Crucial UP Election : Situation demands people come out of shackles of casteist-communal vote politics and strengthen genuine left democratic forces for spearheading powerful democratic movements

 

Alongwith four other states, assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh (UP), the most populous state of India, is scheduled to be held in mid-February. Those conversant with the electoral politics of India are aware of the crucial role of the state in this regard. First of all, UP even after being truncated following carving out of Uttarakhand as a separate state returns maximum number of MPs to the Indian parliament (80 out of 545). So, it often becomes a deciding factor in ministry formation at the Centre. Total number of assembly seats in UP is also as high as 403. Secondly, the party or combination which runs government in UP does wield substantial influence and power at all India level including government formation at the Centre. So, the media analysts and commentators have already started calling 2017 UP state elections as harbinger for the general elections of 2019. Therefore, all the contesting mainstream bourgeois parties like the BJP and the Congress as well as the regional aspirants like incumbent Samajwadi Party (SP) and its bête noir Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) of Mayawati are all set out to formulate their respective poll strategies to checkmate each other in their run for power. The monopoly-controlled media and so called experts in election forecast too are busy working out electoral arithmetic based as usual on casteist-communal equations, possible combinations and past percentages of votes polled to ascertain who has a turn of fortune this time. But, suffering common people pressed under the grinding wheel of ruthless capitalist exploitation and their causes feature nowhere in the discussions on election. That is the spectacle of capitalist India where parliamentary democracy has virtually been brought down to a farce and legislatures have turned into abode of a bunch of self-seekers, power-mongers, money launderers, muscle flexers, corrupts and criminals basking under the protection of the ruling capitalist class and catapulted to prominence by the bourgeois media.

Backdrop of UP election

UP, as everyone knows, has been a hunting ground of casteist-communal politics for long. During its prolonged rule spanning over three decades at a stretch and then intermittently on four occasions, the Congress had nurtured this very sectarian politics to stay ahead of others in power game. But after the first reverse that the Congress faced at the Centre in 1977, other forces mainly the Lohiaite socialists began gaining strength flaunting anti-Congress stand but having the same casteist base as their main plank. Subsequently, with the rise of arch communal RSS-BJP at the centre-stage of Indian vote politics following the blunder made by the then Congress Prime Minister by opening the lock of Babri Masjid and demolition of this historic monument by the Hindutva fanatics, UP came under the grip of nasty communal politics dominated by the RSS-BJP-Sangh Parivar. Since then, all the major players of UP vote politics had concentrated on creating their respective vote banks by inciting casteist-communal sentiments and polarization based on that. While the BJP banked on communal polarization and sought to have total control over Hindu votes by spitting anti-Muslim venom and creating frenzy over setting up a Ram mandir at the site of demolished Babri masjid, the Congress peddled soft Hindutva to deny the BJP reaping total benefit of split of the voters along communal line. Noticing the fear the minority Muslim community was reeling under because of raising of ugly head by Hindu communal forces and trail of communal riots engineered by them, the erstwhile Lohiatie socialists like Mulayam and others tried to woo the persecuted minorities pretending themselves to be their saviours simultaneously playing on casteist sentiment among Yadavs and other groups of people to consolidate their power base in the state politics. A section within them like Kansiram-Mayawati who by dint of being born in backward dalit families cleverly flaunted their dalit credential to project themselves as pro-dalit and carve out a dalit vote bank in their favour to become visible in the race for power. Of late, to cut out a part from the vote pie of the SP and BSP in their favour, the BJP is trying to woo the people falling under Other Backward Classes (OBC) category. Even within OBC, they have now identified another sub-sect Most Backward Caste (MBC) to curry favour with. Similarly, within the dalits also, the sweeper group, Poles, Bhils, etc., are now categorized as mahadalits by the vote managers of SP, BSP so that by creating such divisions within division, the fragmented groups could be separately handled for electoral gains inciting casteist feeling. The incumbent SP government is also alleged to have planted a good number of privileged lot or ‘creamy layer’ among the backward community within police-administration through manoeuvred appointment so that they could highlight these appointees as proof of progress of the disadvantaged populace in SP rule so much so as to occupy coveted administrative posts. Thus, the SP leaders have been hoodwinking the respective backward communities in a bid to projecting themselves as their messiah. At the same time, they expect that these planted elements within administration would also come handy in vote purchase along casteist mooring. Thus, the whole attempt is to divide people as much as possible along this casteist-communal line to reap electoral dividend. Needless to say that a good section of ruling monopolists interested to have a say in not only the state politics but at all India level have been backing these regional outfits with money, muscle, media and administrative power.

