Reject the candidates of the capitalist parties!
Elect only those with a track record of fighting for the rights of people!
Statement of Maharashtra Regional Committee of the Communist Ghadar Party of India, October 2019
Comrades and Friends,
Just 5 months after the victory of BJP in the Lok Sabha elections by a big margin, elections to the 288 member Maharashtra Assembly are being held on October 21, 2018. Coalition governments have run this state for the past two decades. The BJP - Shiv Sena coalition governed between 1995 and 1999 and since 2014. The Congress-NCP coalition was in power for 15 years between 1999 and 2014.
The capitalist class, by its very nature, is divided into different factions and sectional interests. The major factions of propertied interests in Maharashtra are represented by the BJP, Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena. The dogfight between these parties is over the division of the loot, while they are united in their commitment to advance the liberalisation and privatisation program. Since the aim of these parties is essentially the same, its members can easily shift from one party to another as per their personal interests.
Apart from the four main parties that have ruled in Maharashtra, there are numerous other parties representing different regional and sectional propertied interests, like the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena that are participating in these elections.
There are numerous parties of workers, peasants and middle strata who are contesting the coming elections in various constituencies. Many activists of various people’s organisations, who have a track record of fighting for the rights of the toiling and oppressed people, are contesting as “independent” candidates.
For the first time in 30 years, big capitalists have been successful in re-electing a government in New Delhi headed by a single party with an even bigger majority. They are pushing for a similar result in Maharashtra.
During the Lok Sabha elections held in April-May this year, the big capitalists used the Pulwama terror attack and threat from Pakistan to manipulate the election results in favour of the BJP. The election results did not reflect the great dissatisfaction of the majority of the people, the workers, peasants women and youth with the failed promises of the ruling BJP Government of bringing in “acche din”. In this assembly election, too, concerns of people of the state are not going to be agenda of election. The ruling party, BJP, has already declared that the scrapping of Article 370 and “Nation First” will be the agenda of the election.
This agenda is being used to divert people from their real issues and concerns, about the growing gap between the rich and poor, falling incomes, lack and loss of jobs, rising prices, privatisation of education, health and other services and so on. The banner of “national security” is used to justify brutal repression of those who are fighting for their rights. Just struggles of the people are branded as “anti-national”. Jingoistic war mongering propaganda against Pakistan is being used to divert and divide people.
The fact is that when the BJP or Congress Party talks about national interest, they actually mean the narrow interests of the big capitalists. Both these parties are committed to the anti-national program of the big Indian capitalists to enrich themselves by collaborating with foreign capitalist monopolies and intensifying their joint exploitation and plunder of the entire country, including of Maharashtra.
The condition of crores of people in Maharashtra, the richest state of the Union, with the largest number of billionaires!
- Lack of jobs and tens of lakhs of jobs lost in large as well as small and medium scale industries during demonetisation, due to GST and in the recent economic slowdown.
- Anti-worker laws being pushed. Contractualization is being promoted in place of permanent jobs.
- Farmers in deep distress due to repeated droughts, unremunerative prices for farm produce and rising cost of inputs; the largest number of farmer suicides and malnutrition deaths.
- Capitalist agriculture, driven solely by profit, is destroying natural sources of water. Sugar cane farming has been promoted in drought prone areas of the state.
- One of the most severe droughts in the summer of the current year; affected nearly half the state and population. Number of villages suffering from groundwater depletion has doubled from 10,000 to 23,000 in the state. Yet the state did little to relieve their distress.
- At the same time, Western Maharashtra faced the fury of floods, made many times worse by the sudden release of water from dams.
- Per capita health expenditure in 2017-18 was only Rs 975 as against the national average of Rs 1538; a poor small state like Sikkim had spent over Rs 5,500.
- 17,000 vacant health posts in rural areas and another 9,000 in urban areas but the successive governments have promoted medical tourism from abroad.
- Thousands of posts in government aided schools and colleges are lying vacant while teachers are being forced to work on contract and even clock hour basis.
- Investments in essential public services like education, health care, sanitation, public transport, the building of roads, etc. have been slashed. All these public services are being neglected and going from bad to worse. The public distribution system has been systematically wrecked by successive governments.
