HOW DID MODI WIN LIKE THIS?
By – Sanjay Singhvi
There have been many analysis from the left of the recent elections and Modi’s massive win. Some have said that it is not really such a massive victory. Some have said that the people have voted not so much for Modi and the BJP and NDA as against the Congress the UPA and the policies that they followed which led to price-rise, scams, etc. Others have pointed out that though among those independent of the UPA and the NDA, those like Jayalalitha and Mamta Banerjee, who were Brahmins, have won but those like Mayavati and Mulayam Singh who were lower casts have been defeated.
It may be true that 31% is the lowest ever vote share recorded to get an absolute majority. However, that cannot take away from the fact that this has been one of the rare times in the past many decades when a party has won an absolute majority in Parliament on its own. We cannot escape the fact that the Indian voter has voted for the BJP in a big way. In many cases the extent of the victory has surpassed even the expectations of the BJP and Modi. It seems to be also that the youth has voted for Modi in a big way. Some of the opinion polls showed between 39% and 45% of the youth wanting Modi as the Prime Minister.
Again it is not true to say that this was a vote against the Congress and not for the BJP. In fact, the Congress lost only 9% of the vote share compared to 2014, while the BJP gained over 12%. This means the even if all those who left the Congress vote bank voted for the BJP, still 3% other voters also voted for the BJP (that is almost the whole of the vote share of the CPM). Thus it is clear that there has been a universal attraction towards the BJP and particularly towards Modi.
What then has caused this attraction? I see Modi as a ruthless murderer in the 2002 riots. I see him as a willing agent of the Adani’s and Ambani’s to allow them to exploit the natural and human resources of India for the benefit of big MNCs. To me the sign that the stock market has zoomed with the victory of Modi is clear. It can be noted that whenever the workers or the exploited win a big atruggle and a big MNC like Reliance or Tatas is required to quit some project, their share prices plummet. On the other hand, whenever the company wins against the workers or the exploited sections their shares zoom. There are many examples of this – the shares of mining stocks in Goa and Karnataka plummetted recently; the shares of Tata motors plummetted when the Singur movement was on and the share prices rose again when the company was offered facilities at Sanand in Gujarat. Broadly put this is clearly explained by Marxism. Wages and profits come from the same pool – when wages rise, profits fall and vice versa. The international investors know this well. They know that Modi’s victory is a massive win for big industrialists. That is what the sudden rise in share prices indicates. The wealth of Gautam Adani has quadrupled from 1.9 billion dollars in September 2013 (when Modi’s candidature was announced) to 7.6 billion dollars today.
Looked at from another angle – who has driven up the stock prices? Who has put in massive money to buy stocks to make the prices rise like this? It is not the common workers and farmers who have been so thrilled by Modi’s win that they have decided to invest the money that they had stashed in their matresses into the stock market. It is not even rich Indians who have mainly driven up the market. There have been many reports that the present rise in the Sensex is due to massive inflow from FDI and FII. (That is also the reason why the Dollar recently became cheaper in Rupee terms). What does this mean? It only means that international finance capital is confident that Modi will implement policies that will earn greater profits for them.
So coming back to the main question – to me and many others like me who value democracy, Modi is the butcher of Gujarat. He is clearly in favour of big business and unbridled capitalist exploitation of both human and natural resources. The “Gujarat model” is nothing but further facilitating this. He is an RSS pracharak who openly flaunts his religious biases. His minister Maya Kodnaney is even today convicted of leading rioters in one of the most brutal massacres in the 2002 riots in Naroda Patia. His main man, Amit Shah, has also been charge-sheeted in a murder case and is out on bail.His communal and neo-liberal agendas clearly supplement each other. Then why did the majority of India not see him like this?
Why do the youth see him as a “doer” who has built a workable model in Gujarat for the rest of India to follow. There is much talk of a “Gujarat model” of development. A closer analysis of this model shows that it is nothing other than allowing free rein to multinational companies to move into Gujarat and exploit the natural and humen resources. Take the much touted Electricity success of Gujarat. Modi spoke all over the country of 24 hrs electricity for all the 18000 villages in Gujarat. On the one hand, this is not really true. Many villages are still without electricity and there are power cuts. However, even if we were to accept that there has been an electric “miracle” in Gujarat, we will still have to analyse how this has happened. The fact is that the GECL (Gujarat Electric Corporation Ltd., owned by the Gujarat Government) has almost stagnated. In 2005 out of the total electiricity generation of Gujarat was 59000 million units (Mus), GECL had generated 27000 MUs. By 2011-12, though the total generation had increased to around 78600 MUs, the generation of GECL had stagnated to around 28000 MUs. The figure for GECL for all the years in between varied only between 27000 to 29000 MUs. While GECL stagnated, the private companies had more than doubled their production. So while Adani Power has grown at breakneck pace as has Torrent power which has the monopoly for supply of power to Ahmedabad and Surat, GECL has been citing non-availability of coal, etc as reasons for not growing. Just to note, both Torrent and Adani power were set up before Modi came to power.
This is not only a single instance of political “hard-sell”. The GDP of Gujarat is not the best in the country by a long shot. If we take the average real growth rate of states at constant prices for the period from 2005-06 till 2011-12, Gujarat lags behind Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Pondicherry and the A&N islands. At 10.13% it is only marginally better than Maharashtra at 9.62%. It ranks quite low in the human development index. Still, the “Gujarat model” has been sold as a viable model for development in India quite successfully.
This was the defining point of these elections. This was an election created by the media. There was a media blitz. Of course a large portion of it was paid for. An article appearing in the HT (14th April) (http://www.hindustantimes.
