Swadeshi fascism and Indian democracy

Nitya Chakraborty

India is passing through treacherous times. There is no Dickensian dual scenario-it is one way- it is the worst of times. Indian democracy is at peril. The voice of dissent is being throttled. The ruling establishment is encouraging the most heinous type of abuses and abetment to violence in social media.; Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is considered as the darling of the online netizens, has found no time to send any condolence message on the brutal murder of  one of the most respected journalists in the country Gouri Lankesh. Rather, he is following in twitter still the saffron heroes of online who are expressing glee at the death of one of the anti- Hindutva voices in the media. There is fear, apprehensions in the Indian media, more so in the states and the districts as the different segments of the Sangh Parivar are getting emboldened to take on the dissenters who question them or oppose their actions. Everything has to be in their way, otherwise?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stopped talking about acche din in the fourth year of his rule. The economic situation is pretty grim and the NDA government is having comfortable time only because the opposition parties lack the strength and determination and the main party the Congress is rudderless. Vice-president Rahul Gandhi is still not in a position to galvanise the party supporters and connect them to the disgruntled masses who are angry with the policies of the Modi regime. The opposition parties have started making some joint efforts but that still lacks the required dynamism   to meet effectively the BJP challenge. The opposition has not been able to mobilize the affected masses against job losses and the distress in the informal sector of the economy which have adversely affected the minorities and the dalits.
Even in the urban sector, distressing reports are coming about job losses. A leading consultancy firm has reported that major manufacturing firms axed around 30 per cent of their staff in 2016 and in 2017, the level of retrenchment will touch 40 per cent. Demonetisation and massive de stocking before the launch of the GST regime took a toll on the manufacturing sector that grew just by 1.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2017-18 as compared to 5.3 per cent in the preceding quarter of 2016-17.While rising automation has impacted job opportunities, the sector has also been hit by low demand and rise in costs.
As a result, the top BJP leadership is worried about the mood of the people in the coming state assembly elections. Their only hope is the opposition disunity and the leadership incapacity of their main opposition the Congress, The BJP leadership is going ahead with the implementation of the saffron agenda with the objective of attaining Hindu Rashtra by 2022 which the Prime Minister terms as New India. The core values of the Indian nation have been challenged by the Modi government and one by one, the institutions are being saffronised with the objective of completing the agenda by 2022.The initial signs of fascism are visible and if the opposition parties who are opposed to the saffron agenda, do not unite to fight the BJP agenda right now, it will be too late later as the saffron forces will further consolidate and the trends of fascism will get further accelerated.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi sometime loosely uses the word fascistic to condemn some of the activities of the BJP and the RSS but he hardly has an overall strategy to fight these forces. It has to be broadest possible front of the democratic forces including the civil society groups, the NGOs, the mass organizations and the urgent economic issues also have to be included in the common programme to fight saffron forces.
The CPI which is the second party of the Left Front has taken the view that the present BJP government is fascistic but not fascist yet. But the CPI is of the opinion that the Left on its own, is not in a position to undertake the task of combating the communal forces on the basis of its own programme. It has to be broadbased and has to include the Congress. The CPI attended the Lalu rally in Patna on August27 though the CPI(M) abstained. Here the CPI has a stand which is similar to the position taken by the CPI general secretary Sitaram Yechury and the West Bengal leaders. They understand that no real anti-BJP front is possible without Congress participation. The division in the CPI(M) central leadership  is harming the total unity of the anti-BJP forces and that is damaging  the  future of the Left.
For the opposition, time is running out. Rahul Gandhi has to focus all his attention on achieving maximum unity of the anti-BJP forces and transfer the fruits of that in the coming state assembly elections. The masses are fed up with the BJP governments and the policies of the centre. They have to be given confidence. If the Congress can do well in Gujarat, that will be a game changer and that will have very positive impact on the other crucial assembly elections in 2018.As regards the CPI(M),  though it is a bit late, but still the Party leadership can change its anti-Congress position and  take a leading role in the fight against BJP as a  front ranking member of the opposition front. The fight against the initial signs of fascism has just started. It has to get wider dimensions in the coming days and that is possible with the joint participation of the entire Left and the Congress. (IPA)

Wednesday, 20 September, 2017