CPIML Statement on Outcome of Parliamentary Elections 2019


THE sweeping victory of the BJP-led NDA bringing the Modi government back to power for a second term, and the ways in which this victory has been achieved, have deeply disturbing implications for the future of Indian democracy. Unlike in 2014, the Modi campaign this time had little pretence of being about development, revolving unashamedly around communal hatemongering and jingoism, even going to the extent of fielding a terror accused like Pragya Singh Thakur as a veritable mascot for the BJP. The magnitude of the BJP's victory in this context will definitely embolden the forces that have been waging a systematic war on rule of law, social justice and communal harmony. There is also an unmistakable immediate threat of destabilisation to several state governments.

These elections have been held in an environment which had been deeply vitiated over the past five years by the relentless assault on democratic institutions and their credibility, the epidemic of organised mob lynchings and heightened attacks on Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis, and the systematic persecution and even murder of dissenters. Freedom of the press has been severely curtailed as much of the mainstream media was reduced to propaganda machinery for the Modi regime and the relentless BJP/RSS campaign of hate and lies. Despite this, the Assembly Elections held at the end of 2018 reflected the growing mass disillusionment and unmistakable desire for change, which was expected to peak in the Lok Sabha elections. But the exploitation of the Pulwama and Balakot episodes to drown out the whole range of pressing issues such as mass unemployment, agrarian distress and growing economic crisis, with strident warmongering, evidently changed the complexion and outcome of the elections.

The popular struggles of farmers, students, youth, Dalits and Adivasis and the courageous and determined voices of protest raised by democratic citizens provided the primary opposition to the Modi government in the last five years. It was the job of the opposition parties to offer a united alternative on the basis of this popular agenda and initiatives and it must be said that the opposition response has proved pretty inadequate in this regard. There are also serious questions about the transparency and integrity of the entire election process, beginning with the dubious system of electoral bonds, to the growing doubts about the EVMs and the stubborn refusal to count the VVPATs and the failure of the Election Commission of India to assure the people convincingly that the elections were being held in a free, fair and impartial manner.

The Modi regime was widely recognised as a dispensation of undeclared Emergency and the 2019 elections will go down in history as India's first Lok Sabha elections held in the shadow of tyranny. For the Left forces, 2019 marks the lowest ebb in terms of vote share and seats. While defending democracy against every fascist assault, we in the CPI(ML) appeal to the Left ranks to work determinedly for a rejuvenation of the Left movement. We rededicate ourselves to the task of building anti-fascist unity and solidarity and pledge to stand with all India's minorities and marginalised communities and citizens facing persecution.

-    Dipankar Bhattacharya,
General Secretary, CPIML