The rank opportunism practiced by the Leftists stood exposed before the people of the country when they first joined forces with the Congress party at the Centre even as they engaged in an ideological mock battle with the ?bourgeois? party in West Bengal and Kerala. What'smore, forsaking all their so-called principles, they defended the ?tainted? ministers in the UPA government, compromised with the economic policies and shamelessly backed the ?Office of Profit? Bill to save the skin of their own senior leaders holding plum posts at the Centre and in party-ruled states.
The Left'sduplicity was also highlighted by the different economic yardsticks it applied in Kerala and West Bengal. The Leftist posturing against the multinationals and liberalisation continued at the Centre even as they unveiled ?Brand Buddha? in West Bengal and opened the floodgates for foreign investment in the state.
The CPI (M) has been asking the government to review the SEZ policy, saying such units would hurt tax revenues in the long run. ?The issue of sanctioning SEZs must be seriously considered by the government. The government will lose Rs 970 million in tax revenues as it is giving high tax incentives to SEZs?, said party Politburo member Sitaram Yechuri.
Pointing out that only 25 per cent of the land allotted for SEZs would be used for manufacturing, he said, ?The rest would be used for commercial purposes. Which means that SEZs are essentially for real estate business.?
Calling for a halt to creation of SEZs till a comprehensive review of the policy by the Centre, the Marxist leader said the indiscriminate growth of SEZs was not only detrimental to the interests of the farming community but also posed a threat to national food security with large-scale acquisition of agricultural land.
Endorsing Yechuri'sstand, CPI General Secretary A.B. Bardhan said, ?This (SEZ) is an incredible example of ensuring super profit for the corporate houses at the cost of the public exchequer, the farmers and the poor. And what is amazing is that the government is acting as agents of these corporate houses in creating them.?
But what about West Bengal where the Left Front government is going out of its way to acquire prime agricultural land for the small car project of Tata Motors?
Thus spoke the dyed-in-the-wool Marxist Prakash Karat: ?In West Bengal, it is a specific project for which 1,000 acres are being acquired in a specific area and for which some farmers are to be evicted. But it cannot come in the same category (as in the SEZ project in Haryana and the Reliance power project at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh).?
?Here 60 per cent farmers have agreed to sign up to sell their land. Tata Motors? small car plant is an important project which is needed for the state'sdevelopment,? says Karat.
The CPI(M)'sdouble standards are not confined to SEZs but also go to labour issues. The party which wrecked and ruined the state of Kerala with its incessant labour agitations is reining in its cadres when it comes to industrialization in West Bengal.
In an interactive meeting with corporate honchos in West Bengal, the party'sposter boy and Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya said, ?Every time I meet trade union leaders, I tell them to change their mindset.?
The Prime Minister should hold workshops with the corporate sector and trade unions to help him draft labour laws, says Bhattacharya. Indeed, class struggle is pass?.
Another ?farce? played by the communists on the nation over four decades back also got exposed recently?when CPI(M)'sKarat sought to know from the union government what security considerations it had in mind in denying permission to Chinese companies that made bid to build the Vizhinjam Deepwater International Trans-shipment Terminal in Kerala.
?We would like to know why this old mindset. George Fernandes said China was India'snumber one enemy. We don'tthink the Congress agrees with it. Why are Chinese firms being blacklisted by the government?? asked Karat in an unprecedented and blatant interference by any political party in the country'sforeign and defence policies.
The duplicity of the Left Front is not confined to policy and ideology alone but also in their approach to religion. While they have no qualms about giving a burial to their Muslim leaders as per Islamic rites and even one of their veteran comrades and a former General Secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet even sporting a turban, the CPI(M) forced the West Bengal Transport Minister Subhas Chakraborty to apologise for offering puja at the Kali temple in Tarapith last week.
Shedding all his defiance of the past few days, the minister heeded the party'sdemand for a public apology and called a press conference at the party headquarters in Kolkata to say he was sorry and that he should not have visited the temple.
The minister had visited the temple and offered puja ? pictures of which were widely published in the media. He had also kicked up a row by declaring that he was a Hindu first, then a Brahmin and that Indian communists had failed to spread to other states because of their inability to adopt the country'straditions and replace the red salute with ?pranam? and ?Namaskar?.
Besides such double standards, the Left'snew found morality in the wake of getting into power at the Centre and the two states found reflection in the self-promotion indulged in by their student leader in an internet network group. West Bengal state President of the CPI(M) students wing Students? Federation of India, Sudip Sengupta poses himself with a mobile phone in a tea garden and described himself as ?very Left liberal? on Orkut, Google'ssocial networking site.
On Orkut, Sengupta'sfriends circle includes a host of well-educated people with their taste in music ranging from the Beatles and Plin Floyd to Pete Seeger.
From liberalisation to ?liberal?, the CPI(M) has indeed expanded its range and jargon and the people of India have seen through their fa?ade.