ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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In the Name of Secularism

The Left's obsession with anti-BJPism has been taken to absurd lengths in Tamil Nadu. It has invested what is a fight for power between the DMK and the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, in which the BJP is virtually uninvolved, with secular/communal connotations and, on those false premises, chosen to join the AIADMK-led front, turning a blind eye to the proven charges of corruption against Jayalalitha. Worse, the Left has actively opposed the formation of a third front, even though in the long run the Left in Tamil Nadu will gain only by expanding its base and aligning with parties such as the TMC, thereby loosening the duopoly of power of DMK and AIADMK.

It is election time again in Tamil Nadu and once again the Left parties, the CPI and CPI(M), have affirmed that they will fight the NDA by remaining in the front led by AIADMK and the reason is that the front is a secular front and the NDA in Tamil Nadu should be defeated at any cost as it includes BJP. The Left had joined hands with AIADMK in 1999 also to defeat the BJP-led alliance in the elections to Lok Sabha. AIADMK which allied with BJP in 1998 and joined the ministry also became secular in the eyes of the Left the moment AIADMK withdrew support to the government and in 1999 the BJP-led government was defeated in the no-confidence motion. At that time the Left, the Congress and the other secular parties could not come together to form a government. But in the elections the NDA improved its score and formed the government. Thus till the fall of the Vajpayee-led government in 1999 DMK and Left were together but as AIADMK withdrew support DMK voted in favour of the government and the Left and DMK parted ways. At that time for the Left bringing down the government was the number one priority and hence it allied with AIADMK. The real reason for AIADMK’s withdrawal of support had very little to do with secularism. However, by withdrawing support AIADMK became a secular ally of the Left parties. In other words it is a crude application of enemy’s enemy is my friend principle. And opportunism is promoted as a tactical strategy.

The Left’s obsession with secularism (read anti-BJPism) has been taken to absurd lengths now. It has been reported that Surjeet even offered to accept a smaller number of seats if TMC could be brought into alliance. What does the Left gain by such a stand, and why should the Left be so keen on defeating NDA in Tamil Nadu where the fight for power is between DMK and AIADMK and BJP is a marginal force? The picture at the national level and at the state level are different. By no stretch of the imagination can DMK be equated with BJP and dubbed as a communal party. The Left is blind to this reality. Its myopic obsession with BJP has cost the Left dearly in terms of its image in the public mind.

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