On the elections in India
4 May 2009. A World to Win News Service. The current elections for the Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) in India will decide which party or alliance of parties forms the new government. These countrywide polls have been taking place on five dates in April and May, the last on 13 May, with the results to be announced 16 May. Following are excerpts from analyses of the electoral situation by two Maoist parties in India. The first, "Once more they come with false promises", is a statement by the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Naxalbari released in April. The second is an interview with Azad, spokesperson for the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), conducted by the Maoist Information Bulletin on 10 April. Explanations have been added in brackets.
Once more they come with false promises – CPI(ML) Naxalbari
Today let us not forget that the preparations and necessary social engineering required for this election has been going on for almost a year now... It continued with the various anti-Christian riots in the fresh pastures of Orissa and Karnataka, the anti-North Indian riots in Maharashtra, the vicious anti-women moral policing of the savarna [Hindus who are not Dalits or tribals] fascist brigade Shri Ram Sene and the extreme chauvinism stirred up with the Mumbai attacks. It is the first time that social engineering of such magnitude and diversity had to be carried out to achieve divisive polarisations aimed at elections. These attempts have become very much necessary with the waning of popular support for ruling class parties among large sections of the petty bourgeoisie due to years of neglect and deceit, growing contempt towards their leaders cutting across parties and the realisation of the futility of these elections by a big section.
The past year has seen tremors shaking the very pillars of the imperialist system. Crisis after crisis followed – from the food crisis, to the petrol-diesel price crisis leading to inflation, to the latest collapse of the US economy leading to world recession. Even by any conservative means this is going to last for quite some time to come, creating havoc and chaos in the lives of not just the poor and the marginalised but also big sections of the educated middle classes. Its toll has already started with 41 suicides in Amreli district of Gujarat among the diamond workers in the month of December and January alone. The number of those losing jobs would be reaching 15 lakhs [1.5 million] by end of this financial year. The Centre and various State governments have brought out their budgets but none have addressed the ongoing problems of the working masses. In fact none wants to acknowledge that a serious crisis is here amidst us. How can they in this election year? It's like postponing today's crisis for tomorrow.
This world crisis is a manifestation of the real crisis of capitalism itself. All the apologists of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation now have their foot in their mouths. The force with which globalisation was being thrust down the throats of the third world has now taken a step back. The champions of privatisation are now busy nationalising loss-making banks. The imperialists are quarrelling over new methods to maintain their hegemony. The Manmohan – Ahluvalia – Chidambaram trio [the "Dream Team" leading the current Congress Party-led UPA government] and their counterparts in the BJP [the Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party] and other parties who were shamelessly waving the globalisation flag are still trying to hoodwink the people by making tall claims of India's growth and robust economical situation. All those who are parroting these claims are joined in a conspiracy to cover up that an economy like India's, dependant as an appendage, nurtured and oriented by the imperialists for serving their interests, cannot survive and flourish on its own. Such an economy is doomed to amplify the horrors and deprivations of the imperialist crisis.
All the political parties are searching for an agenda. Having once burnt its fingers with imposing the insulting slogan of "India Shining" on the suffering masses, the BJP is now mixing up Hindutva ["Hinduness"] and terrorism etc, while immorally going ahead with its ''Operation Lotus'' of buying MLAs /MPs [local and national parliamentarians] of other parties. It is matched by unprincipled bargaining of the Congress and others. The bogus Left – CPM, CPI, etc – who are already a part of the ruling class, have already come out openly as ruthless instruments of imperialism with the Nandigram and Singur atrocities [where police killed peasants protesting government land grabs]. It has shamelessly argued that one can't make corruption an issue while picking allies. Thus it has cooked up an opportunist khichidi [literally boiled rice and lentils, i.e. a stew], named the third front, with some State parties who till recent were its enemies! The State parties are realising that their importance is growing by the day as no party will get a majority on its own. Each is out to win a minimum strength for bargaining in the next Lok Sabha. With no veil of sanctity remaining, the parliament is openly functioning as a pigsty today and its filth is now shamelessly paraded in the streets as the exercise of democracy in this fake Republic...
