Posts Tagged ‘Third Front’

THE LEFT NEED NOT APOLOGIZE FOR THE THIRD FRONT – By Ghulam Muhammed

May 20, 2009

THE LEFT NEED NOT APOLOGIZE FOR THIRD FRONT

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Third Front could have been treated as a mistake as it was led by another Brahmin outfit. However, the 4th front could have been a natural second front to oppose all Brahmin formations. Since the terms Third Front and 4th Front have never come around to be institutionalized in any formal way, the idea behind the formation cannot be treated as dead on arrival. It has logic behind the regrouping of forces against the Brahmin formations, that have delivered a very skewed governance to the country during the last 6 decades, monopolizing all goodies to a select exclusive group while rest of the people were left out in limbo. Manmohan Singh in his speech to Congress Parliamentary Party meeting had promised the world to the deprived and underprivileged majority the people the nation. But as is understood and believed widely, his speech is written by Congress professionals and Congress can hardly change its stripes, especially now that it has won such heady victory. Manmohan Singh’s own economic contribution to the populist welfare measures that met the dire needs of the populace was niggardly; in as much as, all such measures were forced on his government by his coalition partner from the CPI(M) and CPI. Without them, to expect Congress culture to be magnanimous in victory and generous with the lesser children of God, will be a tall order. 


In such a situation, a political front with clear commitment to the majority people of India that are the scum of the earth even with the much touted economic development, is a must. It is left to the Left and the 4th Front to work on the fundamentals to offer Indian people an alternative to Congress, other than that of the extremist Right formation of the same upper-caste opportunists.

 

So the space for Third Front/Fourth Front/Alternative Front is still there and Left need not apologize for charting a new course.

 

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

ghulammuhammed3@gmail.com

www.ghulammuhammed.wordpress.com

 

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Syed Nasiruddin <sydnasir@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, May 20, 2009 at 1:38 PM
Subject: CPM admits Third Front was a mistake
To: sydnasir <sydnasir@yahoo.com>


CPM admits Third Front was a mistake

20 May 2009, 0000 hrs IST, TNN
 
 
NEW DELHI: In a significant post-poll confession, CPM on Tuesday admitted its Third Front foray was a mistake, “not seen by the people as a credible 

and viable alternative at the national level”

In its first reaction after the day long-introspection by the party’s politburo, CPM also admitted that Congress gained due to NREGA, Forest Rights Act, and other social welfare measures pushed through “Left pressure”. 

Further, the party said Congress got more support amongst the “minorities and sections of secular-minded people” who were keen to ensure that BJP does not come back, in what was seen as indicating the failure of its calculation that its strong opposition to the nuclear deal would endear it to Muslims. 

But the central leadership refused to take all the blame, disputing the growing suggestion in the party strongholds of West Bengal and Kerala that the central leadership’s hardline opposition to the Congress government resulting in its pull out caused the debacle. “Both national and state specific factors are responsible for the poor performance,” said the party in a diagnosis that can potentially create conflict between state units and the central leadership. 

The candour that the third front turned out to what is being derisively referred to as “thud front” post-poll was a fiasco is significant. For, it was CPM general secretary Prakash Karat who was seen behind the initiative to assemble disparate partners, including those like BSP which it had opposed in the past, in an ambitious bid to position the motley combine as a “secular challenger” to Congress. 

Some party leaders, however, refused to blame Karat alone for the blunder. “It was the unanimous decision of the party’s central committee. How can the blame be put on one leader?” The party statement also said the non-Congress, non-BJP alliance was required so that a “credible secular alternative emerged”. 

The inquest by the politburo did not extend to the state-specific factors that led to the party’s debacle. The exercise which is expected to generate considerable tension will be done after “self-critical” review by the state committees and the central committee “which should form the basis for corrective steps”. 

However, the staggering defeat seems to have already jolted the party into taking decisions it had avoided all this long and revisiting some of those it took. Heads are expected to start rolling, at least in Kerala, by next month-end. There are also indications that the party may have to relent on its stand defending Kerala state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan who is embroiled in the Lavlin payoff case. 

In its zeal to defend Vijayan, the party leadership brushed aside the findings of CAG — something it always held sacrosanct when it came to leaders of other parties — indicting the powerful state secretary. In fact, with his reputation as a great organisational man in tatters, the central leadership may show its favourite Marxist from Kerala the door. Vijayan had painted a rosy picture of the party’s prospects saying that Left would win 16 seats. 

Chief minister VS Achutanandan is also unlikely to be spared. His open defiance of the party sent a wrong signal. Even on the day of the result, he refused to admit it was a reflection on bad performance of the state government. A day later, the Kerala government even went to the extent of advertising the state government’s achievements. 

