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Mainstream, VOL. 52, No. 21, May 17, 2014

Political Bankruptcy of the Left

Monday 19 May 2014, by Barun Das Gupta



The Central Secretariat of the CPI issued a statement on May 6, which says: “CPI wishes to make it clear that as far as the TMC led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee is concerned, she is actually helping the BJP by polarising the West Bengal voters on communal lines. Her attack on the BJP is a got-up game.”

The statement betrays the pathetic political bankruptcy of the entire Left, not of the CPI alone. Because the accusation that Mamata Banerjee’s relentless criticism of Narendra Modi as the face of communal riots is a ‘got-up game’ is the common refrain of all the Left parties. It reminds one that in the early 1930s, the German Communists, under the directive of the Comin-tern, dubbed the German Social Democratic Party as a ‘Social Fascist’ party, and attacked it from the Left, while the real fascists, the Nazis, attacked the SDP from the Right. The result was that the SDP—social fascists, according to the German Communists—was liquidated and the real fascists, the Nazis, came to power.

What happened next? Hitler became the Chancellor of the Third Reich on January 30, 1933. In less than a month, on February 27 to be precise, the Nazis burnt down the German Parliament or Reichstag and immediately put the blame on the Communists. This was the ruse to begin a countrywide massacre of the communists. Eventually, the international communist movement realised the fatal mistake it had committed and it was left to the Bulgarian Communist leader, Georgi Dimitrov, to give the clarion call for building up a United Front against Fascism with the slogan: ‘March separately but strike together’.

If Modi comes to power, the Indian Commu-nists may be forced to realise the fatal mistake they are committing now by refusing to join hands with all anti-fascist, anti-communal and secular forces. But such a realisation, if it does come, may be a little too late, as in the case of the German Communists. The Indian Commu-nists, it seems, have learnt nothing from history.

The charge that not Modi but Mamata is ‘polarising the West Bengal voters on communal lines’ is preposterous. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The boot is on the other leg. It is not Mamata but Modi who is trying to bring about a communal polarisation among the voters of West Bengal by repeatedly threatening that the ‘Bangladeshis’ (that is, Bengali Muslims) will be deported to Bangladesh if he comes to power. Since he has not defined the term ‘Bangladeshi’, by implication it also includes the tens of millions of Hindu refugees who came to India from East Pakistan and later from Bangladesh. But no, the BJP’s logic is that whether a person is an illegal infiltrator or not depends on his religion. If he is a Hindu, he is a refugee and must be accepted and rehabili-tated. If, on the other hand, he is a Muslim, he has to be evicted and sent to Bangladesh.

Mamata, on the other hand, has been consistently countering the mischievous Modi propaganda by repeatedly asserting that all the people of West Bengal, irrespective of their religion, are Indian citizens and nobody can drive them out of the State or deprive them of their citizenship. The BJP is playing the same divisive politics in Darjeeling where it has just stopped short of openly saying that it is in favour of a separate Gorkhaland. It is trying to deepen the wedge that the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has already driven between the Gorkhas and Bengalis.

To the CPI, CPI-M and their fellow Left parties, unity of all Left, democratic and secular forces is desirable, sans the Trinamul Congress and its leader. From Mayawati to Jayalalithaa to Naveen Patnaik, everyone holds the secular card and is entitled to have a chair at the Third Front table, except Mamata Banerjee. This is Left sectaria-nism at its worst. The Left is against the neo-liberal policy of Manmohan Singh but Mamata—who pulled out of the UPA Government on the question of allowing FDI in retail, a component of the neo-liberal policy—is treated as a pariah.

History has now provided the Indian Left with a unique opportunity of unifying all parties, organisations and individuals committed to secularism, democracy and an open society as against the communal fascism of the RSS and BJP, whose representative Modi is. But going by their attitude and dictum, the Left are likely to miss the bus again. The tragedy is that it is not merely they but the entire Indian people who may have to pay heavily for the Left’s political bankruptcy.

May 11, 2014

Barun Das Gupta



Salt Lake,


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