Friday, March 20, 2009


The forthcoming Lok Sabha Elections is a significantly important political struggle for the Left. The Left Front will be facing these elections basing their stand on the politics of careful introspection and praxis, revolving around the numerous issues relevant to our state and country.

More than 50% of the popular mandate is for the Left Front

The last few decades have been a witness to numerous veiled and direct attacks on the Left Front in India. The leaders and members and the party workers at all levels have demonstrated limitless patience and unyielding conviction in the face of such attacks, and have thus retained and in fact, increased the popular support that they had garnered with time. The Left Front has been responsible for holding the seat of governance in a state for a period of more than 30 years with the popular mandate of more than 50% of the state’s population. And the prolonged efforts of the left Front in trying to raise general consciousness and create awareness amongst all about their democratic rights has been reflected in the fact that the number of votes polled in this state is far more than that in most other Indian states. And this is an endorsement of the fact that the general populace is exceedingly aware of their democratic rights and privileges, as well as highly politically conscious. None of the polls in this state has seen a voter turn-up that is lesser than 80%. And amongst this huge number of people who chose to exercise their democratic tights through voting, a staggering 50% or more have supported the Left Front for the last 32 years in all their electoral ventures. This includes the last Panchayet Elections too. An election that saw a sudden tide of propaganda around the state and around the nation that The Left Front was slowly losing the support of the populace that it had so carefully nurtured over the years. This propaganda then took the form of immature attacks in the form of slander, opportunism and bankrupt politics against the Left Front. And facing this unprecedented scale of attacks, the Left Front again polled a vote count of more than 50% in these Panchayet Elections.

A multi faceted propaganda to estrange the working class from the Left Front

The magnitude of this propaganda was unprecedented, and the Left Front was facing such an attack from all quarters for the first time. There has been a conscious effort to physically annihilate its presence from various areas, as well as a consolidated attack through the means of systematic lies, false information and slander. The sole purpose of these attacks is to bring about an estrangement amongst the working class and the consortium of parties which stand for them, the Left Front, and more specifically its major constituent, the CPI(M). And the attackers have shown that they are ready to stoop to any level, to adopt any falsehood, to achieve their purpose.

And this is not the sole handiwork of the political opponents of the Left Front. The media has played a strong role in dissipating the lies fed by the opposition to the people, across the state, across the country, and sometimes across the Globe. And the scale of such an attack is what makes it unheard of. The Left Front fights the elections this time under the shadow of such an attack.

This propaganda has, in fact, affected the people who have a not-so-firm political stance

The Panchayet Elections were closely followed the parliamentary bypolls in our State. These have thrown up mixed results. But the detractors have blown these up with the propaganda that the ‘Left has been defeated’. This bypoll has actually seen an increase of votes in favour of the Left in the Para constituency in Purulia. AT the same time, we have been defeated in Nandigram and Bishnupur. In the 2006 state elections, the Left had polled a total of 44% votes in this constituency. The combined vote % of the INC and TMC was 52%. Thus it is quite evident that they have managed to to attract a significant amount of our supporters towards them. This ‘swing’ section, who supported us in the last elections, has been influenced vastly by the recent events and false propaganda that has blossomed in the political scenario of the state, and they chosen to support our opponents. And this has led to another cycle of propaganda, that the popular foundations of the Left are staggering.

A consortium of destructive forces have united against the Left

We have been witness to a strange phenomenon in the political canvas of West Bengal – there is a humongous effort to unite the ultra left and the right wingers against the Left Front. All the poltical struggles that have taken place recently in Nandigram, Singur, Lalgarh, Gorkhaland, Greater Coochbehar have seen an overwhelming presence of the political opponents of the Left, sometimes in direct participation, sometimes as covert allies. And the media has played and important role in propagating their false views and propaganda amongst the general population.

The campaign of the opposition shows an absence of politics, only unsubstantiated slander and a stubborn attitude against progress

This time the political campaign plan of the opposition is unique in that it shows a complete lack of politically relevant matter. The only scope of such campaigning is a meticulous system of lies and slander against the Left front led by the CPI(M). There are no criticisms or attacks based on ideological or tactical stands. There is no presence of an alternative plan of action. They are characterized only by the fact that they blindly oppose any steps taken by the Left Front. The destructive forces of the opposition are stubbornly obstructing any developmental plans or steps taken by the Left, and there is a complete lack of reasoning and logic throughout.

