Newsclick interviewed Kavita Krishnan, Polit Bureau member of CPI(ML) Liberation, on the upcoming Bihar polls. In Bihar, the Left parties have come together against both the grand alliances of JD(U)-RJD-Congress, and the NDA lead by BJP. Kavita said that the right wing continues its divide and rule policy by playing the religious and caste cards. They are also not really worried about the Dalits, the minorities and the poor. Collective Left force is the only alternative when it comes to upholding the rights of the working class, women, and other oppressed and marginalized sections, of not only those in Bihar, but also elsewhere in the country. She said that the BJP has become a threat to democracy since it is curtailing the rights of common people wherever it has come in power. Lalu and Nitish are doing show-off politics and has even no hesitation to support the anti-social elements like Ranvir Sena to defeat the Left. Kavita hopes Bihar citizens will provide a way to raise a barricade against the anti-people policies being implemented by the incumbent governments.
Pranjal - Hello and welcome to Newsclick. Today we have with us Kavita Krishnan, Polit Bureau member of CPI(ML) Liberation. We are going to discuss about the upcoming Bihar polls, where left forces have come together to form a joint platform against JDU-RJD-Congress alliance and against the NDA.
What are the issues on which you are, you all, the left organisations have come together to form an alliance against the incumbent government at the state and center?
Kavita Krishnan - It is not so much put we are against, it is also what we stand for. I think that Bihar today; if you look around in Bihar today, there is a plethora of struggles of working class people, working class women, agricultural workers, share croppers, even school children have been agitating in the past year or so. If you look around, you will find such a range of struggles from teachers to mid-day meal workers, such a variety. I think that, in terms of political representation of these struggles, there is no other political force but the left, so we felt to be duty to stand. The other issue is of course is also to do with not only with livelihood and rights but also to do with the question of justice. So I think Bihar has been witnessed to very terrible massacres of both caste and communal massacres and the question of justice in those massacre has been very throughly betrayed. You know the perpetrators gone free with political patronage and there has been no justice on the ground at all. So even in the question of justice, which is very very vital question today that is also something the left parties are championing.
P - But people are saying that when we face a bigger threat of communal parties, which are coming to power at the center and contesting election in the state, why not to go with the alliance which is already there of RJD-JD(U) and Congress? Why to form a different platform which may lead to division of votes?
KK - I will respond to that with two-three points because it is a substantial question that lot of people will have in their mind. I think the first thing to understand that the BJP is not something that new to Bihar. BJP is a very serious threat and it is more of a threat because it is rooted in; in a sense, it is the feudal power in Bihar and has been for very long time. Now if you recognise it as such, especially if you re-think on recent Cobrapost revelations and the idea that BJP has been politically patronising Ranvir Sena and such forces over there. Then, you have to ask yourself that, is it enough to think in terms of a symbolic resistance against the BJP? If you look back at history, then very powerful symbolic assertion against the BJP was Lalu Yadav stopping Advani from entering Bihar. They can't be a more political, you know symbolic protest and yet that didn't stop the BJP from being able to patronise massacres on the ground throughout the 90s, in 2000s, it didn't stop BJP from being able to form government in Bihar in alliance with JD(U). It didn't stop BJP from continuing even today to communalise and patronise feudal and communal violence in Bihar. So clearly in terms of stopping the BJP's growth and actually providing a political assertion against it, you need a substantial fight against it, not merely symbolic fight. There I would say that, while on the ground, left parties like ours battled these forces very directly, there you found that Lalu Yadav, in Rabri-Lalu regime, has colluded with quite openly so, in fact Lalu Yadav has said in a speech that, in-order to restrict the CPI(ML), I am willing to join hands with the 'Narak Kithaanonke saat' ' 'the forces of hell' by which he meant Ranvir Sena. He knew very well it was BJP patronised. Subsequently the JD(U), of course it suppress the Amit Das Ayog's finding, it allowed the Ranvir Sena to run a Muck after Parmeshwar Singh's killing, it formed government with the BJP fully knowing it is the party of feudal and communal power over there,
P - Even during 2002 riots, they were with BJP.
