A cold wind blew among Muslims, liberals and the left in
The hard right BJP party, together with its allies, were predicted to win an extraordinary 340 out of 543 elected seats in the Lok Sabha parliament. The scale of the victory means the BJP can govern without making a coalition with more moderate parties.
Their leader Narendra Modi says his new government will modernise
But many now fear Modi will use the victory to further his long-held ambition to make
Schools and universities expect his ministers will insist that curriculums be rewritten with a Hindu chauvinist bias. Mosques built near Hindu temples and shrines fear being torn down.
And, even the limited safeguards offered by the country’s constitution to Muslims and
There is also a danger that resistance to the new government’s plans will be met by thugs from the BJP’s fascist-like core, the RSS.
Memories of anti-Muslim riots in Modi’s home state of
It was the complete collapse of Congress that handed the BJP their crushing victory. Congress governed
Congress presided over a perfect storm over two terms in office.
Scandals involving government corruption intertwined with the halving of economic growth rates, rampant inflation went hand in hand with the cutting of subsidies on food and fuel that millions of people depend on.
While the rich moaned that their vast fortunes were at stake, the poor were being pushed to the very edge of survival.
Meanwhile, Congress aristocrats continued to believe they could pass the leadership of their party, and so the nation, down the through the generations of the Gandhi family.
The selection of Rahul Gandhi as Congress’s would-be prime minister allowed Modi to present himself as a “common man” fighting back against privilege.
The once mighty Communist movement should have been there to take advantage of Congress’s collapse but its standard bearer, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), has been in a deep crisis since 2007.
Then, the party used its government in the state of
This, it said, would be the key to new prosperity that would improve the living standards of the poor.
But when peasant farmers rebelled against the state’s seizure of their land for an Indonesian multinational, the party sent in heavily armed police to put down the resistance.
In the resulting mayhem at least 14 people were killed, and in one swoop the Communists lost the allegiance of millions of its voters.
In subsequent elections, the party was driven from office in
The BJP victory and the collapse of the left have created many reasons to fear the future in
In order to do the bidding of the big business bosses that backed him with millions of rupees he will be expected to slash government spending and further liberalise the economy.
That will bring him into sharp conflict with both workers and the poor, and much of the middle classes that so enthusiastically greeted his victory.
If the Indian left can break with terrible combination of Stalinism and neoliberalism and once again embrace its roots in the grassroots struggles of the 1960s and 1970s, it might be able to galvanise the millions of Indians who are silently appalled at their new government.