Boldly Confront Corporate-Backed Corruption and Clamour for Modi

Even as the Congress tries hard to hit an emotional pitch over its food-for-vote campaign, the spectre of corruption keeps coming back to haunt it hard, challenging its survival in power and threatening to reduce it to its lowest ever tally in the coming Lok Sabha elections. The CBI, the caged parrot of the powers that be as the Supreme Court famously described it, has now named a top industrialist and a retired bureaucrat in a fresh FIR on coal-block allocations. While the naming of Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of AV Birla group and former Coal Secretary PC Parakh has raised eyebrows in some circles, what the nation really wants to know is why the third side of the triangle has been left out.

The corporate-bureaucrat nexus is actually an abbreviated form of the corporate-bureaucrat-minister triangle and in this case the minister was none other than the Prime Minister who officiated over the coal ministry for three years during the first UPA government. The Prime Minister’s Office has sought to justify the allocation on the part of the Prime Minister while saying the CBI was free to investigate the case as it deemed fit. The PMO statement also links the allocation to strong recommendations of the Odisha government.

The PMO reply may at best point to the involvement of an additional party in the form of the Odisha government, but it cannot absolve the PM and the CBI has absolutely no excuse not to name the PM in its FIR when it has accused the two other sides of the triangle alleging conspiracy and irregularity. The PM and his Office stand incontrovertibly implicated in the dust and fume of coalgate and even if the CBI is used selectively and shamelessly to save the PM for the time being, or the CBI closes down the case against Birla and Parakh, the government will have to pay for it in the coming elections.

In a significant coincidence, the Supreme Court has now asked the CBI to probe the Radia tapes, bringing not only the 2G scam but the bigger story of corporate grab of resources and manipulation of power and policies back in limelight. Let us also not forget the other scam which has been crying out for years together for due media recognition and judicial cognisance – the oil and gas scam that would expose the true face of India’s biggest corporate house and its ever-expanding influence on the Indian state. The real issue for India today is not just corruption but where it springs from and what it signifies – indiscriminate privatisation, unbridled plunder of resources and growing corporate subversion of democracy.

It is obvious that while the BJP is desperate to reap the political benefit of the anti-Congress mood of the people propelled by the scams, soaring prices and all-round economic crisis, it has no alternative policy trajectory or perspective. In fact, the very basis of the corporate clamour for Narendra Modi lies in the expectation that he would replicate the Gujarat model of unrestricted corporate freedom at the Centre and facilitate corporate plunder on an even bigger scale. The BJP therefore wants no policy debate in the elections, and is desperate to employ its tested and trusted tactic of grabbing votes in the shadow of communal polarisation and terror.

The party is working overtime to make this tactic work especially in UP and Bihar where the Congress has little presence left and the non-Congress non-BJP centrist parties stand increasingly discredited. After the groundwork done by his deputy Amit Shah in UP which left Muzaffarnagar ravaged in communal fire, Modi has already made his first appearance in the battleground of UP and is now slated to address his first rally in Patna on 27 October. But however much the BJP/RSS machinery and the corporate media seek to hype up the Modi factor, even to the point of reinventing and repackaging him as a tea-seller who rose from the ranks of the underprivileged poor and made it big in politics through sheer hard work, the people have little difficulty to see the fact that it is the corporate world which has rallied most solidly around Modi.

While boldly resisting the BJP’s communal game plan, the Left must not reduce the 2014 poll campaign to a single-point communal versus secular debate. Any coalition exercise in the name of secularism with discredited and opportunist forces, many of whom have joined hands with the BJP in the past and may well cross over once again for the sake of power-sharing, will lack credibility and only trivialise secularism. And it will weaken the necessary political thrust of a powerful people’s campaign at this critical juncture to stop corporate plunder of national resources, reorder developmental priorities in the interest of the broad masses of Indian people, and free India’s basic policies and international role from strategic subservience to global capital and US imperialism.

While the Congress is rapidly losing ground, the projection for the NDA in all pre-poll surveys is still short of the 200 mark, not to speak of the magic number of 272. By all indications, the forthcoming Assembly elections will turn out to be a major reality check for the BJP and its Modi hype. Revolutionary communists must make the best use of the developing situation to confront the corporate clamour with the bold voice of the people.

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