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Top historian tells CPI-M: Ally with Congress, other "democratic, secular" parties to defeat "semi-fascist" BJP

By Our Representative
One of India's foremost historians, Prof Irfan Habib, has insisted India's most important left party, CPI-M, should work for forging an alliance with the Congress. In a letter to CPI-M's top body, politburo, Habib charges the CPI-M leadership of being soft to the "semi-fascist" BJP.
Underlining that “Lohia-like anti-Congressism will not serve us very much”, Habib says, the party must decide whether it wants to “stand aside” from “democratic elements and secular parties” only because of the “inclusion within it of the Congress party, which is still the principal opposition party at the national level”.
Citing a recent CPI-M Central Committee statement, Habib says, it fails to understand that the BJP government at the Centre, “is not just another parliamentary government of a bourgeois party”, but rather “represents a regime which openly acclaims the semi-fascist ideology of the RSS.”
He adds, the BJP government is “unconditionally committed to meeting all the demands of the top elements of the corporate sector, Indian and foreign, and is continuously undermining, in the most naked fashion (through saffronzing education, raising new communal issues, etc.) the secular basis of our nation.”
Referring to the examples of Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, where the BJP tried to capture power through “unconstitutional intervention”, Habib says, in the case of Assam it invoked “extremes of chauvinism and communalism” to come to power.
A long-time member of the CPI-M, Habib says, “The primary object of our party should be to isolate the BJP as far as possible, and form a broad united front with all other democratic forces so as to foil the BJP's plan of gaining control over the states still outside its orbit, and finally, to secure its defeat at the parliamentary elections due in 2019.”
Suggesting that the CPI-M continues to follow the policy of maintaining distance from the non-BJP opposition, including Congress, is faulty, Habib says, “In Bihar in 2015 we only united with CPI(ML), besides CPI, and rejected any understanding with the JD(U)-RJD-Congress alliance. The result was that in the elections the party failed to get a single seat, while the BJP was defeated in a popular wave against it, from which we had simply opted out.”
“In West Bengal”, Habib says, had the CPI-M “failed to work out an accommodation with the Congress”, its defeat would have been “much severer under the Trinamool's onslaught.” He adds, “Our fault was surely that we did not work out in time a common programme with the Congress to present before the people of West Bengal a real alternative to the Trinamool regime.”
In Tamilnadu, Habib says, the CPI-M offered “a front only with Left and obscure parties” instead of “adjustments with the DMK-Congress alliance”.
In Assam, by rejecting the “Congress' open invitation for electoral adjustments”, the CPI-M “contributed” its “small bit to split the anti-BJP vote”, insists Habib, adding, “In fact, the party asked voters to oust the Congress from power”, terming it “rather disquieting, since it should have been foreseen that the result would be to bring BJP to power there, as the Left by itself was in no position to even win a single seat, let alone offer an alternative to the Congress.”
In Kerala, after the victory of the Left Democratic Front, Habib says, “We must be ready to build a movement against the RSS in Kerala, which could include other non-communal politicians and supporters as well. We must surely not allow legitimate electoral considerations in Kerala to bar cooperation with the UDF components.”

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