two years of nda rule

 sickle_s.gif (30476 bytes) People’s Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of
India (Marxist)


No. 44

November 04,2001

What the NDA Has
Achieved In Two Years

Harkishan Singh


TWO years ago,
when the present edition of the Vajpayee government came into office, the CPI(M) had
warned that the formation of the BJP-led government posed a threat to national unity and
would endanger the secular fabric of our country. We also warned that given the right
reactionary character of the BJP, the federal character of the Republic would be attacked,
there would be a drive towards an authoritarian set-up and a tilt towards the US in
foreign policy matters.

The two years
since then have confirmed our worst apprehensions. Oblivious of the promises made to its
so-called secular allies, the BJP is going ahead implementing its own agenda. The BJP, it
will be recalled, came into office having fought the elections as part of the NDA. The NDA
manifesto was so drafted as to satisfy the regional allies of the BJP, and parties like
the JD(U) and the Samata Party. Contentious issues like the construction of the Ram Temple
at Ayodhya, Article 370, and the Uniform Civil Code, which were very much central to the
BJP, were not part of the National Agenda for Governance.


We have
repeatedly pointed out that ever since coming to office, the BJP-led government has been
striving to undo the basic nature and goals of our education system — democracy, equality
and secularism. The first step in this direction came with the packing of institutions of
higher learning, and decision-making bodies like the NCERT, ICSSR, etc., with persons
known for their close affinity with the Hindutva ideology.

In the second
stage, the ministry of Human Resources Development launched a concerted attack on the
secular and scientific content of the curriculum. The infamous ‘National Curriculum
Framework for School Education,’ now being put forward, is a blue-print for giving
school education a narrow, exclusionist, sectarian and obscurantist orientation. Under the
guise of providing value education, what is being promoted is obscurantist values.

The widespread
resentment against these measures is reflected in the refusal by several state governments
and universities to introduce the UGC’s new courses. Despite education being on the
concurrent list, the state governments are being bypassed while arriving at such
far-reaching decisions.


While the
resource crunch is offered as a justification for everything that ails the educational
system, and for withdrawal of the state’s responsibility, courses in Vedic Astrology, karmakand,
yogic consciousness, etc., are being pushed through. Universities are being enticed to
accept these courses by providing liberal funding.

there has been an increased hate campaign against the minorities. All over the country
attacks on Dalits, Christians, Muslims, and women have increased.


Faced with a
hopeless situation with the UP elections drawing closer , the BJP wants to engineer a
situation which would be favourable to it. In the given circumstances it has concluded
that only a communally polarised electorate can save its fortunes. Hence the illegal entry
into the Babri Masjid site by the VHP leaders, and performance of religious ceremonies
there in defiance of the Supreme Court directive are an indication of its plans. This
provocative act was allowed without hindrance as the site is under the control of the
central government. No less a person than the Prime Minister gave encouragement to the VHP
by stating that a solution would be found by March 2002.

the BJP-RSS-VHP combine has launched a campaign of provocative speeches and acts
concentrating on the Ayodhya issue, following its decision to create a communal
polarisation to pursue its narrow electoral aims in Uttar Pradesh. In the not too recent
past thousands of Bajrang Dal volunteers have been given training in the handling of
weapons. At the recent meeting of the BJP’s youth wing at Agra, provocative speeches were
the order of the day. Taking a cue from these, as is now well-known, some of the delegates
proceeded to the Taj Mahal and indulged in rowdyism and vandalism. Not only did the state
administration provide the youth indulging in such unruly acts, free entry into the Taj,
but it also did not apprehend anyone of them.

The USA’s
“global war against terrorism” is being used by the BJP-RSS-VHP combine to
further its own agenda. While the government rightly bans the SIMI, it spares the Bajrang
Dal, VHP and such other outfits. Both the BJP and major sections of the media are trying
to portray the entire Muslim community in a bad light. They are being asked to prove their
loyalty to the country. While there is no doubt that fundamentalist elements and people
like the Delhi Shahi Imam have contributed in no small measure to such assessments, this
attitude of holding the whole community responsible, only strengthens such forces. This
suits the BJP well.