- Privatisation is being promoted in all the above essential public services. Every arena where the big capitalists see possibilities of reaping maximum profits is being opened up, and incentives are offered to lure private investors.
- Massive land grab of both urban and rural land is being carried out by the state and handed over to capitalists, in the name of “cluster development”, for bullet train, etc.
- Unbridled loot of the state treasury has led to ever-increasing burden of public debt on the heads of the toiling masses. The state is one of the most indebted states of the country with a debt of Rs 4.14 lakh crore.
Whether in the rural areas or in the urban, measures are being taken to further enrich the big monopoly capitalists in agriculture, industry, construction, trade and services at the cost of workers, farmers, small businesses as well as self-employed.
All the anti-people measures have met with severe resistance. Lakhs of workers, peasants, youth and women of the state have been repeatedly organising massive protest actions for their demands. For instance, the state witnessed a huge long march of farmers in 2018 from Nashik to Mumbai. However their demands have been completely ignored.
Repeated rounds of elections have not made any difference to the condition of workers, peasants and other toilers. The reason is that Supreme power in India is wielded by the capitalist class. The political power — the executive, the legislature, the judiciary, the institutions such as the Election Commission — all serve as instruments of rule of the capitalist class over the vast masses of people. Multi-party representative democracy is an instrument of the rule of the capitalist class over the working class and people.
The capitalist class, headed by the monopoly houses, uses the electoral process to select and fund one or another political party to market and implement its agenda. The party considered most suitable to fool people at a given point of time is selected to present the capitalists’ agenda by claiming it is for the benefit of people. By using the huge funds provided by the big capitalists and their control of media, the elections are manipulated to install the selected party in power which goes on to claim it has the people’s mandate to implement the capitalists’ agenda!
The parties that form governments after winning a majority of seats in elections are nothing other than managers for capitalists. When one party or coalition gets discredited in the eyes of the toiling masses, the capitalists use elections to change the management team, so as to pursue the same agenda more effectively. Only those parties and coalitions are allowed to come to power who have proved through word and deed that they are committed to implement the program of the big bourgeoisie.
Candidates representing the workers and peasants have very little chance of winning elections in this system. Parties of the capitalist class dominate the electoral process. The government that is formed is only accountable to the capitalist class, headed by the monopolies.
The existing political system and electoral process serves to maintain the rule of the exploiting minority. The exploiters and oppressors of the people use elections to legitimize their rule and to settle contradictions among themselves. They use elections to deepen divisions amongst the people, and stop us from fighting for our rights and common interests.
There is deep dissatisfaction amongst the toilers of Maharashtra with their powerless condition in this system, which reduces them to vote banks. Workers and peasants who produce the material wealth of the country need to take political power into their own hands, from the hands of the capitalist class. We must establish a modern system of democracy, in which sovereignty is vested in the people. The Communist Ghadar Party of India has been consistently agitating for immediate political reforms in this direction, and developing this platform in close collaboration with all other progressive forces. Key features of such reforms are:
- The right to select candidates must be taken out of the hands of political parties and vested in the hands of the electorate.
- An elected Constituency Committee must be established in each constituency, mandated with powers to enable the people to exercise their political rights, including their right to select candidates before any election is held.
- No private parties or political parties must be allowed to spend on the election campaign of any candidate. The state must fund the electoral process, giving all the selected candidates equal opportunity to present their views before the electorate.
- The selected candidate must commit to be accountable to the Constituency Committee, and agree to work as per its directives, if elected.
- Once people cast their votes, they must not hand over all powers to those who get elected.
- People must retain the right to initiate legislation, to approve major public decisions through referendums, and the right to recall at any time the one they elected. The executive, the council of ministers, must be accountable to the legislature, and the legislature must be accountable to the electorate.
Comrades and friends,
Let us oppose the attacks of the ruling capitalist class with the perspective of bringing workers and peasants to power and carrying out the Navnirman of India. Navnirman means to establish a new state based on a new constitution which will vest sovereignty in the people and guarantee the inviolability of human rights. It means to reorient the economic system towards fulfilling the rising needs of the entire people, instead of being oriented to fulfil capitalist greed.
Let us reject the candidates of capitalist parties! Let us support only such candidates who have a proven track record of fighting for the rights of the people!