Elections, Press Release

CPI(ML)- New Democracy Call on 2019 Lok Sabha Elections

Rally Against Hindutva Fascist Offensive of RSS-BJP

Struggle against Agrarian Distress and Industrial Stagnation, Unemployment and Privatization of Health & Education

Rise in struggle against attacks on Workers, Peasants, Tribals, Dalits, Muslims and Women

Oppose attacks on Communist Revolutionaries and Struggling Forces; Fight for Democratic Rights of the People

Vote for and support candidates of CPI(ML)-New Democracy and other Communist Revolutionary Organizations

The country is facing deepening economic crisis with growing agrarian industrial crisis at its root. The overwhelming majority of the people are facing increasing hardships. Policies pursued by the rulers over the years have led to declining conditions of the peasant masses, increasing destitution of workers particularly the overwhelming majority of them employed in unorganized sectors, increasing unemployment and basic services like health and education going further out of the reach of the common people. People are groaning under the increasing burden of the rule of big capitalists and big landlords while exploitation by foreign companies has further intensified. On the other hand, wealth of a select few is growing at enormous speed, India has seen the rise of the highest number of billionaires and inequality has arisen sharply.

Intensifying Fascist Offensive

Deepening crisis of the system along with their drive to increase loot and plunder of the people, and rising disaffection leading to growing struggles of the people are making the ruling classes of the country increasingly rally behind the fascist alternative to the present truncated parliamentary rule. They are increasingly supporting Hindutva fascist forces, RSS-BJP, to continue and strengthen their rule. While fascist repression on people’s struggles, particularly those led by communist revolutionary organizations, has been quite frequent, RSS-BJP represent the drive for destruction of even hitherto existing democratic rights and imposition of fascist dictatorship over the country. They are disrupting unity of the people by deepening communal divisions, they are mobilizing upper castes for their fascist offensive by intensifying caste oppression and atrocities, they are targeting tribals for dispossessing them from land for the plunder of mineral resources by foreign and domestic corporate, they are imposing Manuwadi code for women. In the name of safeguarding ‘bahu beti izzat’, opposing cow slaughter and cattle trade and acting as moral police, RSS-BJP are increasing the strength of their fascist gangs which they also utilize to crush the democratic struggles of different sections. These fascist gangs have been used to target and even kill democratic rights’ activists, rationalists and progressive individuals in society. RSS-BJP led Central Govt. and their state govts. have embarked on teaching distorted history to the students and on promoting obscurantism and discouraging scientific thinking. They have packed all the statutory bodies relating to history, art and culture and even institutions of scientific research with those who follow RSS’s communal ideology.

In order to hide their failures in addressing the real issues before the people and in particular their failure in fulfilling the promises made by them before the last elections, RSS-BJP, with the help of corporate media, are trying to unleash communal jingoist hysteria targeted against Pakistan. They are trying to project the issue of ‘national security’ to brush under the carpet issues of concern to the people. They are distorting the issues in Kashmir for advancing their agenda. It was with the intention of launching an orchestrated campaign linking Kashmir with Muslims and Pakistan that BJP dissolved its alliance with PDP in the middle of last year and dissolved the state assembly when regional parties – PDP and NC – joined hands to form a coalition Govt. in J&K as that would have limited the ability of the Central Govt. controlled by them to utilize situation in Kashmir for their jingoist propaganda in furtherance of their fascist offensive.

In the face of RSS-BJP fascist offensive and their design to replace the form of governance, contradictions among the ruling class groups have intensified. However, the opposition sections of ruling classes are adopting the agenda of fascist forces in order to win over sections of ruling classes from RSS-BJP. The main opposition party, Congress, has moulded its secular plank to counter-posing advocacy of Hinduism to the Hindutva of BJP-RSS. Alongwith, the Congress Govt. which recently came to power in Madhya Pradesh has used NSA against those accused of cattle trade. State Govts. of Congress in the three states which came to power in December 2018 have not annulled the anti-worker changes in the labour laws which were made by earlier BJP Govts. of those states. Nor have they released Dalits arrested during the Bandh against Supreme Court judgment on Prevention of Atrocities (SCs & STs) Act. All the ruling class parties are opposing the democratic struggles of the people of Kashmir. Govt. repression is still against the communist revolutionary movement and people’s struggles and the opposition ruling class parties are still not the target of state repression. These parties talk of opposing Hindutva, even talk of its fascist character, but have not been mobilizing the people against the fascist offensive of the RSS-BJP and are not serious in opposing Hindutva fascist offensive. In brief, in this period though fascist offensive has intensified, this issue is not before the people in a straightforward manner in these elections.

