Vantage point

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Prakash Karat

It is not often that I quote Lalu Yadav, but he said it best - the Left, much like Sheikhchilli, cut off the very branch it was sitting on. By withdrawing support, and then failing to defeat the government in the no-confidence vote, they have made themselves look stupider than Sonia Gandhi when she orchestrated the defeat of the Vajpayee government in 1998, only to have them return to power with a bigger majority.

And today, the CPI-M has expelled Somnath Chatterjee from the party. Karat's stupidity tickles me no end. But it makes me wonder if the man is right in his head, and if his party is really suicidal enough to allow him to call the shots? When the CPI-M lead left won an unexpectedly large number of seats in the 2004 elections, they were sitting pretty. They got power without responsibility, and the speaker's post. A year later, Karat took over, and since then, the party has been self-destructing in a manner that makes the BJP look more self-preserving.

Now, I don't know too much about Prakash Karat, so I don't know if he has ever fought and won an assembly or parliament election in his life. Or if he is just a stuffy academic-JNU-type like Sitaram Yechury - as the marathi proverb goes - tending to sheep from the top of a camel. I am inclined to suspect he is more of the latter. And for the rest of the post, I am going to assume he is (someone correct me if I am wrong). It is puzzling why the CPI-M is being lead by such folks who have no idea about how electoral politics works. Such folks who loosely throw around the word 'revolt', as Karat did when he said the country would revolt if the UPA pushed the deal through in the event of losing the trust vote. The likes of Karat and Yechury would rather be born in China or Soviet Russia, where you can rise to power without the inconvenient task of convincing people to vote for you. They probably fantasize about a mass revolt by the unwashed proletariat which will topple the current order and catapult them to top posts.

As much as I disagree with folks like Jyoti Basu, Buddhadeb, and Somnath Chatterjee, they at least have the cojones to fight elections, and have a firmer grasp of reality than these chai shop jholawalas. And yet, it is the veteran parliamentarian Somnath who has been kicked out by Karat for merely wanted to be an impartial speaker as per tradition.

This is rich. And as someone who believes that India would be better off without communist parties pushing their misguided agenda, I actually welcome the rise of these head-in-the-cloud types within these parties, at the expense of the feet-on-the-ground types. They can hasten the decline of the Indian Left.

So let a thousand Karats blooms.