Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Who are you to Question Me asks Brinda Karat to Karunanidhi...

The DMK chief, M.Karunanidhi wondered, recently, as to how the CPI(M) and the other Left parties could even think of an alliance with the AIADMK, whose leader J.Jayalalitha had supported the kar seva in Ayodhya in 1992. And the CPI(M)’s politburo member, Brinda Karat responded to that within no time: She pointed out that Karunanidhi and his party had been with the BJP even when the Gujarat riots had taken place and that the DMK leader, hence, had no locus standi to raise questions on the secular conviction of others!

Well. Both sides were right in the factual sense. It is a fact that Jayalalitha had supported the kar seva at Ayodhya in July 1992 (wen it was only a symbolic event) and subsequently in December 1992, she was with the various other BJP leaders at the National Integration Council meeting. And Karunanidhi, at that time, had expressed himself against the BJP and its Ayodhya campaign. This was notwithstanding the fact that the DMK was part of the National Front Government between December 1989 and September 1990, which depended on the BJP for its survival.

Jayalalitha, in fact, was consistent with her views on the Ayodhya issue for several years after the Babri Masjid was demolished. She went ahead with striking an electoral alliance with the BJP ahead of the 1998 general elections and her AIADMK helped the BJP win Lok Sabha seats from Tamil Nadu. The party also sustained the Atal Behari Vajpayee Government until April 1999 and also pulled it down then by withdrawing support. The DMK, all this while, was on the other side of the communal-secular divide.

And the CPI(M) as well as the other left parties were opposed to the AIADMK essentially because Jayalalitha went with the BJP. Things changed after April 1999. Murasoli Maran indicated that change on the floor of the Lok Sabha when the confidence vote in favour of Atal Behari Vajpayee and his Government was being debated. The vote was necessitated due to the AIADMK’s decision to withdraw support. Let me now quote Maran in the Lok Sabha in that instance: ``Now that the ghost has been exorcised from the NDA, we will have no hesitation joining the front’’!

The DMK’s alliance with the BJP lasted until November 2003. In other words, Brinda Karat was right; the DMK remained with the BJP, with Murasoli Maran and T.R.Baalu as Union Ministers unmindful of the anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat in the couple of months after February 2002. And the ties snapped only a few months before the May 2004 general elections.

But then, Brinda Karat simply forgot that her party and the DMK were on the same boat in May 2004 and along with the Congress. The CPI(M) then did not have any problems having an alliance with the DMK that was doing kar seva to the BJP even at the time of the Gujarat riots! And this happened in the name of secularism!

The point is about the culture of scuttling a public discussion and the arrogance that the leaders display when it comes to accounting for their acts. In other words, in a democracy, it is imperative for political parties to explain their position and show the courage to apologise for their faults. Instead, the culture now is to scuttle any debate by simply pointing fingers at the infirmities of the other.

The objective behind doing this is plain and simple: We are all guilty of infirmities. All of us are opportunists. And let us agree to hush things up and stay clear of pointing finger at each other. Well. The people certainly know that the parties, across the spectrum are guilty of crass opportunism. And they are also dealing with them with a certain kind of contempt. The problem, however, is that they are left without another alternative.

Take for instance the spectre of corruption. Political parties have ceased to raise that. The truth is that there seems to be a consensus. That we are all guilty of that and let us not point fingers at each other. This is also evident on the issue of governance. Parties have ceased to raise the issue of development and governance because they all belong to one category in this case too.

And we found this in the debate on terrorism too. Recall the sad spectre of the BJP blaming the Congress for the tragedy in Mumbai; and the Congress retorting by recalling the attack on Parliament or the exchange of under-trials for hostages in Kandahar.

It is simple to describe all this as the pot calling the kettle black. The difficulty, however, is to identify as to which is the pot and which is the kettle. And in a broader sense, this culture of running away from a debate and the lack of courage to own up past mistakes is inimical to democracy and the parties must realise that their own existence depends on the democratic edifice surviving. In other words, there is no place for political parties in an undemocratic structure.

4 Comments:

Blogger Communist said...

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4:07 PM  
Blogger Communist said...

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10:35 AM  
Anonymous Tiger said...

Mr. Communist

A serious doubt here. How does a revolutionary like you find the time to comment on each and everyone of KA's articles? Shouldnt you be out there, waging the war against the bourgeoise, rather than idling away in front of your monitor?

Or do you belong to those breed of online rebels who seek to bring about a communist revolution from their AC rooms, through their PC's?

12:28 PM  
Blogger Jiby said...

I was smiling to myself while seeing the news that NC wants to tie up with Congress in J&K conveniently forgetting their partner through the gujarat genocide, the BJP. Nice article to read after that.

In India, democracy seems to end with the elections and then parties take over as kings. The conspiracy of consensus between politicians that you have observed was broken by poor Kalaignar and he got it back! :))

When Brinda Karat responded to Karunanidhi it seemed to be an accusation she hurls at citizens too so that they don't ask questions...something like how can you people vote for opportunistic parties...as if people get to decide who parties should align with, after they have cast their vote!

8:48 AM  

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