Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary, CPI(M) and Sudhakar Reddy, General Secretary, CPI have issued the following statement:
The BJP and the Prime Minister have threatened to go to all the Left constituencies protesting against the Left parties role in the so-called “disruption” of the parliament, particularly the Rajya Sabha. Official statistics report that the Rajya Sabha worked for a barely nine per cent of the allotted time. The BJP displays selective amnesia by forgetting that the Rajya Sabha functioned for just two per cent of the time in the 2010 winter session. The BJP then led the disruption demanding action against those involved in corruption belonging to the then UPA government led by Dr. Manmohan Singh. “What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander” is wisdom of an old saying that the BJP refuses to learn from.
However, two wrongs never make a right.
Who Caused the Disruption?: The Left parties had demanded that the serious allegations of corruption against the External Affairs minister and Chief Ministers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh be probed and until investigations are completed the concerned individuals should either demit office or be removed. It was the Prime Minister who declared to the Nation from the Red Fort in 2014 that he will not be Pradhan Mantri but the Pradhan Sevak. The Left parties were asking the Prime Minister to apply the same rules that apply to all government employees in the country that till investigations into allegations are completed the person concerned demits office. The parliament was disrupted because the BJP refused to accede to this accepted procedure. Therefore it is BJP’s arrogance and obduracy in implementing this procedure that caused the disruption of parliament. Thus, they are singularly responsible.
Left Parties Role in Parliament: The Parliament’s responsibility as constitutionally mandated is to legislate; raise issues of public importance forcing the government to act and importantly to make the government accountable for its actions or inactions. The Left parties MPs were discharging and shall discharge in the future these responsibilities in the parliament. It is the Modi government, which is seeking to avoid being accountable that has led to this wash out of the Monsoon session of parliament.
BJP’s Contempt for Parliament: By now it is clear that the BJP is seeking to undermine parliamentary procedures. In over a year not a single Bill has been referred to the parliamentary standing committees for scrutiny. This undermines an important function of parliamentary democracy. The Modi government is seeking to bypass the Rajya Sabha, where it does not have a majority and steamroll its legislative proposals through the ‘tyranny of majority’ that it demonstrates in the Lok Sabha. Further, it is seeking to misuse the constitutional provision of the declaration of legislative business as “Money Bills” on which the Rajya Sabha does not have any decisive say. These are very dangerous authoritarian tendencies that the Left parties will relentlessly oppose.
Left Parties Preventing Economic Development: The BJP campaigns that parliamentary disruption has prevented the legislation of the Goods and Services Taxes (GST) and the promulgation of the new Land Acquisition Act. This, according to the BJP, is preventing economic growth and development in the country.
This is a complete fallacy. The GST Bill is a constitutional amendment that has to be mandatorily approved by a two-thirds majority of MPs present and voting in both the Houses. Even after this, the Bill has to be adopted by a majority of the state assemblies, with two-third of the MLAs present and voting. Only then can the GST be enacted legally. It is an illusion to suggest that once the Rajya Sabha passes it, economic growth will blossom from the next day. Further, there are serious issues involved regarding Centre-State relations, a fundamental feature of our Constitution, regarding the rights of the states to raise resources. These need to be settled through a consensus amongst the central and state governments. For six long years it was the BJP that prevented this legislation from coming into force through its state governments.
The real story lies elsewhere. The BJP in search for alliances is seriously wooing the AIADMK. The Tamilnadu government has expressed serious reservations on this Bill. The BJP, in order not to antagonize the AIADMK, has allowed the GST Bill not to be passed. It uses the parliamentary disruption as an excuse for this. It is BJP’s obduracy that in the first place has caused this disruption.
The new Land Acquisition legislation proposed by this BJP government is before a Joint Parliamentary Committee whose report was to be presented in the last session. This committee is headed by a senior BJP MP. This committee did not submit its report and has now sought extension of time. With a majority in the JPC and a BJP chairman, the Modi government ensured that the unprecedented third ordinance it has issued promulgating the new land Bill lapses. This most likely has been done keeping the forthcoming elections to the Bihar assembly in mind where the BJP does not want to antagonize the Bihar kisans before the elections. This has happened because of the BJP’s crass electoral opportunism. Now it blames the opposition, particularly the Left.
The BJP’s call for campaigns in the Left constituencies in the country is an open declaration by the PM and the RSS urging its cadres to sharpen communal polarisation in these areas. This in fact has been the only agenda that this Modi government is assiduously pursuing. After disrupting the parliament the RSS/BJP are now declaring that they will disrupt communal harmony and peace in those constituencies that have elected Left MPs.
Further, the BJP and the Modi government are targeting the Left parties because they consistently advocate pro-people economic policies and relentlessly oppose anti-people policies. Also because the Left parties are the most consistent and steadfast upholders of communal harmony in the country.
Left parties declare that they will openly meet this RSS/BJP’s challenge all over the country. Communal polarisation in pursuance of the worst vote bank politics by the RSS/BJP will be defeated amongst the people by the Left parties.