Tuesday, 21 March 2017

ML Update
A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol.  20 | No.13| 21- 27 March 2017
Adityanath As UP CM Exposes Communal Core Of Modi’s Pro-Corporate ‘Development’ Agenda
The BJP won decisive victories in the Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls. However, in Goa, the mood of the mandate was certainly against the ruling BJP, with six of eight sitting BJP Ministers including the outgoing CM losing the elections and the Congress emerging as the single largest party. The BJP however effected a virtual coup in Goa, patching together a post-poll coalition with the legislators of the Gowa Forward Party that had projected itself as a staunchly secular party, as well as the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and several other MLAs who had contested the elections on a specifically anti-BJP plank. In a shocking breach of propriety, the Goa Governor admitted that she consulted the Union Finance Minister and BJP leader Arun Jaitley before choosing to invite the BJP to form Government in Goa. In Manipur also, where there was a hung Assembly with the Congress as the single largest party, the BJP cobbled together an opportunist post-poll alliance with some MLAs to stake claim to form government, with the cooperation of the Governor. In Uttar Pradesh as well, the BJP’s choice of Chief Minister amounts to an attempt to manipulatively interpret the mandate as being for an explicit agenda of aggressive Hindutva. The BJP’s poll campaign sought a mandate based on overt promises of pro-poor ‘development’ and ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ (Inclusion and Development For All), accompanied with calculated doses of communal dog-whistles about ‘Romeo squads’ or ‘shamshan vs kabristan.’ The choice of Yogi Adityanath as Chief Minister mocks any notion of inclusiveness or development, since Adityanath’s only USP is naked, blatant communal, casteist, and patriarchal hate-mongering and violence.
The BJP has tried to soften the decision by appointing two Deputy CMs including Keshav Prasad Maurya, whose appointment as BJP State President had helped win the support of many backward castes for the BJP. But it is starkly clear that Adityanath’s appointment as CM, far from signaling a nod to voter fatigue with ‘caste-based politics’ or to inclusion of the hitherto marginalized non-Yadav BCs and non-Jatav Dalits, on the contrary signals a return to upper caste consolidation in Uttar Pradesh politics.  
Yogi Adityanath has earned notoriety as a communal bigot, whose private militia Hindu Yuva Vahini is responsible for fomenting communal violence all over eastern Uttar Pradesh. Adityanath himself has several serious criminal charges pending against him.
In a series of inflammatory speeches over the years, he has threatened to “kill 100 Muslims for every Hindu killed”; “get 100 Muslim girls into the Hindu fold for every Hindu girl who marries a Muslim”; “install statues of Gauri and Ganesh in every mosque”; he has advised those who do not do yoga or worship Lord Shankar to “leave the country”; to organize a boycott of actor Shah Rukh Khan’s films which would reduce him to “wandering on the streets like an ordinary Muslim.” He has publicly recommended curbs on Muslim population so as to avoid riots. In his approving presence his supporters have made public speeches calling for stripping Muslims of the right to vote and raping the corpses of dead Muslim women.
Till recently, prominent defenders and ideologues of the Modi Government were prone to argue that Modi stood for a lofty ideal of ‘development’ while it was only a ‘lunatic fringe’ represented by the likes of Adityanath who indulged in communal hate-speech and violence. Some of Modi’s most ardent supporters had even gone to the extent of demanding publicly that Adityanath be thrown out of the BJP and jailed. BJP’s choice of UP Chief Minister has put paid to all such claims of tensions in the saffron camp between the ‘development’ agenda and the communal one. It underlines the basic unity and continuity in agendas of the Prime Minister, the central government, and the RSS, marked by a simultaneous pursuit of aggressive pro-corporate and communal Hindutva goals. Essentially, the so-called saffron Hindutva ‘fringe’ actually constitutes the core of BJP’s and the Modi Government’s politics, where communal rhetoric coexists with rhetoric of corporate-led development and digitalization.     
Adityanath is on record opposing women’s reservation in political forums on the grounds that this has a bad impact on their primary roles as mothers and wives and adopting ‘masculine roles’ turns women into ‘demons.’ He has argued openly for women to be kept under masculine restrictions and regulation by their father, husbands or sons. He is also on record asking for restrictions on SC/ST and OBC reservations. Such views are a reminder that the ‘New India’ goal that Modi speaks of is nothing more or less than the Hindu Rashtra, where the obscurantist and hierarchical worldview of the RSS constitutes the core of all the BJP’s rhetoric of modern economic ‘empowerment’ and ‘development.’  That worldview, apart from being inimical to the identity and rights of Muslims and various other minority communities as equal citizens, is intensely hostile to bids for equality and dignity of women or oppressed and backward castes.    
Ever since Modi became Prime Minister in May 2014, his agenda of corporate-communal fascism has been met with powerful all-round resistance and democratic assertion, every step of the way. March 2017 will in no way dampen this resistance and assertion, and will instead unleash new waves of people’s struggles. 