Based on such permutations and combinations premised on narrow sectarian casteist-communal politics and support of the ruling class to the aforesaid bourgeois outfits, governmental power in UP rotated among the BJP, SP and BSP in turn after1989 from when the Congress went out of favour. As is natural in bourgeois power politics, all these parties have made it a convention to give a bucketful of pre-poll promises for riding to power only to renege on them after assuming power. There is also conventional dangling of reservation carrot to befool the relatively backward populace while scope of employment is narrowing with every passing day. This wanton ditching of common people has been going on since independence and with passage of time has become more pronounced particularly in and around election time. The casteist-communal sentiments have entrenched so deeply among the common toiling people because of relentless espousal of such divisive thoughts by the power-monger politicians that no other issue comes to surface during voting. Merrily all the power-seekers cast their lot based on such divides and sectarian leanings. So, round the year, whole and sole concern of the bourgeois vote-based parties and leaders is to create or protect their respective vote banks playing upon such sectarian feelings no matter how deep the toiling people irrespective of caste, creed or religion plunge in distress, poverty and misery. Alongside, to keep the rural poor and have-nots under submission, all the bourgeois parties have been using the panchayats to wield power. Every villager in UP knows that the panchayats are ruled by a group of bahubalis (powerful touts having battery of armed goons and criminals at their disposal) and omnipotent village headmen whose fatwas (decrees) are virtually inviolable. If anyone dares to do so or shows courage to protest against injustice, one invites doom for oneself. Besides hefty monetary fine, confiscation of land, seizure of produced crops or social ostracism, such protest often cost one’s life. The utterly corrupt police-administration in most of the cases is an indulgent onlooker or accomplice to such crimes because it is hand in gloves with the village headmen or touts basking under this or that bourgeois party and virtually functions as their official protectors. The government in the state has changed so many times. But this unholy nexus of ruling party leaders-powerful village touts-crooked panchayat functionaries-corrupt police-administration has not changed, rather has become stronger. Because, all ruling parties as well as those ambitious for power have been nurturing this nexus since it controls rural votes.

There is also another aspect of this abominable anti-people power politics. And for meeting exigencies of enjoying power, there have been alignments and realignments of these casteist-communal forces as well. At that time, even the outward espousals of this or that casteist-communal moorings is kept in back-burner and opportunistic patchworks invoked. One has seen how earlier the BSP hitherto castigating ‘Manuwadi Brahminical’ politics of the BJP suddenly in a volte face joined hands with the BJP for sharing power. To justify such a somersault, the BSP leadership talked of a new social engineering of dalits and Manuwadis. Similarly, one can see frequent change of camp among the aspirant bourgeois bigwigs and heavyweights—from the Congress to the BJP and vice versa, SP to BSP and vice versa, Congress to SP and vice versa. Sometimes disgruntled elements and splinter groups also form separate parties to increase their bargaining power and then are found to return to either the parent party or any other opposition party. Kalyan Singh, former BJP Chief Minister of UP once left BJP to announce his separate outfit but then came back to the BJP. Present state Congress chief was earlier with SP. Highly discredited N D Tiwary, another former Congress Chief Minister of the state has recently switched to the BJP. Rita Bahuguna is another example. And more often than not, the turncoats are given tickets causing resentment within the concerned party and consequently the aggrieved elements cross floors to try luck somewhere else. Obviously, there is no ideology, no scruple, no commitment. The only objective is to anyhow grab power and then merrily abuse power to build up wealth and buttress self-aggrandizement. Also common is ‘parivar-tantra’ feature—that is giving nominations to the nearest kith and kin of the powerful leaders—so that both wealth and power remain concentrated within the family. This is the murky face of bourgeois vote politics that is ruling the roost in UP.

