AFTER Modi’s coming to power fascist forces have consistently gained more energy to create communal tension all over India. At the same time fascistic development in society and state is getting more vigorous. Naturally, a battle cry has developed to combat this demon and a demand to unite with all forces against BJP and RSS is evolving in every sphere of the political field. It is true that in every sphere fight against Hindutva forces is the prime task in today’s situation. Thus, the programme of uniting all forces against this force cannot be ruled out. But the point that needs to be gone into is whether this Hindutva force is only propagating Hindutvawadi hatred or does it also have many other features or characteristics?
It is in this context that the question arises whether, in the electoral arena, it is not wise to unite all forces against BJP or Hindutva forces? It is true that using political power Hindutva forces are getting momentum to spread communal hatred and ruthlessly put down all other communities of our society including the Dalits. It is obviously true that if BJP remains in power communal hatred will increase. But the question is in what way can the BJP be ousted from power and kept away from it? Is it true that if all political forces unite against the BJP then BJP will not be able to come to power again? Actually it is here that the question lies.
First of all they are spreading communal hatred to achieve a definite purpose. To execute the policy of imperialism communal enmity is a very good and useful weapon for the ruling class and it has been proved that BJP can do this more skilfully than other parties. So all support from Corporate Capital has come to BJP and particularly to Modi to elect him as prime minister. It is not only through ceaseless propaganda that they have developed an atmosphere for Modi to win, recent developments also reveal that EVM machines were probably tampered with in large measure to facilitate this victory.
This is one side. The other aspect is, why did a sizeable section of people vote for Modi and his candidates? Is it not true that the Congress and all other ruling parties have lost their credibility? That means that the Congress and others have lost their credibility with both the Corporate world as well as the people. So many corruption cases, joblessness, poverty and similar evils have disillusioned the people.
Still the fact that the BJP didn’t got so many votes compared to the discontent of the people against the Congress and UPA parties, shows that a good section of the masses refrained from voting for the BJP despite their hatred for the UPA government. This proves that it is impossible to keep any party from coming to power if that party enjoys people’s support. But without such support, or if people’s support is lost, parliamentary victory is not possible. In parliamentary democracy the wish of the wealthy section is also a major factor that has to be taken into account. So if we want to try to keep any party out of power then it can be done in either of two — either by engendering massive people support through vigorous struggle or by a big compromise with the propertied ruling class, in this case monopoly capital.
The propertied class takes the side of those parties which represent their interest. Sometimes it takes the side of the most reactionary forces who can serve its interest by adopting severely autocratic measures but not jeopardizing the existing ruling system. But when this gives rise to such intense mass discontent that the ruling system stands in danger of being shattered, then the propertied ruling class takes the side of another party so that this party can come to power and appease the people to a great extent. This is the complexity of the parliamentary system.
So the point is that if the BJP is ousted from power obviously the Congress or other ruling class parties will gain strength and come to power. But there is no difference between the Congress and the BJP when it comes to policies for serving the ruling class, though the way or the method may be different to some extent. So if we try to drive away the BJP from power by supporting the Congress or Congress like forces, BJP will only end up gaining more strength and the favour of the masses as a consequence of its anti people policies. In fact, the next time BJP makes a comeback because the people have become absolutely disillusioned with the Congress and the ruling class gives the BJP its wholehearted support, the BJP may well become invincible. If the BJP can create so much havoc after coming to power with only around 30 % votes, one can well imagine the consequences if, following massive anger of the masses against the Congress which has ousted the BJP from power, the BJP makes a comeback with over 50% votes. But before going into that let us first take a look at the situation in contemporary Gujarat.
Although BJP retained power in Gujarat in the recently concluded elections, it also received a sound thrashing. But does this mean that the Hindutva politics of the BJP received a sound thrashing? I think that it is not so simple. Had it been so, BJP would have lost, or at least won only narrowly, several years back. It would have faced serious electoral reverses after the Gujarat Massacre. But that wasn’t the case because at that time people did not understand the real meaning and impact of BJP’s so called development policy. Now so many economic and political factors have come to the fore. Demonetisation, GST, oppression on Dalits and so many other issues have been responsible for BJP’s poor electoral performance in Gujarat. It was by making use of the discontent arising out of these issues that the Congress fared pretty well in the elections. But we know that GST and all other so called development projects taken up by the BJP were actually projects of the Congress. If the Congress does go on to emerge victorious in the next general elections, then it will do no better than implementing these very policies that have attracted such wrath of the masses.
