What happened during last three months was a feverish and acrimonious election campaign for the 17th Lok Sabha. The results of these elections, giving almost a two third majority to NDA in the new Lok Sabha announced on 23rd May, has surprised not only the mainstream opposition parties, but all the progressive, democratic, struggling people’s forces who were campaigning against and leading numerous struggles against it. If Modi led BJP had won the 2014 elections with the slogan of Sub ke Sath Sab ka Vikas, during the last five years all the major initiatives his government took including demonetization, GST, intensification of corporatization of all sectors etc had led to highest rates of unemployment during last 45 years, acute distress in farm sector leading to suicides by hundreds of farmers in many states, serious slow down of the economy and growing ecological destruction making the climate change like phenomena severe day by day, to mention a few of the serious consequences. At the same time pursuing aggressive saffronization, spreading politics of hatred, targeting the religious minorities and dalits, etc majoritarian divide and rule politics is taken to extreme levels. In this situation the resistance against Modi rule went on increasing, first through numerous people’s struggles and then, as reflected in electoral reverses, especially in the defeat of BJP led state governments in Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh six months ago. All these factors had pointed towards possible defeat of Modi government in the 2019 elections.
The mainstream opposition parties, though none of them had led any major campaigns or struggles against the Modi rule during the last five years, were expected to pick up these issues and the failure of Modi rule in implementing any of its major promises of 2014, for defeating Modi and replacing it with their alliance after the elections.
But as the campaign was starting by February, with the militants’ attack on the CRPF convoy at Pulwama, followed by the Balakot air strike against the terrorist base inside Pakistan, Modi turned around the possible anti-incumbency against his government by projecting the national security matters and mascular nationalism targeting Pakistan, the Muslim minorities and the Kashmiri people’s movement through a protracted, colourful and extremely expensive sectarian political campaign, with the slogan: We will enter your house and kill you, This is New India. Modi, Amit Shaw and other leaders, blatantly violating the Model Code of Conduct rules of the Election Commission, were asking the people to vote BJP in the name of the Pulwama martyrs, for the Balakot ‘surgical’ strike, for Modi’s army! The first accused in Malegaon terrorist attack, Pragya Thakur was fielded as candidate, further intensifying the saffron campaign. In this process, the identity politics of the caste based parties were, in the main, submerged by the frenzied safronization of the RSS parivar.
Surprising its opponents, the BJP and its NDA allies led a presidential style campaign, appealing for each vote to their candidates as a vote for Modi, projecting the election as a referendum for him. It was turned in to a jingoistic campaign with an anti-Muslim political narrative . The opposition parties, especially, the Congress, could not or failed to expose this sinister BJP campaign organized with the connivance of a majority in the EC. Besides, while the BJP even made concessions to forge unity of the NDA parties, the opposition, mainly Congress, failed to forge unity among themselves, or to put forward a unified approach. In this situation, utilizing huge corporate funds, services of the media, planned use of social media, EC majority’s connivance which went to the extent of planning the seven phase elections to suit Modi’s public meetings and road shows, to allowing him to stage a sort of ‘road show’ at Kedarnth and Badrinath on 18th and 19th May, on the day of silent campaign and the last polling day, Modi and company created conditions for its victory. The disunited opposition parties who have no alternate vision about the corporatization speeded by Modi, who pursue caste based politics compromising with Hindutva ideology, easily crumbled before the Modi-Shaw juggernaut, helping BJP led NDA to a massive victory, polling more than 50% of votes in 17 states and spreading menacingly to W. Bengal, Odisha like states also. And, with the connivance of the EC and utilizing loop holes in the present electoral system including the use of EVMs against which criticism are increasing day by day, Modi could outsmart the divided opposition easily. As far as the traditional left, the ‘Left Front’ parties, are concerned, they have refused to take lessons from their hitherto debacle due to pursuing neoliberal policies. So, even after getting unseated in W. Bengal and Tripura, they repeat same mistakes in their last resort, Kerala. In front of Modi- Shaw offensive they were swept away in Bengal and Tripura, and severely maulted in Kerala
The coming to power of Modi for another five years with added strength poses a serious challenge before the toiling masses as well as to the struggling left forces who waged a campaign, fielding candidates in few seats, with the slogan: “Defeat corporate-saffron fascist Modi rule, Build people’s Alternative”. While actively participating in all movements to weaken the saffron fascist forces, they should take up the question of building people’s alternative against increasing corporate-saffron fascist threat more actively, striving to participate in all forms of struggles with the orientation of developing independent communist assertion. It calls for concrete analysis of the present developments leading to the victory of Modi, mobilizing all struggling forces for launching people’s movements against it. The growing ultra rightist, neo-fascist challenge, a growing danger at international level itself, can be confronted and defeated only by putting forward an alternative manifesto for democracy and development, and mobilizing the toiling masses and all oppressed sections for people’s democracy and socialism. Let us take up this challenge with firm resolve.
CPI(ML) Red Star
24th May, 2019