Thiruvananthapuram: JNU union president Kanhaiya Kumar’s advice to “uncle Karat to go to New York if you can’t fight fascist BJP” may seem impetuous but it harps on the rift between Karat and CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, who believes BJP-RSS wants to convert secular India into a ‘fascist Hindu Rashtra.’ Mr Kumar’s comment in New Delhi on Thursday was in response to CPM former boss Prakash Karat’s formulation that the Modi Government and by implication BJP is not fascist. He said this in an opinion piece, Know your enemy, in a national daily the other day.
Mr Karat recognises that Modi government is dangerous because it espouses ‘Hindutva ideology’ and ‘chauvinistic nationalism’ but these do not tantamount to a threat of fascism. Modi government exhibits ‘authoritarianism,’ not ‘fascism,’ he says. “In India today, neither has fascism been established, nor are conditions present - in political, economic and class terms - for a fascist regime to be established," says Karat.
In stark contrast, Mr Yechury likens Modi government to Adolf Hitler. In one of his Rajya Sabha speeches Mr Yechury asserted: "The rising intolerance and the use of nationalism...is chillingly reminiscent of how Hitler used nationalism in order to establish fascism in Europe in the 1930s". Critics would argue Mr Karat’s formulation is to buttress his tactical opposition to alliance with Congress in West Bengal. The comment will add to ongoing debate on the Bengal line, externally backed by other Lefty parties. CPI leader D. Raja is on record that Modi Government is the “Indian variant of fascism”, prevailing in large parts of the country.
Back home in Kerala, the State unit will have no ideological issues over the Karat position as it is more concerned with checkmating senior leader V. S. Achuthanandan, who is a known supporter of Mr Yechury. Mr Acvhuthanandan has been ambivalent on heading the State Administrative Commission, indirectly linking it to his return the State secretariat. But the secretariat berth depends on the outcome of the politburo commission’s deliberations on the damning resolution passed against Mr Achuthanandan at the party plenum.
If Mr Karat insists on conditions for his re-induction into the State secretariat, Mr Achuthanandan may have second thoughts. This could possibly trigger another spell of open dissension, spearheaded by Mr Achuthanandan. He prefers to wait till the party central committee meeting on September 20 before accepting the administrative post.