How does this matter. Let us see the following graph of the results of opinion polls held by Neilsen from February to May this year.
It can be seen that as the media blitz went on more and more people were attracted to vote for Modi and the NDA. The following chart shows the same curves in terms of vote percentage
So we can conclude that the voter was clearly influenced by this blitz. The uncanny thing about these charts is that they accurately predict the vote percentages and seats if we merely extrapolate them to the end of April or middle of May. After all the whole difference between the vote percentage of the UPA and the NDA even in 2009 was less than 7%. Rs. 5000 crores (plus the spend by the individual candidates) was used to cover this gap. The estimate of the Congress spend is only about a quarter of that spent by the BJP.
What further conclusions can we draw from this? Clearly Modi and the NDA were backed by big business in these elections. Massive money was poured in. Of course big business has already got big returns. As pointed out above, Gautam Adani’s wealth has increased from 1.9 billion $ in September 2013 to over 7.6 billion $ now. Mukesh Ambani’s wealth grew by around 6 billion $ in the same period. Anil Ambani’s grew by 600 million $ on one day – 16th May. For them the investment in Modi has been worth it.
Why Modi? International capital clearly sees him as being most conducive for the growth of their profits. International imperialism as a system is in crisis. They have not seen the light at the end of the tunnel after the massive crash of 2008. They require to be able to exploit natural and human resources in a brutal fashion to shore up their falling rate of profit. For this they require not “governance” but a particular kind of governance. A government which will allow them to invest without any hindrance. Which will give them land at a discount. Which will take away land from farmers and give it to them without protest. Additionally they require a “strong man” who will put down even the most temperate protests. The Hindutva factor is a clear “value addition” as it can always be used to divide the country on communal lines and obfuscate the real issues. They do not want to be hindered even by such feeble window dressing as MNREGA, etc.
The analysis then: International capital is in crisis. They need to be able to brutally exploit the natural and human resources of a big country like India in an attempt to protect their profits. In Modi and the NDA, they see the best bet for being able to do this in an unhindered manner. They backed a particular horse to the hilt and doctored the race also – what is more they have done it successuflly. They fully expect to reap the benefits.
Still, this analysis leaves one question unanswered which none of the writers of the left have addressed. Why was there no alternative presented? Surely we cannot expect the Congress to present an alternative. After all the Congress development policy is the same – only with buttons on! Imperialist exploitation with a “human face” (that too only to some extent). We should not expect the “sarkari” left front to have presented an alternative. They have nothing to offer except to go back to “Nehruvian socialism” and the “welfare state”. From there the only path that they have tried to tread has led to Singur and Nandigram. They will find to their ever greater amazement and defeat that they cannot step backwards in time.
But what of us on the revolutionary left? We who can see so clearly that the only alternative is socialism!.What did we do? What alternative did we offer? We in the CPI (ML) did try to cobble together some alternative program which we published in our draft election manifesto in July 2013. We tried to conduct a debate. We have to admit that we were not only not successful in putting an alternative before the masses but we were not even successful in igniting a debate among the revolutionary left. It is of course tacit in this that we cannot put a program all by ourselves but need the broad cooperation of all the revolutionary left.
This then is the main danger that we can see from this election. If we read the articles written by the left intellectuals after the elections we do not find a single word of self criticism. Some have blamed the AAP for skewing the elections. Some have put forward their analyses of what happened. They have hidden their heads in stastical sands. Not a single one has criticised the revolutionary left for not being able to provide an alternative. Have we lost faith in ourselves?
We see the same trend in various countries. There have been massive people’s movements all over the world in recent years. From Nepal to Tunisia through Egypt. Though in some cases as in Libya, Syria and Thailand imperialism has clearly tried to appropriate the movements, even in these countries, the people have risen against the effects of the imperialist crisis – unemployment, price rise and loss of democratic space.
All over the world, the results have been the same. The left has failed to come to the leadership of the movement at the decisive moment and has given way to right reaction Egypt and Tunisia went the way of Islamic fundamentalism. Interestingly, even after the massive protests from Teksim maidan in Turkey, Erdogan won an even greater majority in the later elections in Turkey.
All this clearly shows that it is not the Congress who suffer from policy paralysis. The Congress, at best, had a lack of the correct spin. We however do suffer from policy paralysis. What alternative are we offering besides repeating as platitudes the quotations of Marx, Lenin, Mao, etc. The truth is that if Lenin had been content with merely repeating what had been stated by Marx, the October revolution would never have happened.
The world has changed. Colonialism has given way to neo-colonialism. Imperialism has built up institutions like the IMF, WB and WTO besides the UN. The UN Charter on Human Rights is their democracy – including the right to private property. The relative weightage to the right to private property will increase in proportion to the crisis. Equally will genuine democracy suffer.
Even further, to expand further, imprialism developed globalisation so that there would be unhindered flow of capital and exploitation across national boundaries. They want to be able to move capital (not money, mind you but the relation of exploitation which we call capital) across the globe at a moments notice. They have to package it as an attractive alternative in this “democracy” where they are obliged to win elections periodically. They have learnt how to do this very effectively.
But all this can only happen if we allow imperialism to have its way. After all, no amount of media blitz and spin can push an idea which is clearly wrong in the face of a better alternative. That is where we lack. We, as Marxists have failed to make a real concrete analysis of the concrete conditions and come up with a real viable alternative. At least we have failed to make a sufficient connect with the masses with such an alternative. It is not the Congress who has lost. The people of India have lost this deal in an insidious game of bluff – and we are to blame.