Let the Communists spout their nonsense

Some Indian’s don’t like America or President Bush. Unless India intends to put up a Soviet-style welcome, they need not be told to shut up.

So Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya of West Bengal, the Communist party leader most non-Communists find agreeable, said some nasty things about President Bush. That invited a stern lecture on the virtues of civility from the Indian Express, which inferred that the Communist Party of India’s bad manners is a ‘reflection of India’s institutional maturity’.

Chief Minister Bhattacharya’s remarks are certainly bad form. His comments are more likely to be motivated by the approaching assembly elections than by ideological convictions. It is just as well that democracies do not let protocol or political correctness come in the way of the freedom of expression of their citizens. In the hoopla over the United States’ refusal to issue a visa to Narendra Modi, who as the elected chief minister of an Indian state is a constitutional officer, The Acorn defended America’s decision as being within its rights.

The behaviour of Indian politicians should hardly surprise anyone, not least the Americans, who themselves are no strangers to such patterns of behaviour. The Communists, exploiting their parliamentary leverage, have at every opportunity stalled or negated the economic reform agenda (whoever remembers those ‘second-generation reforms’ anymore?). They have also connived in the re-emergence of Maoist/Naxalist terrorism across the breadth of India. Their meddling in foreign policy has resulted in the blunting of India’s positions on everything from non-proliferation to military cooperation to relations with neighbouring countries. Bad manners towards a visiting head of state, therefore, ranks somewhere near the bottom in the list of their sins.

How much the Communists with their anti-American rhetoric are out of sync with the rest of India is revealed by a recent survey on global attitudes towards America. Indians, it appeared, bucked the general international trend and came out to be very favourably disposed towards the United States. By opening his mouth in the manner that he has, Bhattacharya has shown the Indian public where he stands. Like the Indian Express, many people would no doubt have noticed the uncivility. The newspaper would do well to remind voters of this the next time they get to vote.

In the meantime, there’s no need to put up a choreographed public welcome, with flag-waving children lining up the streets, to welcome the honoured guest. That happens only in Communist-ruled countries.

3 thoughts on “Let the Communists spout their nonsense”

  1. How come the commies don’t mind Uncle Jiang’s blood soaked hands.

    btw, from the Rediff link it is the Saudi monarch who refused to visit Raj Ghat.

    best,

  2. Cynical Nerd,

    I realised that I had put my foot firmly in my mouth, and the error has been corrected. Thanks. Apologies are due to both President Bush and Vijay Dandapani. I now know that a busy week and the consequent break from blogging can have such a drastic impact on accuracy.

  3. Bhattacharya deserves to be commended for taking on the hard-liners in his party with regards to foreign investment and militant trade unionism, but his rhetoric on the actions of other nations has veered from the cynical to the absurd. In addition to his remarks on Bush, he recently blasted the Congress Party for failing to bring about the kind of prosperity that Mao (along with Deng Xiaopeng and Jiang Xemin) brought to China. I’m not fond of Nehru and Indhira’s economic policies by a long-shot, but to say that they were one-upped by the architect of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution says everything that you need to know about the man’s credibility. As does the fact that he denounces Bush as the leader of a pack of killers while praising one of the 20th century’s greatest butchers.

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