GEORGES KRISTOFFEL LIETEN
Janata as a Continuity of the System
BETWEEN 1977 and 1979 India went through an important political experiment. After 30 years of uninterrupted Congress rule, the Janata party was voted to power. Expectations among broad sections in India as well as abroad rose sharply. The composite elements of the new ruling party were conceptualized as having a social basis and ideological predisposition different from the Congress. Although this was partially true despite regional variations, we shall analyse in this paper how the class basis of the Janata was essentially the same as that of the Congress, and how class nature provided for a continuity in the system. Only in a Marxist analysis a distinction is made between the class basis and the social basis of a party. The social basis can be gauged not only from people actually supporting the party, but also from the ideological basis and the issues taken up by the leadership. The social basis, as reflected in the slogans for mass consumption and the issues taken up for launching struggles, is at "variance with the class basis as far as the ruling parties in India arc concerned and the latter can be judged only on the basis of and analysis of whose interests arc served ultimately. Although the various segments of the Janata articulated different social bases, its policy served the bourgeois-landlord state.