In West Bengal, heads might not roll but the party will stress on greater coordination among Left Front partners, a fresh look at key policy areas, strengthening of the party’s political arm and establishing supremacy of the party over the government.

 
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Why CPI (M) is better placed than Congress or BJP to lead a stable coalition at the center and secure India? – By Ghulam Muhammed

May 4, 2009

Sunday, May 03, 2009

 

Why CPI (M) is better placed than Congress or BJP to lead a stable coalition at the center and secure India?

The times have changed. No single party, whether they call itself, national or regional, can on their own get a majority in the Parliamentary elections to form a government of its own. And the way, coalition partners of UPA and NDA has gained in their respective constituencies; it is natural that they would bargain to get the best positioning with their share of contribution of seats to the central coalition.

Compared to Congress, BJP is more pliable to accede to the demands of its prospective coalition partners, but it has such a checkered record of its ideological excesses, that it has lost trust of even its old allies.

Congress under Manmohan Singh is run like a dictatorship imposed on the coalition. Manmohan Singh, a widely believed choice of the USA, maneuvered into the post of Prime Ministership, with hardly any sense of accountability to the people of India, however much he may assume that he is working for the best of his country. His democratic credentials are highly questionable, both, at electoral level and at the executive level, with his haughty style of working with keeping all his moves to himself with the steely notion that he is not answerable to anybody; least to his coalition partners.

He has an Idea of India and he has every right to have an Idea of India, just like any other citizen of India. But at his level, he has to share his views with his partners, his people at large and only after getting their full consensus he can make major changes in the direction in which he proposes to take his country along.

He has miserably failed in that quarter and with his public spate with the Left and even Right, he has become a big liability to any coalition, be that Congress, BJP or Third Front. He had been a career bureaucrat and like all bureaucrats, he loves to be left untouched, unquestioned and unaccountable in his private domain. That cannot win friends and influence people.

On the other hand, his party, The Indian National Congress was gripped with sudden panic of being left in the lurch in 2009 elections and had gambled to get its old glory by going it alone without seat sharing arrangements with any of its UPA partners.

It had no time to realise that in each of the state in which it is pitting its candidates against its potential coalition partners, it is getting the kind of reputation that it could have better avoided in these days of coalition politics. In each state, the feeling of sons of soil is getting heightened mainly due to the callous and insensitive handling by the so-called ‘National Political Parties’. The general feeling is that the High Command does no know what is best. The logical conclusion is for the regionals to be allowed to stake their claim on a national government, without becoming a vassal to the so-called ‘National Parties’.

With such a scenario now unfolding, CPI (M) is the only party that could find common ground with other secular regionals, without becoming a threat to them in their respective state. It may suit CPI (M) to remain confined to the state it is ruling and leave the entire country to its potential coalition partners. At the center it will have to rule by consensus.  A public commitment by CPI (M) would ensure that people will start evaluating the gains that they will enjoy by getting the Third Front into the saddle.

This will eventually shift the national focus from secularism v/s communalism to issues of welfare and development, so dear to the people within their own immediate enclave of existence. If Dilli door ast, let Delhi be far!

Besides, CPI(M) has the best credentials to protect the nation from the dangers from the north, without getting under the yoke of US/UK/Israel axis.

 


Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

ghulammuhammed3@gmail.com

www.ghulammuhammed.wordpress.com

Afraid of the Third Front? – By Jayanti Ghosh – The Asian Age

April 28, 2009

http://www.asianage.com/presentation/leftnavigation/opinion/op-ed/afraid-of-the-third-front.aspx




Afraid of the Third Front?

 

Jayati Ghosh

April.28 : India is a complex and diverse country, with many different loyalties and identities driving the aspirations and actions of its citizens. It is also a country in which — fortunately — electoral democracy is deeply entrenched, and difficult to dislodge, with ever growing numbers of people aware of their rights and deeply committed to casting their votes.

It is therefore not surprising that the electoral process — and electoral outcomes especially in the recent past — reflect both such diversity as well as processes of change. As the political churning in India continues apace, it is likely that it will throw up newer and different combinations of parties in power. These are not necessarily results that should cause concern or fear. Rather, they are signs of a national polity that is emerging out of an immensely complicated reality, in a process that has taken several other countries much longer (often as much as a century) to complete.

This process cannot and should not follow the same pattern as the US or UK models, with two major parties alternately contending for and attaining power, because the reality of India is so very different and places such varied requirements upon central governments. Indeed, the middle class yearning for a simple binary division of the polity is completely misplaced in India. It ignores the very reasons why regional and smaller parties have come up at all, and thereby denies the genuine democratic aspirations of most people.