When it came to
power the BJP-led NDA government acclaimed swadeshi, and pledged to protect and
strengthen India’s economic sovereignty. It also promised to create one crore jobs each

Two years in
office has proved beyond doubt that the economic policies pursued by this government are
in fact, all videshi. The policies pursued by it have led to a shocking rise in
starvation deaths in various parts of the country accompanied by distress suicides by

The pursuit of
its ‘swadeshi’ policies has seen import restrictions on a host of items being
lifted. While 100% foreign direction investment is being allowed in sectors like
insurance, pharmaceuticals, hotels, tourism, airports, ports, etc., in the telecom sector
it is 75% and in banks 49%.

security concerns the government has even allowed private companies to enter defence
production with 26% foreign equity. The Enron experience in Maharashtra is an example of
what the privatisation of the power sector means. Going back on its earlier commitment the
Vajpayee government adopted the Indian Patents (amendment) bill.

The withdrawal
of quantitative restrictions on the import of 1429 items has badly hit agriculture. Prices
of many agricultural produce have fallen sharply, with drastic falls in the prices of
paddy, cashew, groundnut, coffee, rubber, coconut, among others. Along with the lifting of
import restrictions, the de-reservation of sectors reserved for the small scale sector has
dealt a death blow to this sector.

In a situation
where the common man is facing immense hardships, it would be incumbent upon any
government to come to its aid. But the BJP government, on the contrary, has denied even
the small protection that the common people had been receiving. The public distribution
system has been virtually dismantled. While starvation deaths take place in various parts
of the country, six million tonnes of foodgrains are left to rot in the FCI godowns. The
government would prefer to let them rot rather than distribute them free to the starving
people, or even provide them at subsidised rates to the needy. The government has further
announced that it will stop procurement of foodgrains next year.

The entire
privatisation programme of the Vajpayee government stinks with tales of corruption and
mysterious secret deals. It was estimated that Modern Foods was worth nearly Rs 2200
crore, while it was sold of to Hindustan Lever for a paltry Rs. 150 crore. The more recent
sale of BALCO to the dubious Sterlite company, despite widespread opposition, was made at
10% of its estimated value of Rs. 5500 crore. Much as it tried the government was unable
to privatise Air India after Singapore Airlines backed out and it could not attract other
bids, though this has not stopped it from trying again. The government is planning to sell
off blue chip companies like the VSNL.

Thus the public
sector set-up, with the money of the people of the country, is being handed over to the
rich on a platter.

It is more than
clear now that the economic policies of the Vajpayee government are designed only to
provide quick profits for the rich while squeezing the people. That it results in
mortgaging our economy to foreign capital, growing unemployment for the people, and
impoverishment of the vast masses., is of no consequence for this government and party.


The BJP called
itself ‘a party with a difference’ , a party that would provide a clean administration.
The Mr. Clean image was completely sullied at the highest level, that of the President of
the party. The television images of Shri Bangaru Laxman receiving a wad of notes is still
fresh in memory. The Defence Minister, George Fernandes had to resign in the wake of a
deal being struck at his official residence. Apart from exposing corruption at various
levels in the government, the tehelka tapes revealed how, under the Vajpayee
government, national security had been endangered. The ease with which fictitious arms
dealers could penetrate the defence procurement system is indeed appalling.

The CPI(M) had
warned that the so-called reforms in the economy would inevitably lead to a liberalised
dose of corruption. As the years of liberalisation have shown, corruption has increased by
leaps and bonds. Thus the unpardonable fraud committed on small investors with the
collapse of the US64 scheme of the UTI. Thousands of small investors had, in good faith,
put their life long savings in the UTI, only to discover later that this money had been
diverted to the stock market. While the small investors were left to face disastrous loss,
the corporate houses were alerted in advance, and allowed to sell back their stocks to the

Another example
of the degree to which corruption has been institutionalised, was seen in the major scam
that occurred in the stock market in March 2001. The main culprit, Ketan Parekh, borrowed
a cool Rs.12,000 crore from the Madhavapura Mercantile Cooperative Bank, the Bank of India
and financial institutions, to buy shares of select companies and jack up their prices.
The scam surfaced when the time for payments arrived.