We call upon the patriotic masses to seize the hour and prepare to get organised above narrow politics of caste, creed, sect, religion and regional differences, and turn their ire against the ruling classes, the protectors of this system and its instruments of loot and hegemony. We must build the broadest resistance to the onslaught of recession, to defend and better existing livelihood. But we must never forget that without thoroughly destroying this system and replacing it with real people's rule by putting genuine power to decide in the hands of the masses, there cannot be real freedom... Already a People's War is being waged in our country led by the CPI(Maoist) in Dandakaranya and Jharkhand. The resistance of the broad masses must be combined with defending this revolutionary war and resolute steps towards opening up new war fronts.
"The most complex, most crisis-ridden and most fragmented elections in the annals of the so-called Indian parliamentary democracy" – CPI(M)
It is, of course, true that some of the candidates and parties are able to draw crowds to some extent. In a country with over a billion population it is not difficult to find a few thousands, and at times a few lakhs [hundreds of thousands] of people to attend meetings and rallies if the sponsors arrange for transport and meals, and pay them some money. Then caste, clan, regional loyalties or admiration for cine stars attract some crowds. One can see how hard the political parties have been working in every state to bring cine actors into electioneering for various parties. The political leaders know that the disenchantment of the masses had grown to such an extent that they cannot even address them without roping in some popular personality. Seeing images of "huge" crowds at the meetings should not make one to hastily conclude that more people have become interested in the fake exercise of elections and that parliamentary democracy has gained some credibility in the eyes of the people. On the contrary, the opposite is actually the truth.
The so-called Third Front that is sought to be forged by the CPI and CPI(Marxist) as a secular, democratic front comprising all the non-Congress, non-BJP forces is actually a congregation of self-seeking discredited opportunists, all of whom had proved themselves to be hypocrites and double-dealers in their respective states. These notorious leaders and their parties, who had, at one time or the other, shared power with the Hindu chauvinist BJP, are being given a clean and secular-democratic image by the so-called Left.
The power brokers of the so-called Left had churned out the slogan of anti-communalism to justify their alignment with the most loyal agent of the imperialists like the Congress Party during the 2004 elections. It was only after almost four years, when the people began to trounce the Congress in the Assembly elections in various states and come out into the streets against the policies of the UPA that these brokers "realized" that the Congress was kow-towing to the imperialists! Now, after parting with the Congress, these opportunists see anti-communalism in parties that had never really demarcated themselves from communal BJP and have no compunction in striking an alliance with it if it gave them a share in power. For our "Marxist" theoreticians and ideologues, all these forces had suddenly become secular!! And one should not be surprised if they once again become the tail of Congress after the election. The opportunism of the Indian "Left" has no limits.
Just see. They found secularism, anti-imperialism and democratic moorings among parties such as the Telugu Desham [Telegu Land and People, in Andra Pradesh], a party which was the first to transform a state in India into a laboratory of the World Bank and responsible for the murder of over two thousand Maoist revolutionaries during its nine-year rule besides the high-level of corruption of the regime led by Chandrababu Naidu. Then there are other opportunist and proven die-hard reactionary parties such as Jayalalitha's AIADMK that had become infamous for the scale of corruption, abuse of power and fascist suppression of people's struggles in Tamil Nadu; Naveen Patnaik's BJD [the Biju Janata Dal in Orissa] that had sold out the state to the imperialists and had proved itself to be the executioner for the imperialists and the CBB by massacring adivasis [tribal people] in Kaliga Nagar, POSCO, etc., besides protecting the saffron hoodlums as they went about killing, raping and persecuting the Christian minority; Deve Gowda's JDU which shared power with the BJP and broke with it not because of BJP's communalism but only when the latter wanted a greater share of power; and then you have a Mayawati [Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister] who would do anything to grab power whether it be power-sharing with the BJP on rotational basis, or striking an alliance with the Brahmins and subordinating the Dalits to the upper-caste Hindus, besides crushing all opponents ruthlessly.
