Third Fronthttps://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/third-front/

Third Front

He notes that despite being in a minority in the Lok Sabha,the government continues to pursue neoliberal economic policies

THIRD FRONT

The DMK’s withdrawal of support to the UPA — months after the Trinamool Congress walked out of the alliance — highlights the political isolation of the Congress,CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat wrote in a party journal. According to him,as the UPA enters its last year in government,all signs indicate the steady erosion of the Congress’s base and popularity.

He notes that despite being in a minority in the Lok Sabha,the government continues to pursue neoliberal economic policies. The BJP is no different from the Congress as far as economic policies are concerned,raising the question of how an alternative can be forged to the Congress-led government,he adds.

“As the Lok Sabha election nears,once again the talk of forming a third front against the Congress and the BJP is doing the rounds. As far as the CPM is concerned,a political alternative can emerge only… around an alternative platform of policies,” he wrote in the party’s Malayalam daily,Deshabhimani. Referring to the jatha campaign that the CPM just undertook to showcase its alternative policy platform,he says it received a big response and adds that the CPM will sit with other left parties and chalk out a united movement for the next phase.

ANTI-RAPE BILL

An editorial in CPI(ML) weekly ML Update discusses the passage of anti-rape legislation in Parliament. “Far from being a momentous and historic blow to patriarchy,however,the occasion only served to remind us what kind of patriarchal reaction we’re up against,” it notes.

“Only 200 out of 545 MPs remained in the House. The top leadership of the Congress and the UPA coalition stayed away… the debate in the Lok Sabha — marked by open sexism,misogyny and misinformation — could not have presented a greater contrast with the sober and painstaking process of learning from activists on the ground as well as international best practices,undertaken by the Justice Verma Committee,” it says.“Can we dismiss these sexist voices as deplorable aberrations that we can ignore? Not so,because these are the voices and opinions that managed to influence the bill: getting the age of consent raised to 18,the first offence of stalking made a bailable and non-cognisable offence; reducing the proposed punishment for acid-throwing; making sure that only women could be victims of rape (rather than all persons as proposed by the women’s groups),” it says. The article criticises the government for diluting the law against stalking and rejecting Justice Verma’s recommendations on marital rape.

INDIA FIRST

An article in the CPI journal,New Age,accuses Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi of trying to hoodwink the people by arguing that his idea of secularism is “India first”. “Those who believe,preach and practice communalism,as Modi has been doing throughout his life and political career,have always contributed to spreading hatred,discord and hostility between communities… their… theme for political activities mainly revolve around communal polarisation for garnering votes. To search and invent issues that can be used to foment communal tension and to raise anti-minority,especially anti-Muslim slogans has been their favourite pastime. Is that the way of ‘India first’?” the article asks.

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The article argues that Modi’s “India first” pitch was a calculated move to confuse people regarding secularism and divert their attention from the BJP’s communal misdeeds. It also touches upon his statement that if a government served the people selflessly,they would forgive its mistakes. “What [does Modi want the people to forgive? If he wants the people to forgive for the grave sin he committed…then he is sadly mistaken. That was not a mistake. That was an organised crime,” it argues.

Compiled by Manoj C.G.