Apart from this,
have been the scandals of borrowings from nationalised banks and financial institutions by
the private sector, but never returned. Such bad debts, the so-called Non Performing
Assets of nationalised banks stand at a colossal Rs. 80,000 crore.

In similar
fashion, the high moral standards that the BJP preached while out of power stand
thoroughly exposed. Shamelessly the very same George Fernandes that it had dropped in the
wake of the tehelka exposures, is reinducted into the cabinet, at the very time when the
Venkataswami Commission had authenticated the tehelka tapes as being original and
not doctored, and had still not finished its investigation. Vajpayee went out of his way
to offer a palpably weak defence in favour of inducting Fernandes, while a shocked nation
felt ashamed.



With the
ushering in of the BJP-led government, India’s foreign policy perspectives have seen a
complete reversal, from a policy of non-alignment and support to national liberation
movements the BJP-led government to a pro-imperialist and pro-American foreign policy.
Making a 360 degrees turn the Vajpayee governments is now pathetically seeking to become a
junior partner of the US in the region.

This servile
attitude was sickenly displayed first during the visit of President Clinton, and more
recently the haste with which the Vajpayee government welcomed the President Bush’s
announcement of a New Missile Defence System, never mind that the latter militates against
India’s interests, and that of the world at large. This abjectness before the imperialists
is seen in the government’s wooing of the US to be allowed to be a reliable ally against
China. Again, going against our long standing policy of support to the Palestinian people
in their struggle for a homeland, the Vajpayee government has established close ties with

The frequent
visits of the External Affairs Minister to Washington and the secret talks with US
representatives aimed at arriving at some sort of a alliance with the US; the letters that
Prime Minister Vajpayee has written to the US Presidents (Clinton and later Bush) all have
done a disservice to the country. They have lowered the prestige of the country and at the
same time served as an invitation for intervention.

Thus, following
the Vajpayee government request to the US during the Kargil conflict, President Clinton
urged the Pakistan Prime Minister to withdraw troops promising to show a personal
in resolving the Kashmir problem. More recently, when terrorists attacked the
Legislature building in Srinagar, the Prime Minister promptly lodged a complaint with the
US President. What a shameful spectacle. The Prime Minister of a 100 crore-strong country
is postulating before the world gendarme seeking its help. We must forcefully emphasise
that the Vajpayee government’s policies goes against the entire traditions of
anti-imperialism of the Indian people.


Thus we see how
the two years of the Vajpayee government have seen a rightward shift in policy
perspectives in all major spheres — the economy, polity and foreign policy
accompanied by monster corruption that has reached new peaks.

Under the
BJP-led dispensation, the country’s prestige has been lowered in the eyes of the
international community, and at home more and more people are joining the protests against
the regime. For this reason, in seeking a reversal of these policies the CPI(M) calls upon
the Vajpayee government to “Scrap These Policies Or Quit”.

The September
campaign conducted by the Party received tremendous support despite attention being
diverted to the terrorist attacks in the USA and its fall-out. The servile attitude
displayed by the Vajpayee government in the days preceding the terrorist strikes had
already made it an object of ridicule. Its repeated pleas in the current situation to the
US to take it along in the campaign against “global terrorism”, and the offer to
the US to avail of facilities in India, received a slap in the face. The US, instead,
opted for its long-standing ally, Pakistan.

Meeting at the
end of October the Central Committee, while reviewing the success of the September
campaign, called upon the entire Party to redouble its efforts to mobilise more and more
people and intensify the struggle in the days ahead against these policies

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