New Delhi: The Socialist Party (India) has likened BJP MP Rakesh Sinha’s proposal to remove the term “socialist” from the preamble to an attack on the Indian constitution, and has said that it as yet another attempt by the saffron party to disrespect India’s values.
“…While taking the parliamentary oath, all its MPs, MLAs and ministers have declared allegiance to the Constitution. Yet, time and again, its luminaries have disrespected the Constitution, particularly the values of secularism and socialism,” the Socialist Party (India) said in a press statement, urging all who side with the cause of “social justice and equity” to join hands against the BJP, and defeat what it thinks is its “anti-democratic move.”
Earlier this week, Sinha, a Rajya Sabha member, sought permission to move a resolution in the house to remove the term “socialist” from the preamble of the Indian constitution. He said that the term had become “redundant” in the current scenario and should be removed to create space for “economic thinking without a particular thought.” Sinha said that the terms “socialist” and “secular” were inducted in the preamble through the 42nd amendment to the constitution during the Emergency imposed by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
Calling the move “unwarranted and ill-advised”, Socialist Party (India) said that socialism isn’t just an economic thinking or “a single, rigid thought or ideology” but is “based on the idea that when people work together for the collective interest of society.”
“…it fosters human equality and dignity and nurtures the inherent human capacities for generosity, inclusivity and compassion,” the statement said.
“Socialism is a philosophy which is characterised by the belief that the enterprises, services and means of production which exist in a society should be under social ownership and management…In a country like India, where extreme social inequality and discrimination based on caste and gender have existed for millennia, socialism, by recognising the inherent worth of every human being, is an ideal that can guide us in building a more humane society,” it said.
The Socialist Party is led by eminent civil liberties’ activists like Sandeep Pandey and Mohammad Shoaib.
The party said that the significance of socialism is even more apparent in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. It said that had India built a strong public sector model of health care and education, it would have been better equipped to handle the crisis.
In absence of a strong public health care system, the party said, “…many companies and privately owned businesses are trying to cash in on the crisis by increasing the prices of commodities such as face masks, hand sanitizers and disinfectants and even essential food commodities like wheat.”
“There is a universal recognition that only strong and efficient action through the public sector can avert an even bigger crisis. The government of Spain has even implemented a take-over of private hospitals in order to increase the capacity of the existing public healthcare system,” its statement said.
It said developed economies like the US, Canada, UK and European nations have built formidable health care and education systems based on the doctrines of socialism.
“Even the capitalist bastion of the world, the USA has a largely government-owned common education system. The public education systems of countries like Canada, UK and other European countries are also known for providing high-quality education to all children for free. Our own neighbour Sri Lanka also has a free public education system which caters to the vast majority of its children and young people. This has resulted in the country achieving a literacy rate of 96%. These education systems form the backbone of the relatively greater social equality and economic mobility these countries provide compared to those where public education is neglected. Why should these effective and essentially socialist systems not be an inspiration and a goal for our country,” it asked.
It alleged that BJP’s real intention behind the move to drop the term “socialist” was to aid foreign corporations to “ravage the country’s natural resources and destroy communities.”
It also said that by tinkering with the basic structure of the constitution, the BJP would give the way for corporations which put “profit over people”.
It said even the BJP promoted “swadeshi” before they gained power, and that in 1982 former BJP prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had declared that his party was driven by “Gandhian Socialism”.