New Government in Jharkhand Will Mean Manifold Increase in Loot

(An interview with CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya)

CPIML had demanded dissolution of the Assembly. Now a new coalition comprising JMM, Congress, and RJD has emerged to form a government led by JMM’s Hemant Soren. How do you see the current political developments?

The new government is yet another opportunist pro-corporate coalition. Congress can offer only more Coalgates. Even when Congress was not directly in power in Jharkhand Congress, Ministers and MPs like Subodhkant Sahay and Naveen Jindal have been heavily involved in looting and plundering the precious resources of Jharkhand. Now that they are directly in power, the loot will go up manifold. JMM has no problem in partnering either BJP or Congress. Congress has no problem supporting JD(U) in Bihar and sharing power with RJD in Jharkhand.

We had demanded dissolution of Assembly and holding of fresh elections because we wanted the people of Jharkhand to get a chance to punish the power-hungry opportunists and managers and promoters of corporate loot. It has not happened but we are determined to intensity our battle against opportunism and corporate loot.

Congress and other partners claim that this coalition has kept communal forces at bay. Do you agree?

Congress has always appeased and emboldened communal forces. It has at times also practised competitive communalism to outsmart the BJP and the Sangh Parivar. Congress has no record of combating communalism. How else does one explain the rise of the BJP under Congress rule? The talk of keeping communal forces at bay is just an empty claim, the real point is Congress would like to manage corporate loot from the driver’s seat.

BJP and JVM have opposed the formation of the Hemant Soren government. They are accusing Congress of hobnobbing with tainted MLAs and underhand dealing with her coalition partners. How will CPI(ML) draw a clear-cut demarcation line from other opposition parties?

It is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Has the JMM become more tainted simply because it has parted ways with the BJP? And aren’t the BJP and JVM themselves full of tainted leaders? Just as the Congress has no right to issue certificates of secularism, the BJP and JVM have no right to distribute seals of honesty.

Jharkhand has become a hotbed of scamsters and corrupt politicians. Navin Jindal and Subodhkant Sahay have been recently implicated in the Coalgate scam. 11 MLAs are facing charges in the horse-trading scandal during the Rajya Sabha 2010 polls, while many others too may come under the CBI scanner. Madhu Koda and their colleagues are still in jail on the charges of scams to the tune of thousands of crores. How can people’s aspirations be fulfilled in this political situation?

Corruption and corporate loot have been the bane of Jharkhand ever since the state has been formed. Sidho, Kanu and Birsa had fought against the colonial oppressors; the Jharkhand movement fought against the governments in Delhi and Patna to achieve the demand of separate state, and now we have to intensify the battle against corporate plunder and state repression to realise the popular aspirations for development and democracy.

CPIML has been taking fresh initiatives for Left unity in the state. Now the MLA from the Marxist Co-ordination Committee, Arup Chatterjee, is participating in the government. How will you pursue the cause of Left unity in such circumstances?

The decision of the MCC to side with the Congress is unfortunate. The process of united Left movement will have to proceed through the zig-zag course of debate and difference. There can be no pro-government Left unity while the government follows an anti-people course. The unity and direction of the Left movement will always be determined through people’s struggle for a people’s alternative.

What role and prospects of the Left in general and CPIML in particular do you see in the state?

There are good prospects for the Left and especially for the CPI(ML), which is the most principled, consistent and determined contingent of the Left movement in the country. People are getting fed up with opportunism and corruption. In Jharkhand there is a keen sense of betrayal among the people - they feel cheated and let down by successive governments. Whether big national parties like Congress and BJP or prominent regional forces like JMM, JVM and AJSU all have been in power and have been caught red-handed betraying people’s interests and looting public resources. There is a growing aspiration for real change and appreciation for the role CPI(ML) has played and the price it has paid to defend people’s interests and bring about change. We will have to give concrete shape to the aspirations of the people. There is also a renewed awareness within the camp of indigenous people’s struggles in Jharkhand about the need for unity and cooperation with the Left. This is a good sign and we must champion this direction. At a time when the State, in the guise of ‘inclusive growth’, is brutally evicting all oppressed and marginalised people to facilitate corporate plunder, CPI(ML) will continue its efforts to intensify the people’s resistance movement, uniting all sections of marginalised, poor and fighting people.

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