NEW DELHI: As news came in from Iraq on Thursday that the troubled nation’s low-key communist party had scored a rare military victory over Islamic extremists of the ISIS near Baghdad their Indian counterparts were passively watching the spectre of large-scale desertion from their ranks to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with its quasi fascist Hindu revivalist agenda.
The Iraqi Communist Party spokesman announced that the party in control of the Red Army fought a ground battle with armed Islamic State (ISIS) in the vicinity of the Northwest of Baghdad. The Red Army killed 38 armed rebels and captured 107 people. They achieved “tactical victory in the full sense”.
They stated that at first many people began to join the Islamic fundamentalists after the collapse of the existing government forces but are now joining the Communist Party.
According to media reports from Qatar, a spokesman for the Iraqi Communist Party Mikhail Grew spoke publicly to the world. He called on the world proletariat to unite in support of their Iraqi Red Army against the Islamic extremists and fight against religious extremism who endanger people’s lives and safety.
The Hindu carried two reports from the Indian communist bastions of West Bengal and Kerala, respectively, where the Communist Party of India (Marxist, CPI-M) was ogling at serious erosion of its cadre, that too to its professed main foe, the BJP.
In Kerala, a majority of those who defected to the BJP are from Varkala, Kallambalam, Navaikulam, Kazhakuttam, Attipra, and Chirayinkeezhu regions.
The report said more than 240 on Tuesday parted ways with the party and joined the BJP.
The members, including area committee members of the district unit of the CPI(M) and those holding posts in the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), joined the BJP at a function held at the party’s state headquarters at Thycaud here.
BJP State unit president V. Muraleedharan welcomed the CPI-M leaders by handing over the membership card to Alamcode Dhanaseelan, who was a member of the Varkala area committee.
Mr Muraleedharan said the decision by the members to leave the party showed the “ideological disarray” in the CPI-M, and the growing acceptance of the BJP in Kerala where the BJP never won an election. The BJP, he said, had sensed the antipathy within the CPI-M immediately after the Lok Sabha polls as several of its active members had voted for the BJP candidates.
The CPI-M had “lost its relevance” as most of its leaders had moved away from the party’s core ideological moorings, he said. This drift had created disgruntlement among its committed workers, The Hindu report said.
“Such dissatisfied members are looking to the BJP. The party will continue to raise issues concerning the poor and the tribal people,” he said. The BJP leader criticised the Congress for its involvement in various scams.
‘Lotus bloom in West Bengal’ was the headline of The Hindu’s story from Kolkata.
In the last six months, it said, especially after the Lok Sabha election, the BJP’s Muslim membership in the state has seen an unprecedented growth “Yeh kya ho raha hai? (What is happening?) It is raining Alis for the BJP,” tweeted a Bharatiya Janata Party supporter. Discussions and statements such as this, arguing the pros and cons of inducting Muslims into the BJP, are flying thick and fast on social media, all seeking answers to one question: “Is the BJP becoming another Congress?” The Hindu said that in the last six months, especially after the Lok Sabha election, the BJP’s Muslim membership has seen an unprecedented growth in West Bengal. “Primary membership has doubled,” said BJP state president Rahul Sinha.
Till December 2013, 6.06 per cent of the “increased” primary members of the BJP were from the minority community. As of June 20, 12.38 per cent (60,172 people) of new members of the party are Muslims. “Most of the new members joined after the elections,” said Ritesh Tiwari, media-in charge of the party in the state. The data may make traditional supporters anxious, but BJP leaders are less worried. “Muslims cannot be wished away in Bengal,” former state president, Tathagata Roy, was quoted as saying.
Out of the 341 development blocks in West Bengal, about 140 blocks have a 42 per cent (average) Muslim population, which translates into 25-30 per cent votes in the state. “So, we have to explain to supporters that we are not an anti-Muslim party. However, we will not extend any undue advantages like ‘religious quota’ to Muslims,” said Mr Roy.
An article published in the July 14 edition of Swastika, the Bengali mouthpiece of the Hindu nationalist organisation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), stated that the BJP’s success is “facing a crisis.”
Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2014
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