Socialist India

International Socialist Alternative
Indian Election: Fight For Democratic Rights! No Faith in BJP or INDIA Alliance in 2024

Since the BJP came into power in 2014, Hindutva ideology has gradually taken over the country’s political imagination. Violence, intimidation and harassment of religious minorities are their tools of choice. Hate mongering against Muslims and Christians is an everyday reality. Often calls for genocide are issued from public platforms by politicians enjoying the patronage of the BJP in broad daylight. There has been a rise in communal riots which are more often than not carefully organized rather than an unfortunate tragedy. 

Following its re-election in May, 2019 the party has stepped up efforts to suppress independent media and civil society. There has been an increase in privatization of the economy. The government is primarily working not for the Indian working class but for the betterment of industrialists like Adani and Ambani. The considerable GDP growth has not and will not trickle down to the working class, who are disproportionately lower caste and Dalits. There has been a glaring increase in the wealth gap among society. Inflation and unemployment are at all-time high. The Government has diverted funding to religious tourism and temple projects, from other important basic infrastructures like education and healthcare. The fanfare of the inauguration of the Ayodhya temple is case in point. 

Despite all this, the Modi government has used populist rhetoric and ethno-nationalism as evidence of success to win consecutive terms in office. State institutions, such as the judiciary and the police, especially at the lower levels, have adopted a majoritarian stance. For example, attacks by Hindu extremist groups against Muslims and Christians are often followed by arrests of members of the very religious minorities who were attacked. Those detained are accused of attempting to convert Hindus to other faiths, while the perpetrators of the violence go free. The panic over the phenomenon of so-called Love Jihad is illustrative. BJP controlled states like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh have already enacted Love Jihad laws that make interfaith marriage more difficult. These laws are against the spirit of the constitution. Anti Romeo squads, beef lynchings of Muslims and Dalits are a common occurrence throughout India, especially in the BJP controlled regions. Violence against women across India has also taken on a new dimension under the BJP, influenced by the sickening treatment of the Bilkis Banu case in Gujarat. 

The government has registered fake cases against public figures like Arundhati Roy and Umar Khalid who are critical of the government. Even Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been targeted, and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal has been jailed. Right wing politics has already infiltrated the judiciary and the police. They are no longer maintaining even the semblance of independence. The fact that the BJP won four significant state elections earlier this year shows the growing influence Hindu nationalists continue to enjoy, fueled by hatred and dark money.  India is moving towards a transition from a flawed and fragile democracy into a theocratic and an autocratic state. That possibility evokes tremendous discomfort among the marginalized communities.

The opposition parties as well continue to scandalize themselves at the highest level, as if they believe they can win from being 1% less corrupt and oppressive than the BJP. Systematic betrayals of the public have defined the opposition, from the DMK’s open collaboration with caste organizations, to the Sandeshkhali atrocities and subsequent cover-up, to the CPM’s open collaboration with Adani in Vizhinjam and suppression of protests. None of the parties, with the exception of DMK, have kept their hands clean of the Ayodhya Mandir hate parade, and all are equally guilty of deep corruption and repression of political opponents.

The electoral field is a desert when it comes to viable working class options. Rather than fight on principled stances, the opposition relies exclusively on the fact that they are not the BJP. Spineless and scandalous, the INDIA Alliance has completely failed to provide an alternative. Due to this, we call for our supporters to vote NOTA (None Of The Above) in the 2024 election.

However, this does not mean that there are no issues at stake. The time is long past for a mass movement to address the deep and profound corruption at the heart of the democratic process. The buying of votes and outright voter fraud is well-known to all. While the BJP has recently made international headlines for the arrest of Aravind Kejriwal of the AAP, they by no means have a monopoly on the use of force to suppress dissent. The suspension of 141 MP’s, representing 15 lakh citizens, not only undermined any confidence in the representative power of the public, but also led to massive changes in the legal codes by an illegally acquired majority. 

All of this as well is driven by the electoral bond system, a “dark money” quid pro quo arrangement with incredibly rich donors who are not only buying influence directly from the parties, but also laundering their donations to maintain their own anonymity. This money laundering was revealed when reports showed certain small companies had made electoral bond donations that were several times greater than their annual profit!

All the while, our tax money is used to exchange money, weapons, and workers with the genocidal Israeli regime to the tune of 16,000 crore per year and 6,000 migrant laborers. The Indian government not only defies the will of the public, but also skirts the rights of unions, who have called for no workers to replace the ethnically cleansed and murdered Palestinians. All the while, our right to peacefully assemble and protest has been denied through brutal repression and mass arrests.

From the mass protests against CAA to the huge general strikes and the massive farmers’ protests that partly stopped further attacks on farmers, the working class had never stopped fighting back. Protests continue to face repression from the central government. However it is important to note that the broadly supported farmers protest, supported by the workers movement, succeeded in forcing Modi to make significant concessions. Struggle from below is the answer. We have to strengthen it and as socialists we defend in these struggles a program of socialist change. Only a united working class, undivided by caste and communal backgrounds, can create a socialist future in India and worldwide!

We call for:

  • Down with the BJP! Fight back against their rotten and corrupt Hindutva agenda.
  • No faith in INDIA Alliance to stop the BJP. The working class must fight for itself and create new political formations for independent class struggle!
  • No more voter fraud, vote buying or voter intimidation!
  • An end to the electoral bond scheme!
  • Release Aravind Kejriwal, Umar Khalid and all other political prisoners! 
  • Full accountability of not only BJP, but all other parties as well, for violations of democratic rights!
  • End the weapons and labor deals with Israel!
  • A unified mass movement of all working people to fight for the above!