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India's vanishing Communists

Discussion in 'National Politics' started by CONNAN, Apr 26, 2011.

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  1. CONNAN

    CONNAN Major ELITE MEMBER

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    RED flags flutter. Hammers and sickles are daubed in lurid colours by the roadside. Placards of plump, bearded leaders—Marxist answers to Father Christmas—are propped near coconut palms. At an election tour in the southern state of Kerala, crowds of Communists are putting on a dutiful show of support. Yet few expect to see their party back in office next month.

    The comrades are out to hear Prakash Karat, their grey-haired general secretary who counts, by the geriatric standards of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), as relatively youthful. He sets no hearts racing. At rally after rally desultory applause meets his comments on food inflation and graft, promises of subsidised rice and swipes at the “bourgeois†Congress party.

    His message is dated. India’s economy is racing ahead and the bourgeoisie is thriving. A claim that “only India’s 59 dollar-billionaires†are prospering rings false: anyway, many in the audience are too busy fiddling with their mobile phones to pay it much heed. Keralites prosper from globalisation: one-in-four households has a relative toiling in the Gulf. “We are a consumption state, cashing 20,000 crore rupees ($4.5 billion) each year from migrant relatives†points out Gopa Kumar, a professor at the local university.

    Voting took place on April 13th and the Communists are likely to be kicked out. Christians and Muslims, with nearly half Kerala’s population, have swung against them over a botched attempt to cap fees at privately run religious schools. Keralites, India’s best educated people, are famously crotchety and like to boot their incumbents out. The Reds have run the state for 28 of the past 54 years, mostly alternating with the Congress party since 1957, when Kerala became the world’s first parliamentary state (tiny San Marino aside) to vote communists into office.

    More painful is their pending defeat in West Bengal, which, with 91m people, is bigger than Germany. The Communists have run it non-stop since 1977, with large majorities. That spell should end after a staggered series of polls that began on April 18th. Over 80% turnout that day and long queues of voters in the north suggest Bengali voters are hungry for change.

    A high-ranking party leader concedes “the odds are against usâ€: people are fed up with the chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, better known as “Buddhababuâ€. The Marxists held West Bengal mostly thanks to farmers, who have long been grateful for land reforms in the late 1970s. But hostility to business, the collapse of textile factories, and labour and capital flight have all battered industry.

    As Bengalis grew desperate for jobs beyond the paddies, so Buddhababu shifted, telling outsiders after 2006 how fond he was of trade and asking investors like Tata Motors to set up in the state, once the capital of India’s car industry. But his efforts got nowhere. Bungled attempts to grab land, and protests by farmers, scared Tata and others away.

    His fate looks likely to be sealed by a pact between the Congress and Trinamul Congress parties who have united (just about) behind the national railways minister, Mamata Banerjee. If the Communists lose, the only remaining Red state will be little Tripura, a poor and neglected patch of 3.6m people wedged behind Bangladesh in the far north-east. That marks a dramatic collapse in fortunes. Just three years ago the Communists had a power-sharing deal with the national government and were strong in parliament and state assemblies.

    Their failures are mostly local. Mr Karat admits to feeling “boxed inâ€. The party cannot appeal to identity politics, because the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) draws Hindu nationalists and regional leaders such as Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh rally low-caste backers. And judged on policies, the Communists are being squeezed by Congress’s left-leaning plans for an expanded welfare state.

    Tactically, too, they have erred. They could have joined the Congress-led national government in 2004, promoted young leaders and taken charge of welfare, argues Ramachandra Guha, author of a book on modern Indian history. Instead, invoking Lenin—whose white marble bust still adorns the party headquarters in Delhi—they sat outside, first backing, then trying to topple the government over a civil-nuclear deal with America. They could also have campaigned harder against corruption. “They are probably the only politicians in India who don’t have Swiss bank accounts,†suggests Mr Guha. But social activists, judges and the BJP got there first.

    Their influence has mattered. They urged hostility to America in the Cold War and statist policies that choked economic growth for decades. More helpfully, they pushed literacy and women’s rights, and opposed “untouchability†and the caste system. A battering at the polls, when results are published on May 13th, will not quite finish them off: younger leaders with more flexible ideas may be back in office in a few years’ time. But a curtain, of sorts, is falling on Indian Communism.

    India's vanishing Communists: Red and buried | The Economist
     
  2. Guynextdoor

    Guynextdoor Lt. Colonel SENIOR MEMBER

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    Yeeeeeeeeaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!! Now that's what I'm talkin about dudes....let the party begin !!!!
     
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  3. Osiris

    Osiris Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    CPI (M) and Left front will retain Kerala and West bengal...even if CPI (M) lost in both states there will be no harm to Party,CPI (m) have a strong Cadre base in both state and no one can harm it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2011
  4. RoYaN

    RoYaN Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

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    I prefer the commies over the BJP any Day!!!
     
  5. ek_indian

    ek_indian Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

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    India needs communists. Since BJP and Congress both follows similar capitalist policies, there should be some balance. I understand left parties too have their own deficiencies. However they and so-called rightist organisations (RSS and co.) are two ideological pillars. They are opposite yet both are necessary.

    Congress does follow a single theory - opportunism.
     
  6. Naren1987

    Naren1987 Captain SENIOR MEMBER

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    Not me,
    compare the economies and Governance in Bengal to Gujarat.
     
  7. Guynextdoor

    Guynextdoor Lt. Colonel SENIOR MEMBER

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    Party party party party!!! :biggthumpup::bounce-grn::smitten::partay:
     
  8. MAFIAN GOD

    MAFIAN GOD Captain SENIOR MEMBER

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    Left front will surely lose W. Bengal this time.
    Mamata didi is tearing the left front apart in Bengal.
    I think Left front will retain Kerala.
     
  9. Bad Wolf

    Bad Wolf Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    i love communism ,Russia and Stalin
     
  10. Guynextdoor

    Guynextdoor Lt. Colonel SENIOR MEMBER

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    :bounce-grn::biggthumpup::toast_sign:Party party party party!!!
     
    1 person likes this.
  11. Naren1987

    Naren1987 Captain SENIOR MEMBER

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    Stalin killed more people than Adolf Hitler,mate WTF are you talking about.
    And could you name any country that prospered through communism?
     
  12. Bad Wolf

    Bad Wolf Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    china
     
  13. Naren1987

    Naren1987 Captain SENIOR MEMBER

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    That is a mixed economy, not Communism.
     
  14. Bad Wolf

    Bad Wolf Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    it is communist nation
    and tell me name of any country which is not having mixed economy
     
  15. Osiris

    Osiris Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    :crazy::crazy:
     
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