The crisis thickens

It is not merely a question of non-performance as the media would have us believe. The crisis of the Vajpayee regime runs deeper. They are unable to manage the Parliament. The frustration is evident in the high-handed measure of debarring MPs trooping into the well of the House for a week. They are unable to manage the ruling coalition. The partners take periodical potshots, Vajpayee’s resignation drama notwithstanding. The latest salvo was fired on the saffronisation of education. The Agra bungling, the Northeast debacle, the Kashmir imbroglio, the UTI scam and the economic downslide etc. might have added up to an image of all-round failure. But the root of the crisis lies in the regime’s growing political alienation from a disenchanted populace. What is building up is perhaps far more explosive that the onion bomb. 

This finds its most concentrated expression in UP, where the beleaguered BJP regime could barely survive only by propping itself up on a police state. There, a major defeat stares the BJP in its face. The coming elections in UP could be a barometer to gauge the depth of the saffron crisis. And, it goes without saying, that a drubbing in UP would set off far-reaching changes in the socio-political balance of power in the country.

The situation is indeed volatile. Events of little significance snowball into major conflagrations, thanks to the mounting frustration and anger of the people. The revolt by unorganised workers in Peenya or the firing on villagers protesting police highhandedness in Baghpat are only sample episodes that bear this out. The regime is poised for one more bitter harvest as the farmers’ crisis deepens. No statistics can capture the growing anger of the rural poor. It is perhaps sensing this that the Supreme Court, for a change, chose to make liberal noises about foodgrains being meant for the consumption of the poor and not for rotting in FCI godowns. 

The Doha meet in November is expected to strip the last of the nationalist pretensions of this fascist regime. Ironically enough, even as the Prime Minister was bending over backwards to prepare public opinion, for a volte-face on a new round of trade talks, at the dictates of the US Trade Representative, came the bombshell on basmati, giving an early hint of what the notorious TRIPs regime holds for India.

Repression is the sole response of a sinking regime. Advani is the new rising star in the saffron pantheon not for nothing. More the social-political balance turns against the BJP, the more the internal equations within the saffron camp shift in his favour. The Iron Man syndrome, the Patel parallelism, the hard line, the tough talk...all are back. His latest offer of possible amnesty to all army men charged with human rights violations comes on top of a series of draconian measures in Kashmir. The RSS, too, is no longer out of favour. Vajpayee himself warmly receives Sudarshan, and right in his presence, launches a tirade against Christians. All these are pointers to a more pronounced rightwing and fascistic turn.

More vigorous mass mobilisation and more direct political battles have become the immediate challenges before revolutionary communists. The slogan of Oust Vajpayee has obviously acquired a new relevance. The striking response at the grassroots to our August campaign goes only to prove that this campaign can, and must, be carried forward with greater vigour. November, coinciding with the Doha Ministerial, provides yet another excellent opportunity. It is time to prepare for a more forceful assertion.