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BJP eyeing ‘super-structure’ of India, says D Raja

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on March 25, 2016

D RAJA CPI leader

With right wing shift in economy, ruling party out to change Constitutional base: CPI leader





CPI national secretary D Raja has a busy schedule these days. He travels from one State to another explaining his party’s — and also the Left’s — stand on various issues such as nationalism and student unrest. He spoke to BusinessLine on the connection between the “right wing shift” of the economy and the “attacks” against Constitutional rights.

The first lap of the Budget session is over. What will be in stock for the second lap?

It is for the BJP to decide. Now, after Arunachal Pradesh, they have destabilised an elected government in Uttarakhand. Two young Muslim cattle traders were lynched by a mob patronised by Sangh Parivar elements. Such issues will definitely come up. We are now discussing the demands for grants for various ministries. Arun Jaitley has presented a wrong economic model in the form of the Budget. His Budget failed to address the growing inequality in the country. He also did not address the fundamental issue of equitable distribution. India is one of the lowest in Happiness Index. The global wealth report says 100 wealthy people in the country own more than the wealth of 80 crore people put together. So it shows the inequality that has grown in our country. What is the correspondence between GDP and Human Development Index? They do not address. In fact there is no correspondence. India finds its place at the lower level in the HDI.

But the government claims that the measures taken are for saving the economy, particularly the agriculture economy...

Saving the economy can mean many things…In whose interest you want to save the economy? That should be squarely answered. It cannot be in the interest of corporate houses, big business houses…Neoliberal economic policies have resulted in the growing inequality in the society, which is unprecedented. In the current situation, the governments need to spend more on the social sector. That’s not happening in this Budget.

Ever since this neoliberal economy was accepted, agriculture has remained neglected. Fundamental issues of agriculture have not been addressed.

Why do farmers commit suicide? Agriculture has become non-remunerative. They do not get prices for their produce. The cost of inputs like seeds, fertilisers or fuel has gone up. But the prices have not gone up. There is no match. Farmers do not have sustainable income. That is why there is a demand for a farm income commission to be set up. The government thinks that MSP is something like a dole for farmers. It is not so. Rural debt is the primary reason for suicide. Why they get trapped in this debt? They go for loans and they are not able to pay back and then they take extreme steps. The government must increase investment in the agriculture sector. In terms of percentage of GDP, the amount spent on agriculture is less than 2 per cent.

The thrust is for more private investment. Everywhere, in all sectors, including defence, the government is depending on private investment, both domestic and foreign. Jaitley said the department of disinvestment is abolished and another department of public assets management is created… It’s nothing but another disinvestment agency. They have given enough indications that the government equities will be reduced.

How are you going to take up these issues?

We will raise it in Parliament — in the standing committees. It is for the other parties also to understand what Jaitley and his friends are trying to do… The right wing shift in economy has become very decisive. So they think they have captured the economy’s base. They are confident now. The economy has moved towards corporate capitalism or to the dominance of international finance capital. Now they have turned their attention on the super structure of this country, which is built on some Constitutional and democratic values. Now they want to make a shift here. The super structure has been built on the Constitution given by Dr Ambedkar and other galaxy of leaders. This Constitution is a Republican one. Now they want to make it a theocratic one, which they are finding difficult.

That is where the so-called debate on nationalism comes up. That is where this so-called debate on slogans comes up. They are now attacking universities, attacking any alternate ideas, attacking not only Marxist ideas but Ambedkarite ideas and Periyar ideas… Anything against nationalism as defined by BJP and RSS and the corporate economy is attacked. But there is a stiff resistance to it.

The Prime Minister himself has clarified that his government is not against the ideals of Ambedkar…

Now Narendra Modi and others claim to be bigger champions of Ambedkar. But do they speak a word on reservation in private sector for SC/ST or for OBC? Here, what is private about the private sector? That has to be defined. They take loans from public sector banks. They get all concessions from the State. They take all land, water, electricity at concessional rates. They get tax holidays also. One should see everything in a comprehensive way. Now at the superstructure level they want to fight the ideas… It can even impact independent judiciary. They want to break the existing super structure, built on some values.

Communists and Ambedkarites historically had some ideological differences…

Actually, there were differences at times on tactical questions limited to certain regions. I do not see any ideological differences. Ambedkar wanted to give priority to social inequalities. Communists could have said we will have to attack the base and change the production relations which will finally change the social conditions. Now there is convergence. There is understanding within Communists also that Indian revolution should be understood as a comprehensive one. It should be an integrated struggle. It is not only economic liberation. It should be against social discrimination also. That is what is happening now. That awareness has come up. That is why Ambedkarites, Marxists and secular democrats are coming together. Jai Bhim Comrade slogan was given by Ambedkarites. Annihilation of caste is an integral part of Indian revolution. Communists do have that understanding.

Published on March 25, 2016
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