India election a “setback” for Modi’s BJP

PV staff  

The political left in India is calling the recent Lok Sabha (parliamentary) elections a setback for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his far-right Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP won 240 seats, down 63, and will need to work with other parties in the 543-seat lower house in order to continue governing.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) noted that the BJP had lost its majority in the Lok Sabha, which it had won in 2014 and maintained in 2019. “This is a stinging blow to the image of invincibility built around Narendra Modi, who had boasted about winning 400 seats in this election,” said the CPI(M).

The Communist Party of India (CPI) stated that the elections had “ended the one party authoritarian, corporate backed communal fascist rule of BJP headed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi” and that the people of India have spoken “in defence of our constitution and secular democratic fabric of our country and against the politics of hate, discriminations, growing unemployment, attacks on federalism, minorities, democratic and human rights.”

The elections featured what the CPI(M) called “authoritarian attacks” on opposition parties, as well as misuse of government agencies in suppressing opposition to Modi’s BJP. The CPI specifically called out the Election Commission of India for “its failure to contain the hate speeches by Narendra Modi on the issues of communal polarization.”

Both the CPI and CPI(M) campaigned as part of the 37-party INDIA bloc (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) against the BJP. The broadly-based alliance focused on unemployment, soaring prices, distress in the agrarian sector and Modi’s attacks on democracy and India’s constitution. Countering the BJP’s communalism, the INDIA bloc won 234 seats and asserted on June 5 that it will “appropriate steps” at the “appropriate time” to assert the Indian people’s desire not to be ruled by the BJP.

Within the opposition bloc, the Left parties including the CPI and CPI(M) slightly improved their results over the previous election.

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