On Assembly Election Results

Thursday, December 4, 2003

Press Statement

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

On Assembly Election Results

The results of the assembly elections to five states have led to the BJP winning in the three states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh, while the Congress has won only in Delhi. In Mizoram, the Mizo National Front has been returned to government.

All the four states in the north had Congress governments since the last assembly elections in 1998. It is clear from the electoral verdict that the policies pursued by the Congress state governments had created discontent among different sections of the people. The vote against the Congress has gone in favour of the main opposition party, the BJP. The specific feature in all these four states being a more or less direct fight between the Congress and the BJP with no other significant political force in the fray.

The worst defeat for the Congress has been in Madhya Pradesh where the BJP has been swept to power winning more than two-thirds of the seats. The Digvijay Singh government has been in power for ten years in the state. It became obvious during the election campaign that the Congress government had failed to provide even basic facilities like electricity and serviceable roads. The Congress Chief Minister was a strong advocate of privatizing the power sector which contributed to the electricity crisis in the state. It is this reliance on policies of privatisation and liberalisation which alienated the Congress government from all sections of the people and resulted in its resounding defeat.

Another notable feature in these elections has been the role of caste organisations who have made naked use of the casteist appeal, as in Rajasthan.

In all these states, the BJP has won on the basis of the negative vote against the performance of the Congress government. In that sense this verdict is not an endorsement of the BJP’s platform, as the Vajpayee government is the initiator of all such anti-people policies. With this victory, the communal forces will be emboldened to push forward their sectarian agenda, which can further threaten national unity and secularism.

The Congress leadership has to consider why its party has suffered such a setback in these elections. Fighting the BJP successfully cannot be accomplished by adopting economic policies which go against the working people, fostering misrule and at times competing with the BJP on a communal agenda as in Madhya Pradesh.

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) is of the firm opinion that the struggle against the BJP and its policies can be advanced only on the basis of clear-cut alternative policies and the firm resolve not to compromise with the communal forces.