Take for instance, the inauguration of the East-West Metro rail project in Kolkata. Our esteemed leader of the opposition declared, ‘How many metros does one city need? This is eyewash!’ It’s surprising that a leader of the opposition can speak such words! The fact that a city can and in fact, does have more than one metro line (as seen in many cities around the world) is a fact that is conveniently unknown to her. But this is what the opposition is propagating through their campaigns. This is what they are taking to the people.

The sole purpose of the opposition is to oppose the left Front on all grounds, at any cost. The Congress, on one hand, declares that they shall not be an obstacle in the path of development, and on the other, they are forging electoral alliances with the one entity which is obstructing any development in the state.

The INC declares time and again, that their sole agenda is the country’s progress. Where has this declared policy vanished when it comes to our state? We have seen that at the all-parties conference in Singur, a conference which was held in accordance with suggestions given by Priyaranjan Dasmunshi of the INC, the INC placed their arguments in favour of the TMC – opposed to industry and development. And yet they speak of development. And this same congress has now entered into an opportunist electoral alliance with the TMC, the sole entity responsible for destabilization and obstructing development in the state.

The alternative being presented in place of the Left Front is a party which defies all sort of sane reasoning and logic, which is totally bankrupt of ideology.

This is a party which consists of a group of spineless persons, whose only role is that of a stoking the ego of their autocratic leader, and this leader is being presented as the face of the alternative which would replace the Left Front. The murderous attacks or physical assaults on Left Front cadres and sympathisers have become commonplace. These attacks are taking place on the marginally poor in the rural areas. The brunts of these attacks are borne by tribal leaders, rural peasants who are sympathetic to the cause of the Left. And none of these horrific and gory details find their place in the information system of the state’s media. And even if they are, they are not being accorded due importance or significance, or sometimes even being propagated with lies and falsehoods. And the complete opposite takes place when the victim is someone from the opposition.

Don’t the near and dear ones of these victims whose only fault is that they are supporters of the left feel any pain or loss? Don't they leave behind hapless children and family members? But none of this is served up as significant news. The people of the state must understand and analyze the hidden agenda behind this phenomenon of attacks and cover ups by the media.

The LS Elections decide which policies the country will follow

The LS elections are not fought over local issues. How the country would function as a whole, what are the policies that would determine the path taken by it, is what is determined by the outcome of the LS elections. Will be continue on the present economic path as decided by the previous set of people in charge of the country? We, the Left, have played a significant role in the last LS elections. The popular mandate given to us by the people of West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala helped us set up a new power equation at the Center. We had consolidated a considerable strength of numbers which enabled us to directly engage in policy making for the country. And for the first time in the history of independent India, we have been successfully able to raise questions and bring about a debate regarding the economic policies followed by those in power. We played the role of unmasking the true intentions and destructive character of the economic policies adopted by the NDA, followed by the UPA. And we have succeeded in stalling most of these suicidal policies, which would otherwise have led to economic devastation for India. The people must understand this role played by the Left. And since the powers-that-be know that the state of West Bengal is the strongest foothold for the Left, they have directed all their forces against the Left Front government in this state, hoping to weaken them as a political entity, thus enabling them to implement the policies which we have successfully opposed till now.

We have played a historical role in the contemporary politics of the state and the country.

While we have been saying that generating employment is our current and principle aim, the policies adopted by the national government has only led to a downsize in employment opportunities. The Left Front in West Bengal has been successful in two things, one- We have fought the new economic policies in a country wide perspective adopted at the center, two – while at the same time these policies have led to unemployment and general economic malaise, we have worked hard and succeeded considerably to generate employment in our state. And this story of success is what has peeved so many, thus allying them together for this attack on the Left.

We have always maintained and iterated that if the income of the majority doesn't increase, then the internal market will not expand. And if this market does not expand, then indigenous industries will never flourish. So the policies adopted must be aimed at generating an increased income for the majority of the population. The internal markets have to expand to usher in indigenous industries. The drive for industrialization must generate proportional employment for the people.

The liberalization of the economy and the so called economic ‘reforms’ have led to a crisis.

