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

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Who Needs Internal Critique?


This is in the context of the allegations that the political parties, which claim to fight elections on behalf of the socially oppressed and communally harassed groups from the margins, have been responsible in contributing to a party gaining power, particularly in Uttar Pradesh. While the leaders of these parties would provide reasons and justification as to how their decision to contest the election was in accordance with their “right” to contest elections and that they had good intention in fighting elections for the seats they chose to contest, they ended up getting comprehensively defeated. While the right to contest elections is important, it comes with the huge responsibility of giving an honest account of the consequences of exercising such a right. These leaders may argue—in fact, some of them did argue—that it is not their concern whether their right to fight elections independently would benefit the party against whom they offer a rather mild critique. Keeping in view the function of the consequences, which by implication produces the truth, their decision to fight elections independently did enable the right-wing party to capture power. It is this truth that should compel us to emphasise on the need for internal critique that is so essential to provide a radical alternative politics that challenges the numerous impediments posed by the right-wing political parties to the realisation of constitutional goals. The editorial in the current issue of Economic & Political Weekly does provide grounds for such opposition as a lived reality and not simply the party of oppositional imagination.

The political parties, which, due to their social basis in the depressed castes and communities, have not only a rhetorical but also a consistently firm belief in the Constitution and its essential thrust and direction to protect their rights and offer them social security. It is this constitutional cover to their social life with dignity that should make it imperative to stand against all the impediments that threaten to undermine the Constitution. Since government formation can be constitutive of such impediments, the leaders of such parties are expected to take utmost care to see that their actual political decisions—even by consequence—do not help the party that seeks to undermine the constitutional framework. They are supposed to keep in mind that such an insistence of autonomy to contest elections possibly involves a danger that the right-wing political party—with its enormous resources—is empowered, both to mobilise itself into the seat of power as well as to decide which corner of the political grounds should these parties of the Bahujan and minorities occupy. It is rather tragic to know where these parties stand in terms of their electoral results and social credibility. The leaders from these parties, in the aftermath of their electoral debacle, have been facing anger that is occasional and hence does not form a part of the internal critique, which continues irrespective of the “events” of elections. It is needless to say that an outburst of anger against these leaders lacks the mediation and moderation of internal critique. Internal critique has the function to work against the leaders whose political decisions knowingly or unknowingly contribute to the rise of forces that create impediments to the protection of those facing continuous marginalisation. In fact, it is an irony that the right-wing party, with its enormous resources, seeks to consolidate its own grounds of political domination and, as a consequence, tends to push these parties of the Bahujan and minorities almost underground.

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Updated On : 26th Mar, 2022
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