At the beginning of January 500,000 miners in the nationalised coal industry in India went on strike against governmental plans to privatise coal mining. This monumental show of strength in defiance of the Coal Ordnance law is indicative both of the tensions within Indian society and the pressure that is being brought to bear on the leadership of the working class to put up a fight.
Some of the most deceitful forms of elections and ‘democracy’ are to be found these days in countries that are suffering direct or indirect military aggression and occupation by world and regional imperialist powers. The elections and governments in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries under imperialist occupation are, in the last analysis, a tragic farce. Indian-controlled Kashmir is no different because it is directly under the boot of the imperialist Indian military – an occupation enforced by the so-called ‘largest democracy’ in the world using one of the largest military deployments on earth and draconian laws like The Prevention of Terrorism Act, 2002 (POTA) to infringe the basic rights of the Kashmiri oppressed masses.
The discrediting of Congress, mass discontent in the country, a developing economic crisis and an anti-corruption mood led to a realisation by the ruling class that Congress could no longer be relied upon. Over the past period, when in power, Congress had been carrying out wide ranging liberalisation of the economy. However, it was too weak to carry out the tasks that the Indian capitalist class requires today.
India has seen two very powerful general strikes in the past two years, revealing a sharp class polarisation in the country, and yet we have the disastrous result in the recent Indian elections for the Communist and left parties. This apparent contradiction has brought into sharp focus the role of the leaders of these parties and their total inability to offer a way out of the impasse they themselves have been responsible for creating.
Ever since the reactionary and bloody partition of the South Asian subcontinent in 1947, any major incident, whether it be a terrorist outrage, a colossal accident or natural disaster on either side of the Radcliff line that divides the South Asian subcontinent, the drums of blame immediately start beating in full glare with fingers pointing across the other side of the border.
The landslide victory of the BJP and the meteoric rise of Narendra Modi as a populist leader have stunned a large number of secular and liberal analysts in India and elsewhere. They were in reality hoping against hope for the result to be different from the media predictions of the bourgeois pundits.
India is hyped as being very modern, yet in the midst of the towering buildings and corporate plazas there are huge swathes of ghettos overflowing with intense poverty and misery, where human beings are forced to live in bestial conditions of unhygienic and filthy dwellings. The artificial glitter and the facade of modernity fails to conceal the primitive social and economic conditions that prevail across India. These conditions are reflected in politics, and particularly in the elections that are being held in nine stages from 7th April to 12th May this year.
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