What After the Polls

As the election has entered its last phase, speculations are rife about the possible results. What however haunts the common, sensible mind is what will happen after the polls. It is abundantly clear that there is no Modi wave and Narendra Modi, sensing that his failure to fulfill the promises he had made has already badly hurt his electoral prospects, has come to rely increasingly, and almost desperately, on the weapons of jingoism and communal polarisation. Of course, one section of the electorate is jingoistic and communal, and this virus of jingoism and communalism has been spread over generations. But their jingoism is limited to Pakistan only. Modi's patriotism has not prevented him from remaining conspicuously silent on the US directive on import of Iranian oil. But intriguingly enough, his opposition has not yet raised the issue.

Another interesting as well as hateful scene is the BJP’s effort to dig out the issue of the massacre of Sikhs in Delhi in 1984 after Indira Gandhi's assassination. After the massacre, there was countrywide protests, although some Hindutvawallas tried to justify this heinous crime under various pretext. Shortly after the episode, two important Congressmen, whose names figured prominently in the list of those who reportedly led and instigated the anti-Sikh rioters were killed by extremist Sikhs. A few years ago, Sonia Gandhi apologised publicly for the pogrom. Now Narendra Modi is trying to politicise the issue, but he has found it convenient to forget the fact that in the polls that took place shortly after, the RSS openly stood in support of the Congress. This simply means that the killing of innocent Sikhs and loot of their property were approved by them.

India has recently seen many instances of the rise of communal fascism, mainly manifested in intensified torture on Muslims and dalits. This communal fascism has not, however, been as successful as Modi thought it would be. The principal reason is the failure to resolve the agrarian crisis and to provide employment to the unemployed. Phenomena like demonetisation and GST have weakened the economy, and statistical jugglery about the rate of growth has not been enough to conceal this truth. Spending billions of rupees on polls propaganda may help create the image of a strong man, but the state of the economy can scarcely be concealed with such propaganda.

From various media reports, it seems that notwithstanding the disunity among the opposition parties, Narendra Modi and his party will not be able to secure an absolute majority, despite their formidable organizational network. Thier influence have, however, grown in some states, e.g. West Bengal. The rampant corruption and tyrannical practices of the ruling party for the purpose of attaining their one-party hegemony have led many to lean towards the BJP.

If the BJP and NDA lose the polls, communal fascism may suffer a setback, and the autonomy of the institutions nearly destroyed by the BJP government may be at least partially restored. But problems will remain. For example, will numerous social activists, including Sudha Bharadwaj, G N Sainbaba, Gautam Navlakha, Soma Sen and many others be released? No parliamentary opposition party, even the AAP, is known to have condemned the attitude of the ruling dispensation in this respect. Besides, the opposition is fragmented and engaged in constant bickerings, which have helped the BJP. It is true that through elections, the persecuted may achieve some partial and temporay justice. But when the opposition to a fascistic ruling party is itself fragmented, such justice may remain unattainable. On the economic front, no party seems to have a programme that can serve as an alternative to the present path of growth led by the corporate bourgeoisie and their foreign partners. Modi's exhortation to foreign capitalists in the shape of ' Make in India' has ended in a dismal failure, because of poor connectivity and disorder created by communal riots and cow vigilantism. In this connection, it needs to be pointed out that the economic policies followed by Modi have their genesis in the neo-liberalism and rapid privatization first vigorously initiated by Manmohan Singh. The Rafale deal, in which the HAL was brushed aside and Anil Ambani given the contract, is an example of this privatization. It remains to be seen if, in case of an opposition victory, such sort of things is checcked, if not eliminated.

Vol. 51, No. 47, May 26 - Jun 1- 18, 2019