I know my Marx, West Bengal governor tells CPM

KOLKATA (TIP):West Bengal governor M K Narayanan rejected CPM’s argument that he did not know about the functioning of their party by saying that he has been an avid student of Karl Marx, Engels and Mao, escalating his war of words with the opposition. Narayanan brandished his knowledge of the works of the icons of Marxism in response to CPM state secretary Biman Bose’s comment ridiculing the governor’s understanding of how a communist party functions. On April 10 , Bose had taken affront to the governor’s demand for a “public apology from the CPM politburo” for the manhandling of finance minister Amit Mitra and heckling of CM Mamata Banerjee by SFI activists, by suggesting that the former IPS officer was ignorant about CPM’s functioning. “The governor might be knowing how the police operate but he does not have any knowledge of how the politburo or the central committee operates. It is his ignorance,” Bose said. In a response that governors seldom come up with, Narayanan said he has been a student of communism for over six decades and was aware of the fact that the concept of democratic centralism was pivotal to communist ideology and therefore wanted the CPM politburo to apologise for the action of some party functionaries.

A release from the governor’s press secretary on April 11 said, “The governor has been a student of communism for over six decades, and has read and digested the works of Marx, Engels and Mao and has spoken extensively at national and international conferences on the subject of communism. He is therefore well aware of the functions of CPM politburo and central committee. One of the basic axioms of communist ideology is the principle of democratic centralism and it is this context that a suggestion was made that an apology by the CPM politburo was warranted on account of the action of the some of the lower functionaries.

The strong response came on a day when CPM general secretary Prakash Karat wrote to President Pranab Mukherjee to complain about the governor’s criticism of the CPM and its outfits for the “pre-meditated assault” on Mamata and her finance minister. “One can understand the governor condemning the incident. But Shri Narayanan has gone much beyond that and called it a shocking pre-meditated assault on the CM, and other senior ministers of West Bengal. He has gone further to state that the kind of attack is unprecedented in India’s modern history and declared that those responsible for the attack and their instigators have forfeited their right to function within a democratic framework. It is highly improper for the governor of a state, who holds a Constitutional post, to make such a statement”, Karat told the President.

Karat also joined issue with governor for calling the manhandling of Mitra and heckling of Mamata by SFI activists and other supporters of the CPM had been planned in advance. “How is it that Shri Narayanan sitting in Raj Bhawan in Kolkata has come to the unfounded and totally baseless conclusion that there was a pre-meditated assault on the CM and others? In fact, the entire visual media showed how the chief minister entered and left the Yojana Bhawan without any hindrance,” Karat said in his letter to the President. “It is highly improper for the governor of a state, who holds a Constitutional post, to declare that a political party or leaders have forfeited their right to function within a democratic framework,” he said. All over the state of West Bengal, Karat said, there are widespread attacks going against the CPM and the Left Parties offices, leaders and cadres. “The Governor’s statement has only encouraged these elements,” he added.

Interesetingly, while the governor may not be aware of it, but the question as to the SFI activists who went after the Chief Minsiter and her finance minister is a subject of discussion also within CPM in Bengal.While a section of leaders are up to pass the blame on individuals — SFI all India general secretary Ritabarta Banerjee, others wanted the leaders up in the party hierarchy to own up the responsibility because they feel such an agitation in Delhi could not have happened without a nod from CPM politburo or central committee members in charge of the student front.

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