Indian politics: a new alliance launched in Tamil Nadu to fight assembly poll without truck with major parties AIADMK and DMK!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
An analogy is Indian crimes in Kashmir. Can Indian judiciary which is now highly biased in favor of Hindus be expected deliver justice to Kashmiri Muslims against Indian genocides in the valley? Will US judges who support the anti-Islamic Trump ideology be trusted to liver justice for the Arab nations against the US military crimes in the region? In fact, India never conducts an investigation into the military genocides in Kashmiris as it does not take chances. India says Kashmiris are happy being in India. Americans also do not talk about investigations into US-NATO war crimes. They are possibly scared.
Indian politicians might claim their birth right to seek bribes, promote corruption, to cheat and deceive people; promote the interests of corporate lords that aid speedy rampant corruption in the country. The corruption phenomenon thrives in Indian society because the state and government tactfully promote corruption while the judges being appointed by them shield the corrupt elements and criminals. They just don’t care for the Constitution of India.
Tamil Nadu in India has fully come, for unknown reasons, under the spell of Tamil film personalities, mainly the top actors and politics in the Southern state is intertwined with cinema. Whether or not the Tamil voters take the film actions as real, they continue to vote for the movies related politicians and their parties. The trend began in 1967 when the DMK party led by film personalities like CN Anna Durai and K. Karunanidhi, supported by the popular matinee idol MGR, won the assembly poll by drowning the Congress government almost once for all in deep waters. Later DMK got divided, giving birth to AIADMK founded by MGR after he was removed from DMK for questioning the malpractices in the party accounts during the chief ministership of Karunanidhi who assumed power following the death of the first DMK CM Anna Durai. Now another popular actress and supporter of MGR J. Jayalalithaa is the CM, while some more actors are in the state assembly as elected members. .
Governments of Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa, unlike those of Anna durian and MGR, are known for rampant corruption but these two parties win the elections alternatively on anti-incumbency waves. People do long for corruption free and pro-people governance but unfortunately the populations do not get that opportunity to feel proud being government from honest government.
Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi family members face corruption cases and both spend huge sums to get the verdict in their favor. They believe money can do miracles!
The position of Congress and Hindutva BJP is not at all impressive in Tamil Nadu where the Dravidian parties call all the shots. Congress, however, is better placed than it secret ally BJP which would suffer without the active support of the Dravidian parties. Congress party can win a few seats on its own but it is not the case with BJP, which if the DMK, AIADMK Congress poll their votes, can fail miserably. The third front can make the position of BJP in the state too pathetic.
Preparations for the Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry assembly polls slated for May 2016 are underway. As usual the ruling AIADMK (All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) and opposition DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) as major parties, dominating the Tamil politics, could lead the campaigns in the state. But the new alliance
However, there is a move by a few parties including the communists and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK).to contest the poll jointly along with like minded parties. They have floated in October 2015 a third front Makkal Nala Koottu Iyakkam (People’s Welfare Front (PWF) to take on both AIADMK and DMK and save Tamil Nadu from rampant corruption and other crimes the state has been suffering for years.
After four political parties in Tamil Nadu – Vaiko’s MDMK, Dalit leader Thirumavalavan’s VCK, CPI and CPM — finalized a plan to form a third front the team has released a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) confirming the electoral alliance which will oppose the two leading Dravidian parties — the ruling AIADMK and the opposition DMK.
So far, all these minor parties have contested only as parts of alliances led by either AIADMK or DMK and they used to get a few seats to contest elections for parliament or state assembly as the case may be and in return they always worked for these parties as their prime responsibility. Now they seem to have realized their political fault line of promoting both DMK and AIADMK alternatively and now want to fight poll jointly on their own without any tuck with these parties.
The political shift by PWF member parties to stand together, leaving aside the major parties and alliances, now gains importance as people have begun to look at both the major parties DMK and AIDMK with a new perception of genuine governance. The participation of a third front in the poll, it seems, could result in poor performances by these old parties without the votes gathered by these fringe parties.
The lead for the third front PWF has been taken by communist parties CPM and CPI that have significant presence in three states are abandoning their longstanding alliance with the two major corrupt parties in Tamil Nadu, amid rising disillusionment and anger with these parties. Both AIADMK and DMK do not take these parties seriously enough and also treat them as irrelevant ones. Their program and the character of their leading personnel make clear, however, that they may not provide any genuine governance and would complete their term leaving the genuine concerns of ordinary masses left untouched. It is worthwhile to recall how the communists mismanaged the governance in West Bengal and people have to replace them with Trinamool Congress party of Mamata Banerjee.
The PWF was formed amid a broad re-orientation of Indian domestic as well as foreign policy. The PWF has chosen MDMK leader V. Gopalasamy, (Vaiko) a strong extempore orator in Tamil as the leader coordinating the activities of the different PWF parties. Vaiko is an admirer of Obama for phenomenal rise to power.
For smaller parties in Tamil Nadu, the 2016 election is going to be crucial as the very existence of these parties may be challenged if they are wiped out of the state assembly. The present vote share of PWF would roughly be 10 per cent – that’s why Vijayakanth is important – he may even emerge as the CM candidate of the third front if talks go well. To make this happen, he has to quit the NDA alliance and no longer be seen as a Narendra Modi loyalist.
