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Mainstream, VOL LIII, No 18, April 25, 2015

Significant and Encouraging

Saturday 25 April 2015

POLITICAL NOTEBOOK

Rahul Gandhi’s return to active politics after an extended sabbatical and Sitaram Yechury’s elevation the post of the CPI-M General Secretary have been the most significant and encouraging developments of the last few days.

What impressed one was Rahul’s unusually com-bative role against the Narendra Modi Government both in and outside Parliament. It was a different Rahul with all the facts and figures on his finger-tips; and the speeches were marked by pun, punch and caustic remarks. These were all punctuated with a rousing call to fight the Modi Government’s anti-people policies geared to serve corporate interests at the cost of the public.

Yechury’s assumption to the CPI-M General Secretary’s office, backed by vocal sections of delegates from West Bengal and V.S. Achuthanandan’s followers from Kerala, is highly noteworthy because for the first time the full blast of inner-party democracy was evident in the Marxist party since its birth in 1964. And also because someone else had been selected to be the official nominee of the party leadership headed by the outgoing General Secretary. The timely intervention from the floor of the 21st party Congress at Vishakhapatnam scuttled this attempt.

Sitaram Yechury, in sharp contrast to his prede-cessor, is not arrogant or high-nosed, can interact with all political parties with ease and aplomb. He is flexible without compromising on the basic points. His acceptability to Sonia Gandhi and the Congress High Command will be another plus point. If he can make the CPI-M an instrument of forging the unity of secular democratic forces against the Modi Govern-ment, which relies on the entire Sangh Parivar with its unconcealed fascist tendencies, he will have played a positive role at this critical juncture.

No doubt, the task will not be easy. It will require all his experience, flexibility and skill to bring the party apparatus under his control. If he succeeds it will help his party and benefit the country.

Something else should have happened but did not happen. That was the issuing of a clarion call by the CPI at its 22nd party Congress at Puducherry for the unity of all secular democratic parties. It was unfortunate that that did not take place.

But even now the CPI leaders can take the lead in evolving with the CPI-M leaders an alternative paradigm of development that is of urgent necessity today to come out of the trap of neoliberal economic policies.

At the same time the Left leadership has to understand that in the present context the need of the hour is the broad unity of all democratic and secular parties, organisations and individuals. It is their combined strength that can put up a strong resistance to the saffronisation of every aspect of life—from science to history to research to every other department of activity. If the Congress and CPI-M/CPI can take the initiative for such an all-inclusive unity, they will have discharged their historic responsibility during this critical phase of Indian history.

April 23 Analyst