All the forces which are facing fascist repression and all the sections which are targets of Hindutva fascists must unite to build a powerful movement against this fascist offensive and we place before the people a programme of resisting this offensive including attacks against minorities, Dalits, tribals, women and other oppressed sections. It should be borne in mind that Indian criminal laws were enacted by British colonial rulers to suppress the Indian people. Ruling classes that have been in power since 1947 have kept these legal provisions and unlimited powers of police intact. Further there are enactment of more draconian laws like NSA, ESMA, PD Act, UAPA etc. to deny democratic rights to the people. Legal framework of denial of democratic rights comes handy for unleashing fascist repression over the people. The ruling class parties including the revisionist parties are not basically opposed to these fascist laws, have used them when in power and have not opposed use of these black laws against the communist revolutionaries, democratic right activists and struggling forces.

Undemocratic Electoral System

While there are serious doubts about the large scale manipulations through use of EVMs, the very electoral system in the country is designed to perpetuate the rule of elite sections. The democratic right of the people to vote, is heavily compromised by the use of money, muscle and media power to marginalize the concerns of the people. The mainstream media with its increasing reach sensationalizes incidents, trivializes the people’s concerns and marginalizes the people’s issues. While fake news mainly caters to the existing prejudices and is wielded by the interested groups linked to ruling class parties, it is the mainstream media which is mainly responsible for ignoring and distorting people’s issues. It is the mainstream corporate controlled media which creates the atmosphere in which fake news prospers.

The elections in India are ‘capital intensive’. Even the officially sanctioned expenditure is much beyond the scope of the common people and forces depending on them. And this officially sanctioned expenditure is only a miniscule part of the actual expenditure incurred by the candidates. More than Rs. 60 thousand crores are expected to be spent in the coming elections making it the costliest electoral exercise in the world. The Election Commission has curtailed use of inexpensive means of propaganda, further increasing the stranglehold of big money over the election exercise.

The electoral system in India is designed to give cover to anti-people rule over every five years. There is no legal compulsion before the ruling class parties for honouring their election promises, the only remedy is another exercise after five years by which time a whole new gamut of issues are thrown before the people. The dishonouring of election promises should be unfair electoral practice for which the concerned Party should be disqualified. Moreover, there should be right to recall a representative by the people if he/she does not fulfill promises made or loses confidence of the people. The seats allotted to various political parties should be proportionate to the votes polled by them so that no party can gain larger share of seats with relatively smaller share of votes and claim to represent the will of the people even with such a distorted exercise.

Issues Before the People: Growing Peasant Distress, Attacks on Workers and Increasing Unemployment

The most burning issue before the people is the worsening lot of the peasant masses including agricultural labourers which is due to deepening agrarian crisis. Nearly half of the country’s work force is directly engaged in agriculture and more than two thirds living in the rural areas are dependent on it. But agriculture has been neglected by successive govts. Though the ruling class parties talk of addressing this crisis and make empty promises of raising the income of peasants like the promise made by RSS-BJP in the last elections of doubling peasant income, they are not willing to address the causes of this crisis. Ruling classes have refused to carry out meaningful land reforms and now even the talk of land reforms has disappeared from the agenda. On the other hand, Govts. are busy displacing peasants including tribals from the land already under cultivation and handing over the land marked for distribution among the landless to the corporate thus even reversing the gains made by them in getting land, that too mostly through struggles. Question of ownership of land and means of livelihood remains a very important issue for the vast multitude of the people and remains a continuing factor for the agrarian crisis.

In the backdrop of the food crisis, ruling classes undertook the imperialist dominated model of increase in the production of cereals through use of high yielding variety of seeds which needed more water, chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The areas where such ‘development’ was carried out suffered from depleting water table and contamination of soil and even water with excessive use of chemicals as fertilizers and pesticide. While income of the peasants has stagnated and even declined, this contamination has become a menace to the health of the people.

