Vol. XLIII No. 22 June 02, 2019
On the 17th Lok Sabha Election Results

CPI(M) Polit Bureau met at New Delhi on May 26-27, 2019. It has issued the following statement on May 27

NARENDRA Modi led BJP-NDA has secured an overwhelming and decisive mandate in the elections to the 17th Lok Sabha. Most opposition parties, barring those from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and a few other states, have witnessed a big loss in these elections.  

The CPI(M) and the Left have suffered a severe setback in these elections, particularly in their strongholds.

The BJP could successfully shift the popular narrative away from the multitude of livelihood issues that the last five years of the NDA government had imposed.  The narrative built around communal nationalist jingoism, along with the issues of fighting terrorism, brushed aside all other issues of day-to-day concerns of the people. 

This was aided by the build-up of the Modi persona through a combination of factors.  These included the effective use of technology and its instruments of messaging to the people backed by big data analytics and micro level social engineering.  Sections of the media partnered such projection backed by massive money power.  The role of the Election Commission was also a factor that permitted the build-up of such a narrative.  This process was assisted by the vast network of RSS affiliated organisations.

The electoral base of the CPI(M) saw a big erosion in our strongholds.  The Polit Bureau discussed some of the issues that led to this erosion.  The Central Committee meeting from June 7 to 9, 2019 will discuss and adopt a report, based on reports from the states, to draw proper lessons on the basis of a serious introspection on the experiences of these elections.  The state committees in our stronger states will meet and self-critically evaluate the Party’s performance before the Central Committee meeting and, on the basis of this, the Central Committee shall draw up the necessary corrective measures in order to strengthen the CPI(M)’s independent strength and its capacities of political intervention through popular struggles.

The CPI(M) thanks all those who have voted for its candidates, three of whom – two from Tamil Nadu and one from Kerala – have been elected to the 17th Lok Sabha. 

Both in West Bengal and Tripura, these elections were held in the backdrop of intense terror and violence.  There were large-scale reports of CPI(M) supporters physically being prevented from voting.  Most of our representations to implement the Election Commission’s assurances to conduct a ‘free and fair’ poll went unattended.  During the course of the elections, two Left supporters have lost their lives in West Bengal and one in Tripura. In both the states, post-poll violence continues. This is taking a dangerous turn towards communal clashes. 

Soon after the results were declared, reports of attacks on minorities from Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, for instance, are coming in.  This is contrary to the PM-elect Narendra Modi’s declaration that the new government will be inclusive and will create confidence among all sections of the people (sab ka saath, sab ka vishwas). 

Clearly, there are big challenges ahead for the Indian people and our country.  The defence of our secular democratic republic, the constitutional institutions, safeguarding people’s rights and civil liberties and people’s livelihood issues will be the issues on which the CPI(M) strongly appeals to the Indian people to come forward to meet these challenges.

The Polit Bureau calls upon all sections of the Indian people to strengthen the cherished harmony of our social fabric and to unitedly rise to meet the challenges ahead. 



Communal Jingoist Nationalism, Mantra for BJP’s Success

SITARAM Yechury, CPI(M) general secretary, held a press conference on May 27, after the two days meeting of the Polit Bureau(PB) in New Delhi. He said the PB did a preliminary review of the outcome of the 17th Lok Sabha elections. He highlighted the basic reasons why the BJP led NDA got such an overwhelming majority and mandate in the country. He pointed out that the BJP was successful in diverting the people’s issues from their basic livelihood demands to a popular narrative, which was built around ‘communal nationalist jingoism’. He said this was compounded with issues like terrorism, which completely brushed aside all other important livelihood issues of the people.

Sitaram also highlighted the strong election machine of the BJP, which was aided by the RSS that helped them to attain such a result. Apart from the communal campaign through messaging by effectively using technology, which was backed by big data analysis and micro social engineering; there was massive use of money which was at their command, he said.

While admitting that the CPI(M) has suffered a severe setback, he said that a proper review of the elections will take place through state level reviews and which will be thoroughly discussed in the forthcoming Central Committee meeting in June first week.

On being asked by the media that there was negative campaign in the country and this narrative was responsible for the victory of the BJP, he said the Left tried to bring back the people’s issues to the fore, but the BJP was able to completely side track these issues. On the loss of vote percentage in West Bengal, Sitaram said that a vicious atmosphere of ‘competitive communalism’ was generated by both the BJP and TMC. Sitaram further said that in such a situation, the space for democratic consciousness diminishes.

He reminded the media that during these elections two activists of CPI(M) in West Bengal and one in Tripura were killed. In Tripura West constituency, he said more than 90 per cent booths were rigged by the ruling BJP. The Election Commission itself had admitted to the large scale rigging and had allowed re-polling only in 10 per cent of the booths. Though this was far less than the actual number of booths rigged, however, it was the highest re-poll in the country.

Replying another question from the media that, had there been a strong and timely ‘mahagathbandan’ (coalition), it would have effected the outcome of the elections; Sitaram said that in more than 200 seats, which the BJP/ NDA candidates have won, their vote percentage is more than 50 per cent. Hence the strength of the coalition was not a major decisive issue.  

On the future course that the CPI(M) will undertake, he emphatically said that four major tasks have been taken. These are:

·        Defending the secular, democratic, republican and constitutional institutions.

·        Safeguarding the people’s rights.

·        In defence of civil liberties.

·        Building movements on people’s livelihood issues.