Sunday, Mar 31, 2002
Front Page |
Southern States |
Other States |
Advts: Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |
By C. Gouridasan Nair
In the first major interview to be given after being re-elected general secretary of the CPI(M) for the fourth time running, Mr. Surjeet told The Hindu here today that the BJP was caught on the horns of a dilemma because it could hope to form the Government in U.P. only with the support of the Bahujan Samaj Party, but would have to suffer heavy erosion in its upper caste mass base if it did so.
"They are playing the delaying tactics to manoeuvre the situation to their advantage,'' he said.
He said it would be dangerous to allow the impasse to continue because if the Ayodhya issue hotted up again, a democratically-elected Government would be required to tackle it. The leaders of the People's Front would meet in New Delhi in four or five days to discuss the issue.
The Front may think of launching an agitation, but it was too early to say what form it would take, he added.
On the CPI's unhappiness about the performance of the People's Front, Mr. Surjeet said it seemed to be disappointment born out of high expectations. The CPI leadership appeared to have forgotten that the People's Front was different from the earlier Fronts which were formed after elections to ward off some dangers and form the Government. The People's Front had been formed on the basis of a programme. There was some commonality in political attitude and interventions were possible on that basis.
"All sorts of people were there in earlier Fronts. That was only a common ground to be in the Ministry. I had told Deve Gowda not to make this man (P. Chidambaram) the Finance Minister. He agreed with me. But when I went there, he (Chidambaram) was sitting there and Deve Gowda, in his presence, told me "I have decided to make him the Finance Minister''. What can you do when the Prime Minister says so? We will not allow this to happen now,'' Mr. Surjeet said.
He wanted the CPI leadership to clarify when they had the time to concentrate on the People's Front. Both the Communist parties were busy with their party conferences for nearly a year.
In Parliament too, some crucial issues were being discussed and the CPI(M) had to ask its MPs attending the party congress in Hyderabad to take part in the Parliament discussion on POTO.
"I don't understand why the CPI has started shouting like this. May be they can explain the situation better. I may tell you this, in all the public meetings I have addressed people are asking about the People's Front. The idea has caught the imagination of the people. Could we have fought the Uttar Pradesh elections if there was no People's Front?'' he asked.
On the rationale of the People's Front, he said it was formed to fill the vacuum being created by the BJP's decline.
"When the Congress declined, the BJP came forward to occupy that space. Can we now allow the Congress to return to fill the vacuum created by the decline of the BJP? I think we will have to go in for some action programme like filling jails with some two lakh persons. We could, for instance, focus on agriculture. The peasantry, once awakened, would not give up easily,'' he said.
Referring to the vacillation by parties such as the DMK and the AIADMK, he said there was very little principle in their politics and their only concern was power in their respective States.
"We cannot rely on these parties as far as all-India politics is concerned. Like all bourgeois parties, they are interested only in power. That is the lesson we have learnt.''
On the relegation of the Left parties from the centre-stage of national politics, he said the Left got to intervene effectively in national politics in the 80s and 90s because of the decline of the Congress.
This situation had changed with the BJP moving in to take that space. The Left should now be able to perform the same role because the BJP had shown signs of decline.
Referring to the CPI's repeated plea for Communist unity and its complaint that the CPI(M) was observing a studied silence on the issue, Mr. Surjeet said unity was not something that could be achieved through the media. He hinted that despite its public posturing, the CPI's general attitude was helpful to bring about Communist unity.
He cited the example of Punjab where, he said, the CPI had rejected his proposal for a secular, democratic front to forge an alliance with the Congress, only to be cheated by the latter. The CPI won only one seat contested by a Congressman on the CPI symbol.
"This type of politics we cannot accept yesterday's Congressman getting converted into a Communist to win an election. I don't want to enter into a debate with them or narrate what they are doing in other States. There is so much to be discussed. I have mentioned just one instance because they are raising a hue and cry about it. I challenge them to disprove what I said about Punjab. They should not use the unity theme as a weapon against us,'' Mr. Surjeet said and added that past attempts to unify the two parties had failed due to the CPI's unreasonable demands.
Asked to clarify his party's stand vis-a-vis the Congress, given the confusing signals that the CPI(M) seemed to be sending out, Mr. Surjeet said the CPI(M) did distinguish between the BJP and the Congress on the question of communalism and economic policies.
"We have always stood for the defeat of the BJP. We have not focussed on the Congress in the same way. They should be satisfied with that. But the Congress has not done that. They are fighting everyone. I don't want to comment on the stand of the other Left parties. They are free to take their position. My reading of the reports about the CPI party congress here is that they too have realised that our policy vis-a-vis the Congress is the only policy that can be followed.''
Send this article to Friends by E-Mail
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | Home |
Copyright © 2002, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of