People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 17

April 25, 2004

Sitaram Yechury’s Election Speech On AIR


THE results of the elections to the 14th Lok Sabha will have an important bearing on the future of India. The last six years have seen a systematic assault on the secular democratic foundations of the Indian Republic. It is, therefore, necessary that the combination of the communal forces led by the BJP is defeated in these elections.  The CPI(M) appeals to all of you to vote for the candidates of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in these elections.  Where we are not in the fray, we seek your support for the candidates of other Left, secular and democratic parties in order to ensure the formation of an alternative secular government at the Centre.


Five years ago, the incumbent government assumed office promising to liberate India from the clutches of hunger, fear and corruption.  In addition, it promised to generate one crore new jobs annually. On all these four counts, the situation today is much worse than what it was five years ago.


Starvation deaths and distress suicides are stalking rural India.  Three out of these five years have seen a negative growth in agricultural  production.  The per capita availability and consumption of foodgrains, pulses and cereals has declined.  The outstanding debt and liabilities of the government of India stand above 17 lakh crores of rupees today.  An interest of nearly one and a half lakh crores of rupees is being paid annually. How is this being financed?  By cutting down the already meagrely low levels of expenditures aimed at providing some relief for the vast majority of India's poor.  Thus, the mortgaging of India is accompanied by mounting unprecedented economic burdens on the people.  Subsidies for the poor are being cut while the rich are being subsidised through a series of tax concessions. Under these circumstances, the absolute levels of hunger have, in fact, risen.


Nearly a fifth of our population belonging to religious minorities live in an atmosphere of fear and insecurity.  The State-sponsored  communal genocide in Gujarat has numbed the entire nation.  If ever any reconfirmation were necessary on the partisan role of the BJP government in Gujarat, it has come from the Supreme Court which has ordered the re-trial of the horrendous Best Bakery massacre case outside of Gujarat. There cannot be any greater indictment. The torching of Christian missionary Graham Staines has sent shock waves of fear all across the country.  Fear amongst religious minorities has grown in an unprecedented way during these five years.


Corruption has been institutionalised by this government. Scams galore  have surfaced  with  a hitherto unknown rapidity.  Tehelka, UTI, land, petrol pump, disinvestment, telecom, sugar, stamp paper, stock market – the list seems endless. The depravity has reached such levels that money was made even in the orders for coffins for the Kargil martyrs!


During these years, far from creating new jobs, the organised sector has seen a loss of nearly nine lakh jobs. Agricultural labour has been unable to find work for more than 100 days in any year  during this period.   Reckless privatisation is spreading a sense of unprecedented insecurity among the employees. Our youth are wandering  aimlessly in an atmosphere of uncertainty.  In a country where 54 per cent of our population is below the age of  25, such rampant unemployment is a cause for serious concern.


The CPI(M) believes that only an alternative set of policies can today  safeguard the secular democratic character of the Indian Republic as well as provide relief for the vast majority of its people.  These alternative policies will have to focus on liberating the vast mass of Indian people from the fetters of poverty and economic bondage.  This would mean the implementation of land reforms, as has been done by Left-ruled governments in West Bengal and Kerala.  This would mean a significant increase in public investment that would develop both the necessary economic and social infrastructure while providing employment.  The resources for this must be mobilised  through  the realisation of tax dues that amount to a whopping  one and a half lakh crores of rupees, recovering the over one lakh crores of unpaid loans taken by corporate sector and by enhancing resource mobilisation. 


The CPI(M) stands for strengthening the panchayati raj system, a proper devolution of Centre-State relations, the repeal of anti-democratic laws like POTA, the protection of democratic rights of people including the right to strike and for separation of religion from the State.


It is, therefore, necessary to strengthen the representation of the CPI(M) and the Left in the coming Lok Sabha to work for the implementation of these alternatives.


Under these circumstances, it becomes the duty of every Indian patriot to strengthen our Republic by ensuring that the BJP-led NDA government does not return to power. 


Come, let us all together, save India today in order to change it for the better tomorrow. 


Vote for the hammer, sickle and star.


Jai Hind.

(April 16, 2004)