സമാജ് വാദി പാർട്ടി  മാതൃക മുന്നോട്ടു വെച്ച
'മതേതരത്വ ' വും ഹിന്ദുത്വവാദ  ചങ്ങാത്തവും  ഒരു ചൂണ്ടുപലകയാണ്: 
ഉത്തർ പ്രദേശ്  2007 / 2017

(ലിബറേഷൻ മാസിക , 2007 മാർച്ച് ലക്കത്തിൽ  പ്രസിദ്ധീകൃതമായ ഒരു റിപ്പോർട്ട് ആസ്പദമാക്കി  സി പി ഐ (എം എൽ) ലിബറേഷൻ 
പോളിറ്റ് ബ്യൂറോ അംഗം സഖാവ് കവിതാ കൃഷ്ണൻ  ഫേസ് ബുക്കിൽ 
21 -03 -2017 ന് പ്രസിദ്ധീകരിച്ച  കുറിപ്പ് അവലംബം )

ത്തുവർഷങ്ങൾ മുൻപ് യു പി യിൽ  മുലായം സിംഗ് നേതൃത്വം വഹിച്ച സമാജ്‌വാദി പാർട്ടി സർക്കാർ സംഘപരിവാർ ശക്തികളെ എങ്ങിനെയെല്ലാമാണ് സഹായിച്ചിരുന്നത് എന്ന് സി പി ഐ (എം എൽ ) പ്രസിദ്ധീകരണമായ ലിബറേഷൻ മാസിക മാർച്ച് ലക്കം ,2007 പ്രസിദ്ധീകരിച്ച ഒരു റിപ്പോർട്ട് തുറന്നുകാട്ടിയിരുന്നു.
അന്ന് മുസ്ലിംവിരുദ്ധ വർഗ്ഗീയ ആക്രമണങ്ങൾക്ക് നേരിട്ട് നേതൃത്വം നൽകിയ ആദിത്യനാഥിനെ അറസ്ററ് ചെയ്തതിന്റെ പേരിൽ ജില്ലാ മജിസ്‌ട്രേറ്റ് ആയിരുന്ന ഹരി ഓമിനെ യു പി ഗവണ്മെന്റ് സ്ഥലം മാറ്റിക്കൊണ്ട് ശിക്ഷിക്കുകയായിരുന്നു. സംഘ് പരിവാർ ശക്തികളെ മുലായം സിംഗ് സർക്കാർ  പലതരത്തിലും സഹായിക്കുകയും പ്രോത്സാഹിപ്പിക്കുകയും ചെയ്തിരുന്നുവെന്ന് മാത്രമല്ല,  അവരുടെ പ്രവർത്തനങ്ങൾക്കു പൊതു ഖജനാവിൽ നിന്നും പണം അനുവദിക്കുന്നതിന് പോലും ഒരു സങ്കോചവും കാട്ടിയില്ല. 'മിയാ(മുസ്ലീം) മുലായം' എന്നു സംഘികൾ പരിഹാസപൂർവ്വം വിളിക്കുന്ന മുലായമിൽനിന്നു മോദിയെ ഗാഢമായി ആശ്ലേഷിക്കുന്ന മുലായമിലേക്ക്‌ അത്രയൊന്നും ദൂരം ഇല്ല എന്ന വസ്തുത കണക്കിലെടുത്താൽ ,  ഉത്തർ പ്രദേശ്  സമാജ് വാദി പാർട്ടിയുടെ 'മതേതര' ഭരണത്തിൽ ആയിരുന്ന കാലത്തെക്കുറിച്ചു ഗൃഹാതുരയോടെ ചർച്ച ചെയ്യുന്നത് ഒരു വൃഥായത്നമായിരിക്കും .മുലായമിന് ശേഷം വന്ന സമാജ്‌വാദി പാർട്ടി ഗവണ്മെന്റിനെ നയിച്ച അഖിലേഷ് യാദവിന്റെ നയങ്ങളും  മേൽ പറഞ്ഞതുപോലയുള്ള വിഷയങ്ങളിൽ ഒട്ടും വ്യത്യസ്തത പുലർത്തിയില്ല.
2013 ൽ മുസഫർനഗറിൽ കലാപം അഴിച്ചുവിട്ട ഹിന്ദുവർഗ്ഗീയ വാദികളെ തടയാൻ ഒരു ശ്രമവും നടത്താതെ കയ്യും കെട്ടി നോക്കിയിരുന്ന  അഖിലേഷ് യാദവിന്റെ ഗവണ്മെന്റും കാട്ടിത്തന്നത്  എന്തുമാത്രം കാമ്പില്ലാതേയും അവസരവാദപരവും ആയിട്ടാണ് ഇത്തരം ശക്തികൾ 'മതേതര' രാഷ്ട്രീയം കൈകാര്യം ചെയ്യുന്നത് എന്നാണ്.