And when the Congress will implement these policies after coming to power on the wave of a mandate that is opposed to these very policies, it will lead to even greater disillusionment with the Congress among the masses as well as greater resentment. Not only so, it will also result in the people getting disillusioned with those forces which had supported the Congress to defeat the BJP. Consequently, the BJP will end up gaining far greater strength than before and attain a position to implement its Hindutva politics more intensely. So, siding with the Congress – a party whose policies are designed to serve the ruling class as much as the BJP’s – to defeat the BJP cannot benefit the masses.
Let us consider another option. Suppose a sizeable section of truly secular and anti imperialist forces make up another alternative in the elections, and as a result of opposition votes getting divided between this section and the Congress, the BJP wins. What will happen? Despite BJP’s victory, this alternative, which has also won a considerable number of votes and represents a sizeable social section, can lead the fight against the fascist forces. The situation to combat the fascist forces will become more favourable as anti fascist and anti imperialist forces can come out on the streets to protest against the government policy. People will be more conscious against fascist forces and people can face every attack of the fascist forces, because the alternative section has consolidated their unity and not left them to the mercy of the Congress. In this way religious and fundamentalist forces and ruling class forces can be defied more vigorously. But urging people to vote for the Congress in order to thwart the BJP will result in the fascist forces gaining steam. Let us examine the trajectory of the BJP. If we see how Modi came to power we can understand this more clearly.
As we know the BJP was formed in 1980. Ram Mandir was its issue from the first day of its inception. In 1985 they won only two seats in the general election. Only Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Murli Manohar Joshi won in that election. They tried to raise the debate of Ram Janmabhumi Babri Masjid at that time. Rajiv Gandhi was prime minister. He followed the path of appeasement of the majority community and gave permission to open the lock if the Babri Masjid for the worship of Ram Lala. This step gave a huge momentum to the BJP and it also gained the support of the Hindu fundamentalist forces. At the same time, in the Congress ministry a conflict developed between Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and finance minister V.P. Singh and through this contradiction two scams, Bofors and Fairfax, came to the fore. VP Singh exposed those scams and deserted Rajiv’s cabinet and also the Congress party.
At that time the anti Congress wind, which had earlier been subdued, now rose sharply, particularly against the scams. The BJP, Janata Party, the parliamentary Left etc. all took up these issues to drive away the Congress from power. In order to do so, all these forces including the so called Left came together. VP Singh joined Janata Party and embracing him all the followers of Ram Menohar Lohia, Ambedkar, Jayprakash Narayan, united and a unified Janata Dal was formed again. But who gained from this alliance against the Congress? Actually the BJP. They got 86 seats in the 1989 parliamentary election. Congress could not win though it was the biggest party in parliament. Janata Dal came after the Congress. VP Singh formed the government with the support of BJP and Left. All of those forces united on a single point agenda, that is to oust the Congress. But all of those forces had different agendas which were not convergent with each other. The only meeting point was to drive the Congress from power.
This unprincipled politics gave opportunity to the far right, ultra nationalist, communal BJP to raise its Ram Mandir issue more vigorously. Taking advantage of the fact that they had supported VP Singh’s Government, they immediately took countrywide Ramshila Pujan programme and under the leadership of LK Advani they started Ramrath to agitate the entire Hinduite people of the country. Neither the Left nor the other state governments restricted Advani’s campaign programme except Lalu Prasad Yadav in Bihar. When Lalu arrested Advani BJP withdrew support from the VP Singh Government and the government fell. For a few days there was Chandrashekhar Government with the support of Congress party. After that elections were held again and Congress got majority (within election period Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated).
