Interview

All secular democratic parties should come together to defeat the BJP: D. Raja

CPI general secretary D. Raja. File

CPI general secretary D. Raja. File | Photo Credit: S. Siva Saravanan

The 24 th Party Congress (national conference) of the Communist Party of India (CPI) will be held in Vijayawada between October 14 and 18. Ahead of the meeting, the CPI’s National Council recently released a draft political resolution (DPR) which will be discussed at all levels of the party. The DPR says that the “BJP misrule” has plunged the country into a deep crisis. CPI general secretary D. Raja talked to The Hindu in detail about various aspects of the DPR. Excerpts from the interview:

The last Party Congress of the CPI, held four years ago in Kollam, said there’s rightward shift in Indian politics. In the 2019 elections, BJP retained power. How do you assess the political atmosphere in the country now?

When BJP came to power in 2014, we said it was not just a change of government, but a characteristic change. BJP is nothing but a political wing of RSS whose ideology is divisive, sectarian and communal-fascist. After Mr. Modi returned to power in 2019, RSS has become quite aggressive. RSS has direct control over the BJP.

Since 2014, the BJP-RSS combine has been destroying the secular and welfare character of Indian State. BJP is giving de facto status to a particular religion. The Prime Minister is converting even Constitutional ceremonies into religious ceremonies. This has never happened before.

Along with this, the entire economic policy is now pro-corporate. The government is destroying the welfare character of the State. States are losing their financial powers. Atrocities against minorities, Dalits and Adivasis and attacks against those who question the government have increased. This is nothing but fascism. The characteristic of this government is fascist.

The DPR says the system of governance in China, Cuba, Vietnam and Laos are model systems. Why?

After the collapse of Soviet Union, people thought socialism is dead and it is the end of history. We never agreed to this position. Now socialism’s global influence is growing. While capitalism has become a system of unprecedented exploitation and inequality, socialism as an ideology has thrived. That is what we witness in Latin America and in Europe. In France and Germany, the Left gained in the recent elections. Even in India, Mr. Modi often says that communism is a dangerous ideology. Mr. Modi recognises that ultimately he has to face communism. For him, socialism is a threat.

The socialist systems in China and Vietnam helped them handle the COVID-19 crisis in a much better way. They were with the people. In India, we did not encourage our public sector companies in pharmaceuticals. Private sector pharma companies looted the people amid a crisis. That is why we say that socialism is the ultimate alternative.

The DPR suggests an alternative economic programme. You are not in power. How will you implement them?

We are critical of the neo-liberal economic policies aggressively pursued by this government. Every sector is facing a crisis and economy is in a bad shape. At the same time, people need a sensible alternative beyond the criticism of these policies. That is where we identify public education, public health, housing, employment, right to food and land as the fundamental issues of livelihood of the people. We should mobilise the people on these issues and fight against the government. Corporatisation of agriculture is being promoted. But instead we should promote cooperatives of farmers. It will not snatch away their land rights. It will help farmers in production and marketing. Even if we are not in power, these initiatives can be taken up as cadre responsibility. 

Left unity and Opposition unity is facing challenges. How will you combat BJP in the upcoming Assembly elections and in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls?

2024 is a critical election. We have been saying that all secular democratic parties, social movements and the Left should come together to defeat the BJP. We need national-level unity of the Opposition. The Left should be ideologically conscious to play an important role. Left unity becomes imperative in this process. A united Left can galvanise the democratic forces together.

The historic developments in the country demand that communist parties should be united. There is no meaning of Left unity when communist parties are functioning as small parties and groups. Communist unification based on principles is our objective. We are not suggesting any mechanical unification. We have to assess the national and global situation and each communist party must think how we can work out a common programme. This is the need of the time.

The President election became a fight between two ideas — the idea of the RSS and the idea of secular and democratic India. We tried our best to build secular democratic unity. Our candidate Yashwant Sinha got more than 35% votes, which is not a small thing.

The Trinamool Congress should explain the logic of the stand it took on the Vice-Presidential election to the people. But every party has to draw lessons from these elections and should do serious introspection. Every party should be responsible in fighting for the defence of the Constitution, democracy and the people. That will lead to a common understanding and common effort for building a broader coalition.


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Printable version | Aug 8, 2022 2:09:40 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/interview/opposition-must-learn-lessons-from-prez-v-p-elections-d-raja/article65742187.ece