In 1991, the P.V. Narasimha Rao headed Congress government at the center, which had our present Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the finance minister, had adopted a plethora of liberal economic policies, which have been in practice for the last 15 or more years. We had continuously warned that this would lead to an inevitable crisis, we had fought against these policies, and our cause has been validated by the recent phenomenon in the economic canvas of the country. This crisis is plaguing not only our country, but the entire world. In the USA, reputed banks like Lehman Brothers, along with many other financial institutions have had to file for bankruptcy and close shop. The primary reason behind this debacle is the fact that the people who took loans from the banks were unable to or unwilling to return the money to the banks. The huge amount of money reserves accumulated by these banks was recklessly given out as loans. Since the majority of the people are poor, the unrestrained greed of the rich few, who wanted to create consumption frenzy and a virtual market within the market, led to these easy loans to one and all. The aim was to encourage those people to take loans who have a purchasing power. The bottom line of economic liberalization is – stop any government intervention in the functioning of financial institutions like banks. We know that the normal functions of a bank are to function as an establishment where people save money, and to provide loans for endeavors like farming and industry. The interest paid by a person who lends money from the bank is more than the interest paid by the bank to the person who keeps his savings with the bank. That is precisely how a bank generates profits. And thus, the cash reserves of the bank are used to increase overall production in the society. And increased production means increased opportunities for employment, and general social well being.

But the new liberal policies have resulted in increased production using advancements in the fields of science and technology, and at the same time have led to a decrease in the purchasing power of the population to buy these produced goods. The local markets have not expanded like they should have. Wealth is being centralized in the hands of a select few. The banks no longer felt that investing their money in factories or such was profitable. The new areas where the private banks began investing and handing out loans at incredibly low rates of interest were – the real estate sector, the automobile sector, the retail sector, etc. With the increase in the volume of loans given at low interest rates as house loans to the common people, the prices of land and raw materials began to rise exponentially. This led to an increase in the share prices of those groups involved in the real estate business. This led to a stalemate position where ultimately, everybody was a producer, not a consumer. And then suddenly the value of these properties began to depreciate at a tremendous rate. The money invested by the bank in these sectors was lost. It became impossible for the people to pay back the loans to the banks. And finally, the government came forward to bail out these banks. But this in turn led to another crisis in the economic canvas.

With the banks becoming bankrupt, the industrial sector suddenly found itself short of funds, and no place to get them from. And with the markets shrinking, the purchasing power of the majority had not seen any significant increase, which led to a decrease in overall production. This led to lay-offs and unemployment on a massive scale. The current economic downturn is much more widespread in magnitude then the Great Depression of the 30’s. The rate at which unemployment has increased around the globe after 1991 is unparalleled in history. Statistics show that there has been an increase of 6.1% in terms of unemployment rate.

As an example, on a single day in USA, it was declared that 10,000 people had lost their jobs. By the end of the day, that figure had reached 50,000. In 2007, 17,90,00,000 people had lost their jobs, while at the beginning of 2009, this figure was a staggering 23,00,00,000. The scenario in our country is horrifying too. While adopting the neo-liberal economic policies at the Center, the government had maintained that there was no need to expand our indigenous market. This led to the fact that the goods produced here were sold in foreign markets. To bring about a decrease in costs of production and to ensure that they are smoothly transferred to foreign markets, the government negated all constraints on export-imports and opened up our markets. The government provided massive help in terms of tax cuts, infrastructural subsidies, special economic zones, reduced export duties, etc. The economy of the country soon became dependent on exports.

The Left has cried hoarse about the fact that if indigenous markets are not expanded, then we would face a grave economic crisis real soon. We would be competing with other developing countries for exports, and this would lead to the capitalists exploiting our economy even more. The capitalist countries wanted cheap raw materials and a market to sell their produced goods. The liberalization of our economy ensured that they were provided that in this country. There is a tremendous uprise in terms of campaign to increase consumption of consumer goods.

Karl Marx had once aptly remarked about capitalism, ‘Capitalism blows up needs to disproportionate figures, and gives rise to inhuman, irrational, multifaceted greed’.

The only section in opposition to these anti-people neo liberal policies is the Left

Our government had wanted Foreign Direct Investment in sectors like nationalized banks and insurance companies. They had sought to modify the laws accordingly. We the Left had struggled vehemently against such legal modifications and implementation of these policies. This would have led to our economy completely being in control of foreign capitalists. Entry into the banking and insurance sectors would have resulted in the savings of the common man being controlled by these forces. And that money would then be used to gamble in the global financial sectors by these powers. We have successfully stalled any such intentions. The media has tagged us as ‘conservatives’. And now, the Governor of the RBI has declared, ‘The economic crisis plaguing the world has not affected India with equal magnitude, because the controlling reins of our economy our still in the hands of our government’. And the sole reason for this was the struggle of the Left Front.