One of the basic reasons of the declining conditions of the peasantry is adverse terms of trade in relation to industry. While the cost of inputs has risen, prices of produce have not kept pace, resulting in increase in indebtedness of the peasantry. Ruling parties have not accepted and implemented the recommendation of Swaminathan Committee of fixing the MSP @ of 150% of the cost of production with the latter being taken as C2. Besides, MSP should be declared for all the crops and adequate arrangements made for purchase of agricultural produce at MSPs. While agriculture remains backward, rainfed and labour intensive in the major part of the country, there are no other means of gainful employment in the rural areas. Rural areas are victimes of neglect, backwardness, high levels of poverty and gross unemployment and underemployment. Govt. policies are designed to maintain the stranglehold of landlords, moneylenders, contractors and Mafia over the vast masses of the people living in these areas. While main parties of ruling classes are forced to offer some sops in the form of partial and ham-handed loan waivers, they are not willing to address the basic cause of agrarian crisis and rural distress.

Public Distribution System which is being systematically dismantled should be strengthened and all basic necessities should be made available to the people at affordable prices.

Govt. policies have intensified attacks on the working class. There is increasing informalization and contractualization of industrial work force. The number of workers in the organized sector has declined. RSS-BJP Govt. has moved to do away with labour laws which were enacted due to long struggles of workers. A large number of traditional sectors like jute, coal, textile etc. and traditional employments have suffered due to govt. failure to protect them, while new sectors are also facing stagnation due to imports. But the most important factor for the industrial stagnation is the stagnant or declining purchasing power of the people leading to demand deficit. This is due to very low standard of living for the vast majority of the people of the country. The foreign capital driven export led model of growth pursued by ruling class parties is deeply crisis ridden.

The ruling classes try to attract FDI and increase corporate profits by reducing wages and other compensations of workers by making their jobs more insecure and taking away their right to organize. This is the direction of the policy of the successive govts. resulting in violation of basic legal rights of the workers.

Urban housing for the workers continues to be neglected while attempts are made to demolish their dwellings. Struggle for in situ development is an important struggle.

In their drive for maximizing profits of foreign and domestic corporate, Govts. are deliberately disregarding the issues of protection of environment which is creating serious health crisis at several places besides laying waste large tracts of land. People at several places have struggled against the degradation of their environment.

A very important issue before the people is growing unemployment. Not to admit the sharp growth in unemployment, Govt. has stopped publication of the NSSO report which showed that unemployment is at highest level over last 45 years @6.1% while some studies showed it to be 7.4%. In addition, there is vast underemployment particularly in rural areas plaguing the country. RSS-BJP Govt. has further aggravated the unemployment situation in the country. Its pro-corporate measures like demonetization and GST have taken away large number of jobs particularly in the informal sector. More than two crores jobs were lost due to these. Youth have no hope of productive employment and despondency among them is increasing. Every person should be guaranteed productive employment and should be guaranteed minimum income in accordance with living wage through unemployment allowance and pensions for the elderly and dependents.

The basic cause of growing unemployment is lack of industrial development and agricultural stagnation which are conditioned by domination of foreign capital and continuing landlord domination in the villages. The high degree of technological development at present, makes it necessary that for full employment the shackles of profiteering be broken.

Basic rights like Education and Health should be guaranteed to the people. Govt. has been on a spree to rename the existing schemes without any substantial change in the outlay for these essential services. Expenditure on these sectors continues to be very low and India ranks much lower even among underdeveloped countries. There is decline in expenditure on higher education and scientific research which keeps India perpetually dependent on foreign knowhow. Govt. is following privatization model for health care which helps profit making by private players while not taking into account the needs of vast population which demand better public health care system. GDP spent on Health and Education should be increased and Govt. must ensure free, uniform, scientific and quality education to all while ensuring health services for every citizen though public health system.

Issues of Different Sections

As the crisis of the system deepens and ruling classes’ drive to increase the exploitation of the work force and plunder of natural resources intensifies, the ruling class parties, particularly RSS-BJP, are increasing attacks on the oppressed sections to divide them and to tighten the stranglehold of dominant social sections. The attacks on minorities, Dalits, tribals, women and other oppressed sections have been intensified.

