Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 17 January 2003

Gujarat: Communalists Profit From Hate

THE BHARATIYA Janata Party (BJP) - advocates of Hindu chauvinism - managed to secure a sweeping victory in the Gujarat elections of December, 2002, through their hate campaign against Muslims.

The BJP increased its strength in the Gujarat assembly from 117 seats (in 1998) to 125 in the lower house (which has 182 seats), while Congress - the main opposition - got 51 seats, losing two seats from last time.

GC JAGADISH of New Socialist Alternative (CWI, India) reports.

NEVER IN recent history, has a state assembly election in India created such a sensation as the Gujarat elections of 2002.

This election became a focal point for heated debates and discussions in the entire country and internationally.

The backdrop to these elections was the anti-Muslim pogroms organised by right-wing Hindu communal forces with the full blessings of the BJP state administration, in February and March 2002. These pogroms were sparked off by the Godhra train massacre of Hindu Kar-Serwaks ("volunteers" - ie fanatics) returning from the site of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, which was destroyed by Hindu mobs in 1992.

Narendra Modi, the chief architect of the anti-Muslim pogrom, as the Chief Minister of the State made all the election promises that communally charged Hindu mobs would wish for.

The terrorist attack on Gujarat's Akshardham temple by Islamic extremists during the run up to the elections was a blessing in disguise to the BJP and particularly to Modi. Huge cut-outs of the Pakistan leader, Musharraf, were placed in strategic places against Modi's image, challenging voters to decide whether they will choose a "patriotic Indian" or an enemy of India. His rabble-rousing propaganda implied that a vote for opposition Congress would be a vote for Musharraf.

While the Western imperialists are trying to bring both India and Pakistan to the dialogue table, LK Advani, the deputy Prime Minister, in his first election speech in Gujarat, threw down a challenge to Musharraf by saying, "Let us fight it out face to face. We have fought thrice, let there be a fourth war."

The BJP's victory in Gujarat is seen by many as a trail-blazer for the days to come. The five states that are due for elections this year would become yet another battle between the BJP and Congress. However, there is hardly any difference between the two parties.

"Secular" Hindu Congress!

Many newspapers dubbed Congress as the B-team of communalism. Shanker Singh Vaghela, a recent dissident from BJP was the chosen man of Congress to take on the BJP. Just as the tiger never changes its stripes, Vaghela went on a binge to outsmart the Modi brigade in the campaign to win his erstwhile communal Hindu constituency.

Instead of exposing Modi and the BJP for all their evils, and standing four-square behind the battered Muslim minority, the Congress adopted a soft Hindu line to say that it was not a party which only appeases Muslims, as made out by the BJP. It had no convincing argument against the BJP's campaign against Muslims which aims to dub all of them as terrorists.

Left (in)significance!

OF THE 968 candidates in the elections, the two 'communist' parties CPI (M) and the CPI together had a symbolic presence in only two seats. The left failed miserably in providing any way forward, let alone an alternative to the riot-torn Muslims and other minorities.

Gujarat is an industrial giant within India, with important industries such as textiles, diamond cutting and polishing, pharmaceuticals and ceramic tiles.

There are thousands of workers in these factories who have a rich history of struggles. The CPI (M) and CPI have some base in the trade unions of this state. But instead of rallying the workers and youth against communalism and capitalism, they tail-ended Congress.

The warning signs

TO THE BJP, which was losing ground very fast, this electoral success is a shot in the arm. Though Gujarat is the only decisive victory for the BJP since it came to power at the centre, the hard-line factions within the party will want to use this opportunity to take the party on an openly communal line at the all-India level, along with their VHP and RSS extreme-right allies

The BJP will try to push further the anti-working class reforms and, more importantly, the privatisation programme, to make themselves nearer and dearer to the national and international bourgeoisie. They will further foment the temple issue, the cow-slaughter issue, abrogation of article 370 giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir etc, to divide and disorient the working class.

Class unity

IT IS easy to get dazzled by this BJP victory. The working class, which is beginning to move on various issues such as labour law reforms and on the impending large-scale privatisations, will certainly see it as a jolt.

However, workers are preparing for a show-down on the issue of labour reforms. Already a rank and file trade union formation called the 'New Initiative for Trade Unions' is preparing for the future battles.

Working-class unity is the need of the hour. A campaign based on the bedrock of working class unity, can and will take on the forces of capitalism and communalism to defeat the BJP-VHP-RSS gang and the Congress.

The New Socialist Alternative (CWI-India) will be campaigning on these slogans and link this to the formation of a new working class mass party based on the programme of socialism.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 17 January 2003:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Wage War On Low Pay: Support the firefighters

No To Bush And Blair's War

War On Iraq: The Pressures Grow

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Gun Crime - Fact And Fiction

Domestic Violence: Don't Let New Labour Renege On Their Pledges

Firefighters Ready For Battle Again

Socialist Party features

The Great British Wage Theft

Stop the War Coalition conference

International socialist news and analysis

Gujarat: Communalists Profit From Hate

Suez 1956: When British Imperialism Hit The Rocks

Socialist Party workplace news

Hackney Trade Unionists Attacked


Home   |   The Socialist 17 January 2003   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

triangleObesity epidemic: end food market anarchy

triangleHurricane Harvey: A tragedy made far worse by capitalism

triangleProblem gambling soars by 33%

triangleMarx's Capital at 150: an unequalled analysis and critique of capitalism


triangleTamil Nadu mass protests against state repression

triangleIndia: struggle against land grab in Pune

triangleInternational news in brief


triangleExtreme weather events and global warming

triangleHackney Socialist Party: 70 years since India-Pakistan partition


triangleGerman elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance

triangleUsdaw elections announced - fight for a left leadership, vote for Amy Murphy




Hong Kong

Campaign against political repression in Hong Kong



Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't



Solidarity with Catalonia - the people have the right to decide



Eyewitness: Irish socialist MP participates in events



Exemplary resistance by the people of Catalonia



Germany: Election results in political earthquake



Strike against Madrid's 'state of emergency'!



German elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance



French Labour reform protests



Catalonia: Student strike called



Brutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis



Solidarity with Catalonia in the Spanish state



Berlin hospital strike



Korean peninsula: is nuclear war likely?



Interview with leader of students' union in the Spanish state: "When we fight, we win!"

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice