CPI-ML New Democracy

Call on Bihar Assembly Elections

Defeat RSS-BJP and its Allies [mainly JD(U)]

Ruling Class opposition parties have no Programme for solving People’s Problems

Support CPI(ML)-New Democracy

In the state election after outbreak of Corona pandemic, RSS led ruling NDA is facing electoral challenge from other ruling class parties in Bihar. While the govt., Election Commission and even mainstream media had stonewalled all demands to postpone the elections on account of Corona pandemic, even interpreting such a demand as a fear in the parliamentary opposition camp of their impending defeat, the self-satisfied feeling has given way to desperation evident in the ruling camp. RSS-BJP led NDA has suffered internal division with Chirag Paswan led LJP going against JD(U) whose leader is NDA’s projected candidate for Chief Minister should NDA secure majority in coming state elections with signs of covert backing of BJP. NDA’s main contender for power in Bihar is another ruling class formation led by RJD called grand alliance. Its projected CM candidate is Tejaswi Yadav, son of Lalu Yadav, presently lodged in Ranchi jail. There are candidates from other parties and alliances in elections.

Bihar assembly elections are first elections in a state after brutal lockdown avowedly to check spread of Corona virus. In May 2019 Lok Sabha elections RSS-BJP had returned to power with increased majority. Those elections were held under the orchestrated campaign in the name of Pulwama attack and Balakot strike building a ultranationalist, jingoist propaganda unleashing anti-Pakistan frenzy and deepening anti-Muslim polarization. Since its return to power, RSS-BJP have pursued twin agendas i.e. of intensifying fascist offensive and taking it to the level of fascist rule and of showering benefits on foreign and domestic corporate; doing away with the existing rights of workers and handing over complete control over agriculture to corporate. RSS-BJP have been the most reactionary wing of the Indian ruling classes and most loyal servant of big capitalists and big landlords. Their service of big capitalists (foreign and domestic corporate) and attacks on workers and peasants are amply shrouded by the corporate controlled mainstream media. The same mainstream media has consistently tried to frame the attacks on the minorities- religious and national, dalits, tribals, women and on the democratic rights and growing expansion of powers of state machinery in the language of nationalism.

Since coming back to power in 2019, RSS-BJP has been in a hurry to bring about their version of Hindu Rashtra in order to change the very political landscape of the country, the very mode of governance. RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat has claimed that India is already a Hindu Rashtra. Soon after coming to power they annulled Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution. Not only abolishing the special powers granted to Jammu & Kashmir, they abolished the very state. They then moved to criminalize Triple Talaq. And then they delivered a big blow to secularism by enacting Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 and announced making an All India National Register of Citizens (NRC) and preparing of National Population Register (NPR) to prepare for that. All this while they systematically further enhanced powers of Central Govt. In all these attacks they were helped by increasing surrender of state institutions before RSS led Hindutva, increasing caving in of the regional ruling class parties to RSS-BJP and demoralization among the rest of parliamentary opposition. While pursuing these domestic agenda, they have drawn India ever closer to US led camp, into closer alliance with Israel and making India part of the US led military alliance which is evolving into an Asian NATO.

Corona swept the world and India from beginning of 2020. RSS-BJP considered it a jackpot. They used it to further tighten their control over the people, while doing next to nothing to control Corona outbreak. They created Corona scare but not Corona care. They allowed Corona to spread to douse the fire of rising protests against their communal-fascist CAA-NRC, even blaming, with help from corporate media and political suckers in medical bureaucracy, a minority congregation for such spread. They intensified attacks on democratic rights activists in Elgaar Parishad case and foisted UAPA on anti-CAA protesters. They imposed a lockdown unheard of in the world and its methods inconceivable in a democratic society, giving police unbridled powers. Starved and abandoned, millions of workers were forced to migrate from places of their work with govts. giving up even pretense s doing anything. This tragedy, unparalleled in Indian history in its scope and pathos, will long resonate with people’s consciousness; power dispensations- govt., judiciary, media etc. not bothering as the affected were poor and powerless. This reverse migration of tens of millions of workers rendered tens of crores jobless and sharply increased unemployment rate. This brought sharp increase in rural unemployment already quite high if underemployment is taken into account. Bihar, a largely agricultural state with over four fifth living in villages, has been one of the most hard hit.