Current scenario

The current scenario is no different. The SP hitherto embroiled in power tussle between father Mulayam and son Akhilesh, finally managed to arrive at a patch-up. The Congress much discredited after prolonged rule in the state and outbreak of one after another mega scams and virtually reduced to a non-entity in the state for decades is trying to regain some space by tying up with the SP.  Mayawati’s BSP which after ruling the state for two terms and that too once in alliance with the BJP is looking to reap some benefits by riding on anti-incumbency factor and encashing on factional squabbles in the SP. Also by discarding their earlier social engineering of dalits and Manuwadis, is now playing on dalit-Muslim sentiment and has fielded a good number of candidates based on their Muslim identity to poach on the SP’s traditional vote bank nurtured with casteist-religious outlook.

The BJP in its desperate bid to capture power is sprucing up a ‘larger-than-life’ image of Prime Minister Modi. Though the BJP is refraining from going all out to propagate Hindutva fearing that it might not yield them the desired result, the saffron-clad BJP satraps including MLAs and MPs known for their rabid Hindu communal colour are covertly fomenting Hindu communal sentiment to create polarization along religious lines.Though the BJP has kept out some of the known communal leaders, riot-mongers, Muslim-baiters and dalit-bashers from the published list of main campaigners to pretend that they are not playing communal card, they have at the same time included some notorious arch communal faces to incite communal passion, as and when required. They are also raising the old Ram Mandir issue. In their manifesto, they have clearly stated that they would explore  all possibilities for construction of Ram Mandir. Alongside, they have also brought in focus their other communal hullabaloos like ban of triple talaq, not from the perspective of ending atrocities on women but to foment anti-Islam sentiment, as well as the issue of so called exodus of Hindus from Kairana, a place in UP, seemingly for inciting communal passion. Outwardly, of course, the BJP leaders are crying hoarse of fighting black money and corruption through demonetization. It appears that demonetization has a divided impact on the voters. On the one hand, a section of the middle class being carried away by a surfeit of incessant false propaganda is still under illusion that the corrupt system would be cleansed through demonetization drive. On the other hand, a large number of poor, backward dalits and marginalized sections of toiling masses who have been facing tremendous hardship, hassles and harassment because of the note ban are seething in anger. Moreover, the impoverished Muslim masses are frightened and visibly intimidated after a series of communal riots including the large scale Muzaffarnagar riot all of which are now revealed to have been handiworks of RSS-BJP-Saffron Brigade to consolidate communal Hindu vote. It is also alleged that the ruling SP government instead of stopping the Muzaffarnagar bloodbath by timely intervention had deliberately allowed it to continue for some days so that the plight and fear of the affected people mostly minority Muslims is exacerbated and then the ruling SP and its leaders could through some steps like accommodating them in make shift camps, providing them some food to survive and hauling up some of the small fries among the instigators and so forth to pretend ‘action’ and pose themselves to be the rescuer of the riot-afflicted destitute and secure their wholehearted support in the election.What a nasty way of playing with people’s misery and persecution for deriving narrow electoral mileage! The brutal murder of a middle-aged Muslim citizen of Dadri village under false pretext by RSS goons has made the minorities further scared. Even both the dalits and toiling Muslims are feeling extremely insecure and threatened because of several attacks on them in the name of cow protection by the Hindutva zealots. As a reaction to the anti-Muslim hate campaign orchestrated by the RSS-BJP, the fundamentalist forces within the Muslim community who are mostly aligned with this or that bourgeois party are also becoming vocal and trying to spread counter-communalism among the common Muslims. In fine, the RSS-BJP and their government are bringing down two-pronged attack on the suffering people. Under the garb of some sweet-coated words and smokescreen of deceptive gestures-postures including dangling the carrot of development, they are buttressing a heinous communal agenda and openly bringing down bestial attack on the minorities particularly the Muslims. The SP is clandestinely allowing this noxious ploy to work since it also finds in this communal divide a prospect for its intended electoral gain by posturing as if its heart breaks for the untold misery of the persecuted Muslim people. Other vote-based parties are also not saying anything material about this orchestrated game of bluffing people.

