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How Election Commission repeatedly changed the rules to save the Communists

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Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a columnist and author.  

Congratulations, Comrade Yechury.

No, really. The reason I started writing on the web was to regain a sense of power, no matter how small, against the dominant anti-Hindu narrative. Even though I know that my articles will never have a fraction of the readership of a prominent “secular” mouthpiece, I  generally write in a mocking tone, as if addressing our enemies. For a few moments, for a few sentences, I can pretend as if I and the “seculars” are standing on a level playing field to air our views. I can pretend as if the billions of $$$ that separate their propaganda budget from mine do not matter. For a few moments, I feel powerful, a spark of citizen empowerment that terrifies the entitled and entrenched elite. And well, if it does not really terrify them, at least it irritates them. I’ll take what I can get.

And then there are times where I genuinely feel downcast, as if there is a boot crushing my face. This is one of them. This is an article that recognizes the depressing reality our times and reminds us of the ultimate futility of our endeavors against the deep state.

No, really, Congratulations Comrade Yechury.

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It was WE the people who rejected you. WE the people didn’t want the Communists. WE the people didn’t want you to enjoy the perks of being a “National Party”. The status of “National Party” is not a birthright, but a privilege that must be earned. You must earn it by bowing your head and going on your knees before the Indian voter. Or  at least that’s what we thought.

WE the people didn’t want you to be a National Party. WE didn’t want you to be enjoying the privileges of swanky taxpayer funded offices in Delhi. WE decided to fling the Communists into the gutters of history (where, incidentally, they would have met all their idols from Marx to Stalin to Castro).

To the Communists, we the people said NO.

But the Deep State said YES:

“The Election Commission of India has come to the rescue of political parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Communist Party of India (Marxist), which were set to lose their national party status after their dismal performance in the last Lok Sabha poll and subsequent assembly elections… The Election Commission notified a change in its rules on Monday allowing a review of a political party’s national party status after two successive elections and not after every poll as is the present case.” (quoted from article)

The Deep State changed its rules so that the Communists of Lutyens Delhi could stay. No need to win any votes; you can just do an end run around the democratic process.

You know the scary part? This isn’t even the first time this has happened:

The Hindu article
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Behold, my friends. This is the terrifying face of the Deep State. The CPI(M) had also gotten into trouble with its National Party status in the year 2000. Then, just like now, the Election Commission had stepped in to quickly change the rules so that the Communists could stay.

This time, the fellow beneficiaries of the EC’s largesse are BSP and NCP. Back in 2000, it was parties like RPI. The common factor? The Communists.

Watching the Deep State defend its own almost makes me emotional about my support for BJP. Where would the BJP be if it were not for the support of the people of this country? The BJP doesn’t have godfathers sitting in the Deep State ready to shower it with rewards it did not earn. It makes me emotional to think of the BJP’s struggle to snatch power from the jaws of the Deep State.

Just remember, the same Election Commission that now revises its rules to suit the CPI(M) had even tried to ban the BJP. Not too long ago. That was 2007, when the EC decided that it did not like the opinions expressed in one campaign CD of the BJP. At that time, the BJP had as many as 139 MPs in the Lok Sabha. The same EC that haughtily wanted to snatch even party status from BJP is now bending over to give the coveted “National Party status”to CPIM and its less than 10 Lok Sabha MPs. That fateful day in 2007, not one free speech activist, not one intellectual stood by the right of India’s biggest opposition party to freely express itself in its own words. The EC eventually chickened out and didn’t ban the BJP.

Why? Who stopped the hand of the EC from finishing the BJP that day? It was fear of the people! The media mostly underplayed the fateful trial of the BJP before the Election Commission in 2007. But if the EC had really decided to dismiss 139 elected MPs, some 800 elected MLAs, several Chief Ministers and literally thousands of local representatives in one day with one stroke of pen, there was sure to be a massive reaction. Quite simply, there were just too many supporters of the BJP. The Deep State realized that banning the BJP was not a realistic proposition. The Deep State chickened out. They surrendered to our power.

And now as I watch the EC fold itself up like a docile doormat at the foot of the Communist Party, my heart swells with pain, cynicism and worst of all, with a sense of resignation. Congratulations, Comrade Yechury. My childhood was deeply connected with Bengal.  I know how to obey the red boot over my face. And today I feel that boot again.

Lal Salaam, Comrade Yechury, Lal Salaam…

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Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee
Abhishek Banerjee is a columnist and author.  
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