Today in Delhi, Communist organizations have put together a massive rally with over one lakh people. The media are calling this a “farmers rally” instead of a Communist rally as it should rightly be called. Let’s dissect this.
In the last General Election, Communist Parties together polled only around 4% of the vote. Although the Communist Parties started out in 1952 as the largest opposition bloc, their electoral fortunes kept declining. After a few election cycles, they became confined only to Bengal, Tripura and Kerala. The last 10 years have seen the Communists routed from both Bengal and Tripura. They are ruling in Kerala at the moment but, by multiple accounts, they won’t be seen ever again in that state.
The Communists still have JNU. But any person who lives in the world of reality will admit that Communists have reached the end of their road in India as far as elections are concerned.
They are down to 4%. Chances are that more people believe in a flat earth than in Communism.
So how are the Communists making themselves count?
By subverting democracy instead of participating in it.
Fundamentally, there are two ways for them to achieve this despite their meagre 4% support base. And they are trying both.
The first is outright terrorism, which is carried out by Communists operating in the deep forests of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. Now, Communists operating above ground insist that they have absolutely nothing to do with those operating underground. They insist that CPI(XY) is different from CPI(XX) or CPI(YY) because of one letter here and there, even though the parties are descended from the same source, often founded by the same leaders/ideologues, have the same heroes and subscribe to the same set of beliefs. They even use variations of each other’s flags to show how close they are to each other.
In election after election, people living in villages most affected by Communist terror vote in huge numbers to show their support for democracy. But a small number of Communists manage to stay relevant through sheer violence.
The second way in which Communists make themselves count is by concentrating and taking advantage of absolute numbers instead of percentages.
So what if their electoral support base is barely 4%? If you take 4% of India’s 125 crore people, that’s still 5 crore people! And yes, if you concentrate all your supporters and bring them out into the streets of *one* city, you can bring Delhi or Mumbai to a halt.
This is exactly what is happening in Delhi today. A similar thing happened in Mumbai a few months ago.
And it doesn’t help that media deliberately refuse to see the Communist colours of these marches. In Mumbai, the marchers carried a sea of red flags with the dreaded hammer and sickle symbol, but the media refused to see it and call it like it is. They called it a “farmers protest”.
This is a common template. If ABVP were to protest it would be called an “ABVP protest” because that’s exactly what it is. But if a Communist students group were to protest, it is more likely to be simply called a “students protest” in the media. The same goes for “women’s protests”. The reason is that you would find that most journalists of today have roots in Communist student unions in college.
But we have to call it what it is: subversion.
The Communists are trying to dictate terms by bringing all their supporters on the streets.
What if a mainstream party like BJP or Congress tried something similar? About 30% of the Indians support the BJP. You can’t let 5 crore Communist supporters dictate terms just because 30 crore BJP supporters are not on the streets.
That’s not a democracy. That’s jungle raj.
Are there no farmers, students, youths and women who vote for BJP? Or even for Congress?
Everyone has a right to protest but nobody has a right to be taken seriously. And today as Communists again spill out in lakhs on Delhi streets, we the people need to identify their trick and recognize it. We have to promise ourselves not to fall for the emotional blackmail.
Remember that the one lakh vocal Communists on the streets of Delhi today are here to silence the democratic mandate of 17 crore people who voted for BJP and PM Modi in the last election.
1 lakh vs 17 crores. Which is more democratic now? We cannot let the blackmail of the 1 lakh work its way through our collective consciousness.
If Communists want their agenda to be followed, they have to do it the right way. They have to go to the people and make their case and get actual votes. But Communists know they can’t win that way. So they take the path of subversion. One person who is prominently leading the protests today came fourth or fifth in his seat when he tried to fight a Lok Sabha election. People don’t want them. We can’t let them impose themselves on our democracy simply because they know too many people who work in television.
If we fall for blackmail today, we are setting ourselves up for more such subversion in the future. And we just cannot have that.
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore.