January 1999





 The results of the November 25 elections to the four state assemblies of Delhi, Rajasthan, M.P, and Mizoram point to the deep-rooted crisis in the so-called Indian parliamentary democracy and hatred and indifference on the part of the masses towards the parliamentary parties in general. It was a negative vote on a massive scale. The fact that the same people, whose vote had put the BJP -coalition in power at the centre in February 98, have outrightly rejected them even more massively in less than nine months, shows the fragility of the political system and the fragility of the social base of every political party.

The pattern of voting in the election shows that the frustration with the BJP was all-pervasive, not excluding its strongest bastions. If a mid-term poll were to be held now, the BJP would be literally swept away by a tide of negative vote. Yet it continues to rule, formulate and implement policies in the name of democracy.

It is not just the BJP Any party, for that matter, may be trounced as massively as it is elected within a few months or even days after the farce called election. The frustration of the masses towards a party within such a short span of time shows the nature of the crisis afflicting the society, the readiness of the masses to reject the parliamentary parties if revolutionary alternatives are available, and that they can be rallied into extra-parliamentary channels. Thus it is basic issues like food, clothing and shelter that play the decisive role and not national chauvinist frenzy or religious fanaticism or the communal card.

The November 25 elections has made this crystal-clear: the Hindutva card, Pokhran, Swadeshi, Women's Reservation Bill and such other populist rhetoric were found to be of no relevance whatsoever to the mass psyche when they are weighed down by the intolerable burden of price rise, unemployment, social and economic  insecurity,  suicide deaths, spectre of communal riots and fast-dwindling living standards.

The  features  that  stand  out  prominently  and conspicuously in the recently held elections are: one, the rejection of the BJP is not confined to a particular region or state but is all-round. Two, the BJP suffered its most humiliating defeat even in its strongest bastions and, three, so massive was the negative vote that the BJP was defeated not by narrow margins but with a considerable majority of votes.

In Delhi, the BJP is almost wiped out, having won just 15 out of 69 seats. The Congress capitalised on the negative votes by bagging 51 seats. Three BJP ministers or former ministers were humbled and even the incumbent Chief Minister, Sushma Swaraj, won with a narrow margin. It was the worst defeat suffered by the BJP since 1952 in Delhi.

In Rajasthan, the BJP lost almost two-thirds of its 1993 tally. It bagged a mere 33 out of the 197 seats for which elections were held while the Congress secured 150 seats. Three-fourths of BJPs incumbent ministers lost the election.

In M.P., the Congress won 174 seats against BJP's 120 in a house of 320 seats. In Mizoram, it was the ruling Congress that was thrown out completely with the incumbent Chief Minister too having lost his seat. Congress got just 6 seats in 40-member Mizoram Assembly while the Mizo National Front-Mizo People's Conference combine secured three-fourths majority.

In all the states, the BJP lost in its traditional strongholds. For instance, it was wiped out in the Jat-­dominated segment of outer Delhi and resettlement colonies of East Delhi, considered to be the bastions of the BJP It suffered a humiliating defeat in the 'Rajput belt' in Rajasthan and the 'Malwa' region in MP, hitherto considered to be its strongest forts. In the Malwa region, it had a strong base since the mid-1960s and held its stead even when it faced adverse current elsewhere but in the recent election two former chief ministers and another aspirant were defeated. Even more humiliating was its defeat in such strongholds as Indore, Dhar, Ujjain and Mandsaur. In Chattisgarh, which is being carved out as a separate state with BJP's initiative, its dreams of bagging at least 60 out of the 90 seats were dashed and it secured a mere 35 seats.

What are the reasons for this humiliating defeat of the Hindutva forces in the very Hindu-Hindi heartland ? What prospects do these results hold for the future of the Indian polity ?

Escalating prices  of essential  items,  especially foodgrains and vegetables, and government's impotence and utter inability to control the prices for months together allowing the traders to have a field day; the growing attacks or the religious minorities, particularly the Muslims and Christians, by the Sangh Parivar that had isolated them completely from these religious communities; the partial erosion of BJPs social base among the moderate and secular-minded Hindus after the revelation in the recently released Srikrishna Commission Report and the increasingly intolerant attitude exhibited by the RSS-YHP-Bajrang Dal and other Hindutva forces aided by the BJP government and communal actions such as making the singing of Yande ­Mataram and the Saraswati Vandana in schools compulsory  etc.;  the  disillusionment  with  the "swadeshi" Mantra of the BJP govt. which actually came to mean implementing the videshi-dictated policy of globalisation, liberalisation, privatisation even more loyally than its predecessor governments as shown by the Insurance Regulatory Authority Bill approved by the BJP cabinet recommending 40% foreign capital, the Patent bill that seeks to give wide concessions to imperialist TNCs and a host of other pro-imperialist measures; the open squabbles between the BJP leaders including the one between the Prime Minister and the Home Minister and the dog-fights in most of its units; the advocacy of stringent capital punishment and use of extreme force to ensure 'good governance' - these, in the main, served to unseat the BJP in these states.

The results show that the people remain unimpressed by the Hindutva's fascist agenda, by the euphoria and Jingoism raked up in the wake of Pokhran nuclear explosion and the claim of placing India by the side of the big five nuclear powers, by the talk of super highways and expressways across the length and the breadth of the country, by the 'swadeshi' mantra, by the anti-Pak war hysteria, by the rhetoric of "liberating" all Hindu temples like the Ram Janambhoomi, and so on. The "charisma" of the "able" Prime Minister had vanished into thin air in just nine months' time. What the people want is food, clothing and shelter; communal amity and religious tolerance; social and economic security and not some abstract, intangible "national pride" that does not fill an empty stomach.


The Hindu fascist forces should be fought back and defeated.


Ever since the BJP-led coalition assumed power at the centre, the actions of Hindu fascist forces have grown more aggressive. After the Sikhs and Muslims, now it has become the turn of the Christians to bear the brunt of the Hindutva attacks : the rape of Christian nuns in Jhabua in MP in Sept.- 98 was praised by the VHP leaders as an act of patriotism; Churches are attacked in Gujarat and elsewhere; the Muslim mosques are continuing to be a target of these Hindu fanatics as seen in the attempts of VHP-Bajrang Dal to demolish the Bababudangiri shrine - a sufi shrine in Chikmaglur in Karnataka; Muslim women are raped as witnessed in Gujarat; making the recitation of Saraswati Vandana mandatory in schools thus imposing it on the religious minorities and of course, on reluctant Hindus; issuing of 'Fatwahs' not to allow the Pakistan cricket team to play on Indian soil; and such other insane acts have become intolerable.

The motto of the RSS to "Indianise, nationalise and spiritualise" the content of education in schools and colleges that is being proposed by the Human Resources Development minister M.M. Joshi, the introduction of Home-Keeping courses for women to confine them to their home in tune with their acclaimed Hindu tradition, proposals to make Sanskrit and Vedas-Upanishads compulsory from the primary stage which is already being followed in RSS-run schools, and so on, hold dangerous portents for India. What is even more disturbing is that History is being totally distorted; the saffron historians are replacing the genuine ones in institutions of repute; sweeping purges are made in all the centrally-funded research institutes such as ICHR, ICSSR, ICPR and IIAS where renowned scholars have been replaced by RSS ideologues with dubious distinctions. The RSS shakhas brainwash the children in 40,000-odd schools run by the Sangh Parivar.

Protests are increasing against these communal acts as seen in the country-wide protests by 23 million Christians on 4th Dec. 1998. In UP, in reaction to Kalyan Singh Government's announcement of mandatory rendering of Saraswati Vandana, the Muslim leaders gave a call to all muslims to withdraw their children from such schools.

The Hindu fascist forces are poisonous weeds that kill the healthy plants; they are the pus in our body politic that is leading to gangrenous condition; it is a virus that is infecting the entire. society. All secular and democratic forces; all rational and scientific-minded people; all who cherish freedom and equality of men and women, of all religions and nationalities; and all the persecuted religious sects; all these forces should unite to fight this growing menace, root out the poisonous weeds, expel the pus from the body-politic and exterminate the virus lest the entire healthy organism will putrefy and become extinct.




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