Press Statement

The Polit Bureau of Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

The Sale of India : ONGC Disinvestment

A U.S. financier, Warren Buffet, who heads an Investment Company called Berkshire Hathaway, is reported to have been the main buyer, through his nominees of course, of the ONGC shares which were sold on March 5. Buffet has close links with the oil interests in California, and is part of the inner circle of the new California Governor, Arnold Schwarzeneger, whose elevation to office was ensured through a massive use of money-power that helped to ease out the duly-elected former Governor, before the completion of his term, through an apparently democratic referendum. Buffet and the coterie around the new California Governor also have close links with the "military-industrial complex" (to use President Eisenhower’s term) and with Right-wing and fascist elements.

American oil interests have of late been trying to capture the world’s oil resources. The occupation of Iraq, the incursions into Central Asia, the attempt to topple Hugo Chavez, and even the plans to redraw the geographical boudaries of Saudi Arabia are all part of this global effort. It is sad that the Indian government is voluntarily surrendering the fate of our country to these global sharks by giving them control over our own oil resources. It is even sadder that the Disinvestment Minister actually expresses glee over the "oversubscription" of ONGC shares when this is just a fall-out of the take-over of our oil resources by American oil-interests.

Obtaining control over our own natural resources had been the result of a bitter and prolonged struggle. In a sense the real decolnization of the third world had occurred not with the handing over of formal political power to local politicians, but when the third world had wrested control over its own resources. Not surprisingly this wresting control had invited bitter opposition from the imperialist powers, leading to wars (as in the case of Egypt), coup de etats (as in the case of Iran), and economic-diplomatic conflicts (as in the case of India). Surrendering control over these resources back again to the imperialist interests represents a reversal of decolonization with a vengeance. And doing so for reasons as flimsy as "raising resources" when thousands of crores of rupees have been handed out as tax cuts to the rich is an unforgivable offence.

The argument that the proposed sale of ONGC equity does not represent handing over control is untenable. When the sale is to a big foreign buyer, retaining control would be well-nigh impossible. And as for the glee over "oversubscription", in the case of any exhaustible resource the notion of a "normal price" of the equity (any excess over which can be called "oversubscription") is absurd. The market can never express the true value of these resources; they can only be, and must be, socially-owned.
That such a sale of India is being undertaken by a caretaker government without any accountability to the Parliament and the people compounds the crime and is simply unacceptable. The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) draws the attention of the Election Commission to invoke the code of conduct under force currently to stop this illegal sale of India. The Polit Bureau calls upon the Indian people to recognise the true character of this Vajpayee government and force it through popular struggles to rescind such anti-national moves.