Needed: Anti-BJP consolidation

Nitya Chakraborty

After more than forty months of the NDA rule led by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the eco-politics of the country is at a crossroads. The Modi bubble is steadily bursting. All sections of the population are aggrieved -- from the poorest section in the rural areas to the major sections of the industrialists who have no tie ups with the BJP leadership. The BJP leadership is still is dreaming to come back to power once again in 2019 Lok Sabha elections depending on the organizational power of the party, the RSS muscle power and the disunity in the opposition ranks. An anti-BJP consolidation in the polity of the country which the BJP leadership, especially the Prime Minister fears most.
Only a few weeks are left before the crucial state assembly elections in Himachal and Gujarat, but the opposition parties are yet to come out with a total unity to face the BJP in both the assembly elections and also outside in the struggles to focus the urgent issues of the day, especially the precarious situation in the job market, including the continuing job losses in the key sectors of the industries. The farmers are fighting over their distress but compared to the dimension of the crisis, their movements also have not got a pan India focus with the participation of the opposition parties. At individual parties level as also at the level of some trade unions and peasants orgnaisations, demonstrations have been held but that do not really give its vent to the real anger of the masses. The alienation of the Modi regime is taking place fast from its own mass base but the opposition is failing to take the advantage because the feeling is still there that the alternative to Modi is too weak and not formidable.
This scenario can suddenly change if the opposition parties including the Congress, the anti-BJP regional parties, and the Left form a formidable combination on the basis of a minimum programme and intensify their joint battle against the Modi regime with the ultimate objective of unseating the BJP in both the state assembly and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. On October 11, at an event marking the birth anniversary of Jayaprakash Narayan, former Law Minister of the Morarji Desai Government at the centre Shanti Bhushan said that the 2019 lok Sabha elections will decide the future of democracy in this country and the total unity of the opposition can only defeat the forces of anti-democracy represented by the BJP and the Narendra Modi.CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury who spoke  at the event said that opposition parties should come together to fight the multiple challenges the Indian democracy faces today and if complete unity is not possible, they should march separately and strike together.
91 wise men of the CPI(M) central committee have to decide what the CPI(M) members will be doing in the constituencies in Himachal and Gujarat where they have no candidates. In Gurudaspur parliamentary by election, the CPI told its members to vote for the candidate between Congress and the AAP who has the best chance to defeat the BJP candidate. But in assembly elections, coming to power by the BJP is the issue and if BJP has to be weakened, the Left has to see that it does not come to power and what is the best way to ensure that.
Here the question comes about the relationship with the Congress. The Congress is the major party fighting the BJP in both Himachal and Gujarat, There are other non-BJP parties with small bases in both the states. It will be best for opposition unity if the Congress talks with the other smaller parties and come to some understanding on seat sharing if a formal alliance is not possible. The objective must be to ensure that the anti-BJP votes are not wasted. Even the CPI and the CPI(M) can have some limited understanding with the Congress in these two states to protect their respective bases. The Congress can get a boost by having electoral understanding (if alliance is not possible) with the Left. Similarly some understanding is possible with the NCP and the BSP in Gujarat.
This is the strategy which is on the line of what Yechury said-moving separately but striking together. CPI(M) central committee members lost a big chance in their July meeting in creating an atmosphere of all out unity against the BJP by taking a rigid line on relationship with the Congress. If they do it this time also, a historic opportunity to catapult the left to an important position in the national politics of the country will be lost and this will be of big relief to the BJP. The Congress under Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi is not in a supreme position. They are also vulnerable and need support from others. Rahul Gandhi can be persuaded to delink the Congress programme from the earlier neo liberal policies. He is now talking in a new language. The CPI(M) CC  should see how the Communist Party of Britain is  dealing  with  the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in influencing the economic programme.
There can be no opposition unity without leading participation of the Congress which is the main party fighting the BJP in the states. And the Left is a pale shadow of 2004 and 1996.The CPI(M) central committee should recognize  that if its general secretary Sitaram Yechury is not allowed to opt for the line of striking at the common enemy together, it will  only add to its number of historical blunders. (IPA)

Sunday, 15 October, 2017