How Left Radicals Are Taking Over The RJD And Why Their Growth In Bihar Isn't Good News For India

How Left Radicals Are Taking Over The RJD And Why Their Growth In Bihar Isn't Good News For IndiaCPIML Liberation Flags in Bihar (Facebook)
Snapshot
  • Many senior leaders in the RJD are uncomfortable with the emergence of this coterie around Tejashwi and the way they are slowly taking control of the party.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, often referred to simply as Liberation, is making alarming inroads in Bihar.

The Liberation, an offshoot of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), that spearheaded Naxal terrorism in Bengal and some others parts of the country in the late 1960s and early 1970s, won 12 seats in the Bihar Assembly elections late last year.

This was the best-ever performance of this ultra communist party, which falsely proclaims adherence to multi-party parliamentary democracy while working secretly to further its original ‘revolutionary’ (read: overthrow of existing political system through violence) goals.

The reason for the Liberation winning a record number of seats was not a sudden upsurge in popular support for it in Bihar, but the political plank that the Rashtriya Janata Dal-Congress led Mahagathbandhan provided to it.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) had included the Liberation in the pre-poll alliance (the Mahagathbandhan).

The Liberation was allotted 19 seats (as part of the Mahagathbandhan), of which it won 12.

Such a high strike rate was possible because it could concentrate its resources and focus on 19 seats, unlike in the past when it contested anything between 82 (in 1990) and 109 (in 2005) seats.

The party, which is suspected of having links with the proscribed terror outfit Communist Party of India (Maoist), won just three seats in the 2015 Assembly elections and none in 2010.

It won five seats (of the 85 it contested) in the October 2005 polls, seven (of the 109 it contested) in February 2005 polls, six (of 107) in 2000 and six (of 89) in 1995.

In 1990, the Indian People's Front (IPF) — floated very cleverly by the Liberation as its overground affiliate — won seven of the 82 seats it contested.

Though the CPI(ML) Liberation contests elections under a multi-party system, it has not junked its ultimate objective of bringing in a one-party communist dictatorship by overthrowing the Indian state through violence.

Association with mainstream political parties like the Congress and the RJD allowed the Liberation to bag the support of many who would have, otherwise, been wary of the red radicals.

In many constituencies, supporters of the RJD, Congress and other constituents of the Mahagathbandhan voted for the Liberation; they would not have done so had the Liberation contested on its own.

But what’s more alarming is that with RJD founder Lalu Yadav behind bars and an inexperienced Tejashwi Yadav helming the party, the red radicals have infiltrated the RJD and have slowly started dictating its agenda.

“Tejashwi lacks experience and political acumen and has allowed the ultra-leftists to get close to him. Some of them are part of his close coterie and are taking control of the party. That is why the RJD is echoing the extreme Left these days,” said senior BJP leader and the party’s Bihar in-charge Bhupendra Yadav.

Many senior leaders in the RJD are uncomfortable with the emergence of this coterie around Tejashwi and the way they are slowly taking control of the party.

“Many ultra Leftists have come into the party (RJD) and they are occupying influential positions. They have become the closest advisors of Tejashwi (Yadav) and wield a lot of influence. They now have a major stake in the party’s social media, communications, public relations, youth and intellectual cells,” complained an RJD old-timer who is an associate of Lalu Yadav.

Many of these ultra-leftists who have infiltrated the RJD are ex-students of JNU and Delhi University.

“Tejashwi is gullible and has allowed the ultra-leftists, who initially posed as his well-wishers, to form a coterie around him. They control access to him and handle his media communications, and also advise him on what to speak on different issues,” said another senior leader and former Lok Sabha MP who has been with the RJD since it was formed.

That is why Tejashwi Yadav has been issuing harsh statements against chief minister Nitish Kumar and the BJP, and indulging in a game of political brinkmanship that the far-Left is known for.

The former RJD MP said that the infiltration by the red radicals into his party started more than a year ago through the Congress.

A few of Rahul Gandhi’s closest advisors who are left radicals started cultivating Tejashwi Yadav about a year ago and then started handling his social media and public communications. They entrenched themselves as Tejashwi’s closest coterie and have slowly started having a large say in the RJD’s policies and programmes.

RJD old-timers fear that the ultra-Leftists will steer the party down a dangerous path that will inflict immense damage on the party.

However, it is not just the RJD that faces endangerment by red radicals. It is, ultimately, India’s interests that face the imminent prospect of being severely compromised if the ultra-leftists are left unchallenged and gain ground in Bihar.

That’s because many key functionaries in the CPI(ML) Liberation are believed to have close links with the Maoists and will pave the way for the red terrorists’ resurgence in Bihar.

These functionaries, and the Maoists, also have close links with Nepal’s Maoists. What’s more, the red radicals ultimately owe allegiance to China.

“Bihar occupies a very strategic position as the gateway to the vulnerable North Bengal corridor that links the rest of the country to the Northeast. We must remember that the Naxal insurgency started in North Bengal and there are residual Naxalites who are lying low in that region,” said S.K. Mishra, a retired Bihar cadre IPS officer who also served in an intelligence outfit.

The red radicals, said Mishra, also have links with Islamist radicals who are active in eastern Bihar bordering Bengal and in North Bengal. “This combination of ultra-Leftists and Islamists can pose a grave security risk and can act as ‘fifth columnists’ at the behest of aiding China,” said Mishra.

The CPI(ML) Liberation owes its origin to the CPI(ML) that was formed in 1969 by radicals within the CPI(Marxist) who opposed the CPI(M)’s transformation into a mainstream political party within the Indian parliamentary democracy system.

Accusing CPI(M) leaders of being ‘revisionist’ (considered a grave crime by dogmatic and radical communists) and jettisoning ‘revolutionary’ goals, the radicals formed the CPI(ML) which advocated armed revolution and denounced participation in the electoral process.

CPI(ML) leaders Charu Majumdar, Kanu Sanyal, Saroj Dutt and others led the bloody Naxalite insurgency that resulted in hundreds of killings and mayhem in Bengal and set the state on the path of economic ruin.

The CPI(ML), like communist parties the world over, suffered many splits due to ideological differences in its leadership. The CPI(ML) Liberation emerged as one of the larger splinter groups, along with other radical outfits that coalesced later on to become the CPI(Maoist) — one of India’s most potent terror outfits.

The CPI(ML) Liberation under Vinod Mishra revised its stand on armed revolution in 1976 and came up with a two-pronged strategy.

The first part of this strategy is to participate in the country’s electoral process and parliamentary democracy and gain a foothold in the ‘system’ to ultimately undermine it from within.

And the second part is to continue with the armed struggle to overthrow the Indian state.

Over the years, the Liberation further nuanced its stand and put up a show of allegiance to parliamentary democracy without, however, publicly junking or disowning its other strategy of armed struggle.

The CPI(ML) Liberation has also never condemned or opposed the many terror acts of its blood-brothers in the CPI(Maoist). This is what leads to widespread suspicion about the Liberation having links with the Maoists who are known to have links with China.

The Liberation gaining ground in Bihar, thus, has serious and adverse implications for the country’s security and strategic interests.

Jaideep Mazumdar is an associate editor at Swarajya.

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