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HVK Archives: Does the CPM own West Bengal?

Does the CPM own West Bengal? - The Observer

Dina Nath Mishra ()
June 25, 1998

Title: Does the CPM own West Bengal?
Author: Dina Nath Mishra
Publication: The Observer
Date: June 25, 1998

The CPM, which has been running a political fiefdom in West
Bengal for about two decades is by far the most worried, among
political parties, by the BJP's arrival at the centre. The
ideological leader in both UF governments, it is now trying to
provide leadership to the entire opposition, including Congress.
To dislodge the BJP-led government, the CPM seems to be ready to
accept the leadership of Sonia Gandhi despite the contrary
commitment of manifestos of various Left parties.

The unfortunate communist influence on polity has ruined the work
culture through its misguided trade union activities; has wasted
40 precious years in socialist slogan mongering; polluted
political thinking by its half-baked ideology and spoiled the
lives of lakhs of its cadre. And now, the Left leaders are bent
upon subverting the mandate of the people.

In a parallel effort, Jyoti Basu has challenged the authority of
the central government even about sending the home ministry's
team to study allegations of violence during the panchayat
elections. If there was nothing to hide, why this simulated
outrage and intemperate behaviour?

Basu sarcastically said that Advani could not do anything to stop
the killing of 25 members of a marriage party in Doda district,
but was threatening the Left Front government of West Bengal.
The fact is that Advani never threatened any state government as
home minister but went on repeating that the government was
committed to not using Article 356.

However, in keeping with Basu's belligerent stance, state home
minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya declared before mediapersons that
"law and order is a state subject and the centre can't poke its
nose in." He also told the centre to "mind its own business."

And what is the "business" of the central government? Article 355
states it is the "Duty of the union to protect states against
external aggression and internal disturbances and to ensure that
the government of every state is carried on in accordance with
the provision of this Constitution. "

It is in the exercise of this provision that the centre can take
whatever steps it deems fit in order to ensure compliance with
this Article. The imposition of President's Rule under Article
356 is the next obvious step.

It is not just the BJP's charge that the CPM has completely
subverted the democratic and bureaucratic system in West Bengal.

Complaints over pre-election violence and massive
institutionalized rigging have come in from all parties
contesting against the CPM. Several Congress MPs from West Bengal
have also complained to the home minister in writing about the
electoral fraud perpetrated and the systematic campaign of
intimidation, including murder and rape, that took place.

P R Dasmunshi, prominent Congress leader from West Bengal met L K
Advani and complained against the CPM-led government in writing.

Two decades of Stalinist rule have subverted the democratic
process completely in West Bengal and politicised Police and
civil administration. Systematic dovetailing of the party
structure with the administrative structure has facilitated the
perfection of scientific rigging. The system of 'one person, one,
vote' seems to have been replaced with one of 'no persons but
many votes'.

The whole world knows about the commitment of the Communists to
democracy and the rule of the law. The collapse of communism in
Europe and other parts of the world, in the face of an upsurge of
democratic awakening has more than adequately exposed the
hollowness of the Communist commitment to democracy.

The CPM being a party which derives its inspiration and
sustenance from foreign countries under the pretext of "the
dictatorship of the proletariat" which ruthlessly squashes
democracy has put into practice what has been perfected
elsewhere. The party have also picked up other bad habits. The
life styles, social habits and vast and varied business interests
of the children of the Marxist elite reflect this fully

It is not that only the opponents of Left Front are the victims.
All the Left Front partners of CPM have tested the bitter
treatment from Big Brother. Immediately after the panchayat
elections, in a remote village in the South 24 Parganas district
called Basanti, CPI-M workers, riding horses and covering their
faces with black cloth except the eyes, raided the village and
gunned down five members of the Front partner RSP in broad day
light because they had opposed the CPI-M in elections.

When RSP Minister Kshiti Goswami complained about it to Buddhadev
Bhattacharya in the presence of chief minister Jyoti Basu,
Bhattacharya said that those killed were "anti-socials". Flaring
up, the RSP Minister asked Bhattacharya as to who had given the
CPI-M authority to kill anti-socials, even if the RSP workers
were really so? Another RSP member described CPI-M men involved
in the killing as "butchers" and refrained from voting in favour
of the government on a motion. If this is the CPM's treatment to
its allies one can imagine the extent of violence perpetrated by
CPM workers during panchayat election on opponents.

Nobody questions that law and order is a state subject. But the
central government has to ensure that state governments carry out
their duties in accordance with the provisions of the
Constitution. It is on this count that the government of West
Bengal is failing. Jyoti Basu has alleged that only non-BJP
states are being monitored by the central government. This is
false. The Government of India is concerned with the law and
order situation in the entire nation. Basu must be aware that
Governors send in monthly reports to the centre and that one arm
of the home ministry, the Intelligence Bureau operates in every
state. Are these also unconstitutional? If law and order is
exclusively a state subject then why did the West Bengal
government request the central, government to deploy its forces
even during the recent panchayat elections? Basu further
contradicts himself when he charges the home ministry with having
failed to prevent the recent massacres in Jammu and Kashmir.

The CPM apparently presumes that West Bengal is its private
domain. They are wrong if this is their understanding of
federalism. Federalism does not mean that the states are the
political fiefdoms of whichever be the ruling party there. The
central government has a right to know about the health of the
constitutional process in all the states and will exercise this
right irrespective of the petty objections of the some political
parties. Everybody knows that routine maintenance of law and
order is a state subject. But does that mean that states are out
of bounds to the Government of India?

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