## അടുത്തകാലത്ത് ഗോരഖ്പൂരും സമീപസ്ഥമായ ഒരു ഡസനോളം ജില്ലകളും പാർലമെന്റംഗമായ യോഗി ആദിത്യനാഥും അനുയായികളും ഇളക്കിവിട്ട വർഗ്ഗീയ ലഹളകളുടെ പിടിയിൽ അമർന്നിരിക്കുകയാണ്.  യോഗി ആദിത്യനാഥ്  ഈ മേഖലയിൽ   ഹിന്ദുത്വവാദികളുടെ  കടന്നാക്രമണങ്ങളുടെ പുതിയ പ്രതീകം ആയി മാറിയിരിക്കുന്നു. ഹിന്ദു യുവാവാഹിനി എന്ന പേരിലുള്ള ഫാസിസ്ററ് പാരാട്രൂപ്പർമാരുടെ സംഘം കഴിഞ്ഞ ഒരു ദശവർഷത്തിലേറെയായി ഈ പ്രദേശത്ത് ജീവിക്കുന്ന ന്യൂനപക്ഷ സമുദായാംഗങ്ങളെ തങ്ങളുടെ ആക്രമണ ലക്ഷ്യമാക്കിവരുന്ന ഒരു സാഹചര്യത്തിൽ   ഗോരഖ്‌പൂർ ജില്ലാ മജിസ്ട്രേട്ടും സഹഉദ്യോഗസ്ഥരും അവരെ അറസ്റ്റ് ചെയ്തുവെങ്കിലും, മുലായം സിംഗ് സർക്കാർ ഈ ഉദ്യോഗസ്ഥരെ  സസ്‌പെൻഡ് ചെയ്തും സ്ഥലം മാറ്റിയും ശിക്ഷിക്കുകയായിരുന്നു. 
മുഖ്യമന്ത്രി മുലായം സിംഗ് മാറ്റിനിയമിച്ച  ജില്ലാ മജിസ്‌ട്രേറ്റ് ചുമതല ഏറ്റെടുത്ത ഉടൻ യോഗിയുടെ കൂടിക്കാഴ്ച നടത്താൻ ജെയിൽ സന്ദർശിക്കുകയുണ്ടായി.  ഈ നടപടികളെല്ലാം വർഗീയ ശക്തികൾക്ക് പ്രോത്സാഹനം നൽകുന്നതായിരുന്നു. മുസ്ലീങ്ങൾക്കെതിരെ ആദ്യം തുടങ്ങിയ ചെറിയ തോതിലുള്ള ആക്രമണങ്ങൾ ക്രമേണ ബസ്തി, ഖുശി നഗർ, ദിയോരിയ തുടങ്ങിയ പ്രദേശങ്ങളിലും മറ്റിടങ്ങളിലും വ്യാപകമായി. 
'ലഹളകൾ' നിയന്ത്രിക്കുന്നതിന്റെ പേര് പറഞ്ഞു മുലായം സർക്കാർ ഈ പ്രദേശങ്ങളിലെല്ലാം നിയോഗിച്ചത് ന്യൂനപക്ഷങ്ങൾക്കെതിരായ പക്ഷപാതത്തിന് കുപ്രസിദ്ധി നേടിയ പി എ സി യെയായിരുന്നു. ഹിന്ദു യുവാ വാഹിനിയുടെ അക്രമിസംഘങ്ങൾ മുസ്ലീങ്ങളുടെ വീടുകളും ബിസിനസ്സ് സ്ഥാപനങ്ങളും കൊള്ളയടിച്ചതും തീവെച്ചതും പി എ സി യുടെ ഒത്താശയോടെയായിരുന്നു. പി എ സി യെ നിയോഗിച്ചതിനു ശേഷമാണ് ഖുശി നഗർ ജില്ലാ ആസ്ഥാനമായ പദ്രൗനായിൽ ആക്രമണങ്ങൾ  നടന്നതെന്നും, മുസ്ലീങ്ങളുടെ വീടുകളും സ്ഥാപനങ്ങളും കൊള്ളയടിക്കാനും തീവെക്കാനും ആൾക്കൂട്ടത്തെ പി എ സി ഇളക്കിവിടുക പോലും ചെയ്‌തു എന്നും സി പി ഐ (എം എൽ) വസ്തുതാന്വേഷണ സംഘം കണ്ടെത്തി. മറ്റു പല സ്ഥലങ്ങളിലും ഇതേ മാതൃകയിൽ ആക്രമണങ്ങൾ നടന്നിരുന്നതായും പ്രസ്തുത സംഘം ചൂണ്ടിക്കാട്ടി.     
നേരത്തെ മൗ എന്ന സ്ഥലത്ത് നിരപരാധികളായ അര ഡസൻ ആളുകൾ വർഗ്ഗീയ ആക്രമണങ്ങളിൽ കൊല്ലപ്പെട്ടപ്പോൾ 72 മണിക്കൂറോളം ഒരു നടപടിയും സ്വീകരിക്കാതെ വെറുതേ നോക്കിനിൽക്കുകയായിരുന്നു മുലായമിന്റെ ഗവണ്മെന്റ്. മൗ വിൽ ഹിന്ദുക്കളെ മുസ്ലീങ്ങൾ കൂട്ടക്കൊല ചെയ്തുവെന്ന് ആർ എസ്സ് എസ്സും ബിജെപിയും തെറ്റായ വാർത്ത പ്രചരിപ്പിച്ചു ആളുകളെ ഇളക്കിവിട്ടപ്പോൾ മുലായം സർക്കാർ ആ വാർത്തയുടെ കള്ളത്തരവും ദുഷ്ടലാക്കും തുറന്നുകാട്ടാൻ ഒന്നും ചെയ്തില്ല. മൗ വർഗീയ ലഹളയിലും പ്രധാന പങ്ക് വഹിച്ചത് ഹിന്ദു യുവാവാഹിനിയായിരുന്നുവെന്ന  സത്യം പുറത്തുവന്നത് പിന്നീടായിരുന്നു.   