Thus, the very social mosaic is tainted with blood, suspicion, mistrust, fear while the atmosphere is surcharged with communal-fundamentalist rumblings and the forces of reaction are holding oppressed people into ransom. In such riled up water, both SP and BSP are working their stratagem based on this accumulated grievance of the backward dalits and the minorities alongside nurturing casteist sentiment. The SP of course is projecting current Chief Minister Akhilesh as the face of the youth and development. But the fact is besides other wrongdoings, Akhilesh had pumped in unlimited corruption in the governance. It came out in the media that in appointing teachers, government employees and even heads of some bodies, corrupt means and nepotism were the determinants. On the other hand, the BJP-RSS are exploring all possibilities to overturn SP-Congress combine. Alongside working on creating communal polarization to corner Hindu votes, they are also trying to arrest the possible swing of dalit-minority votes towards SP-Congress or BSP by vending customary pre-poll promise. As they during their campaign during last parliamentary election fooled the people by talking of stuffing everyone’s bank account with Rs 15 lakhs after recovering the black money stashed in Swiss Bank, they are now talking of crediting the Jan Dhan accounts with sizeable amount of money out of the black money claimed to have been unearthed through demonetisation. Some other sops are also promised. Even not being sure as to whether such lure would ultimately work or not, they are now shrewdly replacing the slogan of ‘aachhe din’ (good days) with ‘garibi hotao’ (remove poverty) which Indira Gandhi once raised with full throttle to defraud people. The SP has also announced a number of freebies to garner votes. So, the nasty bourgeois electoral politics is as usual dominating the scenario keeping people dark about the real cause of their ongoing misery and penury.

How people are being duped

What is disquieting as well as despicable is the fact that no one—neither the mainstream bourgeois petty-bourgeois parties nor the analysts-commentators of bourgeois media are raising any of the people’s issues that ought to feature in the fray for electing people’s representatives. All the mainstream bourgeois parties while playing casteist-communal politics at ground level have one refrain in common, vikas or ‘development’ obviously to hoodwink the people. But what is meant by vikas? Is vikas denoted by some sparkling highways, sprawling flyovers, posh buildings, long bridges and promise of freebies like free cycle to high school girl students, pressure cooker to poor women, free ghee and milk powder to poor students, nutritious diet to pregnant women, etc.? Or vikas in the true sense of the term means giving relief to the people from the vagaries of life plagued by harrowing price rise, mounting unemployment, increasing job loss, rapidly falling income, non-availability of quality education and rudimentary healthcare, dearth of minimal hygiene and sanitation facilities particularly at rural areas and urban slums as well as socio-cultural maladies like artificially created casteist-communal-regional-ethnic divides, mutual hatred and blot in the fraternity  among various sections of toiling millions, and menaces like crime on women, fratricidal feuds and bloodbaths, honour killing, cow protection, forced religious conversion in the name of ghar wapsi and so forth? Ask this question to all the ruling bourgeois parties battling for power in UP and every one of them would either evade the answer or adopt diversionary tactics. Similar is the case with the analytics-commentators on their pay-roll who make people believe that as if there is nothing else other than caste-religion-sectarian -communal consolidation and polarization which are to be considered while casting vote. People have no say in the matter. They are only used as pawns, as stepping stones by these power-mad muscle-flexing corrupt bourgeois politicians in their ascendancy to power or staying afloat in the corridor of power. Common people badly need to understand this heinous motive of the vote merchants. Beneath the sweet-tongue lies the deep-rooted conspiracy to squeeze them more and more under the ruthless economic-political-social-cultural oppression of the rule of capital.

