Opposes Pranab’s “neo-liberal policies and pro-US stance”

The unequivocal decision of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to support Pranab Mukherjee’s candidature for the post of President has now come under fire from within. The Students’ Federation of India, which is affiliated to CPI (M), has criticised the decision in one of the Left’s strongest bastions of student politics – Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The JNU unit of the SFI at a meeting on Wednesday expressed its displeasure and resolved its unequivocal opposition to the CPI (M)’s decision. “This is more than just an ideological stand; we debate all issues concerning the world beyond the university and this decision of the party is something that we feel strongly against and we are firm that we will continue with this stand after the university re-opens,” said JNU Delhi State Committee president Roshan Kishore. The meeting was convened during vacation time and had the support of 37 votes, with only two opposing votes and seven absent members.

The crux of the resolution read thus: “The SFI-JNU Unit expresses its deep concern at the disruption of Left unity on the issue of supporting the incumbent Finance Minister of the UPA Government, Pranab Mukherjee, for the Presidential election. The largest force within the Left, the CPI (M), has decided to extend support to Pranab Mukherjee. After due consideration, the SFI-JNU Unit finds the CPI (M) stand to be unconvincing and not in the best interests of the Left and democratic movement.”

The reasons for the stand taken by the student body are very clearly expressed in the body of the resolution. “Pranab Mukherjee, who held important positions in the UPA Government, has played a key role in implementing neo-liberal policies and cementing India’s strategic alliance with US imperialism, both of which are detrimental to the interest of the Indian people. Pranab Mukherjee’s record as Finance Minister is mired with failures to check inflation and unemployment alongside shameless defence of high-level corruption,” it read.

The resolution further stated that other Left parties’ decision to abstain from the poll would have been appropriate for the CPI (M) in the given situation.

Roshan Kishore added that the CPI (M) decision had come under fire from the other Left student organisations in the university and that for once the SFI had agreed with them. “Although we are competitors in politics, we are united on this front,” he said, adding that although the student body was affiliated to the CPI (M), it was not a political party but a mass organisation of students and that they had every right to pass this resolution.

The ending of the resolution details the right of the student body to take a public stand against the CPI (M). “The stand adopted by the SFI-JNU Unit on this issue is fully in keeping with the principles laid down in the SFI programme,” it said.

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