A day after the opposition leaders, in an apparent display of unity, gathered at the Jantar Mantar in Delhi to protest against the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case, the Communist Party of India (CPI) demanded the resignation of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for “failing” to prevent the incident.
The Left party said Nitish cannot escape responsibility for the heinous crime. It also demanded a time-bound inquiry into the case.
Nitish's party JD(U) is an ally of the National Democratic Alliance. The CPI which held its two-day national executive picked up issues to corner the NDA regime at the Centre. The issues which came up for discussion were same as the ones picked up by the CPI(M) which also had held its two-day politburo meeting last week.
The big issue which is inflaming passions is the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam. While, there have been some divergent views in the Congress, both the Left parties have hit at the BJP government for “targeting” the minorities.
“All efforts should be made to include Indians into the system. We oppose the amendment in Citizenship Act as it would be discriminatory against certain migrants,” CPI general secretary Sudhakar Reddy said.
The Left parties stepped up their attack on the Modi government at a time when the opposition parties are trying to stitch a grand alliance to take on the saffron regime. However, these two parties' influence in national politics is decreasing over the years. While the CPI(M) has nine Lok Sabha MPs, the CPI has only one. CPI and CPI(M) have two and five members respectively in Rajya Sabha. Unlike the past when the Left parties were the pivot for bringing together the opposition parties on a common platform, their heft is now limited.
In a month’s time, the Left parties are likely to start discussions about having alliances and seat-sharing arrangements with other parties ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
In the coming days, one of the issues before the Modi government would be engaging with the new government in Pakistan. Both the Left parties have asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to clear his stance on holding talks with the new regime to be led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan.
Sudhakar Reddy said the Pakistan elections are of significance to India. “The elections were controlled by the army, but there’s a welcome development that all terrorist-supported parties lost,'' he said.
The Left parties have extended their support to the August 9 Bharat Bandh called by dalits and farmers groups. Sudhakar Reddy said though the government had brought a bill to overturn the Supreme Court judgment on the Sc/ST Act, it was too late and too little.
Rajya Sabha MP D. Raja said the federal structure of the country was in danger due to the policies of Modi government. He highlighted the move to scrap the UGC without holding discussions with the states. "This is centralisation of powers in the hands of the Union government, which is not good for our country," Raja said.
It will be a new flashpoint between the opposition and the government in the coming days.