In the wake of Jyoti Basu describing CPI(M)'s decision not to participate in the UF government a 'political mistake' and a 'historic blunder', the reaction from the official leading organs of the party was along predictable lines. The politburo issued a statement obviously to preempt reopening in the party the issue (already reopened in the press!) which it asserted was 'settled' and 'closed'. The Kerala and Andhra leaders also took Basu to task along the same vein.
When a leader of Jyoti Basu's stature along with Surjit, the General Secretary himself, have put their weight behind a political position then that hardly gets suppressed in the name of organisational norms. Rather the debate is inherent in the very nature of the evolution of the party's political line and its very logic. Mr.Basu, it appeared, was more concerned to prepare the party to take a stand for participation in similar situations in the future. True to his assessment, CPI(M) - with the social democratic course hitherto followed by its leadership - has arrived at the crossroads. The next step cannot be taken without the party clarifying to itself fully whether it wants to proceed along a fullfledged social democratic path or not.
Those in CPI(M) who want the party to stick to a communist course would be wiser if
they ponder over the fact that it is the performance there in West Bengal which has earned
Mr.Basu the distinction of being invited by assorted gentlemen of the bourgeoisie to head
the government at the Centre as the best choice next only to VP Singh. Doesn't this mean
something must be very wrong with the Bengal 'performance'? Wasn't this 'performance'
elevated to a pedestal and put beyond any criticism which was even made a precondition for
left unity? Ironically, now the CPI(M) finds itself in an unenviable position of launching
a week-long campaign against their 'own' UF government.
Against the present official 'dominant position' line for participation, Jyoti Basu's argument is that there is no single party dominance in UF. If many bourgeois parties occupy a position of dominance collectively will the situation be any different for CPI(M)? Will they still not be a minority in a cabinet that would be taking decisions by majority? Will the minority 'communist' PM be answerable to every controversial and anti-people decision taken by the majority bourgeois cabinet? Even at present their dual tactics looks funny. It will be funnier even to imagine if Jyoti Basu were to sit in the PM's chair.
Instead of acting like the proverbial cat that closes its eyes, let CPI(M) majority face the debate squarely and clinch it. It would be strange if they cannot debate such things vigorously even when they are in the midst of a rectification campaign against bourgeois tendencies such as parliamentarism, hankering after office and indiscipline. In any case, the issue is bound to bounce back.