 വർഗീയ ശക്തികൾക്കെതിരായ പോരാട്ടത്തിൽ യു പി യിലെ മുസ്ലീങ്ങളുടെ രക്ഷകനായി മുലായമിനെ സങ്കൽപ്പിക്കുന്നവരെ ഒരു പക്ഷെ ഞെട്ടിപ്പിച്ചേക്കാവുന്ന ഒരു സംഗതിയുണ്ട്. 2007 ഫെബ്രുവരി 11-13 തീയ്യതികളിൽ അലഹബാദിൽ സന്തുകളുടെ ഒരു സമ്മേളനം സംഘടിപ്പിക്കാൻ വിശ്വ ഹിന്ദു പരിഷത്തിന് മുലായം സർക്കാർ പൊതുഖജനാവിൽ നിന്ന് എടുത്തുകൊടുത്തത് എട്ടു കോടി രൂപയായിരുന്നു. 'സന്ത്‌ സമ്മേളന'ങ്ങളുടെ മറവിൽ വി എച് പിയുടെ ഫാസ്സിസ്റ്റ് പ്രോപഗാൻഡയ്ക്ക് സഹായകമായ പോസ്റ്ററുകളും കൂറ്റൻ ഹോർഡിങ്ങുകളും നിർമ്മിക്കാൻ സർക്കാർ പൊതു ഖജനാവ്    
ദുരുപയോഗം ചെയ്തതിനെതിരെ അലഹബാദ് ഹൈക്കോടതിയിൽ സമർപ്പിക്കപ്പെട്ട ഒരു പൊതുതാൽപ്പര്യ ഹരജി ഇപ്പോഴും തീർപ്പ്കാത്ത് കിടക്കുകയാണ്. പ്രസ്തുത ഹരജിയിൽ ആവശ്യപ്പെടുന്നത് യു പി സർക്കാർ പൊതുഖജനാവില്നിന്നും  നൽകിയ തുക വി എച് പി യില്നിന്നും തിരിച്ചു ഈടാക്കാനാൻ കോടതി ഉത്തരവാകണം എന്നാണ്.
     2007 ഫെബ്രുവരിയിൽ ലക്‌നൗ വിൽ ബി ജെ പിയുടെ നാഷണൽ എക്സിക്യൂട്ടീവ് യോഗത്തിനെത്തിയ ബി ജെ പി നേതാക്കൾക്ക് 'ഔദ്യോഗിക അതിഥി' (സ്റ്റേറ്റ് ഗസ്റ്റ്) പദവി നൽകി    സമാജ്‌വാദി പാർട്ടിയുടെ സർക്കാർ ആദരിച്ചു. ആഡംബര ഹോട്ടലുകളിൽ പാർപ്പിച്ചതടക്കം എല്ലാ ചെലവുകളും പൊതുഖജനാവിൽനിന്ന് നിറവേറ്റിക്കൊടുത്തത് ഇതേ 'മതേതര' യു പി ഭരണ കൂടമായിരുന്നു. ഇതിൽനിന്നെല്ലാം ലഭിക്കുന്നത് സമാജ്‌വാദി പാർട്ടിയും ബി ജെ പിയും തമ്മിൽ നിലനിൽക്കുന്ന തന്ത്രപരമായ ബന്ധങ്ങളുടെ വ്യക്തമായ ചില സൂചനകൾ ആണ്. പ്രസ്തുത ലക്‌നൗ നാഷണൽ എക്സിക്യൂട്ടീവ് സമ്മേളനം ബി ജെ പി യെ സംബന്ധിച്ചിടത്തോളം ആക്രമണോല്സുകമായ  ഹിന്ദുത്വ അജൻഡയിലേക്ക് 'തിരിച്ചു പോകാനുള്ള' സുപ്രധാനമായ ഒരു കാൽവെപ്പായിരുന്നു എന്നതും അവഗണിക്കാനാവില്ല.           
 മുസ്‌ലിം വിരുദ്ധ വർഗ്ഗീയതയും വിദ്വേഷവും ആളിക്കത്തിക്കുക എന്ന  ലക്ഷ്യത്തോടെ രാമക്ഷേത്രം, 'മുസ്‌ലീം പ്രീണനം', ഭീകരവാദം തുടങ്ങിയ വിഷയങ്ങൾ  യുക്തിരഹിതമായ വാദങ്ങളോടെ ആവർത്തിച്ചുപയോഗിക്കുന്ന ബി ജെ പി  മുഖ്യമന്ത്രിപദത്തിന് യോഗ്യൻ എന്ന നിലയിൽ അവതരിപ്പിക്കുന്നതു മുസ്‍ലീം സമുദായത്തിന്നെതിരെ  വിദ്വേഷത്തിന്റെ കടുത്ത ഭാഷ ഉപയോഗിക്കുന്ന    കല്യാൺ സിംഗ് ആണ്. ## 

