The Left party here need to go in for a thorough overhaul
Dr Arambam Birajit
Political parties of India including those with a presence in Manipur, at present, can be categorized into three blocs, the largest bloc-BJP and its allies, 2nd bloc – Congress and 3rd bloc-CPI- CPI (M) led Left parties.
The first two larger blocs are not assumed to be the parties of workers and peasants while the 3rd is claiming for them. Communist party also embraces the marginalised poor and powerless people, the majority section of the society, and to analyse why Communist party have been securing lesser votes in last few elections would be very interesting and the finding will be very much useful for the society.
The quality of an MP or MLA is not a matter of ideology/principle of the individual but the price in terms of crore. With regard to ideology, everything happened recently before your eyes, say–defection before swearing in, appointment of Minister from Opposition bench, mass appointment of Ministers on ad-hoc basis. A few individuals, who are directly or indirectly benefitted from these unconstitutional practices in letter and spirit, do not accept that all these are directly proportionate to corruption. Instead, they try to sell these events as measures to bring welfare of his followers by any possible means. But, people who believe in democracy and socialism like to halt such lawless practices which can lead to social chaos and Constitutional breakdown. Nowadays, the phrase “Aaya Ram Gaya Ram” that became popular in Indian politics after a Haryana MLA Gaya Lal switched his party thrice in a fortnight in 1967 has become a normal practice for many in Manipur. This “Aaya Ram Gaya Ram” syndrome is an example of those who refrain from value based politics.
Data analysed in March 2021 by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) recently revealed that nearly 45% of MLAs who switched parties and contested election again between 2016 and 2020 have joined the BJP. On the other hand, 42% of the MLAs who defected were from the Congress and BJP was second with 5%. In bye- election, the success rate of defectors was much higher with 81% because the opportunity was predetermined. The data shows that the two largest parties are exploiting the defection culture.
Election Commission of India itself advocates election as a festival of democracy. But in reality any election particularly by-election has become a grand festival of money, lunch and dinner in every corner, gift, road show etc. Every candidate is doling out edible oil, sugar, rice and other edible items to the voters. In recent bye-elections, it has been reported that votes were bought. Actually, in my humble opinion, election is a seed sowing ceremony of democracy on which the destiny of people is to be determined. Therefore, we must be conscious of the true spirit of election. And we must be aware that the ultimate solution of what we are today, is because of the type of politics at play here. Here, a statement given by Vladimir Lenin can be recalled “If you do not interfere in politics, politics will eventually interfere your life”. If we do not crusade against “Aaya Ram Gaya Ram” syndrome today our socio-political system will go down the drain.
When our socio-political system sinks, just think how the next generation will blame us. The patriotism of the then Communist party and sacrifice of Jananeta Hijam Irabot for the cause of people and his motherland is still recalled by the people of Manipur. More or less, people believe that this legacy continued up to 70s and 80s with many ideologically committed. But the communists of today have been questioned in their attitudes since they shared power with Congress some time back. A critical analysis in this regard is very much needed to restore the trust of people as well as ideology, character, etc. The downward spiral of the Communist party, a well disciplined cadre party having its own distinctive and deep rooted political history in Manipur will obviously be to the loss of the proletariat. No political party except the Communists can prevent the defection/lawless practices of elected/selected members.
Even within the said party, it is not a question of there being no black sheep but they are few and far between. Still, the party itself is clean as the tradition of home coming or fresh coming of defectors is not there. The only remark or public trust deficit of CPI, Manipur can be illustrated by two events. First instance, after “June uprising 2001” five Left MLAs were elected in the 8th Assembly 2002 and as per demand of the then political situation of Manipur, CPI took part in the Congress led SPF-I Govt. After hardly two years, with the amendment of Article 75, downsizing of Ministers to 12 came about. A local daily conducted a survey of public opinion for retaining the deserving Ministers at around the last part of 2003. In that survey, Dr Nara, a Minister in the then Govt and also achieving the title of the cleanest politician decorated by local media was in top rank but the mandate was ignored by the party secretariat.
The second instance, in the next election i.e. SPF-II, CPI had 4 MLAS, one less than the 5 in the previous Assembly, while Congress increased to 31and another 9 MLAs from other parties supported without condition. So, the importance of CPI was diminished and there was the problem of accommodation in the Ministry. Some of them flatly spoke out to withdraw from the partnership. Besides these, after withdrawing support to Congress led-UPA Govt at the Centre on account of Indo-US nuclear deal in July 2008, CPI Manipur failed to keep their words and continued to cling on to their Ministerial chairs. In reply, people of Manipur did not let them come again in the Assembly till date. Now, two questions have arisen, one for public and another for CPI Manipur. How long we will punish them and what should Communist do to come back in the reckoning ?
The time for self correction should start now well ahead of the next Assembly elections scheduled next year.