We have opposed the price hike in petroleum products. The government said that the international price of crude oil has increased. It is being said the demand for oil has exceeded its supply, thus resulting in a price rise. The people have believed these lies fed by the media. But what is the truth? The price of a barrel of cruse oil had once peaked to 150 dollars. Presently, it has depreciated to 40 – 42 dollars. So this story about the demand and supply is pure falsehood. The truth is, the oil companies were amassing huge reserves of oil for future trading and artificially increased the price of crude oil, so that these reserves could be sold at a high price. And the driving factor behind such immoral actions is the drive for increased profits.

The price of food products have been increased too. The American president, George Bush, remarked that ‘Prices of food grains have increased because the people of China and India are consuming more quantities of food.’ During this time, our government had bought food grains from Australia at a higher price than what is paid to our own farmers, to meet the shortfall of food grains.

Capital is being earmarked for speculation, not for production

Unlike finance capital, speculative capital is removed from the circuit of productive capital and does not create surplus value, but only “re-distributes” it. Speculative capital is not reinvested in hiring more workers, expanding plants and equipment, purchasing raw materials or new technology. Instead, these vast amounts are diverted into speculation where investors gamble on changes in the prices of financial instruments.

Our national share markets saw a sudden influx of foreign capital. The volume of shares traded increased, leading to a consequential increase in the price of shares. The average person began investing his hard earned money in buying a large number of shares. When the rate of increase in price of these shares reached a new high, the foreign capitalists began selling them off. This led to an abrupt fall in the priceof these shares, leading to tremendous losses being suffered by the person who had invested in them.

In this manner, the foreign companies have injected 18 million dollars into our national share market for purposes of speculation. We had vehemently opposed this. We had said that we should allow FDI only in direct production - industrialisation, and not speculation. The advent of new technology would have led to new industries, and thus, increased employment oppurtunities. We had not opposed this sort of Foreign Direct Investment. But we are strongly against speculative capital. But the Central government paid more importance to speculative capital, thus leading the country's economy to the current crisis, which is horrifying in magnitude.

We are not the only ones who have been affected, there are many other Asian countries who are facing the same critical scenario. Thisis because the about 47% of these countries' net production is earmarked for export. Thus, with the sudden decrease in foreign exports, these economies also faced an overpowering recession. Recent studies say that instead of job generation, the current economic crisis would lead to the loss of employment for around one crore people in India in the current year. Although the paradox is that this is still a fraction of the crisis which we would have ultimately faced, had the Left not fought inside and outside the parliament to protect the interests of the citizens of this country.

The Indian Government had planned to handover the pension funds of all state and central government employees to private entities under the veil of 'pension fund management'. This money would then be invested in the share market. In the USA, the same scenario has led to the vanishing of pension funds of 2.5 lakh people. Their pensions have been stopped. We have succesfully stopped our government from carrying out such a dastardly act.

And it is only us, the Left, who have fought relentlessly against these anti-people policies of the UPA government.

And it is not only our economy, but also our political stance which is at stake

The IMF or the World Bank’s purpose is not only limited to influencing us in determining our economic policies, but also as a direct influence and possibly decision maker in case of our political stand. The capitalists have always aimed to be the driver of the political carriage of India. They have to capture and monopolize our markets so that they can sell their produced goods here. And that is precisely why they need to be in control of our politics.

For a long time now, USA has not identified a growing market for selling their nuclear power technology. And in USA itself, there hasn’t been any new nuclear power plants being built for the last 23 years. Thus, they need a market in a country like ours to sell their technology. And if they can sell us nuclear technology, that would also create the market for fissile raw materials like uranium. The nuclear treaty was all about that. It has put in place conditions that can effectively determine our foreign policy, our nuclear policy, it has brought the entire scope of our nuclear research under american supervision and monitoring. The government maintained that we were in such a dire need of nuclear power, that we would have to accept the terms of this treaty at all costs. We, the Left, did not declare that we did not need nuclear power. Instead, we said that for a poor country like ours, the financially viable solution currently would have been to increase our thermal power production with the help of the vast reserves of coal that we possess. The cost of that power would have been cheaper than nuclear power. And in the meantime, we could concentrate on indigenous research for generating nuclear power out of raw materials like thorium, of which there are considerable reserves in our country. But the treaty was solely aimed at promoting the commercial and political interests of the USA. The same USA who destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan and are now planning to demolish Iran.

