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Mainstream, VOL LI, No 14, March 29, 2014

An Open Letter to Prakash Karat

Wednesday 2 April 2014, by Bharat Dogra

Respected Prakashji,

Greetings. We are passing through a critical phase of important decision-making before the crucial general elections this year. As the most prominently placed leader of the biggest Left party with a national-level presence, your role is very important in these times and people look up to you and your colleagues to make decisions which are carefully chosen to bring the most benefits, short-term and long-term, to the toiling masses of India.

You and your colleagues have rightly pointed out the dangers of BJP/NDA rule, particularly in the present phase when it is led by Shri Narendra Modi. You’ve also rightly pointed out the glaring failures of the UPA Government led by Dr Manmohan Singh. Again, you’ve very rightly emphasised the need for alternatives to the BJP/NDA and the Congress/UPA.

But beyond this, kindly allow me to point out, you’ve faltered very badly in your efforts to identify the alternatives. The alternative you are pursuing involves some kind of an alliance of the CPI-M and its Left Front partners with several regional parties some of which have been ruling parties in some States, now or in the past.

However, while the Left Front parties are supposed to be firmly opposed to neo-liberal economic policies, some of these parties you’ve trying to involve in an alliance have no problem with such economic policies. There are other major problems also in evolving a common programme, let alone ensuring its honest implementation.

Instead of pursuing such a vague and opportunistic alliance, it is the duty of the leading Left party to strive for a broad unity of Left parties. So your effort should be based on a broad unity of all Left parties, big and small, who abide by the Constitution of India and do not reject elections. In addition efforts should be made to bring as many people’s movements and progressive people to this alliance. The entire effort should be on the basis of a common programme dedicated to equality and justice, peace and communal harmony.

The AAP’s recent spectacular performance in Delhi’s elections reveals that people are ready for alternatives to the BJP and Congress. A question for the CPI-M is - with all its support-base among workers, students, youths, women etc., why hasn’t such a significant effort been made yet by the leading Left party and its allies? Please do not evade such questions and please try to seek true answers, if real lessons are to be learnt for the future. It is extremely important to take remedial action, learning from the failures in the past, to make the Left forces a real contender in India’s elections.

Bharat Dogra

C-27, Raksha Kunj, Paschim Vihar, New Delhi-110063

(Tel.: 011-25255303)