The Campaign Against Modi in Banaras

The CPI(ML), assisted by organisations of students, weavers and workers, is running a spirited independent campaign against Modi in Banaras, appealing to the people of Banaras to vote for the AAP candidate Arvind Kejriwal to defeat Modi. The campaign is being conducted through small gatherings and discussions, mass meetings, and leaflet distribution, and is getting an enthusiastic response. People have responded with warmth to the campaign that is defying the open violence and intimidation by the BJP supporters. A translation of the leaflet being distributed by the campaign is below.

Defeat Pro-Corporate Politics Of Corruption And Loot!
Strengthen ‘Third Alternative’ Of
Pro-People Policies!!


Suffering for the past 10 years from the pro-corporate policies, price rise and corruption of the ruling Manmohan government, people now want to vote for change. However, it is a great misfortune of this country that some elements seem to be succeeding, through false propaganda, in steering this mood for change in the wrong political direction. National and multinational corporate businesses like Tata, Ambani, Adani, Essar-Ford which profited by looting the country’s wealth and resources under the aegis of the Congress government, are now staking claim to even bigger shares of loot by endorsing the slogan “Abki Baar Modi Sarkar”.

Those who argue for Modi’s victory in the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency, claiming that once he becomes PM he will solve all the problems of Varanasi and make it into a second Paris, should take a look at the miserable state of India’s first PM Jawaharlal Nehru’s constituency Phulpur (Allahabad) and Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s constituency Lucknow.

Modi’s own Gujarat model is itself witness to the fact that while national and multinational corporate houses have been blessed with “development”, misery and want have been the lot of the common people. 44.6% of the total population of children under 5 years in Gujarat are victims of malnutrition, 70% children are anemic, and 40% children are underweight (source: Planning Commission report 2012-13). The state of women’s health in Gujarat is also extremely poor; the mortality rate of mothers during childbirth is 148 per 1000 in Gujarat, while the rate in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu is 104 and 97 respectively. According to the UNDP Global Hunger Report 2009 Gujarat stands third from the top in starvation deaths among the 17 major States in India. As for per capita income, Gujarat (63,996) stands sixth after Haryana (92, 327), Maharashtra (83, 471), Punjab (67,473), Tamil Nadu (72,993), and Uttarakhand (968,292) {source: Economic Times, 26 December 2012}. On the other hand Gujarat beats even UP and Bihar in the matter of per capita debt.

It is worth noting that after filing his nomination Modi made boastful promises of making the Banarasi saree industry shine like that of China. But today the truth is that the originality and design of the Banarasi saree is not protected in any way and the Surat saree industry, by copying these designs and selling cheap versions, is ruining the saree industry and weavers of Banaras. Considering the kind of “Gujarat Gaurav” politics Modi indulges in, it is hard to believe that he take any steps to rein in the big businessmen of Surat who are prospering at the cost of the destruction of the poor weavers of Banaras.

Modi has claimed he will clean up the polluted Ganga as he has done the Sabarmati in Gujarat: but the facts belie his claim. The Central Pollution Control Board in 2012 declared three Gujarat rivers – Sabarmati, Khari and Amlakhadi – to be the most polluted in India. 

Modi can shout himself hoarse about nationalism, but the facts speak for themselves and outshout him, showing that he has no compunctions about joining hands with fanatical proponents of parochialism and regionalism like the Shiv Sena. On the one hand Modi is luring the people of Banaras and Purvanchal with the bait of development; on the other, he is dreaming of becoming PM with the support of the Shiv Sena which perpetrates brutal attacks on workers from Purvanchal who go to Mumbai in search of livelihood. The torrential funds with which corporate forces are irrigating the BJP’s election campaign lends credence to the fears that if Modi becomes PM, corporate houses like Ambani and Adani wll look to reap a rich harvest of loot and destruction in Purvanchal. Considering the way in which the Reddy brothers of Bellary took advantage of the Yeddyurappa government in Karnataka and built an empire through illegal mining, it is natural to fear that the same fate may befall our neighbouring areas of Mirzapur, Sonbhadra and Naugarh!

It is essential to underline the fact that compared to those wishing to inflict Modi upon Banaras and the country, the number of those wishing to free the country from Modi and his brand of autocracy, arrogance, and politics of destruction is far greater. But elements supporting Modi are now openly resorting to attacks to crush the democratic voices and expressions of legitimate dissent. To counter these attacks we appeal to all peace loving, progressive and democratic forces to unite so that this fascist trend is stopped before it is too late.

We appeal to you to defeat the politics of pro-corporate corruption and loot in the current Lok Sabha elections by voting against the BJP as well as the Congress. Keeping in mind the necessity to accelerate the struggle to demand pro-people policies, our objective is to strengthen the forces of the “third alternative” against the BJP and the Congress. To fulfill this objective, despite our disagreements with the Aam Admi Party (AAP) on several policy issues, we have decided to extend support to Arvind Kejriwal in the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency.

We appeal to you to vote for Arvind Kejriwal in order to defeat Narendra Modi. If we succeed in defeating this strongest votary of national and multinational corporate loot, the enthusiasm generated by such a victory will galvanize the pro-people struggle not only in Banaras but also all over the country. Come, let us make every possible effort to make this historic possibility a reality.