Statement of the Lok Raj Sangathan on the occasion of the Gujarat elections, December 8, 2002
The elections in Gujarat, slated for December 12, have become the occasion for the Indian ruling circles to indulge in the dirtiest of communal and fascist politics. Following the state-organised massacre of thousands of people of the Muslim community earlier this year, the BJP has been trying systematically to whip up communal passions, by highlighting once again the Godhra events, carrying out demonstrative "rath yatras" and "bhagva sena yatras" and spewing communal venom all around. The terrorist massacre at the Akshardham temple has been used to create an atmosphere of terror and mistrust among the people. People of the Muslim community are being targeted as "terrorists" and "Pakistani agents" while the majority of the people are being portrayed as "Hindu communalists". The news media is giving maximum publicity to all these dirty activities. The gruesome massacres as well as the cynical and divisive politics being played out in Gujarat have been roundly condemned through widespread protests all over the country.
The BJP is trying to win its votes on a blatantly communal, anti-Muslim plank by portraying all Muslims as "fundamentalists" and "Pakistan sponsored terrorists". The Congress Party is harping on the old, worn-out line that the "extremism" of both Hindu and Muslim communalists is to blame for the communal violence and massacre, and that the issue is to "defend the secular foundations" of the Indian state. By pointing the finger against BJP communalism, the Congress Party hopes that people can be made to forget its own shameful role in organising communal massacres time and again, including the genocide of Sikhs in 1984.
The BJP election manifesto talks of "terrorism" as the main danger, which it proposes to eliminate by unleashing armed groups of youth and giving them military training. It has also declared its intention of greatly increasing the presence of the police and security forces and stepping up the activities of the state and central intelligence networks. The Congress Party, for its part, has been busy blaming the BJP government for "breakdown of law and order" and "inefficient administration", and advocating its own schemes of intensifying state terror.
Reports of activists working amongst the people in various parts of Gujarat, including Ahmedabad and Baroda, indicate that ordinary people are in a state of great fear and apprehension. They are full of hatred and disgust for both these parties, who, in the name of "restoring communal harmony" and "defending law and order", are instead using these elections to line up the people behind the same communal and fascist program.
The BJP and the Congress Party are being presented as the only two options before the people. What is being covered up through this is the reality that both the Congress Party and the BJP are equally staunch defenders of the existing system of exploitation, which is the source of the communal violence and terror that has been intensifying in recent years. Organising communal violence to massacre and divide the people and then preaching to the people that they should rely on the same state that organised the massacres in the first place, to maintain communal harmony and peace – this is the tragic sequence that has been played and replayed, again and again, by our rulers, for the last 55 years. This is the same method that the British colonialists used to subjugate our people during their rule. Today, the BJP and the Congress Party are the main operatives of the ruling class, for executing this criminal politics of "divide and rule".
Communal violence and fascist terror will continue to be organised against us under the existing political system. It will continue to devastate us as long as the vast majority of people in our society remain powerless to direct the course of events. Political power today exists in the hands of a small exploiting minority, which uses this power to impose its own will on the rest of society, against the interests of the people. This situation must be ended. We have to take political power into our own hands and use it to put down all those who try to divide and brutalise our people, and to build a new society with rights and justice for all.
Let us fight for people’s power, as the alternative to the politics of communal violence and fascist terror!