Desperate CPI(M) Discovers New Secular ‘Hero’ In Naveen

In what must count as the most sensational development so far in this election season, the BJD seems to have decided to terminate its decade-old partnership with the BJP. Buoyed by its recent electoral success in municipal elections in which it had independently swept the polls over large parts of urban Orissa, the BJD leadership asked the BJP to settle for a reduced number of seats in both Assembly and Parliament elections. A shell-shocked BJP was quick to withdraw from the ruling coalition, and in no time the CPI(M) has stepped in to fill the gap. For the CPI(M), Naveen Patnaik has overnight become the latest icon of the fledgling ‘Third Front’ and a secular hero to boot!

The Orissa developments hold a pretty good mirror to the emerging patterns of coalition politics in India. Time was when the NDA boasted of some twenty-odd constituents. Today with the BJP’s stock going down and down, allies have started deserting the coalition one after another. The remaining allies like the Akali Dal in Punjab, Shiv Sena in Maharashtra and JD(U) in Bihar will obviously utilise this discomfiture of the BJP to demand a bigger share of the coalition pie. Inasmuch as Naveen Patnaik’s decision to walk out on the decade-old partnership with the BJP could aggravate the predicament of the BJP/NDA camp, it would surely be welcomed by all secular democratic people in the country.

But the alacrity with which the CPI(M) has responded to the developments in Orissa goes much farther than this general sense of relief and welcome. It is one thing to encourage a rift or rupture in the NDA, and quite another to rush into an alliance with whoever parts ways with the BJP. Still more pitiable is the CPI(M)’s desperate attempt to legitimise and lionise someone like Naveen Patnaik with a view to securing some electoral gains!

The CPI(M) has already absolved Naveen Patnaik of all his culpability in the anti-Christian carnage in Kandhamal that claimed scores of innocent lives and rendered thousands of Christian families homeless and traumatised refugees in their own land. In fact, CPI(M) leaders would like us to believe that it was the Kandhamal carnage that triggered Naveen Patnaik’s ‘change of heart’! With hindsight they can now also discover flickers of secular remorse in the BJD leadership when the Modi brigade scripted the Gujarat genocide seven years ago! And Kalinganagar, Kashipur and Posco are perhaps only necessary symbols of ‘industrialisation’ and ‘governance’ like Singur, Nandigram and Lalgarh?

Chandrababu Naidu, Jayalalitha, Mayawati and now Naveen Patnaik – they are the pillars of the CPI(M)’s dream ‘Third Front’ that, according to the CPI(M), will guarantee secularism and protect the Indian people from the scourge of global recession! Naveen Patnaik may have demonstrated his growing strength and confidence by choosing this moment to dissociate from the BJP, the CPI(M) is only exposing its growing desperation by overnight turning him into a secular hero.

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