JNU Debates: AISF Responds to CPI(M) Leader Sitaram Yechury
The text of two pamphlets released by AISF, JNU Unit responding to CPI(M) Leader Sitaram Yechury‘s statements in a meeting on Aug 29, 2012 in JNU:
AISF and Emergency
Today when people are facing onslaught from neo-liberalism and imperialist dictates, UPA government has become puppet in the hands of US dictates. UPA government is desperate to implement the economic and foreign policies at the behest of US dictates. This government seems determined and bound to eliminate the poor and not the poverty and have taken regressive policies regarding everything be it education, health, agriculture, water, electricity, job opportunity, prices of food and vegetables. In this regime poor are not able to get their three meals in a day and are dying out of hunger everyday. Farmers are doing suicides and languishing in pathetic conditions. Workers of this country are facing fresh assaults every day from the corporate managements and government seems to have silent nexus with the management of corporate houses. Attempts are made to destroy the education in public sector, in all level of education, to encourage the private players to play a big role. This all is going under hidden agenda to exclude the masses of this country from getting free education that means denying them education.
At this crucial juncture when there is a need to establish a third alternative in the country against anti poor congress and fascist BJP, a senior comrade like Sitaram Yechury, CPI (M) Polit Bureau member, carries an anti-left tone and tenor when he came for a public meeting on the 29th August called by SFI. In his public speech Com Yechury targeted AISF and launched ploy and plunder against it in a more malicious fashion. He attempted to vilify AISF’s historical legacy in campus and supplied misinformation about AISF’s stand on emergency. When Com Yechury was asked by SFI-JNU that when AISF took a stand on emergency against CPI, it was not dissolved, then why SFI is dissolved when it took a stand against CPI(M) on the support of Congress’ presidential candidate Pranav Kumar Mukharjee. Com Yechury replied that you are wrong; AISF was with CPI’s stand till the Bhatinda Conference of CPI where CPI also changed its position on emergency and along with CPI, AISF also changed its position on emergency. Not only this he also said that Com Kamal Mitra Chenoy, the then AISF’s Secretary, JNU Unit was supporting administration and campaigning in favour of emergency. We would like to clarify that this is a sheer lie and plunder against AISF’s glorious history in JNU campus and the whole country. AISF’s national position, since the very beginning of emergency, has been against it and had carried wide campaign and struggle against unwarranted emergency imposed by the then Indira Gandhi Govt. and its brutal attack on every progressive forces. Com Yechury, who has been contemporary to Com Chenoy in JNU campus, went on his low ever in political meeting to malign the comradeship of Kamal Mitra Chenoy and AISF’s glorious history. Com. Chenoy, who is such a fearless man, gave a tough fight to the administration during emergency. Will Com Yechury and SFI take a little pain to answer that if Com Chenoy was on the side of administration then why he called a student strike in campus against the Delhi Police which picked up one SFI comrade Prabir Purkayastha without citing any reason during emergency? We acknowledge that SFI had given a call of underground strike as resistance against emergency but it was not an open Strike given in the name some organisation. At that time, September 1975, no shopkeeper was allowed to type any matter and photocopy it. Com Chenoy the then AISF’s Secretary called for an open student strike and wrote a pamphlet in his handwriting, got more than 250 photocopy of it and undersigned every pamphlet and distributed in whole campus. Following this call for strike administration called him up and asked to tender an apology, he fearlessly told the administration that if I had to offer an apology for it I should not have called this strike. So he denied any possibility of tendering an apology. Seeing this strong determination administration constituted an inquiry committee against him. He faced the enquiry and was attributed three months expulsion and out of bound. His half of the scholarship was cancelled and he was also fined 50 rupees. We ask simple question that if Com Chenoy was with administration then why was he expelled and punished and not Com Yechury.
It was not just JNU but AISF comrades were fighting everywhere against the brutality of emergency and suffered retaliation by Indira Gandhi administration. Com. T. A. Franscis, Delhi State Secretary, AISF distributed one lakh pamphlets against emergency in the entire Delhi University campus. We would like to ask what have SFI done against emergency?
Even CPI which was in favour of emergency in the beginning never supported a kind brutality and violence that was unleashed by Indira Gandhi. CPI comrades have always been fighting against extreme suppression of the people and suffered severe injuries. Com. Bhupesh Gupta, National Secretary, CPI addressed the workers gathering at Vote Club during the emergency period when no such gathering and public meeting were allowed. Com. Prem Sagar Gupta, Delhi State Secretary, CPI lay down before the Bulldozer at the Turkman Gate Demolition and demolition was stopped for the whole day during emergency period. Hundreds of CPI comrades were arrested and jailed while struggling against emergency.
On Presidential Election
On the issue of abstention in presidential election, AISF believes that it was a political move. We strongly disagree with the statement given by the Polit Bureau member of CPI(M), that abstention is not a political act. Further he said that because there were two candidates for presidential poll and we had to choose one; we voted for Congress’ man Pranab Mukherjee. What further he said in justification of their stand on presidential poll has been strategically more detrimental to left ideology and left unity in the crucial time. We agree to the point that it does not make big difference in policy making but ideologically it makes a big difference that we cannot support anyone for presidential candidate who has been staunch supporter and has a big hand in implementing neo-liberal economic policies as a Finance Minister. It gives message to the country that left is opposed to neo-liberalism and any person who becomes facilitator of neo-liberalism. CPI(M) stand on presidential poll has also been taken at the stake of left unity. It is no more hidden that CPI(M) stand on presidential poll was related to electoral gains in West Bengal and not consistent with left ideology. Com Yechury said that President does not have any role in the policy making and execution it does not make big difference who is getting elected; it has some functionary role which is necessary for the parliament according to the constitution. AISF strongly believes, it becomes more important for left parties to abstain in presidential poll since only both Congress and BJP have fielded their candidates where both parties have no difference on the economic policies, both the parties are totally wedded to the implementation of the policies of neo-liberalism. CPI in its Patna Congress had decided to intensify the struggle against the policies of neo-liberalism that has caused havoc to the national economy. Pranab Mukherjee, then Finance Minister was hell-bent upon carrying forward the disastrous course of economic neo-liberalism under the slogan of “harsh decision cannot be delayed any more”… In such a situation there was no question of CPI supporting the candidate of either the Congress or the BJP. RSP had also taken a similar stand along with CPI to abstain from election.
On the issues like Nandigram and Singur, AISF always opposed the SEZ and condemned the killing of common people. The CPI had openly condemned the heinous crime and also opposed the implementation of SEZ policy to get the corporate sector to invest in the state at several level. CPI is a part of struggles against land acquisition in Haryana, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. CPI had differed on issues like Nandigram and Singur earlier but never treated them as a breaking point.
The way Com Yechury spoke in SFI’s public meeting is detrimental to the AISF-SFI unity at the time when the country is facing onslaught of neo-liberalism and imperialism in every walks of our lives. In spite of the differences between the Left parties on the issues of Telangan in Andhra Pradesh, AFSPA in Kashmir and North Eastern states, SEZ policies, Presidential election, we feel the necessity of Left Unity but if CPI(M) will continue with its same attitude left unity will certainly be jeopardized. It is high time that we in the left do some self introspection. We agree to disagree on any particular issue by strengthening the left for greater left and democratic unity.