Muslims have been a special target of attack under different slogans and pretexts. They are subjected to communal attacks on their lives and property, their women are violated and youth incarcerated. Increasing communalization of police and administrative machinery have been useful for communal forces to target minorities, particularly the largest religious minority. The police, administration and elected representatives should be made accountable for maintaining communal peace in their areas. They should be charged with criminal offences in cases of attacks on lives and property of the minorities.

There should be special measures for educational, social and economic development of minorities besides safeguarding their places of worship.

Under RSS-BJP, attacks and atrocities on Dalits have increased while caste oppression continues to be a menace in India. The roots of caste oppression lie in oppressed castes not having control over means of production namely land in the vast rural areas while strict caste segregation is enforced with religious sanction through endogamy and other social practices. Struggle of Dalits and other oppressed castes for control over means of production, primarily land, is vital for democratic transformation of society in India.

Besides, reservation should be implemented fully and should be extended to private sector. Lack of reservation in the private sector is due to Govt. design as private sector is totally dependent on public money. No dilution of the provisions against atrocities on SCs and STs should be permitted and strict action should be taken in cases of attacks and atrocities against Dalits.

Land, livelihood and dwellings of Tribals are being subjected to severe attacks. Their mineral rich land is being handed over to corporate while their conditions continue to be most dismal. These natural conservers of forests are being attacked in the name of forest conservation. The Acts recognizing their rights like Forest Rights Act are not implemented properly, changes are being surreptitiously made in the Rules to deprive them of their rights. There is a plan to give even more power to forest officials to harass and suppress the tribals. Rights of tribals and other traditional forest dwellers over the cultivable forest land and forest produce must be ensured. Their oppression by forest officials, police and security forces must be stopped. While they should be expeditiously granted pattas, police and forest cases against them should be withdrawn. Expenditure on social services in tribal areas should be increased. Health centres and educational institutions in tribal areas should be improved.

Women continue to be treated as an inferior gender. They are being subjected to attacks and control by patriarchal forces. They are being discriminated against in the name of religious practices. Under RSS-BJP rule, patriarchy is being glorified and enforced. They are being denied the right to make choices about their life and work.

Oppression and suppression of people of J&K and North East continues and their democratic aspirations and right to self-determination denied. They are being subjected to tortures and denied basic democratic rights through use of AFSPA and other draconian laws. RSS-BJP has been communalizing the situation in these regions. While communal propaganda against struggles of Kashmiris is being unleashed throughout India, in Eastern India, Muslims are being targeted in the name of ‘Bangladeshis’. Draft National Register of Citizens in Assam has left out more than four million people. RSS-BJP want to treat new migrants to Eastern states on communal lines and had brought Citizenship Amendment Bill for that purpose. Though it was not passed in the last Lok Sabha and has since lapsed, RSS-BJP have reiterated their intention to make it a law if voted back to power.

Suppression of Communist Revolutionary Movement and People’s Struggles

Successive Govts. have increased repression and suppression of people’s struggles and movement led by Communist Revolutionary Organizations have been their special targets. RSS-BJP Govt. has further intensified this suppression. Struggling people and their leaders are being arrested under UAPA and PD Act and false cases are being foisted on them. Areas of Central and Eastern India continue to be under paramilitary forces while police forces continue to harass and suppress those struggling for the landless poor peasants. Workers’ movements are also being subjected to crude repression and even right to organize is being denied to workers particularly in the MNCs. Democratic rights’ activists are being targeted in the name of Urban Naxals.

Call to the People

In the light of the attacks on different sections, we place a programme of struggle before the people. During these elections these issues of the struggle should be popularized and people should be mobilized for struggle.

The basic issues which are affecting the lives of the people are not the issues during these elections. Hence no change of direction of policy can be expected from the results of these elections. Only communist revolutionary organizations stand for different policy orientation. Hence these forces should be strengthened. Only revolutionary movement can bring about pro-people transformation and election time should be used for campaign on these issues. So the campaign during elections should take the issues of the revolutionary movement to the people.

Intensifying fascist offensive must be resisted and its threat to existing democratic rights should be exposed. Unity of revolutionary and struggling forces should be forged for furthering struggle against Hindutva fascist offensive.

Struggle should be intensified against social oppression and attacks on minorities, Dalits, tribals, women and oppressed nationalities.

(Issued by the Central Committee of CPI(ML)-New Democracy on March 30, 2019)