The Left front and minority affairs

The recent campaigns against us have one salient point – that the Left in WB do not care about the minorities. The crux of this idea seems to be that the minorities elsewhere in India are far better off than they are in West Bengal. But the Sachhar Committee report speaks about the entire country. It says how the minorities have remained emancipated throughout the country. The important question here is, which political group has handled the reigns of this county for the better part of time? That group is the Congress. The Congress and its fledgling, the TMC, should answer about what they have done for the minorities. And at the same time, these parties support the USA who have been responsible for the most inhumane acts against Muslims throughout the world. Since a few of these Muslims are fundamentalists, in the eyes of the American imperialists, all Muslims are fundamentalists. And these same imperialists are responsible for the barbaric atrocities against the Palestinian people. And the Indian government is buying arms and military technology from the perpetrators of this heinous crime, the Israeli army. And this government has shown covert signs of joining in the ‘war against terror’ on the side of America, ‘ to annihilate terrorists and protect democracy’. What an irony! The biggest global terrorist of our times is the USA.

There is no political group in India other than the Left, who don't only preach secularism, but protect it with their blood. 50% of the total population of West Bengal consists of Muslims, Scs and Sts. And the major chunk of this population form our rural poor. Once these people were landless labourers. They have benefited most from the land reforms and land redistribution schemes of the Left. 84% of rural land is now owned by these once small and marginalised peasants. Which means that this land is owned by these same minorities. The Sachhar committee report has conveniently omitted this part.

We want more development, especially in the regions where these minorities form a large part of the populace. Development denotes better roads, more educational institutions, healthcare centres, industrial development, etc. And the INC-TMC alliance is opposing exactly these schemes.

Roads and industry would lead to an overall development of the surrounding region. And with this background, the Left front Government had planned to the building of roads in the South 24 Parganas and the industrialization of the area surrounding Nandigram, where the majority of the population are minorities. If these plans had materialized, then the main beneficiaries would have been these very same minorities. Are the groups who opposed these plans really in favour of the improvement of minority conditions? Is there any village where the inhabitants do not want better roads and connectivity. When the Rural Road Yojana came along, the precondition was that if villagers gave up a part of their lands, then roads would be widened. The rural poor came out in their own interests and gave up lands for the construction of roads.

At this same time, the tribals were made to dig up roads around Lalgarh. This means that the same roads which had enabled the connectivity of these remote areas with the prime regions were destroyed. An ambulance carrying a doctor and a nurse was blown up, thus putting the people of this region out of the reach of healthcare temporarily. Do these groups really care about the interests of these minorities?

Development and job generation seems to be a ‘crime’ in their eyes

We have identified the undeveloped regions and have put in place plans to speed up the rateof development in these areas. This is precisely why the recent plans of power plants in Murshidabad, a huge factory in Sagardighi and roads through the heart of South 24 parganas have been undertaken.

We have done all this with the aim of generating employment. If trying to create jobs for thousands of people is a ‘crime’, then we are ‘criminals’. If activities such as building and widening of roads, setting up educational institutions and healthcare facilities is a crime, then we would gladly commit such crimes. The people have to decide if they are on our side.

They had vehemently opposed the setting up of the thermal power centre in Bakreshwar. The price for that was paid in blood by the youth of the Left. They still follow the same poltics of opposition of developmental works. And we are firm in that we would do whatever it takes to protect the interests of the people.

The people have to decide if they want the sort of industry that would create jobs. If the country id to be served up on a platter to the alter of speculative capital, or if proper policies are followed to make ourselves self sufficient.

Divisive politics are at play to prevent a united consciousness against this crisis

If the Left is weakened, then the struggle for the interests of the working class, of the vast majority of this country living under poverty lines would never formulate into a significant battle. The struggle which we are pursuing to make India self sufficient and to safeguard the interests of the working class wholly depends on whether we are able to increase our strength or not.

The whole country is facing a crisis, and to divert the attention of the population from this crisis, there is a clear conspiracy at play to bring about a division amongst the people.

Sometimes these lines are being drawn on the basis of religion, sometimes on the basis of caste, and several separatist movements have taken form from this mess. Everybody wants seperate states. This new wave of parochialism and jingoism is taking visible form in Assam, Mumbai and elsewhere. We cannot allow this to happen in West Bengal.

A terrible power is taking shape in our state

This power fuels the fire of separatism in our state. They know that the unity of the people form the base for development. If you divide people, if you play them against each other, you can successfully halt any sort of development. These conspiracy to separate the Gorkhas, the Rajbangshis, the tribals, is something that we must question.

A terrible power is raising its ugly head in the state. It has joined ranks with the maoists, the naxalites, with the communal powers and the Islamic fundamentalists on one hand, and with the INC on the other.

