ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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On Nandigram- I

When an intellectual of the calibre of Prabhat Patnaik becomes an apologist for a political party (‘In the Aftermath of Nandigram’, May 26), the result is a sorry spectacle. Instead of using his formidable intellect to develop new ideas with which the communists of the world and India in particular can deal with the current neoliberal onslaught, he restricts himself to explaining why the CPI(M) could do no better in Nandigram than turn the might of the state against the peasants.

What should be the role of a communist party in a situation as exists in India? Should they say that the middle classes demand industrialisation and therefore industrialisation must take place at any cost, even if it means pushing the farmers off the land? Is it sufficient to say that the capital for industrialisation can be raised only by the private sector, and that all states are wooing them, and therefore West Bengal must do the same? For the CPI(M), this is a natural conclusion. Having tailed the Congress at the centre and various regional parties in the states, it has failed to develop any energetic economic policy. Ideas are at a premium. It has been nursing its constituency of the somewhat pampered organised labour – who have shown a distressing tendency to move rightwards with growing prosperity – and government employees who have shown little concern or responsibility for the common people who are at their mercy everyday. So much for communist consciousness. So afraid is the CPI(M) of losing power in these two states, that the retention of these governments has become the end-all of party policy.

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