The attempt to forge together such opportunist, corrupt and notorious anti-people parties into a new front by the so-called Left should not come as a surprise if we keep in mind the fact that the social-fascist CPI(Marxist) has proved itself to be a loyal agent for the imperialists and the CBB which has been proved beyond any doubt in West Bengal under [Chief Minister] Buddhadeb. It should also not come as a surprise if these opportunists, who masquerade under the garb of "Marxists", rediscover anti-communalism and secularism in the Congress (and forgetting for a while that it had surrendered to imperialism), and align with it against the communal BJP after the elections.
As per the impact of the Third Front, it has certainly weakened the two major alliances – the NDA [the BJP-led new Democratic Alliance] and the UPA – and has led to further fragmentation of the Indian polity. Whichever alliance wants to form the government it will have to depend upon and satisfy the demands put forth by the Third Front or whatever is left of it after the elections. Some of the constituents of the Third Front will, of course, jump into the alliance which is most likely to form the next government.
The elections this time are the most complex, most crisis-ridden and most fragmented in the annals of the so-called Indian parliamentary democracy. Extreme instability and contradictions plague every party and candidate. No party or candidate seems to be certain of the electoral outcome, notwithstanding the outwardly confident postures. Hence the parties and candidates are resorting to all sorts of gimmicks to attract the apathetic voter.
Neither the BJP nor the Congress is in a position to hold their respective alliances together and centrifugal tendencies will continue to weaken these further. While the India Shining slogan of the BJP has taken a severe battering in the background of the severest crisis in the Indian economy that has thrown millions of workers onto the streets and peasants to the verge of suicide, its communal slogans and attacks on the religious minorities have isolated them from the people. On the other hand, the Congress party's common minimum programme has proved to be the biggest and most cruel joke of the decade; their so-called development had led to the displacement of tens of thousands of people across the country from their lands and homes, and the total surrender of the Congress-led UPA to the American imperialists stands thoroughly exposed before the people.
Then there is the hypocrisy of the so-called Left in running with the hare and hunting with the hound. But for its support, Manmohan's comprador clique could not have dared or succeeded in implementing the series of anti-people policies and placing the interests of the country at the feet of the US imperialists. After its opportunistic honeymoon with the UPA it had to distance itself seeing the anger of the people and used the civilian-nuclear deal as a pretext. Its rhetoric against SEZs [Special Economic Zones] is seen as a big gimmick after the brutal suppression of the people's struggles in Singur, Nandigram and elsewhere in West Bengal.
The economic crisis and the policies pursued by the UPA as well as by the preceding NDA governments had created a situation of extreme imbalances between various regions, sections, classes, special social groups, and nationalities. Naturally all this has led to a new polarization and realignment of forces in the Indian political scene. The regional aspirations, the anti-Hindutva feelings among the persecuted religious minorities, the feeling of betrayal of their interests by the major political parties which had pervaded the toiling masses, in short, the explosive situation in many parts of the country brought forth due to the severity of the current crisis had discredited the major political parties in the eyes of the people. It is in such a situation when the so-called All-India parties had failed to address the issues of the people and have lost credibility in the eyes of the people that regional parties have begun to utilize the situation to increase their seat share.
We had already begun our election boycott campaign after the Election Commission declared the election schedule. Our stand has been made clear to the people through various forms—circulars, press statements, interviews, leaflets, posters, wall writings and so on. Our cultural teams stage performances among the people calling upon them to understand the real essence of the so-called parliamentary democracy and asking them to boycott the elections. We will carry out this propaganda until the end of the last phase of elections. Our campaign during elections is basically a mass political propaganda campaign. This includes questioning the candidates and representatives of the parties, gheraoing [organizing mass blockades] them, making them confess their misdeeds before the people.
Then there is active boycott where we prevent the candidates from carrying out their campaigns in the villages and smaller urban centres in our areas. We warn the parties not to venture out into our areas and when they do not heed our warnings, we stop their campaign, beat them up if they are notorious elements, burn their vehicles, conduct people's courts where possible and make the party representatives confess the misdeeds of their respective parties and seek apologies from the people. They are let off after they agree not to come to the villages again and that they will raise the misdeeds of their leaders in their Party fora [forums]. We also carry out counter-offensive actions against the police and central forces who are used by the reactionary rulers to enforce elections at gun-point. Basically our active boycott too is a political campaign though we undertake some actions aimed at destroying the enemy forces
- end item-
[ Back to top ]