THE Jan Ekta Jan Adhikar Andolan, a national platform of mass, class, and social organisations, groups and progressive individuals, has given a call for a weeklong campaign against the communal and anti-national agenda of the NDA government which will culminate with a protest action in the national capital on May 23.
As part of the campaign – ‘NDA Sarkar ki Char Saal, Pol Khol, Halla Bol!’ (four years of NDA Government; Expose and Protest!) – huge mobilisations of people will be held in state capitals between May 16 and 22. The campaign will culminate with a protest action on May 23 in Delhi, in which more than 10 lakh people are expected to participate.
The four-year rule of the Narendra Modi-led NDA dispensation, which came to power with a promise of ‘achhe din’ (good days) and ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ (collective efforts, inclusive development), has shown that ‘vikas’ was only for a chosen few corporate companies and their middlemen. None of its promises to the toiling people has been fulfilled. The NDA government is ruthlessly following the policies of neo-liberal imperialist globalisation, the same LPG policies started by the Congress. As of today, one per cent of the population have amassed 53 per cent of the assets of the country.
The NDA, which promised two crore employments in each year, has terribly failed our youths with the employment figure not even reaching two lakhs per year. In our country where more than 10 lakh jobseekers enter the job market every month, unemployment is at its highest since Independence where 77 per cent of the households in the country have no regular wage/salaried person. According to the Labour Bureau, unemployment rate among the graduate youths (18 to 29 years) increased from 28 per cent to 35 per cent between 2014 and 2015. In addition, demonetisation has resulted in the loss of 90 lakh jobs between October 2016 and October 2017.
The NDA promised to control price rise but, in fact, prices of essential commodities are skyrocketing and the public distribution system has collapsed with no funds. The mandatory linkage of Aadhaar and the elimination of beneficiaries are resulting in starvation deaths. The deregulation of petroleum prices by the NDA has resulted in unprecedented price rise of petroleum despite the drastic fall in international price of crude oil.
The high-profile promise of eliminating corruption and bringing back black money has become the joke of the day with results of demonetisation and the scams coming out daily. Though received prior complaints, instead of preventing, the prime minister’s office (PMO) extended patronage to corporate tycoon such as Nirav Modi to loot Rs 11,200 crore of public money from Punjab National Bank and allowed to take shelter in foreign lands. Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya are other examples of corporate loot. The BJP which was so vocal on eliminating corruption before election proved its dishonesty on the issue by not appointing Lokpal till date. Bad loans of willful corporate defaulters amounting to more than Rs 1.91 lakh crore were written off during the first three years of the Modi regime with a record Rs 81,683 crore in 2016-17 alone. Corruption is being institutionalised with the government allowing foreign and domestic corporate funding for political parties.
The NDA is in massive drive for privatisation of our national wealth through disinvestment, outright sale and strategic sale of the public sector. Despite all talk of nationalism, even strategic and key sectors such as defence, railways, banks, insurance, BHEL and others are sought to be handed over to the foreign and domestic corporates. In the name of ‘Make in India’ and ‘Ease of Doing Business’, corporates, both domestic and foreign, are being invited to exploit our country’s resources, including oil, gas and other natural resources as well as India’s workers. Laws to protect the environment are being diluted or openly violated. The FRDI Bill pending in Parliament is going to be the worst attack on the interests of the depositors, banks, insurance, etc.
Labour laws are being amended brazenly favouring employers, snatching away the hard-earned rights of the workers including eight-hour work, minimum wages, social security and the right to organise and collective bargaining. Contract system is allowed everywhere and now the government has brought fixed-term employment in all sectors.
Another glaring reneged promise to the peasantry is minimum support price (MSP) at 50 per cent above the cost of production to all crops that could have benefit 65 per cent of the families depending on agriculture. The NDA betrayed farmers on the promise of comprehensive loan waiver too. The peasant suicide has been increased by 42 per cent in 2014-15. The NDA is not ready to ensure minimum age and social security to agriculture workers and instead has curtailed allocation to MNREGA. The biggest betrayal is by the flagship scheme of NDA – Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana which has been made an instrument of loot, aiding private insurance companies. They had amassed Rs 15,500 crore, out of the 21,500 crore, collected as premium for 2015-16 as their profit. The NDA has allowed 100 per cent FDI in agriculture and announced contract farming that will facilitate large scale takeover of cultivation by multi-national agro business companies, thus making farmers mere contract cultivators on their own land. Hundred per cent in retail trade will endanger the existence of innumerable petty traders and petty producers across the country. The government is promoting privatisation of education and health sectors and thus allowing comercialisation of these sectors and put the public-sector institutions at hazard by negating budget allocations.
In addition, the BJP and the fascistic RSS have been unleashing terror by spreading caste and communal hatred and violence. The democratic institutions and educational institutions are being taken over by RSS cadres and there was systemic assault on democratic space within such institutions and across the society. In BJP rule, mob lynching has become the order of the day. More than 40 innocent lives had been crushed to death by cow vigilantes. None of these criminals except one case in Jharkhand- were punished so far.
The murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh is another example of crime to suppress the voice of dissent and rationality. Under the BJP rule, the upper caste private armies are unleashing cruelty against Dalits and Adivasis and the marginalised, imposing communal riots. The Kathua incident is a glaring example of fascistic trait of using rape as a hate crime. Atrocities against women and children are at an all-time high with the BJP leaders and ministers publicly protecting the culprits in most cases and the general impression among the public is that nobody is safe under Modi rule. The NDA has put the Women’s Reservation Bill in cold storage. Judiciary is also being manipulated to suit the ruling class ideology and safeguard vested interests. The recent judgments on the SC-ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and judge Loya death case are glaring examples. Supreme Court judges are forced to come out in open to protest such manipulations.
The people of India who have the rich tradition of fighting iron shackle of the British imperialism, feudalism and also the internal emergency cannot be silenced by this authoritarian fascistic RSS- BJP combine. The last four years witnessed innumerable and successful struggles by the basic classes and oppressed sections. Two general strikes in 2015 and 2016 in which 18 crore workers participated, workers ‘mahapadav’, many successful sectoral struggles and strikes including transport, electricity and scheme workers, united movement of the peasantry emerged the first time in the recent past which forced the NDA government to go back from its land acquisition ordinance and many successful peasant struggles including the Kisan Long March of Maharashtra are the results of consistent anti neoliberal movement including that under the national platform of mass organisations.
Unprecedented upsurge of the Dalit and tribal movement against the century’s old oppression and the upsurge of the women, students and youth and movement against the loot of the nature by the corporates have been the highlights of India’s progressive movement. The united movement could successfully expose the corporate agenda behind the cattle trade ban and forcing the government to withdraw and exposing the RSS on communalising the issue. In this situation, all the Left and Democratic mass, class and social organisations, groups and progressive individuals have come under the banner of Jan Ekta Jan Adhikar Andolan (JEJAA) to fight the neoliberal, anti-people policies and the communal divisive agenda.
The fall of the NDA government is imminent since it is accountable for the devastating impact of these policies. JEJAA which represents more than 100 organisations covering 20 crore members has decided to reach out to each citizen of the country to expose these communal and anti-national agenda of the NDA government through the ‘Pol Khol- Halla Bol’ campaign with the slogan “change policies or the people shall change the government”.
A meeting of the constituents of JEJAA, held on May 3, reviewed the preparations for the nationwide campaign.State conventions are held in most of the states. There will be state-level protest rallies in 24 states. In the protest in Delhi, national leaders of JEJAA will participate. It is expected that more than ten lakh people will participate in the programme.