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Maruti Verdict Is A Vindication Of The Truth
In the trial court judgement on 10 March 2017, 117 workers of the automobile company Maruti Suzuki's factory in Manesar, Gurgaon, India were acquitted of a murder charge. 18 workers were convicted of minor offences while 13 – all leaders of the Maruti union – have been convicted of murder and await the quantum of punishment, to be declared on March 17, 2017.

The trial court verdict is a partial victory and vindication of the truth: the very fact that 117 workers have been acquitted exposes the hollow, vindictive and arbitrary nature of the entire prosecution case. The fact that most of the workers have been proved innocent is a triumph of the Maruti workers' struggle in a very unequal battle against the nexus of the management, the entire capitalist class, the State and the corporate media that had painted them all as a murderous mob.

The 13 workers convicted for 'murder' are all – unsurprisingly – leaders of the Union. Leaders of the Trade Unions in Maruti in Manesar and Pricol in Coimbatore are being punished for sticking their necks out and daring to lead the struggle of workers to form a Union and demand implementation of labour laws.

Laughably, prosecution witnesses in the Maruti case named accused workers in an orderly, alphabetical manner. That is, police arrested workers indiscriminately, listed and grouped them alphabetically, and then assigned each group an 'eyewitness' who claimed to have seen them 'rioting'! The State appointed a very high profile lawyer on exorbitantly high fees - Special Public Prosecutor KTS Tulsi – to head the prosecution team.

The Madras High Court recently overturned the conviction of 6 of 8 workers of the automobile company Pricol's Coimbatore factory. The High Court retained the conviction for two of the Pricol 8, but reduced their sentence to life imprisonment. The Maruti and Pricol workers plan to challenge the convictions of their comrades in higher courts.      

 Not only must the struggle for acquittal of all Maruti and Pricol comrades continue, we must also demand action against police officers who falsely implicated large numbers of innocent workers in murder cases without the slightest iota of proof. 

Lessons of the Assembly Elections:
Resist Communal Polarization and Subversion of Democracy; Challenge the Pro-Poor Posturing of the Modi Regime 
The results of Assembly elections in the five states of Punjab, Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh have once again stunned political observers and exit poll pundits. The BJP was widely perceived to be having an edge over its contenders in both Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, but nobody could predict the kind of sweeping victory the party has won in the two states. In Punjab, where the AAP was expected to be an equal claimant to power as the Congress, it was the latter which notched up a decisive victory giving a rude shock to the AAP's ambitious expansion plans. In Goa too, the Congress re-emerged as the single largest party with five of the eight BJP ministers including the CM losing the elections and the BJP tally dropping from 28 to 13, but making a complete mockery of the anti-BJP mandate, the BJP has imposed Manohar Parrikar as the CM. Even in Manipur, where the BJP emerged as the second largest party, the Governor has invited the BJP to form the government.
While Assembly elections usually have their respective state-specific contexts, the UP elections were destined to have a major ramification for the national balance of forces. In 2014, the victorious Modi campaign had won more than a hundred seats from UP, Bihar and Delhi. In the subsequent Assembly elections, the BJP fared badly in both Delhi and Bihar. A poor result in UP would have meant a major setback for the BJP. Moreover, coming in the wake of the dramatic demonetization move of the Modi government, the UP elections virtually also became a mid-term referendum for the Modi dispensation. There can now be no denying the fact that Modi has managed to pull off an astounding win in UP delivering a crushing blow to the Congress as well as powerful regional parties like the SP and BSP ahead of the 2019 elections. It is therefore important for every defender of democracy to make a sober analysis of the UP outcome to understand the dynamic and confront the BJP game plan.
Given the triangular nature of electoral contests in most UP seats, many political observers and most exit polls had predicted a hung Assembly with the BJP coming close to the majority mark. But to put things in perspective, we should remember that after a series of fractured mandates, hung assemblies and unstable coalitions, the pattern in UP has settled in favour of clear majorities since 2007 with the BSP and SP completing full five-year terms. Having swept the polls in 2014, the BJP was already in the most advantageous position as the most likely claimant for power. Moreover, the defeat in Bihar had taught the BJP a major lesson where it could not match the extended social reach of the RJD-JDU-Congress combine. It therefore tried to replicate the social engineering success of the BJP-JDU combination with a clear focus on ‘Mahadalits’ and EBCs (the non-Jatav Dalits and non-Yadav OBCs), both independently in its own party profile and projection and through its alliance with parties like the Apna Dal and the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party.
This so-called ‘inclusive’ social coalition projected by the BJP however glaringly left out the sizable Muslim community. In fact, the coalition was cemented through a shrill communal campaign led from the front by the Prime Minister himself. Those who berate the SP and the BSP for their narrow identity-based politics often conveniently overlook this specific manner in which the BJP plays its caste and community cards camouflaging it as ‘nationalism’ and now increasingly as empowerment of the poor.
The SP election campaign, dogged by a fierce internal feud that almost threatened to split the party, was no match for the high-voltage BJP blitzkrieg and the SP’s claim of ‘development’ sounded like a tired UP edition of the failed ‘India Shining’ propaganda of the Vajpayee era. Showcasing a partially completed metro rail network in Lucknow or a hastily inaugurated Lucknow-Agra expressway as symbols of development and letting the election campaign revolve around a hollow ‘Kaam Bolta Hai’ (the work done by the government speaks for itself) claim struck little chord with the electorate in a state where vast regions reeled under drought, poor infrastructure and lack of basic services and amenities.
The big gains made by the Modi regime in this round of Assembly elections will undoubtedly embolden the Sangh brigade to intensify its fascist offensive by all means at its disposal. For the forces of democracy, this clearly calls for greater mobilization and preparedness to resist. The BJP will of course try and cite the election results as an overwhelming popular endorsement of the demonetization disaster. But then, if the outcome in Uttarakhand and UP is cited as an endorsement for demonetization, by the same token, the results in Punjab and Goa must be seen as an emphatic rejection of the move. If the people in UP and Uttarakhand have voted for the BJP despite demonetization, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that the compelling mood for a change of government in these two states prevailed over the discomfort and pain caused by demonetization.
Indeed, if the people appear to have tolerated the disruption caused by demonetization, it is with the hope that this would indeed curb black money and punish the corrupt rich. Modi’s new-found pro-poor rhetoric, schemes promising an improvement in the appalling living conditions of the poor and the narrative of financial inclusion and digital empowerment have also created an impact. We must now pay serious attention to the task of challenging the new-found pro-poor pretensions of the Modi regime with effective mobilization of the working people for the fulfillment of their rights and aspirations.
ML Update
A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol.  20 | No.12 | 14- 20 March 2017

