The outcome of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections shows an overwhelming countrywide rejection of the Congress and UPA and a decisive majority for the BJP and the NDA. The BJP and NDA clearly emerged as the biggest beneficiaries of the widespread mass anger against the UPA misrule and non-performance marked by massive corruption, price-hike and all-round economic crisis.
Ten years ago the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee which claimed India was ‘feeling good’ was voted out of power. Narendra Modi and the 2002 Gujarat carnage he presided over were clearly a major factor that determined the 2004 outcome. Ironically enough, ten years later India has elected another NDA government headed by the same Narendra Modi promising to usher in ‘good times’.
The unprecedented rise of the BJP on a truly national scale clearly marks a concentrated political expression of the continuing rightward shift in policies and politics and growing corporate domination over the spheres of economy and mass communication. While the BJP has secured close to 300 seats on its own, the Left bloc in Parliament has been reduced to just a dozen seats. The AAP which had captured considerable democratic imagination in the wake of its spectacular debut in Delhi Assembly elections has had to remain content with 4 seats that it managed to win quite surprisingly in Punjab.
The corporate sector which invested massively in Modi’s campaign obviously expects an even freer run under the new government, and the Sangh Parivar has already claimed a mandate for rapid escalation of its communal agenda. But a majority among the millions of people who have voted for a ‘Modi Sarkar’ expect a solution to their pressing economic problems and governance that is responsive, transparent and accountable, a hope which can only be disappointed by the new dispensation. In the difficult days to come the CPI(ML) will stand firmly by the people and their hopes and aspirations, and needs and interests.
The BJP election campaign did have an unmistakable communal aspect to it. The Muzaffarnagar riots were engineered with a clear purpose of creating a communal polarisation and the election speeches of several BJP leaders, Narendra Modi included, injected enough communal vitriol into the political discourse. In the middle of the elections we saw horrific communal violence in Assam and reports of post-poll attacks on minorities are also coming in from different parts of the country. The election outcome does not legitimise past crimes or exonerate the guilty, nor does it give any licence for fresh crimes against humanity. The battle for equal justice and equal rights for all will surely go on unabated.
The CPI(ML) is committed to continuing and intensifying the struggle against the corporate-dictated policies that are the root cause of corruption, price rise, unemployment and deepening economic crisis. The CPI(ML) is also committed to the ongoing struggles against all kinds of injustice and oppression, and to expose and resist any attempts to whip up campaigns against the rights of marginalised and oppressed sections of people. The party appeals to all defenders of democracy to remain vigilant against any possible attempt to vitiate the socio-political climate, subvert democratic institutions and curb people’s rights.
The 2014 outcome has highlighted the inherent vagaries of the first-past-the-post system where parties do not win seats despite securing significant votes. A 31% vote share has fetched the BJP a clear majority whereas 4% vote share for BSP has not translated into a single seat. It is high time to reform India’s electoral system and introduce aspects of proportional representation for a more realistic reflection of the political choice made by the people.
While the new government unveils its agenda, the forces of people’s movements will step up their vigil and democratic intervention and assertion on every available platform and by all possible means.