Akhilendra Pratap Singh, Secretary of UP State Committee of CPI(ML) analyses the UP situation in the wake of Mayawati’s fall and return of Mulayam Singh Yadav at the helm
On 29 August 2003, Mulayam Singh Yadav became the Chief Minister of U.P. for the third time after a long interval. He won the vote of confidence on 8 September with 244 MLAs voting for the confidence motion in a house of 405. The outgoing BSP chief minister Mayawati has already resigned from the Legislative Assembly and with 40 MLAs leaving the BSP to join the Samajwadi Party (SP), now it is not the BSP but the BJP that has become the main Opposition. The Congress leadership has for the time being decided to support the government from outside even though its legislators were all for joining the government. Despite having only 4 MLAs, Kalyan Singh appeared to play the role of a kingmaker and Mulayam has inducted two RKP MLAs in his cabinet. And at last, Ajit Singh has also ‘accepted’ the leadership of Mulayam.
Following his appointment as the Chief Minister, Mulayam has made a number of ‘pleasant’ pronouncements: elections to the student unions, payment of arrears to sugarcane growers, unemployment allowance for the youth, no imposition of VAT on traders, reduction of hospital fee, and so on. Making the best use of the present political situation in the state, Mulayam has reached a position where he can run the government almost single-handedly. A whole range of forces – right from the forces of ‘social justice’ to social reaction, from mafia dons to master defectors, have come together on a single platform under Mulayam’s leadership. Incidentally, the person accused in the notorious Madhumita murder case, Amarmani Tripathi, too has joined Mulayam’s party. To suit its opportunist political line, the CPI(M) is trying to cover up the BJP’s role in the formation of Mulayam’s government. But the truth is let out by the Sangh’s own mouthpiece, Panchjanya which commented editorially on 7 September 2003: “Be that as it may, even those who nursed the bitterest of feelings against Mulayam would always be grateful to him, for it was because of him that the country was saved from the spectacle of Sonia Gandhi coming to power. Everything else is secondary … For the time being, therefore, let us celebrate Mayawati’s departure.” One would also recollect how Atal Bihari, while replying to the no-confidence motion debate on 19 August, had described the raid on the factory of Amar Singh’s brother as a ‘misdeed’ of the State Government, and promised to resolve the problem. Though Mulayam Singh spoke in favour of the no-confidence motion brought by the Congress, he also maintained a certain distance from the Congress on the question of reservation. In August, Mulayam had attacked Sonia for treating him as a regional party, claiming that without his support she cannot form a government at the centre. Obviously a big reason behind this verbal duel was his contention with the Congress over the Muslim mass base. Comrade Surjeet should rest assured, it will now be harder to forge a so-called secular front under Congress leadership with the recent increase in Mulayam’s bargaining power.
Traditionally considered crucial for the maintenance of political stability in the country, U.P. has itself been passing through considerable socio-political turbulence since 1990s, and despite a number of experiments the ruling class parties have not yet been able to forge a stable social equation. Mulayam tried to secure majority on the basis of kulaks belonging to backward castes, but he has not succeeded in mobilising all the kulaks of backward castes under his leadership. Though essentially banking on the emerging power groups among dalits, Mayawati also tried to rope in kulaks of backward castes and sections of the upper caste landed gentry on the basis of her so-called ‘Sarvajan theory’, but she could not keep the Kurmis in her fold, who formed a separate party Apna Dal.
Many Sangh leaders and ideologues had hoped to provide a strategic stability to the BJP-BSP coalition that was formed fifteen months back on the basis of the ‘sarvajan theory’ of Mayawati and the BJP’s thesis of ‘social harmony’. In a conference held six months back at Kanpur, Sangh ideologues proclaimed Chamars as Aryans and Dr. Ambedkar as a protagonist of Aryans. The coalition acquired a political dimension with Advani attending Mayawati’s ‘Dhikkar Rally’ and Mayawati going to Gujarat to propagate for Narendra Modi. It was hoped that the coalition would remain steady at least till the next parliamentary elections, but political developments have not let this happen. Now, some people are looking for elements of stability in Mulayam’s politics; they think that Mulayam may succeed in forging a durable equation between kulaks of backward castes and upper castes, particularly Rajputs, and he already enjoys support of Muslims. And they hope he can effectively counter the Sangh Parivar’s ‘Ayodhya agenda’ with his new-found ‘development agenda’. However, one must keep in mind that the economic situation of the state is in grave crisis, while the forces of social reaction have strong influence over the Mulayam government. Moreover, the dalits, who constitute one of the most important factors in the politics of Uttar Pradesh, are not at all happy with the formation of the new government.