In that phase we can see there was no meaningful protest against BJP and RSS even from the so called left because to them the main enemy at that time was the Congress. Ramshila Pujan was going on smoothly even in West Bengal where Left Front government was in power. West Bengal also saw police action against the secular forces who protested against this worship. Advani proceeded smoothly with his chariot and propagated communal hatred in West Bengal. In this way BJP increased its strength and succeeded in developing communal frenzy in society. The Congress led Central government did not resist the demolition of the Bari Masjid by the Sangh Parivar in broad daylight. No one was arrested for this heinous crime. The same Advani who was the leading figure in this Hindutva offensive went on to become the vice prime minister of our country. It was through the indirect and tacit support of the Congress government that the BJP and Sangh Parivaar had succeeded in demolishing the Babri Masjid.
After Narsimha Rao’s term BJP gained more strength after the demolition of the Babri Masjid and came to power under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was a comparatively liberal face in the BJP. This shows that even after the communal frenzy created by the demolition of Babri and the upper hand gained by the far right, people were not completely in favour of Ram Mandir and Hindutva politics. This was reflected in the votes and so a relatively liberal face like Vajpayee had to be made to take the lead. Joblessness, corruption etc. were still main issues in people’s mind. But obviously BJP was trying to convert this motivation into communal hatred. Gujarat Massacre happened at that time.
After that a new situation developed. Those who had held the hands of the BJP to drive away the Congress at the time of Rajiv Gandhi and thus helped create the opportunity for the BJP to gather strength, now reversed their position and to dethrone BJP they embraced the Congress. In the 2004 parliamentary election some factions of Janata Parivar and Lefts supported the Congress and with this support UPA government was formed under the leadership of Manmohan Singh. To keep BJP away from power Left Front supported the Congress though they are overtly against the Congress policy, particularly economic policy. Manmohan Singh remained prime minister for two terms but after 10 years ultimately BJP came to power under the leadership of Narendra Modi whose hand is stained with the blood of Gujarat massacre. And Left Front’s number of seats went down to 7 only.
What lesson can we draw from these facts? Those who had once wanted to drive away the Congress from power have been compelled to compromise with the Congress to keep away BJP from power. But with this compromise BJP’s strength has not decreased. After a certain time it succeeded to form a majority government. And those who wanted to keep away BJP from power have themselves declined to a marginal force. So the politics of keeping a particular party away power through unprincipled means, through unprincipled alliance, obviously strengthens the reactionary forces because there is no principal polarisation within the society. So if we want to fight against fascistic development we have to first recognise the fact that unprincipled and capitulationist politics cannot resist fascism. Instead of weakening the fascist forces this politics is making them stronger.
So in essence we can say that one of the factors behind BJP’s increased strength today is the class collaborationist line of particularly the Lefts. Actually in a crisis period, instead of developing class struggle if class collaborationist line is adopted, then fascistic forces will only increase in strength. As Dimitrov, the leader of Comintern, said, “Fascism was able to come to power primarily because the working class, owing to the policy of class collaboration with the bourgeoisie pursued by the social democratic leaders, proved to be split politically and organisationally disarmed, in face of the onslaught of the bourgeoisie. And the Communist Parties on the other hand, apart from and in opposition to the social democrats, were not strong enough to rouse the masses and to lead them in a decisive struggle against fascism.’’
So if we want to resist the development of fascism we have to develop class and mass struggle vigorously against the anti people policy of all governments. Still in our country communist revolutionary forces are too weak to develop struggle against the anti people policies on a nationwide scale. But this is essential. If all the revolutionary and democratic forces will realise this then a nationwide struggle can be developed even on the question of delivering electoral promise. For instance, Narendra Modi had promised before the 2014 general elections that if he came to power then his govt. would put Rs 15 lakh in every citizen’s account. But no movement was built up by the parliamentary opposition on the question of Modi’s failure to do anything of that kind. It is obvious that if the parliamentary opposition had tried to build up a nationwide movement on such an issue or similar issues, then it would have become very difficult for the Sangh Parivar to play its communal card. People’s unity could have been consolidated as also the zeal to fight fascism. In the absence of such movements, pessimism is setting in among the democratic people and fascistic elements are increasing. On the other hand, communist revolutionary forces and democratic forces are not even united to start a struggle against anti-people policies of the government. So if we want to combat fascism then the only way is to build vigorous struggle against the reactionary governments on the basic issues of the working class and oppressed people at first and it is on that basis that unity can be developed of all anti fascist forces.