On National and International Situation

ever tally of sixty-plus in 2001 to its lowest ever strength of 24. Like the proverbial ostrich, the CPI(M) however refuses to admit, let alone address, the real reason behind its debacle in West Bengal. While everybody familiar with the political reality in West Bengal attributes it to the CPI(M)’s attempt to embrace and enforce the neo-liberal agenda in West Bengal and its growing arrogance of power, the CPI(M) sees it primarily as a fall-out of political realignment following its belated withdrawal of support to the UPA government in the wake of the Indo-US nuclear deal. Even though the CPI(M) has been forced to return to an oppositional role, nationally and most crucially in West Bengal, the party remains soft on the Congress and it broke ranks with its long-standing allies like the CPI and RSP to vote for the Congress nominee in the Presidential election.

18. The CPI(M)’s emphatic defeat in West Bengal has emboldened bourgeois ideologues and the corporate media to step up their anti-Left campaign. But within the Left camp it has also encouraged considerable debate and rethinking even though the CPI(M) officially refuses to introspect and draw any lessons. While countering the anti-Left campaign and the physical violence and state repression being unleashed on Left activists and leaders in West Bengal under TMC rule we must also simultaneously sharpen the struggle against the opportunist line of the CPI(M). Two recent incidents – the killing of former CPI(M) activist and leader of Revolutionary Marxist Party Comrade TP Chandrasekharan in Kerala and the support extended to Pranab Mukherjee in the Presidential election – have also contributed to the sharpening of the struggle against the CPI(M) leadership’s opportunism. Incidentally, West Bengal has also exposed the political bankruptcy of the Maoists who allowed themselves to be used by the TMC in its bid for power only to be taken for a cruel ride. Before coming to power Mamata Banerjee had demanded judicial inquiry into the killing of Maoist leader Azad in Andhra Pradesh and promised to release political prisoners, but now her government has killed Maoist leader Kishenji in a similar fashion and refused to release any of the 500-odd political prisoners languishing in jails. Sharp struggle against opportunism and bold resistance to the increasingly authoritarian character emerging from behind the ruling TMC’s populist mask holds the key to the revival of the Left movement in West Bengal.

19. With the Lok Sabha election getting closer, we are witnessing a growing clamour within the BJP to project Narendra Modi as the next Prime Ministerial candidate. Modi is also the hot favourite of corporate circles who are hoping for a replication of the Gujarat model of unrestricted corporate freedom on an all-India scale. Imperialist forces too are changing their signals towards Modi: earlier, they had responded to anti-communal campaigns by denying Modi a visa, while now they are making fresh overtures towards him. The British High Commissioner visited Gujarat and met Modi, while a team of US Senators visited Gujarat on what turned out to be a trip sponsored by the Gujarat Government itself. The Congress on the other hand hopes to benefit from a grand anti-Modi polarisation, waiting for a rift within the NDA over the issue of projection of Modi as the Prime Ministerial candidate as well as for a possible return of the estranged allies of the first phase of the UPA government. While opposing the pro-Modi campaign with all our might, we must clearly understand that Modi today is an icon of not just aggressive communalism but of unbridled corporate rule in a police state. In fact, communalism itself has acquired a new dimension in the wake of the US-led anti-Islam campaign. The sense of insecurity that never really ceased to haunt Muslims in India, and got seriously aggravated since the late 1980s when the Sangh Parivar launched its aggressive campaign of communal mobilisation in the name of Ram Janambhoomi, has now been reinforced by a relentless state-sponsored campaign of a veritable anti-Muslim witch-hunt, in states ruled by BJP-NDA and Congress-UPA and so-called ‘secular’ parties alike. Gujarat under Modi’s leadership has not only witnessed the horrific genocide of 2002 but also a spate of staged encounter killings in the name of combating terrorism. More than ever before it is now crucial to understand that the battle for secularism can only be waged as an inseparable part of the larger battle for democracy. The findings of the Sachar