Saturday, 18 February 2017

BJP’s Poisonous Poll Campaign
IN THE ONGOING ASSEMBLY ELECTION CAMPAIGN in various states, most notably the state of Uttar Pradesh, the BJP has once again unleashed a communal campaign aimed at consolidating Hindu voters against the imaginary Muslim enemy.
The BJP Manifesto for Uttar Pradesh promises to set up ‘anti-Romeo quads’ outside college campuses. While the BJP President Amit Shah claims these are aimed at curbing incidents of sexual harassment of women students, the BJP’s national co-convenor Sunil Bharala has made the communal and anti-women agenda of ‘anti-Romeo squads’ amply clear. Bharala declared that the squads are aimed at acting against Muslim men involved in “love jehad” – the BJP’s term for consensual relationships between Muslim men and Hindu women.
This is not the first time the BJP has invoked the bogey of “love jehad” in an election campaign. Bharala also recalled that danger of “love jehad” was the rallying cry for the communal violence of Muzaffarnagar in 2013 that had helped Modi win the 2014 polls. During the 2014 poll campaign, BJP President Amit Shah had invoked the Muzaffarnagar communal violence to ask the Jat community to vote BJP, saying “people are forced to riot” when “a community violates the honour of our daughters and sisters.” A recently leaked audio clip also revealed Amit Shah appealing to the Jat community not to desert the BJP in 2017, reminding them that their proximity to “BJP ideology” goes back several centuries, “farther back than riots.” Shah, in this appeal, reminded the Jats that Sanjeey Balyan (Modi Cabinet Minister accused in Muzaffarnagar riots) had “aged 7 years in the past 2 years helping to free riot-accused (Jat) boys.” In flagrant violation of EC rules against communal and casteist campaigns, the BJP is invoking imaginary rapes and real anti-Muslim riots to appeal to Jats and Hindus to vote for the BJP.     
The BJP’s star campaigner in UP Yogi Adityanath has also repeatedly invoked the “dangers of love jehad” and campaigned for “anti-Romeo squads.” It may be remembered that the same Adityanath was among the BJP MPs who, in 2010, publicly declared their defiance against the party whip issued to vote for the Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament. Adityanath’s attitude sums up the BJP’s ideology towards women: their posture of ‘protection’ only masks their hostility to women’s own autonomy and assertion.
Along with “love jehad”, Adityanath is leading BJP’s UP campaign with another mythical bogey: that of the “exodus of Hindus from Kairana.” Adityanath has compared Kairana in Western UP to Kashmir in 1990, claiming that Hindus are being forced to flee – in spite of the fact that Hindu residents of Kairana have declared such claims of a communal exodus to be bogus. Adityanath claims that Eastern UP is free from such eviction of Hindus and crimes against Hindu women, because of the countervailing presence of his own vigilante Hindutva brigade.
The BJP Manifesto and campaign in UP also promises to abolish the practice of triple talaq – declaration of divorce in one sitting – prevalent among Muslims. A whole gamut of personal laws – including but not confined to Muslim personal laws – require reform to ensure gender justice. By focusing on triple talaq alone, the BJP projects the Muslim community as uniquely opposed to gender justice and progress. The BJP Manifesto’s promises of ‘anti-Romeo squads’ (with the undertone of protecting Hindu women from Muslim men) and ‘abolition of triple talaq’ (to protect Muslim women from Muslim men) offers a platform for anti-Muslim consolidation in a progressive and pro-women guise.     
Modi, addressing election rallies, taunted the former PM Manmohan Singh for his ability to ‘wear a raincoat while taking a shower’ – i.e maintain a clean image while being surrounded by scams. The metaphor applies much more aptly to Modi himself. Manmohan Singh could project an appearance for personal honesty in spite of his Government’s involvement in rampant scams and crony capitalism, but he and his Government did face the brunt of public anger for the same. Modi both as CM of Gujarat and as PM of the country has managed to evade scrutiny and accountability not only for cold-blooded encounter killings on his watch, but also for violations of civil liberties and witch-hunt of activists as well as for a series of scams and instances of crony capitalism benefiting corporations like Adani, the Ambani brothers, Raheja, Mallya and Lalit Modi.
Modi has mastered the art of wearing a raincoat not only in a scam-shower but in a bloodbath. His lieutenants are openly using communal mud and blood to tarnish the poll climate – even as Modi himself cloaks himself in the raincoat of ‘development.’ In fact, Modi, Amit Shah and the BJP hope that the communal hate-mongering will be able to deflect from widespread public resentment against the Note Ban diktat. The ongoing Assembly polls are an occasion to administer a firm rebuff to the communal propaganda of the BJP and assert the democratic concerns of the people.  
ML Update
A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 20 | No. 8 | 14-20 February 2017

