People's Democracy

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


No. 17

April 25, 2004

Surjeet’s Election Speech On AIR


DEAR Compatriots,


These are no ordinary elections. In these polls, your vote will decide which way the country would go. Unity in diversity is this country’s spirit. In this country live the people following almost all the world religions. That was why our constitution makers had adopted secularism as the basic framework of our constitution. For this, they had laid the proviso that religion and politics must be kept apart. But the BJP does not subscribe to it. Utilising religion as an issue, it has always been striving to divide the people on communal lines. That was why it raised the issue of construction of a temple in Ayodhya on the spot where the Babri Masjid stood. It also sought to utilise the central government for the purpose. Now, this issue has even been incorporated into the poll manifesto of the NDA combine. The BJP’s government in Gujarat organised a massacre of Muslims in the state and its government at the centre defended it. There are many more communal tricks in their stock --- from a ban on conversions to common civil code. They will have to be ousted from power so as to protect and preserve the unity of this great country.


Today, a blatantly false propaganda campaign of “India Shining” is being run by wasting crores of rupees from the public exchequer. But whose India is shining any way? Of the peasants? The number of peasants having starved to death during the six years of the NDA regime must be in several thousands. This government has in fact far surpassed the British in this regard. Those below the poverty line (BPL) were dying in droves, but this regime refused to bring down the grain prices for them. On the other hand, grains were exported for consumption by the cattle in Europe and the US, at much below the BPL prices. In our country, the per capita consumption of cereals and pulses has gone down to the level that prevailed in the initial years of the second world war, when the country had witnessed the horror of the Bengal famine. This is the reality of their “feel good” propaganda! The number of the peasants and artisans having committed suicide in distress is also in thousands. The NDA government has as if decided to kill our agriculture. It has brought down the level of public investment in agriculture and has thus caused a stagnation or even decline in agriculture. The costs of agricultural inputs have been hiked. Institutional loans have been reduced. By opening the imports of artificially cheap agricultural products, it has forced the Indian peasants to sell their produce at dirt-cheap prices. Never before since our independence has the Indian countryside witnessed so much devastation. There is little work for agricultural labourers. The number of those migrating out in search of livelihood has registered a phenomenal increase. Whatever growth the manufacturing sector has witnessed has been either jobless or jobloss growth. Much hullabaloo is being made about the progress in telecommunication and the software services based on it. But there are only about two lakh jobs in this sector while the number of registered jobless, according to the government’s own data, has crossed the four crore mark; the real figure must be many times over this number. According to the labour ministry’s own figures, employment in the organised sector dwindled by more than eight lakh between 1998 and 2002. Of this, at least six and a half lakh jobs were killed in the public sector alone. What to talk of fulfilling the promise of creating one crore jobs every year, this government has only added to joblessness. As many as 75 lakh applications came for just 22,000 Grade IV posts in Indian Railways, and the violence that erupted on the demand of recruitment of local people claimed more than 50 lives. Such is the explosive situation this NDA government has thrown the country into.   


Claims are that the country’s prestige in the world has gone up. The reality is just the opposite. The independent foreign policy of our country has been dismantled and India made an adjunct of the US imperialists. So much so that the latest moves to improve ties with Pakistan were initiated only because of the US pressure. The US foreign secretary is on record saying that the situation of dialogue was created after two years of their labour. Today, the people of Iraq are rising against the American occupation of their country, but the government of India has no guts to ask the Americans to leave that country in peace. There was a time when the whole world used to listen to our point of view as a leader of the non-aligned movement. Today, our country is being made an accomplice in the US drive for global hegemony.


The NDA regime has pushed the country back on all fronts. This fall cannot be allowed to continue any more. To date, ten of the NDA parties have quit it.


We appeal to you to exercise your vote in such a manner as to

 (April 15, 2004)