Coalition politics is both necessary and inevitable in India at the current juncture not only because of this diversity, but because of the very obvious failures and apparent of the two major parties. Indeed, just looking at national vote shares of the different parties in the last few elections shows how the electorate is increasingly rejecting this binary division.

The Congress Party, because of its role in the national movement, had emerged after Independence as the default national party, able for a relatively prolonged period to dominate the national political spectrum and particularly the Central government, even though other parties managed to grow sufficiently to set up state governments. But there has been a continuous decline in its national presence. From the peak in 1984 when the wave of sympathy caused by the assassination of Indira Gandhi gave it 46.1 per cent of the national vote, the share has dropped to 26.5 per cent in 2004. It controls only a small minority of state governments.

Every government that has formed at the Centre since 1989 has been a coalition of many parties, and several have been minority governments dependent upon outside support, including the current United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. So the days of one party rule by the Congress are clearly over, whether this is accepted by the Party or not.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) until recently benefited the most from the Congress’ decline, but even the BJP this far has not managed to cross much more than a quarter of the national vote — its peak vote share (in 1998) was 25.6 per cent, and it has declined since then.

These two parties claim to be very different, and certainly it is true that the Congress still claims its secular credentials in opposition to the BJP’s politics of hate and fear, which still underlie the latter’s ideology despite all the moderate masks it seeks to adopt on different occasions. It is also true the BJP is definitely the greater evil, given that its divisive politics actually sows the seeds of more violence and insecurity for the country as a whole. Yet it is also remarkable how similar these two parties have been in government, in terms of economic policies and centralising tendencies.

They have both chosen to follow neoliberal economic policies that have dramatically increased economic inequalities, caused widespread agrarian distress and made material lives more fragile and insecure for most workers. It is true that since the current Congress-led UPA government was dependent upon outside support from the Left, it did bring in some positive and pro-people measures such as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). But the basic neoliberal urge was still very evident.

Also both parties — despite being involved in coalition governments that depend upon inside or outside support from smaller and regional parties — have been extremely centralising in terms of concentrating various powers in their own hands, dictating economic terms to the state governments and forcing conditionalities that impose the same neoliberal policies upon the state governments in return for resource transfer in the form of centrally-sponsored schemes. Along with this, it is increasingly evident that both parties are hand in glove with imperialism, in ways that directly impact upon the security and sovereignty of the nation.

Since these are finally the features that affect most of the Indian people directly and indirectly, it is not surprising that these policies have not gone down well with the electorate and have further accentuated the tendency of decline of these two parties.

Things have come to such a pass that it is currently being widely predicted that these two parties together will not get even half of the total votes in the current general elections. So the claim of these two parties being the main relevant national parties is increasingly open to question.

That leaves a varied collection of parties with very different bases, perceptions, identities, ideals, political strategies and forms of organisation and mobilisation. Some of these parties have been, or continue to be associated with fronts, formed by one or the other of the two large parties. But the current evidence of the disintegration of these fronts is not without significance: it indicates that the smaller parties recognise that the role and power of these larger parties is likely to be further constrained in future.

It is obviously both unrealistic and premature to expect that such a diverse grouping (or even a large subset of this grouping) can immediately form a coherent and viable political front that is separate from the two main parties. Yet such a front is both desirable and ultimately inevitable, which is why the Left parties have already invested so much time and effort in working towards such an outcome. After all, these parties have become significant because they express and articulate the genuine concerns and aspirations of substantial sections of voters, and therefore they cannot be denied their space. And because several of them gain their political legitimacy from those who are reacting against unequal and centralising economic policies, they must eventually express this in their own economic strategies.

What is also significant is that many of them find political legitimacy among the bulk of people who have been adversely affected by neoliberal economic policies: workers and peasants, students and self-employed, those searching for jobs and those working at multiple jobs to make ends meet.

We need a Central government that acts to bring such people relief and improve their future prospects. Obviously, in creating such a government, a critical role will be played by the Left whether or not it actually joins the government.

This does not mean that simply forming such a government will rid the polity and economy of the various vices and weaknesses that currently dominate. And it is also very likely that such a government may be unstable and prone to dissolve or change because of contending pressures from the various elements in it. But this should be seen as part of a longer political process in which the legitimate demands of a federal polity and of the masses of people are sought to be met. Such a process is not always smooth and seamless; indeed it is likely to be as chaotic and colourful as Indian democracy itself. It does not make the process any less relevant or necessary.

The emergence of a viable third alternative in Indian politics is therefore a matter of historical inevitability. We should not be afraid of heterogenous political groupings, as long as they share the basic agenda of improving the lot of the common people.