ML Update 18 / 2014

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 17 No. 18 30 APR – 6 MAY 2014

Communal and Anti-Dalit Face of BJP Exposed Again

At Varanasi, Modi claimed to have been beckoned by ‘Ma Ganga’. He also mused publicly on ‘ganga-jamuni tehzeeb’, Kabir, Ghalib and Ustad Bismillah Khan. If all this sounded to be soft music meant to reassure simultaneously the hardcore Hindu sentiment as well as the multiculturalist Indian sensibility, Modi was back to his vicious and vitriolic self while delivering election speeches in West Bengal. At Srirampur in West Bengal, he said Bangladeshis in India will have to pack up after May 16. Coupled with Giriraj Singh’s earlier threat to send all Modi opponents packing to Pakistan, this is a calculated attempt to divert the attention of the Indian electorate from the internal issues that plague the country o perceived threats emanating allegedly from India’s western and eastern neighbours.

In the Sangh’s code, of course, all Bangla-speaking Muslims are ‘Bangladeshi’. Poor migrants who fit this profile are the targets of hate-speech and witch-hunts by the RSS and BJP all over India. For instance, soon after a recent fire that gutted a slum in Delhi and left thousands of migrant worker families homeless, the ‘Bangladeshi’ word was bandied about ominously. In his speech during the Assam elections, Modi had suggested that the rhino was being killed as a conspiracy to make room for ‘illegal Bangladeshis’. These references are calculated to foment anti-Muslim hatred and suspicion – an essential part of Modi’s political strategy.

In Uttar Pradesh itself, Modi and his campaign managers are acutely aware that there is no Modi ‘tsunami’ yet. They are calculatedly aiming to attract Dalit and OBC voters to the BJP fold with – what else – the old RSS tactic of sowing hatred against Muslims. So, the RSS tells OBCs that the SP Government has let Muslims get above themselves. And Amit Shah at Bijnor asked why BSP had given 19 tickets to a particular community “that violates the honour of sisters and daughters” while it had only given 17 tickets to Dalits. Even if Modi were to chant the names of Ghalib and Kabir every day, he could not wash out the taint of the repeated attempts by him and his henchmen to brand Muslims as ‘Bangladeshis’ and ‘violators of the honour of sisters and daughters.’

Even as Modi seeks to woo Dalits, his camp follower the saffron-robed Ramdev let slip the real RSS contempt for Dalits. In an attack on Rahul Gandhi, he made a leering innuendo about ‘honeymoons’ in Dalit homes. This was a wink-wink reference to the practice of feudal men treating dalit women as sexual property. First, it was Asaram, who expounded his views on how women are responsible for rape, and then is himself accused of raping a minor. Asaram continues to be publicly defended by BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy, and various Sangh outfits. After Asaram, Ramdev is yet another godman close to Modi, who has provided a window into the Sanghi mind and how it views women, especially Dalit women.

Modi’s campaign, ably assisted by a remarkably submissive and pliant mainstream media, has already declared him the PM, even before the elections are complete. But with determined democratic fighters and the revolutionary Left exposing and challenging every communal gambit and every false claim of ‘development’, the battle is still very much on. It is a battle for the future of India and Indian democracy. It is a battle India must and shall win.

The Campaign Against Modi in Banaras

The CPI(ML), assisted by organisations of students, weavers and workers, is running a spirited independent campaign against Modi in Banaras, appealing to the people of Banaras to vote for the AAP candidate Arvind Kejriwal to defeat Modi. The campaign is being conducted through small gatherings and discussions, mass meetings, and leaflet distribution, and is getting an enthusiastic response. People have responded with warmth to the campaign that is defying the open violence and intimidation by the BJP supporters. A translation of the leaflet being distributed by the campaign is below.

Defeat Pro-Corporate Politics Of Corruption And Loot!
Strengthen ‘Third Alternative’ Of
Pro-People Policies!!

Friends!

Suffering for the past 10 years from the pro-corporate policies, price rise and corruption of the ruling Manmohan government, people now want to vote for change. However, it is a great misfortune of this country that some elements seem to be succeeding, through false propaganda, in steering this mood for change in the wrong political direction. National and multinational corporate businesses like Tata, Ambani, Adani, Essar-Ford which profited by looting the country’s wealth and resources under the aegis of the Congress government, are now staking claim to even bigger shares of loot by endorsing the slogan “Abki Baar Modi Sarkar”.

