15 May, 2021

Gimme Red

They may go soft on the UPA—to keep the BJP at bay

Jitender Gupta
Gimme Red
The hammer-and-sickle, long out of work, is back in business. The Left parties’ never-before seat tally of 64 in the 14th Lok Sabha has refreshed trade unions, who are breathing easy after fighting a losing battle for years against liberalisation’s dark days. Says CITU leader P.K. Ganguly: "We will intensify our struggle and put more pressure on the government." He also points out that credit for the "labour-friendly" initiatives in the CMP, like the enactment of a National Employment Guarantee Act, is due the unions.

Even worker groups bearing allegiance to other parties have welcomed the CMP’s pro-worker thrust. The Swadeshi Jagaran Manch was a surprise supporter of the CMP and even the BMS (Bharatiya Mazdoor Sabha) is cosying up to the Left unions. Says labour expert Dr C.S. Venkata Ratnam: "The differences in ideologies are not so strong when it comes to protecting workers’ economic interests."

So will unity and political patronage lead to a revival of labour militancy? "We are responsible people. We condemn gheraos, violence or wildcat strikes on flimsy...

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