A conspiracy to bring about a rift in the working class and separate them from the Left

This time the struggle is tremendously difficult, because the politics is quite complex. In the state, the Left front government has undertaken a plan for an alternative in the interest of the people. But we are unable to avoid the adverse effects of the policies formulated at the centre. For instance, the creation of the BPL lists has resulted in seething anger amongst the rural poor. We are against this, but as a state under the constitution of India, we are forced to work with these policies. We have repeatedly proclaimed that in a country where 77% of the population earn a daily wage below Rs 20, it is highly impractical to distinguish between the ‘rich’ and the ‘poor’. We demanded that everybody had to be brought under a mass redistribution scheme. But in most of their schemes – a family has to be identified who would get the benefits of the plan. A village might have 50 families who need these benefits. But according to the rules of the central government, only 5 are eligible for them. The other 45 are being pulled into despair and anger towards the chosen 5. And the government wants exactly that.

The primary issues like generating jobs and increasing income is being blatantly ignored. Instead, the poor are being divided on significant lines. Although we oppose such polices, we have tried to implement them pragmatically in our state, or the funds that are helping even a small fraction of the poor would have been returned.

And these sporadic issues are being used by the opposition in their campaign against us.

The central opposition party in our state

What is the nature of the leadership of the TMC? The nature in which they conduct their business of politics, what they say, how they behave, is visibly repulsive. Their sole function is the lumpenization of politics. Those heading it are a bunch of spineless court jesters, whose only agenda is the promotion of self interests. They are not concerned about the interests of the people.

In this time frame, one thing is to be kept under consideration. We are witnessing the emergence of sporadic pockets of destructive reactionary forces. This does not mean that they have appeared suddenly. They existed for a long time, but were hibernating. In the last 32 years, 35% - 40% of the populace have traditionally voted against the Left. A small fraction of these people are encouraging these anarchic forces in our state. Thee forces are being supported at all costs, even when most of them are anti-socials. And we must also accept, that due to numerous flaws and mistakes on the part of a small section of the leaders and cadres of the Left front, the poor who have turned against us are being used by these forces.

The basic nature of development is that it increases the general wants of the people. The fact that the wants of the poor have increased – is in itself a tremendous endorsement of the success of the Left front. We have brought about a visible presence of self respect amongst the poor. And the opposition wants to destroy this self respect. To transform the entire working class into spineless individuals. This is exactly how fascism rears it ugly head. The party which has no internal democracy, where none of its members can be vocal about their opinion, such a party can never propagate democracy if it comes to power. The democracy which has flourished due to the struggles of the Left, the phenomenon of the empowerment of the poor and the downtrodden, and the consciousness about their rights, which has led to the continuous opposition of the class hegemony in the country, is exactly what the TMC wants to destroy by weakening the Left. They are protecting the interests of the ruling class. And this is the sole agenda which has been undertaken against the Left in these elections.

There are still numerous areas of improvement in our state. But only the Left front has been able to and will continuously uphold the principles of struggle of the working class, and bring about the improvement of their conditions in the state. Only we will be able to steer our state in the path of progress and destroy the divisive politics of the opposition.

Our principle slogan in this Election

The parliamentary elections are an important political struggle. The interests of the country are linked to the results of this election, and this is exactly where the Left must play an important role. The Congress and the BJP both know that they would not be in a position to form the government with an absolute majority. These elections would, in all probability, see another coalition government at the helm of affairs. We must be in a position to determine the nature of this coalition, of its policies and of the role played by it.

Consequentially, we will be facing the forthcoming elections with two principal slogans – Defeat the Congress, Defeat the BJP. Because both these parties are against the interests of the working class, both are reactionary forces, they have to be weakened, and defeated wherever possible. It is true that the third alternative is still in a nascent stage. But there are a lot of regional forces which are not communal, but who work specifically for the interests of their region. These secular forces, who enjoy the support of a considerable section of the population, must be distanced from the Congress and BJP, and brought into the folds of the third alternative. If this can be realized, then the Third Front would become a considerable force in reckoning in the political canvas of India. We are trying to foment the conditions for the growth of the third alternative throughout the country. This alternative must base its role on realistic analysis of the nature of the issues faced by the people. And we, the Left, must play a considerable role in this analysis.

So we must work towards rearing a force that would defeat the Congress and the BJP, and we must strengthen this force wherever possible, and we must form a significant part of this force, so that we may play a proactive and positive role towards the building of the third alternative.