The Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in New Delhi on May 7 & 8, 1999. The meeting was called to consider the situation arising from the fall of the BJP-led government and the holding of fresh elections. The Central Committee worked out the line to be adopted by the Party at the all-India level for the forthcoming general elections.
Defeat of the Vajpayee Government
The defeat of the BJP-led government in the vote of confidence was a result of the breakdown of its alliance due to the withdrawal of support by the second largest partner in the coalition, the AIADMK. Thus, the opportunistic alliance forged before the March 1998 general elections finally came apart, as anticipated by the CPI(M).
It is the reactionary features of the BJP rule which aggravated the conflicts within the coalition which was marked by perpetual uncertainty and unprincipled compromises.
The Central Committee of the CPI(M) asserted that it is ridiculous for the BJP to try and cover up the failure of the opportunist alliance by accusing the opposition and in particular the Left of `conspiring' to destabilise the government. It is the BJP and the RSS, which is responsible for the fiasco of the Vajpayee government and for cobbling together such an unstable and opportunist alliance.
The fall of the Vajpayee government marks an important advance in the struggle against the communal forces. The continuation of the BJP in power would have meant more penetration of the RSS in the State apparatus and a serious threat to the country's unity through the spread of communal divisiveness.
BJP's Unscrupulous Methods
The BJP combine did everything possible through the use of illegal money and unscrupulous methods to make a comeback after the fall of the Vajpayee government. They sought to pressurise the President and utilise the massive resources placed at their disposal by a section of big business to try and come back to power by forming a new government.
These efforts were also foiled as they could not muster the numbers beyond what they had registered at the time of the vote of confidence. The Central Committee expressed satisfaction that the BJP after being defeated in the floor of the house was prevented from coming back to power by such unscrupulous means.
The fall of the Vajpayee government should have led to the formation of an alternative government. The honourable way out for the BJP would have been to submit their resignation and give an opportunity to the opposition to form the government. Instead they resorted to various manoeuvres to remain in power.
Stand on Alternative Government
The Central Committee noted that all efforts to form an alternative secular government were not successful, despite our Party's efforts for such a formation. The CPI(M) had maintained for the past one year that in the event of the breakdown of the BJP coalition, it is the Congress party, being the largest party should form the government and the CPI(M) would support it from the outside on an issue to issue basis. Such a stand was adopted by the Party despite basic differences with the Congress, as we were fully conscious of the danger of having a communal party in the central government and to avoid another mid-term poll. It is unfortunate that the secular parties which stood together to defeat the BJP could not arrive at a understanding to form an alternative government.
The Samajwadi Party, which had earlier urged the Congress party to take the initiative to form a government, contrary to its repeated assertions changed its stand and refused to extend support to a Congress led government. This alongwith the stand taken by the RSP and Forward Bloc ensured that no alternative government led by the Congress can be formed.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) met on April 25 to take stock of the situation. It reiterated its resolve to prevent the BJP making a comeback to government. It decided to back the efforts to form a Congress-led alternative government even at this late stage. If this failed, then an alternative from the third force should be considered. Such a proposal would have some basis only if the Congress extended support to it.
The Congress party after making all efforts failed to muster adequate support to form the government. When this became clear, the Congress party refused to come forward and consider any other option such as support to a government of the third force. Its Working committee adopted a resolution stating that it would not support a government of any other party or combination. The Congress stand was motivated by its own narrow party interests and without adequate concern for warding off the communal danger. The party, which expected other secular and Left parties to extend support to it to form the government, in its turn, refused to cooperate, stating that no one else should have the opportunity to form the government. By this shortsighted stand, the Congress party has acted against the wishes of the secular minded people who wanted a non-BJP government installed.
The Central Committee strongly criticised the opportunist stand taken by the DMK which contrary to its longstanding commitment to fight the communal forces, switched its support to the BJP government prior to the vote of confidence. By this unprincipled stand, the DMK will be held responsible for aiding and abetting the forces representing majority communalism, which will harm the interests of the people of Tamilnadu.
The Central Committee discussed the tactics the CPI(M) should adopt for the forthcoming elections. The results of these elections are going to be of crucial significance. The central question will be whether the BJP will continue in power or put a secular government in place. The return of the BJP to power will be extremely harmful for national unity, parliamentary democratic system and the secular-democratic framework. The defeat of the BJP and its allies is the central task before the CPI(M) and the Left and all the secular and democratic forces.
Verdict Will Be On
BJP Government's Ignominious Record
The record of the 13-month rule of the Vajpayee government has been one of disaster for the country. The economic policies pursued by the BJP government has heaped misery on the people. The reactionary character of the BJP rule is before the people: its abandonment of Swadeshi for a pro-MNC, pro-monopoly policy; its vicious attack on the public sector; corrupt practices to favour big business houses; the sufferings of the people due to unprecedented escalation of prices of essential commodities; the dismantling of the public distribution system and the shrinkage of employment opportunities.
The BJP rule has meant penetration of RSS in the State apparatus and pushing the Hindutva agenda. The dismissal of Admiral Bhagwat was a dangerous portent.
The BJP government made efforts to communalise the educational system.
The BJP trampled on democracy by use of Article 356 in Bihar.
The BJP will be in the dock the shameful attacks on the Christian community.
The BJP is responsible for the jingoism and the chauvinism associated with its policy of nuclear weaponisation, which has spoilt relations with our neighbours.
The Vajpayee government surrendered to American pressures through the Strobe Talbott-Jaswant Singh talks and agreed to sign the CTBT, betraying the interests of the country.
It is this record of the BJP-led government, which will be rejected by the people. Contrary to the claims of the BJP that it will benefit from "sympathy" after the breakdown of its government, the people will vote on the basis of experience of its disastrous record.
The Central Committee decided to work actively for the defeat of the BJP and its allies. For this, at the national level, all efforts will be made to unite the Left, democratic and secular forces. At the same time, at the states level, appropriate tactics will be formulated keeping in mind the overall objective of fighting the BJP and its allies effectively.
While directing the main fire against the BJP, the CPI(M) will also oppose the Congress party's politics and policies in such a manner as to project the need for a third alternative. In many states, the confrontation will be directly between the Congress and the Left and secular forces. In all these areas we shall firmly fight the Congress, expose its harmful economic policies and mobilise the people to increase the influence of the Left and democratic forces.
The Central Committee decided to make all efforts to strengthen the representation of the Party and the Left in the Lok Sabha. The Left will advocate the whole range of alternative policies, which are in the interests of the working people and the ordinary citizens.
The Central Committee heard reports from the states about the political situation prevailing in the light of the elections to be held. It authorised the Polit Bureau to work out appropriate tactics and forge electoral understanding with the parties and forces who will firmly fight the BJP and its allies.
The Central Committee appealed to all its Party units to gear up to fight this crucial electoral battle. As the major party of the Left, the CPI(M) has to discharge an important role to mobilise the people to support the Left, democratic and secular forces. The Party must win more and more popular support for its own policies and candidates. The Central Committee is confident that the people will come forward to vote into office a secular government and reject the BJP and the communal forces.