CPI(M)’s First Dalit Politburo Member to News18

Ramchandra Dome, the first Dalit leader to be elected to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) politburo called West Bengal chief minister Mamta Banerjee’s rule one that “allowed the politics of Hindutva to play out”.

“She gets her grooming from the RSS school of thought and she is basically implementing their agenda,” said Dome in an exclusive interview with News18.

Dome was referring to CM Mamta Banerjee’s public speech where she played the “gotra” card during the assembly election campaign in Nandigram last year. Calling it part of her “divisive” politics, the CPI(M) leader termed the chief minister’s need to declare her religious status an act of despair.

“I visited a temple where the priest enquired about my ‘gotra’ (lineage). I told him ‘Maa Mati Manush’ (Mother, Motherland, and People). This reminds me of my visit to a Tripura temple where the priest had asked me my ‘gotra’ and I had told him too ‘Maa Mati Manush’. Actually, I am a Shandilya,” said the CM in a statement that critics saw as an attempt to woo Hindu voters.

The TMC feared that BJP candidate and former Mamata protege Suvendu Adhikari would vacuum up the Hindu votes on the Nandigram seat against Mamata, said observers. The chief minister went on to lose that election, though her party won the state by a wide margin.

Speaking about the Birbhum massacre where nine people were burnt alive on March 21 in Bogtui village, Dome said Banerjee was running a fascist government of her own that is leading to opposition-less governance. He claimed that the Mamata Banerjee government over the past decade had forced people to live under fear and torture, led by fascist forces like the BJP and the TMC.

“There is no difference between Mamta’s TMC and the BJP. Both are the same and that is how she (Mamta) derives her dictatorial power. They are wilfully trying to weaken the opposition and allow rampant corruption. But it will not last long,” the communist leader said.

While Dome is quite elated about his elevation, he also calls it a new approach by the CPI(M).

“My selection is certainly a good message, but it also speaks for how the party has dedicated itself to nation-building and emancipation of the working class with a more holistic and inclusive approach,” the leader said.

Replying to a question on the composition of the politburo, Dome said it is unfair to call the CPI(M) an “upper caste dominated” party.

“You cannot call the party an upper-caste one. Communists are neither casteist nor religious. We should not go with that perspective. It is a historical fact that many of our party stalwarts came from the upper strata of society but they voluntarily dedicated themselves to the emancipation of the working class. Their objective was to be declassed,” he said.

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