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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

CPI(M) analysis concludes Indian elections constituted a "significant setback" for the governing BJP, calls for vigilance


Flags fly at a rally in Kerala in April - image via the CPI(M)

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)) Polit Bureau met on June 9 and has issued a statement that looks at, among other things, the recent elections in the country.


The CPI(M) analysis concludes that:


  • the elections constituted a significant setback for the governing BJP

  • the results would likely have been more adverse for the BJP had the elections been fair and held with a level playing field

  • much of the media were complicit in trying to turn the election in favour of the BJP and giving only its viewpoint

  • despite their gains the INDIA Bloc parties will have to remain vigilant against increased government authoritarianism

  • the results for CPI(M) and the Left parties were disappointing, especially in Kerala



Elections to the 18th Lok Sabha


The results of the elections to the 18th Lok Sabha constitute a significant setback for the BJP. The people of India, asserting their defence of the Constitution and the secular democratic character of the republic, have deprived the BJP of a majority it had secured in the last two Lok Sabha elections of 2014 and 2019. Having campaigned to reach a figure of 400 plus, the BJP's tally is now 240 seats, 63 fewer than the 303 seats it held in the outgoing Lok Sabha. This is over a 20 percent reduction. The BJP is now 32 seats short of a majority on its own. However, with its allies winning an additional 52 seats, the NDA has 292 seats, which is 20 more than the required majority.


The INDIA bloc parties have together won 234 seats, 38 seats short of a majority. ECI data shows that all the constituencies of the NDA put together got 43.31 per cent of the votes polled. The constituents of the INDIA bloc got 41.69 per cent. The difference of vote share between both the combinations is less than 2 per cent.


These elections were held amid widespread attacks on the opposition parties, brazen misuse of Central agencies, and massive use of money power. The run-up to the elections saw two chief ministers jailed, and bank accounts of political parties like the Congress and CPI(M) (in one district in Kerala) frozen. Opposition parties like the NCP and the Shiv Sena were targeted and split through the use of money power and threats and intimidation by Central agencies. The BJP resorted to all sorts of political manouvres to divide the opposition and succeeded in wooing back the JD(U) to the NDA fold.


The results would have been more adverse for the BJP and the NDA if the Election Commission had ensured a level playing field. The Election Commission's role was complicit in advancing the BJP's agenda. Its abject failure, in fact, refusal, to curb the inflammatory communal rhetoric of Modi and many BJP leaders rendered the Model Code of Conduct infructuous.


Its initial reluctance to disclose the data on votes polled raised suspicions of manipulation, which severely undermined the standing of this Constitutional authority.


The BJP exercised total control over large sections of the media to propagate only its viewpoint. This was reflected in the highly exaggerated Exit Polls. With a complicit corporate media, the BJP spent a huge amount of resources for spreading its narrative and disinformation through the social media. It used its massive money power to influence voting patterns and, in many places, distributed thousands of crores of rupees directly to voters.


INDIA bloc parties focused on the issues of people's livelihoods, such as unemployment, price rise, agrarian distress, etc., apart from highlighting the threats to our Constitution, democracy, and civil liberties. The massive struggles conducted by all sections of our people on their livelihood issues, especially the kisan struggles, significantly contributed to the results. In the farming belts in five states of Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Western UP, BJP lost 38 of its sitting seats. Rural India reacted against the Modi government's destruction of their livelihoods, which saw rural real wages remaining stagnant throughout the Modi decade. It has been estimated that in 159 rural constituencies, people voted for change.


Despite being deprived of an absolute majority on its own, the efforts to reestablish Modi's hegemony will continue to strengthen. INDIA bloc parties will have to remain vigilant to resolutely oppose and defeat all efforts to strengthen Hindutva authoritarian tendencies and the Hindutva-corporate nexus and to safeguard secular democracy, people's livelihood, economic sovereignty, social justice, and federalism. The struggle against Hindutva authoritarianism using fascistic methods will have to be strengthened further in the days to come. This has to be done both inside and outside the Parliament.


Left's Performance


Left parties have marginally improved their presence in the Lok Sabha with 8 MPs [CPI(M) 4, CPI 2, CPI (ML) 2].


The Polit Bureau expressed disappointment at the CPI(M)'s performance, especially in Kerala. An in-depth introspection will be undertaken by the Party on the basis of the reviews conducted by the respective state Party units.

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