Saturday, May 9, 2009

Left is Best at Sucking Cream

To understand the polity of left parties of India, one needs to go back few decades of history when the left parties had umpteen numbers of versatile leaders. It was a period of enlarging the parties amongst the people of India, and who we had as leaders in those days? There were Jyoti Basu, EMS Namboodripad, Harkishen Singh Surjeet, Pramod Dasgupta, Bhupesh Gupta, Indrajit Gupta, E.K. Nayanar etc. and they were all young, intellectuals and had all the wisdom of great leaders. In 1969, during the legislative polls taking place in West Bengal, no party could manage to garner absolute majority of its own. Looking at the fractured mandate, an United Front was established to form a government in order to keep Congress away from it. Ajoy Mukherjee, the leader of Bangla Congress-a faction of National Congress, having a strength of hardly forty MLAs, became the Chief Minister and Jyoti Basu of CPM succeded to become the Dy. Chief Minister, having the portfolio of Home, in the new Cabinet. This government could not even last twelve months due to the internal bickering and blame-game amongst the allies of the newly formed Front. On one occasion, Jyoti Basu being the Home Minister, led a rally at Shaheed Minar, the heart of Calcutta, was engaged in criticising the competence of his leader, the Chief Minister, and spitting venom at him. The docile Chief Minister was so scared of his deputy, that he could not hide his fear of being arrested sooner. The government had to die an unnatural death, after that incident.

This story has similarity with the one that happened in July, 2008 when the current Left Parties had withdrawn its support from the UPA government. The Left parties withdrew its support a clear nine months before the general election. The relations between the Congress and the left through out the period of four years and three months were of less sweet and more sour. It is not difficult to recollect that since the formation of the UPA government, the left parties had created at least ten moments, if not more, when they directly or indirectly warned the government to mend itself or they could use veto. Poor Manmohan Singh had to bow down or the omnipotent Sonia had to show her teeth to the crafty leaders of left parties in desisting from doing any wrong act. Sonia persisted by reminding that their unreasonable demands could bring their common foe, the BJP, closer to the power. Every time the left leaders left from the porch of 10, Janpath, they maneuvered to come back with new issues, like moneylenders. If Manmohan had been blamed for certain failure, a lot must be due to the over-indulgence of the left parties or wasting time in pacifying the left leaders.

Was the nuclear deal so important for left parties as policy matter that they decided to dump the Congress? Surely not. After the completion of two years of UPA rule, the left were devoting its thought of getting out of bonhomie with the Congress. The reason was that they felt they were losing their vote bank in their bastion, West Bengal and Kerala where the Congress is the main opposition party. Supporting the Congress to rule at the Centre became a thorn in its flesh. The State Committees of both the States of the Left kept murmuring about the ground realities. The people sought explanation, how one party opposing another in the State can sleep in one bed at the Centre? This had made the party higher- ups sit up and take notice. During that period, the Left bosses were busy with having a luxurious life at the cost of tax payer's money. Any one can ask Sitaram Yechuri, how many foreign trips he had made while supporting the government from outside?

The Indo-US nuclear deal came as a heaven sent opportunity for the left parties, and the cunning leaders pounced on to grab the issue by its neck. The Congress didn't take it very seriously, but they were fortunate to save their government with the help of Samajwadi Party. The Left now knows that they would not be able to garner same number of seats, as they have in the present Lok Sabha. Immediately after the announcement of the poll, they moved around all the regional parties to create a front that could form a government at the Centre. Surprisingly, even CPM boss Prakash Karat nodded when asked whether he would accept the post of PM, if situation so arises. Their manifasto for this coming election seems to be “beg, borrow or steal, so that we can suck the cream”.

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