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Budget 2017 and Deepening of the Demonetization Disaster

This year the annual budget was tabled on the first and not the customary last day of February. This was also the first time when the railway budget was stripped of its separate existence and appended to the general budget almost as a passing footnote. Most importantly this was a budget presented right on the eve of a crucial round of Assembly elections. In ordinary times, the budget would perhaps have been deferred till the elections were over, but these are extraordinary times with the trappings of an undeclared Emergency, and the budget was considered an essential electoral ingredient for the ruling party. Even the news of the unfortunate demise of Kerala IUML MP E Ahmed was sought to be stopped from becoming public till the budget was presented and when the news eventually became known the traditional obituary courtesy was also sacrificed at the altar of political expediency.
For the common people of India, the real point of interest about this year's budget however lay in the fact that it came in the wake of Modi’s massive demonetization blow. The Prime Minister had himself promised that the fifty days of pain were but a gateway to a new era of gain. Having withstood the pain, the people were looking forward to the budget for the promised gain. The Sanghi rumour brigade which had earlier been agog with the presumed mythical powers of the new 2000 rupee note, worked overtime with promises of redistribution of wealth from the corrupt rich to the honest and hardworking poor. Even the Economic Survey of the government preceding the budget talked about a 'windfall' gain from demonetization in terms of extinguished notes and mooted the idea of a universal basic income! Viewed in the context of the demonetization-hit people and the economy, the budget has turned out to be not only a damp squib but a brutal betrayal.
There is one most glaring and inescapable fact about demonetization that the budget has sought to evade. The scrapping of the two big currency notes has not managed to extinguish any currency, almost the entire amount of scrapped currency came back to the banks ruling out any possibility of a windfall gain for the government exchequer. Whether the forcible harnessing of 86% of the currency in the banking system will yield any additional tax revenue is anybody's guess, the government just does not have the machinery to investigate every deposit and tax claims made by the government will anyway be subject to protracted litigation and dispute resolution processes.
By all accounts, demonetization has squeezed demand in the economy by destroying jobs, lowering income, weakening purchasing power and making transactions difficult across the board by creating a massive cash crunch. Projections for economic growth have been revised downward by all agencies and even the government’s own economic survey has had to acknowledge it. Against this backdrop of depressed demand, the budget should have been used as a corrective instrument to increase public expenditure and boost demand. But in the name of ‘fiscal prudence’, the government has adopted precisely the opposite course to further curtail expenditure.
The only increase being highlighted by the government is a marginal increase in MNREGA outlay, which is however less than the revised estimate of expenditure on this count incurred last year. MNREGA is supposed to be a demand-driven employment guarantee scheme and the real subversion of the scheme is taking place through a progressive reduction in the wage component vis-a-vis administrative costs and a growing role for contractors and machines which the Act was supposed to avoid altogether.
In his demonetization discourse, Modi has often talked about the growing inequality in India and pointed to the ridiculously low level of income declaration and tax payment among the rich. What he of course does not disclose is that it is the super rich which have been the backbone of his support whether in Gujarat or now at the Centre. His organic intimacy with the likes of Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani has been common knowledge and the rise of Adani’s economic muscle has happened in tandem with the rise of Modi’s political fortunes. The share of the top 1 per cent in the country’s total wealth has grown significantly during the two years of Modi rule at the Centre – from 49% in 2014 to 53% in 2015 and 58% in 2016. Fifty-odd top business houses claim as much wealth as the bottom 70% of Indian people.
Has the budget done anything to challenge this growing inequality? The answer is a loud NO, if anything the budget has only reinforced the process where mass impoverishment is mirrored by continuing concentration of wealth in fewer hands. Demonetization itself disproportionately affected the people, while the poor were hit hard, the rich had every protective cushion at their command. And now the budget has only handed out tax cuts to the limited number of direct tax payers while the common people are left high and dry with the growing burden of indirect taxes.
The main thrust of the budget has been a stronger push for further digitalization of the Indian economy. While the public sector has already been effectively downsized and dismantled through disinvestment, public-private partnership and outright privatisation, the government is now bent upon dismantling the remnants of a welfare framework by propping up the so-called JAM platform (a convergence of Jan-dhan accounts, Aadhar cards and mobile internet). The Universal Basic Income mooted in the Economic Survey is only a step in this direction.
Instead of ensuring universal welfare measures including a minimum income for all, the UBI scheme being talked about would only replace the existing welfare measures with a paltry amount of direct cash transfer to a targeted group. We have already seen the travesty of such targeting which results in large-scale exclusion of the needy and the deserving from basic welfare measures, and if the measures will now be replaced by a token amount of cash transfer, it can only sound the death-knell of any notion of mass welfare.
The restructuring of the state that began with the onset of the policies of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation a quarter century ago has thus reached a new and alarming level. The so-called economic retreat of the state which has already resulted in unprecedented accumulation and concentration of wealth through corporate exemptions and write-offs is now being stretched to a complete abandonment of the welfare agenda and abdication of the responsibilities of the state in this regard. The republic is being systematically redefined with steady devaluation and subversion of the institutions and processes of democratic accountability and citizens are being reduced to the status of subjects at the mercy of the king. And now in the name of digitalization the state is arming itself with extraordinary powers of intrusive surveillance.
Both demonetization and Budget 2017 should be seen in this unfolding political context. While the government arms itself with a digitally powered state-corporate convergence, we must confront it with a counter-convergence of wide-ranging struggle for people’s rights, with a rainbow of popular resistance to the state-corporate tango.
ML Update
A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine
Vol. 20 | No.7 | 7- 13 February 2017

