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:


triangleBritain bakes as water pipelines leak

triangle#NorthernFail: 250 rail services cancelled

triangleAberfan disaster novel reminds us Grenfell was not an anomaly

triangleEngland facing water shortage due to underinvestment

triangleGovernment continues to back failed private rail


triangleTamil Nadu mass protests against state repression

triangleIndia: struggle against land grab in Pune

triangleInternational news in brief


triangleCapitalism v cricket

triangleTamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting

triangleExtreme weather events and global warming


triangleObrador's crushing victory gives hope to Mexico's poor

triangleVenezuela: Neither the capitalists nor regime can solve the crisis





US: "We've had to build a huge culture of resistance"



#AmazonTax shows need for socialist fighters



US unions facing new challenge after Supreme Court ruling



'CAS nunca mas': stop mass lay-offs and precarious contracts in Peru!



Obrador's crushing victory gives hope to Mexico's poor


capitalist crisis

The gathering new world disorder



Turkey's 'strongman' Erdogan tightens grip on state power



Seattle council repeals Amazon Tax



Venezuela: Neither the capitalists nor regime can solve the crisis



Italy's political crisis is reverberating through Europe



Jordan: Workers and youth remove prime minister and demand end to austerity


Donald Trump

No to Trump's trade war



Eyewitness report from Gaza: "Razan was killed in front of my eyes"



Historic victory won by grassroots movement



Landslide vote to repeal Ireland's abortion laws

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018