Those who argue for Modi’s victory in the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency, claiming that once he becomes PM he will solve all the problems of Varanasi and make it into a second Paris, should take a look at the miserable state of India’s first PM Jawaharlal Nehru’s constituency Phulpur (Allahabad) and Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s constituency Lucknow.

Modi’s own Gujarat model is itself witness to the fact that while national and multinational corporate houses have been blessed with “development”, misery and want have been the lot of the common people. 44.6% of the total population of children under 5 years in Gujarat are victims of malnutrition, 70% children are anemic, and 40% children are underweight (source: Planning Commission report 2012-13). The state of women’s health in Gujarat is also extremely poor; the mortality rate of mothers during childbirth is 148 per 1000 in Gujarat, while the rate in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu is 104 and 97 respectively. According to the UNDP Global Hunger Report 2009 Gujarat stands third from the top in starvation deaths among the 17 major States in India. As for per capita income, Gujarat (63,996) stands sixth after Haryana (92, 327), Maharashtra (83, 471), Punjab (67,473), Tamil Nadu (72,993), and Uttarakhand (968,292) {source: Economic Times, 26 December 2012}. On the other hand Gujarat beats even UP and Bihar in the matter of per capita debt.

It is worth noting that after filing his nomination Modi made boastful promises of making the Banarasi saree industry shine like that of China. But today the truth is that the originality and design of the Banarasi saree is not protected in any way and the Surat saree industry, by copying these designs and selling cheap versions, is ruining the saree industry and weavers of Banaras. Considering the kind of “Gujarat Gaurav” politics Modi indulges in, it is hard to believe that he take any steps to rein in the big businessmen of Surat who are prospering at the cost of the destruction of the poor weavers of Banaras.

Modi has claimed he will clean up the polluted Ganga as he has done the Sabarmati in Gujarat: but the facts belie his claim. The Central Pollution Control Board in 2012 declared three Gujarat rivers – Sabarmati, Khari and Amlakhadi – to be the most polluted in India.

Modi can shout himself hoarse about nationalism, but the facts speak for themselves and outshout him, showing that he has no compunctions about joining hands with fanatical proponents of parochialism and regionalism like the Shiv Sena. On the one hand Modi is luring the people of Banaras and Purvanchal with the bait of development; on the other, he is dreaming of becoming PM with the support of the Shiv Sena which perpetrates brutal attacks on workers from Purvanchal who go to Mumbai in search of livelihood. The torrential funds with which corporate forces are irrigating the BJP’s election campaign lends credence to the fears that if Modi becomes PM, corporate houses like Ambani and Adani wll look to reap a rich harvest of loot and destruction in Purvanchal. Considering the way in which the Reddy brothers of Bellary took advantage of the Yeddyurappa government in Karnataka and built an empire through illegal mining, it is natural to fear that the same fate may befall our neighbouring areas of Mirzapur, Sonbhadra and Naugarh!

It is essential to underline the fact that compared to those wishing to inflict Modi upon Banaras and the country, the number of those wishing to free the country from Modi and his brand of autocracy, arrogance, and politics of destruction is far greater. But elements supporting Modi are now openly resorting to attacks to crush the democratic voices and expressions of legitimate dissent. To counter these attacks we appeal to all peace loving, progressive and democratic forces to unite so that this fascist trend is stopped before it is too late.

We appeal to you to defeat the politics of pro-corporate corruption and loot in the current Lok Sabha elections by voting against the BJP as well as the Congress. Keeping in mind the necessity to accelerate the struggle to demand pro-people policies, our objective is to strengthen the forces of the “third alternative” against the BJP and the Congress. To fulfill this objective, despite our disagreements with the Aam Admi Party (AAP) on several policy issues, we have decided to extend support to Arvind Kejriwal in the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency.

We appeal to you to vote for Arvind Kejriwal in order to defeat Narendra Modi. If we succeed in defeating this strongest votary of national and multinational corporate loot, the enthusiasm generated by such a victory will galvanize the pro-people struggle not only in Banaras but also all over the country. Come, let us make every possible effort to make this historic possibility a reality.

AISA

BUNKAR VIKAS MANCH

CPI-ML

JNU students’ union takes campaign against Modi to Varanasi

(Excerpts of interview with JNUSU President Akbar Chawdhury by Pallavi Polanki in Firstpost, April 25, 2014)

Q: What is the plan for Varanasi?

