Indian Communists call for intensifying struggle against Modi after his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept to victory in four of the five state elections that declared results yesterday, including key state Uttar Pradesh.
Uttar Pradesh has proven to be a testing ground for general elections in India, with all eyes looking to 2024 when the Lok Sabha will next elect a new government. The state is home to some 240 million residents, by far the most populous state in India.
However, the state was also home to some of the most intense farmers protests which rocked the country last year, and many expected them to oust the ruling BJP party as a result. The state returned 70 less BJP MPs than in 2017, but they are still by far the largest ruling party. Only the centre-left social democratic Samajwadi Party comes close.
Counting remains underway with some seats still to declare but overall, the results are not positive, with opponents of the far-right BJP expecting greater losses following on from the months long farmers protests last year. However, the concessions made by the Modi Government appear to have won many voters round in Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere.
Chief Minister of the state, Yogi Adityanath, is among the worst of the BJP. Himself a Hindu monk, he has said in the past, referring to inter-religious marriages, “if they take one Hindu girl, we will take 100 Muslims girls”. His lost of controversies is long, and he is quite open about his anti-muslim sentiment, previously saying “If given a chance, we will install statues of Goddess Gauri, Ganesh and Nandi in every mosque.”. This is the man that Uttar Pradesh have just re-elected to lead the state. Indeed it is the first time an incumbent chief minister has ruled Uttar Pradesh for two successive terms since 1947.
Nonetheless, our allies in the Communist movement in India remain steadfast in their opposition to the ruling party. In a statement, the CPI (M) said:
“The BJP has won a second successive victory in the UP elections. With intensified communal polarization, control over large sections of the media and immense money power, BJP retained government with a reduced majority. Despite the immense economic hardships faced by the people, relief measures like provision of free foodgrains, have had an impact.”
They went on to say: “The Left and democratic forces will evolve fresh strategies and redouble their efforts in the fight against the Hindutva-Corporate regime, its policies and growing authoritarianism.”
In one of the most populous countries in the world, the maintained support for religious chauvinism is disheartening to say the least. Tragically, a branch of the CPI (M) also reported that, following the results of the election, BJP thugs attacked many of their members and supporters in West Tripura, North-Eastern India, including a woman who was 6 months pregnant. They went on to burn the local office of the Party.
This is just one instance of thousands, where thugs associated with the BJP have sought to disrupt and intimidate Communist activists. India remains one of the most unequal societies in the world, along the basis of caste, class, gender and religion. Our allies in the CPI (M) and across the communist movement need our support more than ever.
The victories last year were hard-fought, but the struggle against the BJP remains as crucial now as it ever has been.