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Comrade Srilata Swaminathan
(29.04.1944 - 05.02.2017):
An Inspiring Revolutionary Journey

- Kavita Krishnan

Veteran CPIML leader Comrade Srilata Swaminathan passed away in Udaipur (Rajasthan) in the early morning of 5 February. She was 74. Comrade Srilata had suffered a brain stroke on 28th January night and was rushed to a hospital in Udaipur where she breathed her last following a cardiac arrest.
Comrade Srilata was born in Chennai on 29 April, 1944. After finishing college she came to Delhi and joined the National School of Drama and subsequently went to London to pursue her interests in theatre. But back in Delhi in 1972, her life took a decisive turn. She joined the CPIML and began organizing farm workers in Mehrauli region of Delhi. She also worked among hotel workers in Delhi. During the Emergency she was imprisoned in Tihar jail for a period of ten months following which she was interned in Chennai. For Comrade Srilata this only meant an opportunity to plunge back into trade union work among Port and Dock workers.
After the Emergency was lifted in 1977, Srilata returned to Delhi and shifted base to Rajasthan in 1978 to start working among Adivasis, women and various sections of working people from rural bonded labour and displaced people to trade unions in the mining sector and various industries. For a woman with an elite background and upbringing to adopt rural Rajasthan as her area of Marxist activism was a bold decision that typically reflected Srilata's revolutionary zeal and political courage. Till her last breath she worked to strengthen the revolutionary Left movement and spread and defend progressive ideas and values against the deeply entrenched feudal-patriarchal forces and communal-mafia nexus in Rajasthan.
Following the early 1970s setback to the CPIML, Comrade Srilata worked for some time with Comrade Kanu Sanyal, but the rise of the IPF in Bihar attracted her attention and following the highly inspiring Delhi rally of the IPF in October 1990, Comrade Srilata joined the CPIML along with Comrade Mahendra Chaudhary, her husband and comrade-in-arms, and hundreds of other comrades. She was elected President of the All India Progressive Women's Association in the mid 1990s. At the Varanasi Congress of the CPIML in October 1997, she was elected a member of the Central Committee, a responsibility she continued to discharge till she had to be relieved on health grounds at the Ranchi Congress in April 2013. She was also a Vice-President of the All India Central Council of Trade Unions.
Comrade Srilata was a remarkably versatile activist with great creative energy, infinite enthusiasm and strong political will. She withstood every adversity in life with characteristic resilience and powerful sense of humour. When her deteriorating health stopped her from attending the AIPWA National Conference in Patna in November 2016, she composed and sang a song for the delegates and sent the audio clip to the conference. With her wide-ranging concerns and activism, Comrade Srilata was a natural bridge between the CPIML and various streams of progressive democratic ideas and action. She had high respect for all struggles of the people for a progressive cause and had great hopes from the CPIML-led struggles in Bihar and Jharkhand. She had deep empathy for the people and felt deeply for all her fellow comrades working on various fronts.
Comrade Srilata's illustrious legacy will continue to inspire us to carry forward the struggles of the oppressed people for dignity, democracy and social emancipation.
Red Salute to Comrade Srilata Swaminathan!
(The message and photos originally posted by the author as her Facebook status)