The Corona pandemic has cast its shadow over these elections in Bihar. It has exposed the RSS-BJP gimmicks and Nitish led JD(U)’s gloating over his image which was to a large extent created with the help of corporate controlled upper caste staffed media. Bihar Govt. and Central Govt. ruled by the same forces led by RSS-BJP did nothing to help tens of millions of workers from Bihar working in different parts of country. State and Central govts. abandoned and even ridiculed them; held them responsible for spread of Corona. Nitish Kumar even obstructed the coming home of workers and students stranded outside Bihar. Neither Nitish Kumar forced Central govt. to take care of them nor his govt. took any steps. They turned a blind eye to the plight of Biharis without food and shelter. Not only the policies of ruling class parties are responsible for the present conditions of people of Bihar with a large number being forced to migrate outside state for mere survival, even the Himalayan plight evoked no sympathy from the rulers- Modi asking people to take care of themselves and Nitish abandoning the people to police. Anti-people character is their very nature. BJP is promising free Corona vaccine to people of Bihar. Does it mean to charge the people for this vaccine for the profits of their corporate masters? Or will it put a charge in other states? Or does it want the state govts. to foot the Bill, the state govts. having been already reduced to municipalities after implementation of GST and their condition made worse by Central govt. forsaking its commitments.

Bihar is groaning under unemployment. When RJD leader raised the slogan of creating 1 million jobs, ruling BJP-JD(U) ridiculed him saying wherefrom he would get the money. But a few days later, RSS-BJP promised to create 1.9 million jobs! These parties have no plan to create jobs nor they are willing to adopt policies necessary for that, but these promises underline the problem of unemployment which has become gigantic in Bihar. Unemployment has reached 11% in Bihar without taking into account gross underemployment i.e. people getting work for only some days. Unemployment is stated to be almost 55% among the youth in Bihar. Not only absolute number of unemployed is staggering in Bihar, the number of people getting regular salaries is abysmally low. Only 1 in 10 Biharis draws regular salary (roughly 10%) while the all India average is two and a half times more (roughly 24%). Unemployment has become so serious as to enter the ruling class agenda.

But the ruling class parties cannot address this problem. Bihar has suffered under the suffocation of semi-feudal agrarian relations and almost total lack of industries. Even those existing earlier like ones in Dalmianagar have closed. Ashok Paper Mill in Darbhanga is closed and several sugar mills in North Bihar are closed. Neither rural distress rooted in semi-feudal agrarian relations and further aggravated by corporate assault on agriculture, has been addressed nor the issue of total lack of industries. In rural areas, vast masses are without means of livelihood. Nitish govt. had formed Bandopadhyay Commission which documented large amount of landlessness and high level of tenancy. It noted that land reforms were mainly not implemented and that if 15 acre ceiling were to be properly implemented lakhs of acres of surplus lands would be available for distribution to landless. It made certain recommendations. But Nitish, in service of landlords, jettisoned those recommendations. Even his three dismils (0.03 acre) for house sites promise is mostly on paper. Nitish has patted himself with the tag of “Sushashan Babu” but that tag only means total power to police and bureaucracy. His govt. has attacked the struggles of landless peasants and agricultural labourers with ferocity.

In Bihar govt. jobs are the only non-agricultural source of income and a large number of govt. jobs are lying vacant, and ever growing army of contract teachers and health workers, ill paid and without rights. Their pleas for regularization have gone unheeded. RSS-BJP and Modi talk of Make in India but implement import from foreign; they talk of Swadeshi but implement Videshi. They are all talk and no action on this front. With their increasing kowtowing to foreign countries who wish to sell their products in India, their promise is only to hoodwink the people.

The stance of LJP serves the RSS-BJP purpose. RSS-BJP is keen to avoid the responsibility for the mishandling of Corona pandemic effects in Bihar. That is the main reason why it swears by Nitish Kumar leadership. LJP exonerates RSS-BJP ruling at the Centre and part of ruling alliance in the state, in fact the main force in the ruling alliance as Nitish is dependent on it. Chirag Paswan is talking of Bihar First Bihari First but supports the very Party which bears main responsibility for the plight of Biharis especially in the period of Corona pandemic. LJP is only playing for power hoping to increase its share without any concrete programme for addressing the problems of the people of Bihar. Some ruling class parties are talking of youth, the new generation, but this new generation represents the old ideas.

The main ruling class opposition alliance led by RJD and Congress and revisionist parties, have no programme to address the problems of the people. RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav has been muted in criticism of RSS-BJP and Central Govt. led by them. Ruling class opposition parties have no basic difference on economic policies while several of them, especially Congress, had pedaled softer version of Hindutva.

Assembly elections in Bihar are taking place at a time when the whole country including Bihar is passing through unprecedented crisis. People are grappling with rising unemployment and attack on jobs; decreasing income and essential commodities going out of reach of the people; increasing attacks on workers, peasants and agricultural labourers; increasing attacks on muslims, dalits, tribals and women; overall with reign of terror unleashed over toiling people annihilating democratic rights even those granted in the Constitution and existing laws. RSS project of consolidating their fascist rule must be defeated.

People’s struggle must be developed in defence and furtherance of their rights to land and means of livelihood; for gainful employment and free quality education & health care and for improving conditions of workers and peasants. Communist Revolutionaries are committed to develop such struggles and genuinely fighting for the people.

CPI(ML)-New Democracy