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Sounding ‘Red’ Alert for BJP, Farmers’ Protest May Lead to Revival of the Left

The red flags with hammer and sickle symbol have also been waved in states like Punjab, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh earlier, but never has the Left been able to translate the energy and angst of the movements into electoral victory.

Rupashree Nanda | CNN-News18

Updated:March 13, 2018, 12:30 PM IST
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Sounding ‘Red’ Alert for BJP, Farmers’ Protest May Lead to Revival of the Left
Farmers take part in 'Kisan long march' organised by All Indian Kisan Sabha (AIKS) at Azad Maidan in Mumbai on Monday. (PTI Photo)
New Delhi: Even as Amit Shah is looking forward to BJP’s ‘golden era’, thousands of rugged hands, swollen eyes and blistered feet in India’s financial capital has set off a ‘red’ alert for ‘team saffron’.

More than being a march for rights, the farmers’ protest in Mumbai resurfaces India’s culture of peaceful, non-violent resistance. From Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi March in 1930 to Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement in 2013, India has always set examples for the world to fight injustice without weapons.

"People who fight for fundamental social change always turn to politics of andolan (protests)," says CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat. So, is the protest in Maharashtra a warning in disguise for the BJP?

Despite making its way into the North-East, the saffron party’s celebrations could not last long with red flags emerging in the west, where the Left had been insignificant.

As obituaries were being written on the Left movement, CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said, "Let me remind you that in Ramayana, Lord Ram had held an ashwamedha yagna (a horse sacrifice ritual) and the horse’s gallop came to a halt. The yagna of Modi’s neo-liberalism will be stopped by the twins of sickle and hammer."

Karat points out that even if one wants, Left can never die in a country as it is extremely relevant and central to the politics of all those who want justice.

The red flags with hammer and sickle symbol have also been waved in states like Punjab, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh earlier, but never has the CPI (M) been able to translate the energy and angst of the movements into electoral victory.

Maintaining a little caution while speaking, a politburo member, Suhasini Ali says, “I am not saying that this (farmers’ protest) will automatically convert into electoral gains. That is something for the future, but this is what we are committed to do -- fight for the demands and the rights of the working people.”

While requesting media not to reduce farmers' historic march to mere electoral politics, Karat says, "Modi ji believes that loss of the Left in Tripura is the end of the Communist party. He had said that it is the end of ‘politics of andolan’. I want to request him to go to Mumbai and see the power of andolan politics; see the power of the poor farmer adivasis, whom his government had betrayed."

Incidentally, in November last year, the Left along with other similarly leaning organisations and trade unions had organised a mammoth protest in the national capital. That protest was overlooked by the mainstream media, not that its concerns were in any way less urgent than the one spectacularly unfolding in Maharashtra.

As the CPI (M) struggles to re-invent itself and gears for the party congress in April, it must also ask, if the Left movement is alive in so many parts of the country why has it not led to incremental gains for the party?

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| Edited by: Sumedha Kirti
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