India is currently holding national elections for parliament, as well as legislative assemblies in some states. The results are to be announced 16 May. As the media there and abroad like to point out, with about 800 million voters, this is the world's biggest electoral contest. But what is it really about?
The main contenders in the general elections for the Lok Sabha (the lower, main house of parliament) are the Congress Party, which leads the current government through its leadership of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), headed by Rahul Gandhi, and the National Democratic Alliance, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), whose candidate for prime minister is Narendra Modi. Modi is also a member of the Rashtriya Sawayamsevak Sang (RSS), a paramilitary Hindu nationalist organization that literally looks to Nazism – and Zionism – as nationalist models. He was chief minister of the western state of Gujarat in 2002 when Hindu mobs led by local officials and police killed as many as several thousand Muslims.
Following is a 24 March statement by Abhay, the spokesperson for the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) giving his party's views on these elections. We have edited it for non-Indian readers. For more information on those views, see "CPI (Maoist) Spokesperson Comrade Abhay Interview on General Elections – 2014" on bannedthought.net.
The elections for parliament and the state assemblies of Telangana, Seemandhra, Odisha, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh are to be held from 7 April to 12 May 2014. The exploiting ruling classes of our country are readying to impose another huge financial burden on the people by spending billions of rupees on this. On this occasion the major parliamentary parties, Congress and BJP, are vying sharply with each other for power and trying to deceive the people one more time by claiming that only they would develop our country. Defections from their opportunistic alliances with other parties are increasing as the elections approach.
Recently the Third Front came to the fore with much fanfare with eleven parties. As everybody expected, it is still immersed in fistfights regarding sharing of seats... The left parties, including the Communist Party of India (Marxist), had not yet recovered from the insulting defeat they had suffered in the West Bengal elections. Other parties … are fearing defeat if they join either the UPA or the NDA and so have either joined the Third Front or going it alone with so-called slogans of social justice, emancipation of Dalits ["untouchables"] and Bahujans [lower castes, tribal people and other minorities], and regional development, etc. Both the Third Front parties and those parties contesting on their own are following a "wait and see" policy to join whichever alliance comes to power after the election results...
Though elections have been held several times and several governments had changed in the past 65 years of "independent" rule, it is a fact that even to this day the basic needs of the people like food, clothing, shelter, education and health care remained out of reach. The oppressed masses who constitute 95 percent of the population are confronting poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, price rises, diseases, starvation deaths, corruption, etc., on a daily basis. Some 77 percent of the population is living on less than 20 rupees [a third of a U.S. dollar] per day. On the other hand, the big bourgeoisie and the big landlords are enjoying enormous amounts of wealth. A hundred corporations belonging to vultures like Ambani, Tata, Birla, Mittal, Jindal, etc., account for 25 percent of the GDP of our country. The chasm between the rich and the poor has increased beyond imagination. Corruption and scams have increased in leaps and bounds. The laws formulated to hamper these social differences and to prevent them had never been used on the moneyed classes. As a result, social unrest is swelling.
The Hindu chauvinist religious oppression on the religious minorities and the Hindu Brahman upper caste oppression on the Dalits in our country have increased. The repression of national liberation struggles in Kashmir, Asam and Manipur is increasing day by day. As a result of the long-drawn struggles of the Telangana people for decades, the parliament had to inevitably give its approval for the formation of a separate state for Telangana. However, they are still suppressing cruelly aspirations for separate statehoods for Bodoland, Gorkhaland etc. The Adivasis [tribal people] are continuously denied their rights... The women are getting crushed under vicious imperialist and feudal culture.
The government led by Congress has been rapidly implementing the second phase of economic reforms in its five year rule as a continuation of its Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization (LPG) policies due to the pressure of the imperialists and the big capitalists of our country who are bogged down in the world economic crisis, thus worsening conditions in all the sectors in our country. The government has signed agreements with multi-national companies and big Indian corporations and opened the doors widely for indiscriminate exploitation by handing over the natural riches of our country to them. Blatantly violating the law, it is forcing Adivasis and peasants to agree to giving up their land at the point of the gun in several areas in our country and implementing policies that would displace them on a gigantic scale. Due to the bankrupt policies of this government, industrial production in our country suffered and hundreds of thousands of workers have lost their livelihoods. The burden on other workers has increased. Their real wages plunged. The number of unorganized workers outside the purview of labour laws increased.
The government took up policies that would hand over retail trade to the imperialist companies. It gradually handed over the agriculture sector to the corporations and pushed agriculture into severe crisis. Increases in production costs, the lack of government support in the form of loans, etc., and lack of minimum support prices led to large-scale suicides of farmers. The lives of the people became intolerable with the sky rocketing cost of daily consumer goods and the periodic increase in petrol and diesel prices. The privatization of education and health sector have turned them into a rarity for the common people.
Corruption reached the skies and with great scams... the various ruling class politicians, cliques and government and military higher-ups gulped down billions of rupees of people's exchequer. These brazen bandits and traitors stashed away billions of dollars in Swiss banks.
The schemes taken up by the government and hyped to the skies as the dream of Indira Gandhi's "Garibi Hatao" ["abolish poverty"] realized by Sonia Gandhi have all turned ridiculous with reeking corruption. In fact, yesteryear's slogan of land reforms disappeared completely. Due to its ecology-damaging policies, natural disasters like untimely rains and cyclones are occurring and people are suffering heavy losses. The government's newly legislated acts relating to "land acquisition", "food security" and opposing gang rape are either aimed at serving the interests of the imperialists and the exploiting ruling classes or as an eye-wash.
The government has depended on its military, paramilitary, special police and commando forces and intelligence agencies to suppress the masses who are rebelling against their anti-people policies and consolidate its rule and carry on offensives using fascist methods. It is curbing civil rights and even the right to live. The enemy forces are carrying out massacres of hundreds of Adivasis, Dalits, other oppressed masses, revolutionary activists and in revolutionary movement areas led by our party. All the movement areas in the various states have been turned into military camps of enemy forces. Thousands of innocent people, revolutionary activists and leaders were put in jails. On the one hand they are shouting that "the Maoist guerrillas who are resorting to violence in the forests do not have any ideology" and on the other they are trying to control the intellectuals by stating that "the Maoist ideologues in the cities who are continuously stoking the Maoist ideology are more dangerous than the guerrillas."
To be continued.