Imperatives for 2019 poll battle
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has once again strongly come out in favour of a grand alliance of opposition parties to stop the surge of the BJP evident in the saffron party’s sweeping victory in the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. Nitish has underlined the need for a mahagathbandhan on Bihar pattern to meet the challenge of the Hindutva forces in 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Nitish’s call has been immediately endorsed by the RJD president Lalu Yadav who has been consistent in his opposition to the BJP all through. Nitish has appealed to the Congress and the Left to take the initiative for forming this alliance.
The Modi government, in which the BJP has majority on its own with282 seats, is going ahead with its programme of achieving a Hindu Rashtra and in order to do that, Narendra Modi has sugarcoated his objective with some populist measures. He is skillfully implementing a programme based on the fusion of Hindutva with neo liberalism. BJP and the Sangh Parivar have the support of the crony capitalists and they have been successfully implementing their social engineering formula, as is evident in the UP elections. The BJP cannot be fought now by divided opposition, many of whom lack credibility. The BJP has to be fought on the basis of a firm alternative programme that challenges both Hindutva and the economic policies.
The formation of opposition unity and programme is a very difficult task but this is a critical period in Indian history and if all the parties including the Congress, the major anti-BJP party in the country, get determined to protect the unity and diversity of the country, there is scope for organizing this alliance on the basis of a common minimum programme and all the parties which are now positioned against BJP, including Trinamool Congress and Aam Admi Party (AAP), will have to be brought within this umbrella alliance.
As the Bihar Chief Minister has explained, the BJP’s victory in UP was mainly because of lack of a Bihar like alliance. The votes polled by the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance and BSP together are ten per cent more than the BJP. Now, the SP leader Akhilesh Yadav is also saying that he might consider having an alliance with BSP before the Lok Sabha elections. For both SP and the BSP, this is a fight for survival and they can jointly recover their position if they fight BJP unitedly as a part of the grand alliance in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Nitish Kumar has correctly mentioned of the Congress-Left initiative. The Left is now ruling only two states Kerala and Tripura but due to loss of West Bengal, the Lok Sabha strength has dipped to 10 as against 24 after 2009 Lok Sabha elections and as high as 61 after 2004 elections. This depleting strength has certainly affected adversely the manouevrability of Left which was there earlier vis a vis the opposition parties. But the Left has to play a very effective role in this critical moment and the CPI(M) has to do away with its present line of equidistance from the Congress and the BJP as per its last party congress resolution.
The political situation has changed very fast since the last CPI(M) party congress in 2015.Fascism, in its classical form, has not arrived in India but it comes in stages and the communists have to fight aggressively the first signs in alliance with other democratic forces. There can be no anti-BJP front without the active participation of the Congress. The CPI in its recent resolution said that the left alone cannot fight this battle and there is need for broad unity of secular and democratic forces that include the Congress. The CPIM) central committee at its coming meeting this month, must take the lead in working for a broad alliance on the lines of the Bihar Chief Minister.
Mamata and Kejriwal have to be the active partners of this broad alliance which is meant for fighting the BJP at the centre. The opposition parties might fight each other in the state assemblies and prove their respective strengths, but for defeating the BJP in Lok Sabha polls in 2019, they have to adjust taking into account their respective strength. The CPI(M) extended support to the Congress led government after 2004 Lok Sabha elections though both the parties fought bitterly in the Lok Sabha elections. Similarly, the Left can go on fighting Mamata in Bengal, but there should be no objection from the Left if she wants to be a part of anti-BJP alliance. In fact, Nitish and Lalu can tackle this delicate aspect.
Time is running out in India for the democratic and secular forces. As a part of the long term Hindu Rashtra strategy, Sangh Parivar is steadily controlling all the key institutions of the government. The education sector has already been saffronised. With Adityanath as the UP chief minister, this saffronisation process is speeding up. This is the time to resist and that can be done by the united efforts of the Congress, Left and the regional parties. Without going into the semantics of what stage the Hindutva movement has reached , the Left and the secular forces have to take the lead along with Congress, Nitish and Lalu in convening a meeting fo the secular and non-BJP parties to work out the action programme. Only two years are left for the 2019 battle.BJP can be defeated in that battle provided the opposition parties are determined and ready to accommodate. Like former US president Barack Obama, the opposition slogan should be ‘Yes we can’. (IPA)