Fighting RSS fascism and saffron authoritarianism has been the major task before the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)-Liberation and for achieving this mission, the party would continue to work for strengthening the INDIA block. Like the CPI(M), the CPI(ML-Liberation) does not suffer with any ambiguity. The CPI(ML) L is of the view that the immediate task before the forces which claim to fight the communalism and authoritarianism is to defeat the BJP and CPI(ML) Liberation will be taking the TMC led by the Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as the ally..
The polit bureau of the CPI(ML)-Liberation) which met in Patna only a day back holds the view that all other differences amongst the constituents of INDIA could be sorted out after the Lok Sabha election. The party general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya told IPA “we are in the coordination committee of the INDIA and will fight the Lok Sabha election together with other constituents. All other issues would be looked into after the Lok Sabha elections”.
Dipankar was candid in his observation that it would be utopian to believe that the saffron onslaught could be checked without having any alliance and cooperation with the TMC in Bengal and RJD-JD(U) combine in Bihar. They are the major political forces and have tobe the main ingredient of the grouping opposed to the fascist rule of the RSS and BJP.
In both the states, the CPI(ML)-L would field its candidates. While in Bengal it is obviously not in the position to exercise any tactical pressure on TMC chief Mamata Banerjee to accede to their demand, in Bihar they have already written to the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar about their priorities and also mentioned the seats they would prefer to contest. The fact cannot be ignored that in Bihar they are a major force and had won 12 assembly seats in 2020 assembly elections with a vote percentage of 3.16 making it fifth largest party in assembly. They had contested the 2020 Assembly election as part of the Mahagathbandhan, an alliance of the UPA and the leftist parties.
Winning three seats in 2015 assembly election, CPIML (Liberation) emerged the biggest Left party with just 1.5% votes in Bihar. CPI and CPM drew a blank in that elections.. This victory gave the message that the poor and downtrodden are behind the party notwithstanding the claim of RJD and JD(U) to represent the aspiration of the poor section of the society.
The CPI(ML) intends to focus on central Bihar and also on Siwan in north Bihar. Central Bihar once the cradle of Naxalism in Bihar, had been witness to killings of the dalits and the downtrodden in 1990s during Lalu-Rabri regime. Several CPI(ML) grassroots workers had to sacrifice their lives in dozens of carnages. Even the die-hard supporters and a section of the RJD and JD(U) leaders confess that Liberation being a part of the Mahagatbandhan helped the dalit and EBC votes swing in favour of the alliance.
Since 2019 when Narendra Modi returned to power for the second term, Dipankar has been maintaining a practical approach towards the politics of mahagathbandhan. He strongly held that the primary task for the secular opposition is to fight the RSS and BJP. He said; “We are currently passing through a period of intensified assault on the constitutional foundation of parliamentary democracy and on the livelihood and rights of the Indian people, accompanied by unmitigated corporate plunder of India’s natural resources. The twin trajectories unleashed three decades ago in the form of neoliberal economic policies of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation and aggressive Hindutva – or Hindu supremacist redefining of Indian nationalism – converged to bring Narendra Modi to power at the Centre in 2014 and the government has since been systematically using state power to advance this two-pronged agenda.
This convergence of the two trajectories of aggressive Hindutva and predatory crony capitalism has continued to get entrenched under the Modi regime, the two benefiting and reinforcing each other. The campaign acquired considerable speed since Modi’s return in 2019 and now ahead of the 2024 election and the RSS centenary in 2025, we can see an alarming escalation.”
According to him, under the Modi regime, the executive is continuously encroaching on the powers of the legislature and the judiciary. The government is routinely issuing ordinances and passing bills without parliamentary discussion and scrutiny. The brazenness with which legislators are being purchased, governments toppled and the offices of governors are being used to undermine and destabilise state governments ruled by non-BJP parties is another alarming sign of the subversion of the Constitution.
He holds; “BJP’s contempt for the Constitution is often camouflaged as celebration of the Constitution. Since 2015, the Modi government began celebrating the anniversary of adoption of the Constitution as Constitution Day, and it takes this opportunity to propagate its constitutional perspective that is totally antithetical to the values and visions of our Constitution. The assault on minorities and marginalised groups is accompanied by a systematic persecution of dissent and targeted attack on people’s movements and a growing attempt to delegitimise the opposition in the parliamentary arena.”
Unfortunately, the electoral strength of the Left camp has also suffered a huge erosion at a time when the BJP has reached its peak. Dipankar nevertheless holds; “The erosion in the electoral strength does not however signify any ideological-political irrelevance or obsolescence of the Left. The dramatic decline in the numbers of Left MPs and MLAs has been triggered almost exclusively by the CPI(M)-led Left’s exit from power in West Bengal and Tripura and has its own specific contexts. In West Bengal the CPI(M) had first got hugely alienated from its own electoral base in the face of accumulated anti-incumbency of thirty-four years of rule compounded by major policy mistakes.
Nevertheless, some RJD leaders are unwilling to concede to the Liberation’s demand of five LS seats. Incidentally this opposition stems from their class and caste compulsions rather than electoral necessity. Some backward castes, especially the Yadavs had a long antagonistic relation with the Liberation. Obviously some senior Yadav leaders are opposing this stand of Liberation. A senior RJD Yadav said; “CPI(ML) had failed to win a single Lok Sabha seat in 2014 and 2019Lok Sabha polls and was not even in a runner-up position in any seat. Now they are demanding five seats. It is too much. For the sake of coalition dharma, we cannot sacrifice seats to our weaker coalition partners and then see those seats going to the NDA”.
However the senior JD(U) and RJD leaders, those who matter in the policy making process, are not averse to Liberation demand. Their argument appears to be more realistic and holistic. They say at a time when the BJP was focusing on dalits and extremely backwards, it would be wise not to antagonise them by refusing Liberation’s demand. It is a known fact Liberation has strong base amongst this section.
Liberation is keen to contest from Siwan, once the strong base of mafia don Sahabuddin. Again the RJD and CPI(ML-Liberation) have staked claims to the Arrah seat which the BJP won in 2019 by defeating the CPI(ML-Liberation) by a margin of more than 1.47 lakh votes. In 2014, too, the BJP had won the seat. Now the sitting MLA from Arrah is Liberation’s Sudama. The Liberation has managed to build a strong base notwithstanding significant change in the economic and social life line.
Though political analysts feel that seat-sharing will be an excruciating exercise for the Mahagathbandhan leadership, RJD leaders are sure that it would be a smooth give and take. Already Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar have stressed on the principle of ‘give and take’ for amicable seat-sharing between different partners of the pan-India alliance.
The CPI(ML) L leadership is sure that the stance of the CPI(M) on Bengal and especially against Mamata Banerjee would not have any adverse impact on the prospect of the INDIA block in the state. They are sure that some sort of give and take policy would bail out the situation. According to them, one thing is certain that the national Congress leadership would not allow the situation to drift and help the BJP to consolidate its hold on Bengal.. The change of the mood amongst the Muslims and their shift of allegiance towards the Congress has brightened the prospect of the Congress. The national leadership of Congress is not willing to waste the opportunity .The Congress high command will ensure unity of the INDIA block in Bengal in the best possible manner. (IPA Service)