A: We are in the middle of a very big election and all you hear everywhere is ‘Modi Modi Modi’. JNU is a politically vibrant campus and our students union has a mandate to fight for secularism and against fascism. We are going to Varanasi to demonstrate against fascism. We are going in two phases. The first on 28 April comprising a few professors and students’ union members. A second batch will leave from Delhi on 6 May, when most students would have finished their exams. We are planning to take around 100 students from JNU. Today no matter where you look, be it Facebook, websites, on the Metro, all you see is Modi. No debate is taking place. The BJP released its manifesto after the first phase of polling had started. It is clear that they are fighting this election not on the basis of issues but in the name Modi. Their answer to all questions is ‘Modi’. While they don’t want to talk about the 2002 riots, though it is an issue that voters must keep in mind, the ‘Gujarat development model’ should be debated and discussed. How feasible is this ‘development model’ for India. Modi’s campaign is being bankrolled by the corporates. And yet, the debate has been reduced to two faces – Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi, who has been left far behind in race. We are going to Varanasi with an ‘anti-Modi’ plank and we will take our campaign to students and young people. Let’s see how much we can contribute to this election.

Q: This is the first time JNUSU has taken its campaign to another city. Why?

A: Our mandate is the JNUSU constitution. When Modi came to Delhi for the first time, the JNUSU held a ‘march of secularism’ on the previous day. When Modi came to SRCC, Delhi University, for the first time, then too we held a protest and opposed Modi’s use of academic spaces to promote himself. In the same spirit, we believe that it is important to contest his claims. A hype has been created around Modi and there is a manufactured debate around him. We are trying to reclaim our democratic space and raise our voice.

Q: What are your concerns when it comes to Modi and his campaign?

A: We feel that elections are not a fight between individuals. People don’t want the Congress party because of its corruption record but that does not mean they want the BJP. We want that our elections be fought on issues such as education, employment. But today, it has turned into a presidential-style election that is devoid of issues. People are being asked to vote for a name. This is not good for our democracy. People are being asked to forget 2002 riots. But when you listen to Modi’s speeches, there are obvious communal overtones. In his speeches, he says a ‘pink revolution’ (reference to meat exports) is going on and that there is no more talk of a ‘white revolution’. I am amazed that in India we have a political leader who for the first time is pitting farmers against minorities. There are leaders in the BJP who are talking of sending people to Pakistan. And it is not minorities alone that Modi is a threat to. Here is a man who put the entire state machinery to stalk a woman. There are protests inside Gujarat today led by farmers and labourers. Each one of us will have to think about what we are bringing upon ourselves by voting for Modi. That is why it is our responsibility, our duty, that we take our message to the people. It is ultimately up to them what they decide.

Q: Who are you primarily targeting with this campaign?

A: We want to hold discussions with students. We will go to BHU. We also want to visit places in and around Varanasi, go to the nearby villages. We want to go places where there is an information deficit. We want to inform people what the real truth behind the campaign is.

Q: Among the student community too Modi has become a very polarising figure. How do you plan to get past this?

A: People that I’ve spoken to in Banaras tell me that they don’t have space to put forward their views. Discussions are ending up in fights. But this is not new. In Delhi, we have seen how the ABVP functions and we know they prefer muscle over logic. I’m challenging them to come and have a debate. What is your idea of nationalism? What is your vision for this country? There are voters who want to participate in meaningful debates. We want to reach out to them. Yes, it is going to be difficult and it could get ugly but that is how politics is in our country and there is no escaping it.

Q: What will be the highlights of your campaign against Modi?

A: The Gujarat model is being touted as being the best model. We want to deconstruct this model. In the Human Development Index, Gujarat is at the 11th position. In education and health, how is Gujarat better? In higher education, in India the average enrollment rate of Muslims is 20 percent. In Gujarat, it is 17 percent. These are NSSO figures. In the Global Hunger Index, Gujarat is among the bottom five states. And Modi’s response to that is that women in Gujarat are beauty conscious and therefore they are starving. This is his defence. The Gujarat government is giving public money to companies. This is the model Congress has tried to gradually bring in. It is a model that has only increased the gap between the rich and poor. And given Modi’s authoritarian streak, what we suffered under ten year rule of the Congress, he will ram through in five years.

Edited, published and printed by S. Bhattacharya for CPI(ML) Liberation from U-90, Shakarpur, Delhi-92; printed at Bol Publication,
R-18/2, Ramesh Park, Laxmi Nagar, Delhi-92; Phone:22521067; fax: 22442790, e-mail: mlupdate, website: www.cpiml.org

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