The Mayawati government that was at the helm in the state for 15 months had proved to be anti-democratic and reactionary, because the RSS agenda continued to remain its guiding element. She did not have land redistribution and guarantee of minimum wages on her agenda, she showed no interest in getting BPL cards to the poor, most of whom are dalits. Even she tried to hush up the cases of starvation deaths. Mayawati government rendered the Dalit Act toothless, refrained from taking action in the cases of feudal repression over rural poor. Consequently, there was an increase in state violence against the poor even as the feudal forces got strengthened on the whole.
For political reasons the Raja Bhaiya case was blown up, but the fact is that clamping POTA on Raja Bhaiya by the Mayawati government was a result of power crisis and internal clashes among mafia groups, it was not as such a war against criminal mafia gangs. The Mayawati Government did not recommend a CBI probe into the heinous Bhawanipur massacre that took place during Rajnath Singh government’s anti-Naxal campaign of ‘killing four for one’. But she did utilise the struggle against Raja Bhaiya to play the dalit card. And in this background POTA on dalits and adivasis in Sonebhadra-Mirzapur belt was revoked under her regime.
Leave alone the talk of promoting democratic culture against Brahminism, she even backed out from organising Periyar Mela in order to appease Sangh Parivar’s cultural nationalism. In the Ayodhya case, she refused to issue a fresh notification to try cases against Advani, Joshi et al in special CBI court at Lucknow, and abetted the CBI in covering up their crimes. In the course of her campaign for the BJP during the elections in Gujarat, she even justified Gujarat genocide as a reaction to the Godhra episode. However, when it was the BJP’s turn to return the favours in the l’affaire Taj corridor, the BJP started exerting pressure on Mayawati leading to the collapse of the coalition arrangement ahead of even the Assembly elections in five states, not to mention the Lok Sabha elections.
Certainly the new political polarisation in UP will influence the national politics. The SP will now embark on a new phase of competition with the Congress. As it is, Lohiaite socialists have been trained in an atmosphere of anti-Congressism, and a host of their philosophical propositions show proximity to the Sangh Parivar’s ideology. But in order to stall a new polarisation within the Muslim community towards the Congress, pragmatism would guide the SP to oppose the Sangh Parivar’s communal campaign on the one hand and to prevent the Congress from staging a comeback at the Centre on the other. Amar Singh has recently rejected the idea of forming an anti-BJP front, saying that the SP’s experience in this regard has not been positive. With national politics remaining polarised around the BJP and the Congress, and big business houses like the Ambanis showering their blessings openly on the Mulayam Singh government, it will be interesting to watch the future metamorphosis of Mulayam Singh’s ‘samajwadi’ politics. In UP, taking advantage of being in the opposition and banking on the biased ASI report, the communal fascist forces have decided to launch Ram Raksha campaign on 25 September. Obviously the BJP’s gameplan is to instigate riots and revive itself. Democratic forces will certainly have to put maximum emphasis on countering this fascist campaign through mass movements. Mulayam has announced a lot of schemes, but he wouldn’t go far and soon retreat under the plea that the state is being run on overdrafts. Therefore, it is the responsibility of forces like our Party to see that these proclamations are not allowed to go the way of Vajpayee’s promise to provide one crore jobs. Democratic forces must assert that to improve the economic situation of the state, it is imperative to check government extravagance, confiscate black money lying in the coffers of bureaucrats, impose taxes on capitalists and big landlords and carry out land reforms. That is the only way to facilitate accelerated capital formation and investment and increase the purchasing power of the working people.
Genuine forces of social justice must keep in mind that the forces of social reaction have a strong influence on this government, and in the coming days repression by feudal forces and the state on the toiling people, including the rural poor, is bound to increase. We must therefore mobilise the people against communal and feudal violence and advance the alternative agenda in a popular way. With this in view, a “Jan Adhikar Rally” will be held in Lucknow to put forth a comprehensive agenda of the rural poor and the crisis-ridden peasants, the young generation and the common people. We must remain alert that while Mulayam bargains with the Congress, the politics of communal riots is not allowed to get the upper hand. We must do everything to pressurise the government to try the destroyers of Babri Masjid including Advani, Joshi and Uma Bharati.