Thursday, August 03, 2006

Split Wide Open

Jagmohan Dalmiya has done what the Congress and their "grassroot" antecedents could not do in more than 29 years. Jagmohan Dalmiya has done the unthinkable! He has defeated the vote machinery of the CPI(M) right there in the red bastion. This is an ally that Mamata Banerjee would probably die for !!
But Dalmiya has done more than just that. He has done the "unprecedented". He has not only defeated the Chief Minister's dummy candidate, he has also split a party which is considered to be one of the most disciplined in India's political history, right in the middle. The "angry" Jyoti Basu, who did not open his mouth even when the Politburo denied him the Prime Minister ship(back in 1997), is now throwing brickbats against his handpicked successor Budhhadev.

Is Dalmiya the issue or is he only the catalyst? I would be inclined to think the latter. CPI(M) of today is much more of a broken party than it was 10 years ago. One of the main reasons behind this split is the emergence of a new power centre within the Party,a power centre that comprises of the more soft Leftists like Budhhadev Bhattacharyay. In the 6 years of his rule, Budhhadev has carved a niche for himself, as probably no other Chief Minister has done in the recent past. He is, as he says "A Communist trying to come in terms with Capitalism". Metamorphosizing (as he likes to put it) the Party agenda in the Deng XiaoPing lines, Budhha has brought a major policy shift in the workings of the W.B Govt(one that even the likes of Prachanda are contemplating to imitate!!).
Even the ardent supporters of the Party agree that West Bengal had become a "dead state" in the concluding years of Basu's rule. His nonchalance regarding the affairs of the State had become proverbial. In Budhha, for the first time in years, the State has found a leader who is more concerned about the down to earth problems rather than high sounding Communist jargon. In 6 years, he has brought Bengal into the investment map. Bengal is now generating IT professionals, who are really getting a job inside the State( Believe it or not,this was unthinkable 5 years ago!!).Calcutta is getting a welcome makeover with flyovers and swanky shopping malls.
But is all well in Budhha's "Ramrajya"? I would not think so. While Budhha has done appreciable work for the urban middle class, the "common man" is still wallowing in poverty in the "Communist" State. The dark underbelly of Capitalist aggression is clearly visible in the less developed districts of Purulia, Bankura and Midnapore. The dissent of the masses has, quite ironically, found its expression in the Maoist movement in the State. But India's most influential Communist Chief Minister has more to face, than the ghost of Chairman Mao.
His own predecessor Jyoti Basu, now thinks that he had picked a "Frankenstein" in Budhha. Basu wanted to remain the "Grand Old Man" of Indian Politics, to be remembered with awe and respect as the man who had ruled a State for more than 25 years, and created the mammoth organizational machinery of the CPI(M). But just 5 years after his stepping down, the glory of Jyoti Basu has faded into oblivion, and Budhha's success has brought into limelight his predecessor's failures like never before. As the realization dawns,on what should have been done ten years ago, Basu's incompetence and callous attitude is coming more and more to the forefront. To add to the wounds, his corrupt and inefficient stooges, who ruled the roost during his rule, are finding themselves cornered in the Party. Dalmiya (with whom Basu had signed a shady business deal worth crores back in 1993) and other such corrupt bourgeoisie whose association had made the Party unpopular in the past are finding themselves increasingly out of favour with the new regime.
Thus the old and wounded Basu is fighting a desperate battle to make up for lost ground and to protect his own loyalists in the Party. Where, then is this fight heading to? We only hope that the "evil" wont be triumphing over the "good" this time.