Task imperative

In order to free the suffering people from the clutches of this rotten bourgeois vote politics, what is imperative is to immediately organize them on a broader platform of democratic mass movement on the burning problems of their life. This movement can really gather momentum and become powerful only if it is premised on higher culture and conscious people’s politics along correct alternative leftist line. If such a movement can surge forth in right earnest imbuing people to rise above all divisiveness and struggle for a common cause, the sinister bourgeois power politics can be brought face to face with a formidable challenge. Also the cultural ambience of such a people’s movement can foster the process of fast removal of all artificially created and cunningly nurtured divides among people and foil all bourgeois conspiracy of pitting one section of the toiling people against another. If any election comes up in course of continuing such movement, tested and tried soldiers of left-democratic movement must be elected in as many numbers as possible to the legislature so that voice of movement can be reverberated inside the House and parliamentary battle can be integrated with extra-parliamentary struggle. Alongside, there ought to be a serious ideological struggle right from the grass-roots level against the menaces of casteism-communalism-fundamentalism-religious backward-ness-obscurantism-bigotry  so  as  to isolate the protagonists of such anti-people thoughts from the toiling masses.

SUCI(C) guided by the noble ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Shibdas Ghosh Thought have all along been trying to unite all the left parties at national level  to launch this desired people’s movement. It is only in course of intensifying such movement that necessary political consciousness would dawn upon the toiling masses and they would be able to understand the various facets and aspects of exploitative capitalism. This consciousness would goad them on to build up class and mass struggles with increasing vigour, determination and organizational skill paving way for eventual revolutionary overthrow of capitalism following fulfilment of necessary conditions, both subjective and objective. But right at this moment, release of the desired powerful mass movement along genuine leftist line is of utmost importance and electoral battle, if any, has to be conducted as part of this developing mass movement. In other words, liberating people from the stranglehold of sinister bourgeois vote politics and orienting them towards struggling leftism is the prime need now.

But, most disquieting is the fact that the CPI (M), CPI and their allies paid no serious heed to this repeated call of the SUCI(C). Rather, theirs has been an attempt to explore every possibility to enter into opportunistic electoral alliance with either national or regional bourgeois outfits so that they could manage to win one or two seats. They are so much sunk in quagmire of this parliamentarianism or parliamentary interest that all other questions including the utmost necessity of throwing an alternative left line in Indian politics, not by mere words but based on organizing genuine people’s struggles have been relegated to the back.

However, in UP this time, people’s desire and pressure for a left alternative has been so strong that they have consented to fight the election unitedly mainly to thwart the arch communal attack of RSS-BJP. The six left parties have come into an agreement to contest 80 seats unitedly. However, after election, a question mark would remain in regard to building up united left-democratic movements on the burning problems of life. SUCI(C) has fielded candidates in 8 seats with its distinct political line of intensifying class and mass struggles and exposing ruling capitalism as the root of all evils. We fervently appeal to the immensely oppressed and gruellingly suffering people of UP to make the eight SUCI(C) candidates victorious and return the left candidates in all the constituencies  they  are  fighting from.

Make SUCI(C) Candidates Victorious in UP Assembly Elections

Constituency                                                   District                              Name

Moradabad City                      Moradabad                 Comrade Harkishore Singh

Lambhua                                 Sultanpur                    Comrade Jay Prakash Maurya

Kalyanpur                                Kanpur                        Comrade Dharmdev

Patti                                         Pratapgarh                   Comrade Ram Samujh Maurya

Raniganj                                  Pratapgarh                   Comrade Parasnath Vishvakarma

Belthara Road                         Ballia                           Comrade Shailendra Rao

Badalapur                                Jaunpur                       Comrade Jaynarayan Maurya

Malhani                                   Jaunpur                       Comrade Praveen Kumar Shukla

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