India has a Communist problem. It has a bigger non-Communist problem.
The term of convenience used to describe India’s in-coalition Communists is ‘the loony Left’. Unfortunately that term does not quite do sufficient justice to the determined manner in which they are running India aground.
They called a ‘general strike’ this week, an ominous ‘dress rehearsal’ they threatened with worse to come, protesting against the UPA government’s ‘reforms’ and in defence of the ‘worker’. As the Secular-Right blogger asks, what reforms? And as T V R Shenoy asks, which workers? That dreadful document — the common minimum programme — has not only circumscribed what Dr Manmohan Singh’s government can actually consider doing. It has also straitjacketed governance, leaving the government with very little room to manage the trade-offs intrinsic in any public policy decision.
And nowhere is the Communist blackmail better exemplified than in the domain of foreign policy. Shekhar Gupta points out in the Indian Express that Pakistan, Iran and China have realised that in India’s communists, they have a wonderfully influential ally right in the middle of India’s power centre. He doesn’t mention Nepal, but there too the camaraderie between Indian communists and their Nepalese brethren is a key reason why India finds itself unable to effect a meaningful strategy to resolve the deadlock in the Himalayan kingdom. And he doesn’t mention the reawakening of an old, domestic monster — the Naxalite movement.
The Communists are doing what they are doing because that is in their nature. The bigger tragedy is that the Congress, as the ruling party and the BJP, as the main opposition have failed to effect a working relationship that can trump the challenges posed by the Left.