Interview: Dr Ashok Dhawale, CPI(M) central committee member
How many seats is the CPI(M) contesting in these elections?
In the talks that we have had with the Congress-NCP combine, they have left the seats of Dahanu and Nashik West for us and we have agreed for a friendly fight in Kalwan. We shall be having a friendly fight in Solapur Central too. There are certain seats that we are fighting to win and they include Kalwan, where we have J P Gavit, our sitting MLA, as our candidate. We are fielding Vinod Nikole from Dahanu, which barring 2014, is a seat that we have won eight times. We are fielding Narasayya Adam from Solapur City Central and Dr D L Karad from Nashik West. Overall, we will be supporting the secular forces. Things are still, however, fluid now and a concrete picture will emerge in the next three days as discussions are still on.
What will be your party’s agenda?
We want to highlight the abject failure of this government on all fronts. In the farm sector, this government has failed miserably with over 15,000 farmer suicides in the last five years alone. This is because of the incomplete loan waiver package that it has rolled out. The Centre is also to be blamed for its agrarian policies. The performance of this government in handling the recent floods in southern Maharashtra and drought in Marathwada has caused tremendous unrest among the people. Regarding Adivasi rights, hardly anything has been done on the effective implementation of the Forest Rights Act, with very few getting forest land on their names. The working class is already in a bad shape. From biscuits to cars, nothing is selling and all that this government is doing is giving money to big corporate houses in the form of tax waivers. Unemployment has reached alarming levels, the worst in the last five decades.
There is a perception that the Left has no future. Why should the people vote for a party whose ideology according to them is not relevant in today’s times?
Our ideology is more relevant today than ever. CPI(M) has been fighting people’s battles honestly. We have our bases where we have worked and the electorate there will vote for us. We have always taken a position which is in favour of democracy, secularism and for the preservation of the Constitution. These are ideas, which are being sought to be destroyed by this government. This vindictive streak of the government using agencies like CBI, ED and IT needs to be countered.
The case against Sharad Pawar is shocking. As far as I remember he has never been on the board of the MSCB for the last several decades. All those who have switched sides have done so because they were browbeaten into submission. This is a mockery of democracy and the CPI(M) has always stood up to such forces.
Ideologically how comfortable are you with allying with the Congress-NCP? These are the parties which you have been critical of in the past.
The major threat to the country at this point of time is BJP and RSS. No other threat can be compared to this. Our first duty and responsibility to the people is to counter this threat. Look what they have done in Kashmir. They have made it a jailhouse. It is a fact that we have differences with the Congress-NCP but in the current situation, it is necessary for all Left, democratic and secular forces to come together to counter a greater menace.