A November 25 PWF statement declared, ‘‘we will face the election on the basis of our minimum program. We have published a minimum program that is agreeable to all the parties in the coalition. Therefore we avoided some issues including separate Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka, and opposition to Kudankulam nuclear power plant.
During a mass rally organised by PWF at Trichy in central Tamil Nadu recently, Vaiko had recited a few lines of the anti-liquor song of Kovan, who was arrested under sedition charge for his lyrics against Jayalalithaa, and dared the police to arrest him. However, Vaiko will have to regain the confidence of the people for being an opposition leader without any consistent stand, indirectly supporting the government. He may have abandoned his several supporters to switch camps from DMK to AIADMK to the NDA during elections.
The PWF camp is now holding talks with actor turned politician Vijayakanth’s DMDK and GK Vasan’s TMC. Recently, when Vaiko and Vijayakanth were on the same flight from Madurai to Chennai, it triggered rumours of a possible alliance but Vijayakanth continues to shy away from a decision. Dr. Ramdoss’s Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) has a presence in some districts of the state and if also joins, analysts say, the new alliance would be further strengthened.
Indian left parties seems to have lost their ideological fervor long ago and they behave like other parties. Having burnt their fingers by siding the then ruling Congress led federal government in order to win a Speaker post for a senior CPM MP as a short term gain, are not popular among the masses as they have deviated from popular causes and begun thinking about the profits of promoting corporate bosses, possibly for sumptuous party funds; they gave away the agricultural lands to corporates in West Bengal, and are silent on the dangerous position of the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka.
Communists also are to support and hostile to popular opposition to the dangerous Kudankulam nuclear plant after the Japan nuclear disaster. The Kudankulam nuclear power plant, sponsored by Russia, is located in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district. Construction of nuclear plant continued after the 2004 Indian general election, which brought to power the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, which the CPI and CPM supported. Communist cadres are confused over the party’s alliance with corporatist Congress.
Thousands of people from hundreds of villages protested against the nuclear project, fearing pollution and fallout from the nuclear plant. Already there was a minor blast at the plant. This reflected deep distrust for such projects among the Indian/Tamil people, after the deadly 1984 industrial disaster at the Union Carbide chemical plant in Bhopal and Japan’s Fukushima terror plant crash, killing and harming thousands. The UPA government as well as Jayalalithaa government suppressed the popular protests and even killed fishermen on the sea for protesting against nuke project as they viewed the plant as the only way to promise transnational corporations reliable electricity and thus to bring foreign investors to India. Russia and IMF continue to play havoc with Indian lives.
Communists stand by the dangerous nuclear plants because the nuclear reactors have been supplied by Russia with which communists have maintained emotional links, though that has nation has become a crony capitalist country, following the death of communist system, leaving behind corrupt practices intact.
One wonders would the communist leaders not have opposed the nuclear plants that can cause terror deaths when blasts strike, had the USA supplied nuclear reactors to India. Communists, like DMK and AIADMK, have no special sympathy for Tamils as they want their votes to help the corporate lords who fund their electioneering. The Tamil community, more than the LTTE, were massacred by the Sri Lankan government of Rajapaksha with the support of the Obama government in 2009. In the final stage of the war on Tamils, more than 40,000 Tamils were killed, and tens of thousands of people displaced and interned.
Sri Lankan government is not allowing the UN probe to succeed and is yet to punish the criminals for their conspiratorial crimes against Tamils. That the Sirisena government in Colombo. is staffed by military and political officials who played lead roles in the bloody final offensive against the Tamils and LTTE does not indicate punishment for the criminals. It appears Sirisena government that took office in January 2015 is designed to shift Sri Lanka’s economic and strategic orientation away from China and towards India and the USA – both themselves involved in crimes. Indian communist parties seem to have abandoned even their cynical, tactically-motivated criticisms of the Sri Lankan government’s oppression of the Tamil masses
Sri Lanka would like to have a local inquiry as a formality to fool the world and close the issue. No justice can be expected from any such formally fake enquiries by the government without real intent. Lankan judges would be reminded of their “patriotic duty” to protect the Singhalese criminals and government from punishment, stating that any punishment of military or politicians that would be an “insult to the nation”.
Logic is simple. No government can take steps to punish the criminals who belong to the majority people and belittle majority populations because such true justice would let the minority populations live with honor. Singhalese people refuse any human honor to Tamils and other minorities.
Indian corporate lords serve the foreign transnational for more profits. The Indian ruling class and left parties had long exploited popular sympathy in Tamil Nadu for the oppressed Tamils in Sri Lanka, arming the pro government Tamil nationalist groups in Sri Lanka whenever the Indian government wanted to pressure the Sri Lankan government in Colombo.
The Congress, which over the past quarter-century has spearheaded the capitalist drive to transform India into a part of global capitalism to deny the rights to the common people and a junior partner of US monopoly imperialism, is in unprecedented crisis. The Congress has been eliminated as a major player in large parts of India and failed to win enough seats to even be recognized as the Official Opposition in the 2014 national election. In Tamil Nadu it plays just a marginal role.
