Strategy of ‘Action’?

Opposition seems to have lost desire to fight the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Some people in the opposition camp are trying to whip a dying horse—Congress. But Rahul Gandhi’s continuous tirade against Prime Minister Modi is so ludicrous that even die-hard Congress supporters do not take it seriously anymore. Congress party still hopes, somewhat against hope, that it will be able to get back what it has lost-power-by assembling the heterogeneous elements called regional parties. The possibility of a grand alliance of opposition parties under the leadership of Congress with a common minimum programme against the BJP doesn’t look bright as the so-called regional outfits like the Congress are equally directionless. They don’t have any national vision. Nor do they really articulate regional aspirations. All of them resort to ad-hocism to remain in power and loot the exchequer while continually bargaining with the ruling dispensation at the centre over doles.

Congress being increasingly irrelevant in national politics is now talking about mass mobilisation against the BJP. But masses cannot react to their appeal unless they have any well-planned strategy of action to hit the basic issues that affect ordinary people. Issues that matter most to people are not on their agenda. They have failed to expose the out and out anti-people nature of the Modi government. And the Modis have nothing to lose so long as they agitate over secondary issues and that too sporadically.

All parties including the left parties periodically release press statements about unemployment without really developing any sustained movement to harass the government. Then price rise? Less said the better because they think they have nothing to do because it is a market phenomenon. In the last eight years, pulses have become costlier by 50 percent; vegetable prices have also increased by 25 to 30 percent. The prices of edible oil have increased by 90 percent and petrol, diesel and cooking gas have become 40 percent more expensive. In all fairness the economy is collapsing. It is unlikely that regional parties, most of them are ruling parties, in one or two states, will take to streets against unprecedented surge in inflation and price rise. The left too doesn’t take much interest in price rise issue as if it is as normal as anything else. It’s now history that one paise rise in tram fare galvanised the Communist Party of India to build a very powerful mass movement against the ruling Congress and the British owned tram company in Bengal in the ‘50s. Big business owned media houses are eloquent about Modi’s recent measure to cut prices of diesel and petrol slightly. The missing point is how they first increase prices abnormally and then reduce them a bit to hoodwink the people.

Today almost all media establishments are pro-government, rather pro-ruling parties. The way the temple-mosque tussle in Varanasi is being highlighted with partisan bias with a view to polarising public opinion on communal lines speaks volumes about who controls the media, particularly the electronic media. For all practical purposes BJP is in 100 percent control of media, of communication. And its frontal organisations are broadly in control of institutional framework of the country.

It’s sheer hypocrisy that Congress is talking about masses and mass action. They always talk in terms of voters, not people. It is next to impossible to fight BJP without challenging their economic policy which is a disaster. And the Gandhis cannot do it; they just play with the gallery to keep the saffron establishment in good humour.

What is urgently needed is to mobilise public opinion against the New Education Policy (NEP). The notorious NEP will completely ‘radicalise’ the existing education system much to the disadvantage of the weaker sections of population. The pattern of educational structure as it is today will be changed to such an extent that higher education will be a luxury for the broader section of society.

Congress is not a cadre-based party. Nor does it want to be one. They continue to harbour the illusion that their party is the only organisation that could facilitate a national challenge to the BJP both in terms of ideology and outreach. The reality is totally otherwise. It’s a national party without national appeal. Today it is more like a regional party, having no national agenda to attract people. It cannot fight BJP ideologically because it has no alternative ideology to offer. Their vague narrative about secularism has no taker. While BJP banks on divisive politics by systematically resorting to communal polarisation, dozens of regional parties that were born out of Congress are no less responsible for promoting divisive politics, helping BJP in the end. In truth BJP doesn’t face any serious challenge from any quarters. And Congress Party’s strategy of mass action against BJP is anything but smoke sans fire!


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Vol 54, No. 49, Jun 5 - 11, 2022