KK - Absolutely. So the point is that, in-order to help BJP, strike roots and consolidate it's power in Bihar, both the Lalu-Rabri regime and JD(U) regime have a lot to answer for. I think in that sense, Left has been the consistent force to, actually in the ground, pay very high costs for doing so and very consistently resist these forces. And even today if you look at, now in terms of simple electoral arithmetic also I would say that, look at the states in which there has been a bipolar scene. BJP has won all those elections where it is a bipolar scene. It is won Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh Jharkhand. So bipolarity is not necessarily the right answer to stopping BJP, it is not like that. Multi-polarity does not mean weakening the fight against the BJP. I think assertion against the BJP, preventing the BJP government being formed in Bihar is our no1 priority as left parties. And I think in terms of that anti-BJP assertion, it is crucial for the left to have a dimension there. In that anti-BJP assertion, the left assertion, left seats in the Bihar assembly, the left assertion right now through in the whole Bihar election, is a very crucial component of that and a necessary component because we are the only consistent force to be actually resisting this. To that, I will add one small point also that, the left is very well known in many pockets in Bihar. It has strength in many pockets of Bihar. In which, we will form a credible third alternative and I think that, that is based on very substantial struggle.
P - Kavita, you have very specifically pointed out about various caste based atrocities committed on the people there in Bihar. Caste plays a major role in the entire Northern India. Do you think this is not only the caste based politics after Owaisi decided to contest election in Seemanchal. Do you think, there is a politics based on religion which is also going to be played in this election?
KK - First I just like to quickly qualify the thing about caste. I think that very often, if you look at mainstream narratives of how Bihar elections are seen, I think there is a very superficial understanding of what caste means on the ground over there. See if you look at some categories like Mahadalits and Athipichda, those are; in a sense of course they are caste categories and importantly so, but also they have very substantial class dimension. Because essentially this is the assertion of agricultural workers or share croppers for their dignity, their rights, and Left has been a champion of these struggles in a very big way. So I think to sort of pit caste as some kind of very ossified identity with has nothing, isolated category that has nothing to do with class, nothing to do with various kinds of livelihood issues and so on is not right; the first thing. The other thing I would say is, even the question of minority rights and so on, I think that is an important question all over the country, very much so in Bihar also and I would say there also this Owaisi type of phenomenon which is essentially trying to create a polarisation in a certain way. I would say rather than that, the left alternative which is saying and which is saying with great credibility, in terms of Bihar history, as well as what India's democracy needs. It is important for minority rights to be seen and minority to see them-self is part of whole range of other citizens, descending voices of all kinds as well as the oppressed class, women, so many workers of all categories who are fighting. I think, it should be seen as part of a larger frame work of assertion of democratic rights and fighting for the soul of Bihar and soul of India, rather than to see it only as a polarisation of religious identities.
P - Do you think this Bihar election is going to play a major role in the national politics? Because if we look, BJP has opposition in passing the bill in Rajya Sabha, also trying to bring various other such bills. So do you think, it will change the arithmetics at the national politics also?
KK - Oh yes. I think it is a very crucial election. There is no under-estimating the importance of this. And I believe very strongly that, the people of Bihar will give a very fitting rebuff to the BJP in this election and they will also very strongly assert their support for politics which actually shows up hope that an alternative politics is possible. The politics actually stands for people's assertion, people's struggle that this is something that required to be strengthened. I think we have seen that pattern in other elections also; Delhi was one and I do think Bihar also will give that kind of fitting rebuff to the BJP and it will affect the national politics in that way.
P - Thank you Kavita for giving us your time and the things proceed, we will come back to you on such issues. Thanks a lot. Thank you for watching Newsclick.
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