An analogy is Indian crimes in Kashmir. Can Indian judiciary which is now highly biased in favor of Hindus be expected deliver justice to Kashmiri Muslims against Indian genocides in the valley? Will US judges who support the anti-Islamic Trump ideology be trusted to liver justice for the Arab nations against the US military crimes in the region? In fact, India never conducts an investigation into the military genocides in Kashmiris as it does not take chances. India says Kashmiris are happy being in India. Americans also do not talk about investigations into US-NATO war crimes. They are scared.
The CPI and CPM played a key role in the opening of India to foreign capital by the Congress starting in 1991. Having supervised this process in 3 states of India that they governed, Kerala, Tripura and West Bengal, and blocked opposition by common masses to pro-business measures elsewhere, they have emerged as representatives of a constituency of corporate lords and affluent middle class elements hostile to the common people.
Ever since the defeat of the Congress party in the 1967 state elections in Tamil Nadu, amid a wave of popular strikes and protests, the Indian leftists supported Dravidian parties—the DMK and later the AIADMK—in power in Tamil Nadu. For decades, the CPI and CPM worked to subordinate the common people to the DMK and then the AIADMK, hailing the one and then the other as “secular” parties with a “pro-people” agenda.
The CPM, as a result of its pursuit of anti-farmer – but what it has itself described as “pro-investor” – policies in West Bengal and support for the big business UPA government in New Delhi, has suffered a series of electoral debacles since 2009. In 2011 it fell from power in West Bengal, after 34 years of leading the state’s government and in the 2014 national elections it won just two of West Bengal’s 42 seats. In Tamil Nadu communists do not much say in politics.
Since 1991, the DMK and the AIADMK have implemented free-market policies and opened cheap-labor special economic zones for transnational corporations. In 2003, a leftists backed AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu sacked nearly 200,000 striking public sector workers with the support of a BJP-led government in New Delhi, and implemented a draconian anti-worker ‘essential services’ law in 2003, using mass firings and mass arrests. Amid the collapse of the Congress party at the national level, the Indian communists suffered a debacle in the 2014 parliamentary election, losing support in Kerala, Tripura, and West Bengal and across India.
Now Congress and communist parties are in talks for collaboration. According to press reports, the leadership of the West Bengal Congress wrote to Sonia Gandhi, the national Congress Party president, at the end of last year, seeking authorization to form an electoral alliance with the CPM and its Left Front. But no authorization has been forthcoming. It seems the communists are now seeking to forge an alliance with their rival the Congress party in Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura. That the CPM leadership has been considering an electoral alliance with the Congress is symptomatic of its deep crisis and alienation from and hostility toward India’s poor and common masses. However, the CPM general secretary Sitaram said the party’s stance is in accordance with the political line of its 21st Congress held last year, which declared that the main direction of our attack should be against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) when it is in power but this cannot mean having an electoral understanding with the Congress.
Both Congress and CPM want to remove the Mamata government in West Bengal and recapture the state which is now beyond their capacity. But Communist-Congress alliance would cost the Left front influence and potentially assembly seats. A CPM-Congress electoral alliance in West Bengal would blunt the edge of its attack on the UDF and enable the BJP to tout itself as the “real opposition” to the Congress in Kerala.
To this day, the communists promote the Congress as a “secular” bulwark against the Hindu supremacist BJP, though they know Congress party is also a major Hindutva party.
Truly, Indians are fed up with flowery and emotional speeches of their politicians, their bogus promises. The Tamils now want the politicians to work sincerely and honestly for their future.
For smaller parties in Tamil Nadu, the 2016 election is going to be crucial as the very existence of these parties may be challenged if they are wiped out of the state assembly. Hence they would be very serious in order to make their influence felt in other states. .
Notwithstanding all negative features it embodies, the emergence of third front in Tamil Nadu has significance for the state politics as well as national scenario. Since every state allows two major parties to win polls and make governments to loot the nation’s resources by powerful networks and mafias, the emergence of a third strong party or a front of remaining parties would go a long way in streamlining and cleansing the corrupt Indian politics.
The much anticipated formation of a third front, amidst uncertainties and discussions for over six months, has not only shattered the DMK’s dreams of a larger alliance in the assembly elections against AIADMK, but also makes the ruling party ‘happy’ as its leaders believe that a multi-cornered election would only help them to retain power.
CPM leader and a former JNU scholar Karat Prakash has made a valid point that the third front in Tamil Nadu will have a deep impact on the future politics of the state and, maybe, for Indian politics.
Even if the new formation wins the poll in Tamil Nadu, the issue remains if these leaders would genuinely work for the uplift of ordinary masses or do exactly what the DMK and ADMK and Congress and BJP have done everything to promote capitalists.
A successful campaign in Tamil Nadu by the third front could have far reaching ramifications for Indian nation. Their campaign strategy could get considerable support of the people.
How far they succeed against the rich and politically powerful AIADMK and DMK, remains to be seen.