility of the CPI(M)–Congress–ISF combine becoming the chief rival of the BJP. But in limited spheres, some revolutionary forces are trying continuously to hold aloft the banner of class struggle. For the development of the anti-fascist struggle of resistance in future, or development of the countrywide struggle for radical social change, it is urgently necessary to utilise election struggles with a view to consolidating the revolutionary political forces, and this has to be done in such a way that does not impede the process of checking the desire of the BJP to grab power in Bengal. The PCC, CPI(M-L) is fielding candidates in two assembly seats, Gopiballavpur of South Bengal and Malbazar of North Bengal. Like-minded revolutionary forces are putting up candidates in a few other seats.

In West Bengal's objective election situation, the PCC, CPI(M-L) takes into consideration these three trends and appeals to the people to vote with a view mainly to check the BJP, along with voting for the consolidation of revolutionary forces. The main thrust of this appeal is: vote for the like-minded revolutionary parties in their limited seats and in order to ensure overall defeat of the BJP, vote seat wise for anti-BJP stronger forces, be they the TMC or some other non-BJP parties.

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Vol. 53, No. 39, Mar 28 - Apr 3, 2021