Home > Archives (2006 on) > 2013 > India’s Left and the 2014 Poll

Mainstream, VOL LI, No 47, November 9, 2013

India’s Left and the 2014 Poll

Tuesday 12 November 2013, by M K Bhadrakumar

Sadly, it needed a bloody round of communal riots in Uttar Pradesh for the Left to see the ugly face of the Samajwadi Party [SP] Government in the State. The plain truth is that the SP has been playing communal politics in UP because it is bankrupt of ideas to project during the 2014 poll and has an “anti-incumbency” factor to overcome.

In a recent statement the Polit-Bureau of the Communist Party of India-Marxist blamed the “role of the BJP and RSS in fomenting tensions”, but that is beside the point because these entities were in existence during the BSP Government’s tenure also, but Mayawati put the fear of God into them so that they knew where the “red line” ran in her realm.

The CPM statement is spot on pointing finger at the “laxity of the [SP] government” for the Muzaffarnagar riots. But that is a mere rebuke when the issue goes far beyond one of being “vigilant” about the communal forces. Communal riots have become a recurring feature of UP’s political landscape in the last year or so.

Why not call a spade a spade? Perhaps, it is for tactical reasons. But then, this raises a big question: How could the Left continue to regard the SP as a “natural ally” in the 2014 poll and the politics that follows thereafter in the formation of the next coalition government in Delhi?

There is a contradiction somewhere, for sure, in the Left aligning with a party that so unabashedly dabbles in communal politics, lacks an ideology and makes a shameless living out of identity politics. This doesn’t have to be mainstream “bourgeois politics”.

The more one thinks about, the more incomprehensible it becomes. Why should Left politics be so obsessed that they would sup with the devil if it causes some discomfort to the Congress?

The 2014 poll is shaping up to be a watershed event. And in strategic terms, there are some hard choices to be made. For a beginning, there needs to be total clarity as to where the Left belongs in the growing polarisation in the country.

It makes eminent sense tactically and strategically for the Left to work toward ensuring the formation of a UPA-III Government in which they should as well be policy-makers this time around on the basis of a common programme. Of course, this involves jettisoning the obsession with the Congress.

The SP’s dismal record as the ruling party in UP should be an eye-opener for the Left parties that it will be a disaster for the country—and for the credibility of the Left as well—to pin hopes on propping up a coalition government in Delhi comprising the so-called regional parties like the SP. Such a ramshackle set-up won’t even survive for a full term, it will set new world records in corruption and the Left will be buried so deep in its debris when it finally collapses that a recovery may not be easy. `

Ambassador M.K. Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.

ISSN : 0542-1462 / RNI No. : 7064/62 Privacy Policy Notice Addressed to Online Readers of Mainstream Weekly in view of European data privacy regulations (GDPR)