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A Puppet Government on Congress Strings

Gowda who as the dark horse suddenly emerged the frontrunner for premiership was not in the race at all in the first lap. The only solid reason why he was pitchforked into prime ministership was his track record in zealously implementing the NEP in Karnataka as the chief minister. He makes no attempt to hide his pro-MNC, pro-Big business stance. He even had no hesitation in flying down to Bangalore in Reliance Ambani's private plane, as the prime minister designate, in the company of liquor king Vijay Mallya, which however did not evoke a word of protest from his left allies. Having no personal or independent political turf at stake, he would be quite willing to play to Rao's tune on matters concerning national politics.

In an act of rank opportunism, he has taken the hawala-tainted Bommai into the cabinet. The only motive could be to keep him as a hedge against pressures from the Left and other quarters to go after the Congress culprits involved in Hawala scandal.

To demarcate itself from the Congress and the vacillations and waverings of the NF, the CPI(M) CC took a welcome decision not to participate in this government and gave a principled start to a possible independent assertion by the Left. But ever since every attempt is being made to subvert the import of the CPI(M) CC decision by a section of their own party. A spokesman of the party tells the press that the CC decision might be revoked at a latter date as if the original decision itself has only got something to do with the timeliness of participation. From the behaviour of the senior leaders of the party, it looked as if support from outside essentially means rendering their services for free and honest brokering from inside. The very same leaders who never tolerated even a bit of political independence on the part of CPI and other small left parties were jumping at the first opportunity to welcome the decision of the CPI National Council to participate in the government hoping that this would change the minds of the CC majority.

And what exactly do they expect from Deve Gowda and his ilk? A Laloo will fight corruption as much as a Gowda or Naidu will implement land reforms. In fact, Gowda is a champion of land reforms in an opposite direction. Even on social justice, Deve Gowda can hardly be expected to do anything significant. The principled approach for the Left would be to extend critical support to this government from outside with the critical aspect increasing directly in proportion to Deve Gowda's tilt towards Congress and his government's anti-people's policies.

The liberal intelligentsia is elated saying political power in the country stands decentralised. True, the authoritarian Congress or fascistic BJP will be far worse than this. But it must be remembered that such hotch-potch groupings with conflicting ideological and political positions and eternally at war with each other pave the way for further ascendancy of BJP. Bihar and UP experiences are the best examples. Hence the Left cannot afford to submerge its identity as one of the numerous competing groupings but more independently project its ideological and political vision as a national alternative.

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