"They are trying to oust West Bengal government"
CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat on Tuesday charged the Maoists with playing a nefarious game in collusion with the Trinamool Congress to oust the government in West Bengal and undo land and Panchayati Raj reforms there.
Mr. Karat, who was here in connection with the party’s Andhra Pradesh committee meeting, told journalists that the evidence of their collusion was clear from the way Maoist leader Koteswara Rao declared on TV that the organisation would like to see Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee as the Chief Minister of West Bengal. Their complicity stood exposed, though Trinamool was denying it.
He said both Maoists and Trinamool had “vested interests” and want to “undo” land reforms. They “did not want empowerment of peasants” that became possible through decentralisation and more powers to panchayat bodies. But the CPI(M) would not allow it to happen, though “it was being targeted,” with 70 of its cadre killed so far. It had been opposing Maoists, their “outmoded ideology” and would fight against them by mobilising people, Mr. Karat said.
On the Centre’s proposal to use force against Maoists, he said that alone would not help. They should be fought ideologically and politically and not by treating them as if they represented a terrorist outfit. The Maoists drew their sustenance from the suffering of tribals and unless such problems were addressed, it would not help.
Nexus between business and politics
Expressing concern at the “growing nexus” between business and politics, Mr. Karat referred to how three Ministers in Karnataka belonged directly to the mining syndicate in Bellary in BJP-ruled Karnataka. This “big business lobby encouraged by the BJP” was dictating terms and this type of politics was spreading to other States like Andhra Pradesh. It was a serious matter, a perversion of democracy and it had to be checked. The CPI(M) would conduct a campaign to “raise the consciousness” of the people on the issue, he said.
Admitting that the party had lost ground among certain sections in the recent by-elections, he said it would win them back. The political and organisational failures were analysed and a rectification plan was in place. But the recent loss should be seen in perspective in that seven of the 10 Assembly constituencies in West Bengal that went to by-elections were held by the Opposition. The CPI(M) lost one and won two along with its ally the All India Forward Bloc.
Mr. Karat criticised the UPA government for failing to check price rise and for going on a “backdoor privatisation” spree through disinvestment even in ‘navratna’ public sector undertakings like the NTPC. What was surprising was the way it was planning to use the funds raised from disinvestment of PSUs for covering fiscal deficit.