The polling of votes for the UP state assembly has been organised to take place in seven phases between 8th February and 3rd March. UP is a huge state with a 20-crore population. It has played a significant role in our country’s revolutionary politics.
Congress and BJP, BSP and SP are all preparing to the hilt for the elections with the hope of forming the government. They are competing to see who can best facilitate the loot of the state by the capitalists. These parties are giving all kinds of populist slogans and making promises to create illusions for the people. They are making every effort to divide the people and deceive them with false promises.
There is no concern in any of the manifestos about the industrial workers. There are in fact, several industrial cities in the state – Kanpur, Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Agra, Bareilly, Allahabad, etc. Crores of workers labour in these cities. These workers are victimised everyday by the capitalists. Kanpur, Mhow and Benares are known for their textile industries. But the government has shut down the big mills of Kanpur. None of the parties, the Congress Party at the centre, the BJP, SP or BSP, raise the issue of the industrial workers.
Uttar Pradesh boasts of very fertile soil. The Ganga-Jamuna and their various tributaries flow through the state. Multi-cropping is possible in the state. Wheat, chana, tur, rice, sugar cane and other crops are grown in large quantities across the state. But the peasants have been ruined because of high costs of input and not being able to realise remunerative prices for their harvest. Neither is there adequate water supply for irrigation nor is there provision of sufficient electricity. Peasants have to use diesel-operated pumpsets to irrigate their crops. This is very expensive and their costs of production are high because of this.
Take the example of the sugarcane cultivators of the state. Not only do they not get the right price for their cane, they are not paid for years on end for the cane delivered. Every government that has come to power has betrayed the sugarcane cultivators. All the public and cooperative sugar mills have been sold cheap to the capitalists. This is at the root of the miserable conditions of the peasants in Poorvanchal, the chief source of sugarcane.
The peasantry is now moving away from agriculture to other occupations. However, the state is not industrially developed, and hence people have to leave their villages and towns to move to far away states in search of livelihood.
The government is trying to acquire the peasants’ lands in the name of development for next to nothing. The colonial Land Acquisition Act is being used to achieve this in the name of “development for the people”. These lands are then being sold to companies for their private gains. People had to even sacrifice their lives to oppose this.
Casteism and communalism are being made the political issues. Most of the political parties in UP are openly talking of concessions for this or that caste or religion. On the one hand Congress is talking about granting 4.5% quota for Muslims within the OBC quota, and on the other, the BJP is talking about erecting a temple in Ayodhya. This is the way they are widening the divide between people and imposing the bourgeoisie’s agenda on them.
This is exactly what happened two decades ago, when the Narasimha Rao government began the globalisation drive through liberalisation and privatisation in 1991. The workers and peasants were fiercely opposing this drive. The Ram mandir issue was instigated among the people in order to divert their attention from the economic reforms programme. The BJP government destroyed the Babri Masjid with the connivance of and in collaboration with the Indian state and the Congress party at the centre. This event was followed by organised communal violence. The purpose of the event was to organise for massacres of the people and divert them from the liberalisation and privatisation programme.
It is to be noted that none of the parties are talking of withdrawing the policies of globalisation through liberalisation and privatisation and for reorienting the economy in favour of the people’s prosperity by eliminating capitalism. None of the parties has said a word in their manifesto about putting a lid on capitalist profits. No party has talked of comprehensive development for workers and peasants; none of them has said a thing in their manifestos about restricting monopoly prices being charged by big capitalist corporations for inputs in agriculture.
These parties are making tall promises. If one is promising to give laptops to students, another is promising to have the roads made. If one is promising welfare schemes for weavers, another is promising 24-hour electricity to peasants. If one is promising to provide grain against ration cards at Rs.2 or Rs.3 per kilo to the poor, another is promising, on coming to power, to provide treatment, free of cost all through life, for life-threatening diseases. It is to be remembered that such promises have been made over the last 65 years. Every party is trying to expose another party to show how it did not fulfil its promises when it was in power!
The bourgeois political parties are fully responsible for the destruction of UP’s natural and human resources. All these party has had a hand in one or another scam by which crores of rupees belonging to people have been looted. These scams are getting exposed because each party wants to point fingers at the other for being the most corrupt. Fact is that every one of these parties has looted the people. Resources have been plundered and today UP is among the poorest states.
Issue is how are the problems of the people UP to be solved?
To answer this, one has to think at a fundamental level as to whether changing the governments to rule the state, by turns, over the last 65 years has brought any change in the orientation of the economy of the country? Surely the answer will be a NO!
The key to solving these problems surely lies in the Communist Ghadar Party’s programme for renewal. As per this programme, the working class must lead, with the peasantry, to establish the rule of the working class, change the orientation of the economy from that which guarantees capitalist profit to that which will guarantee the well-being of people. For this, the people must unite to take forward the agenda that is in the collective interest of society.
The working class must see through the electoral drama of capitalist democracy to establish proletarian democracy in which the surplus value produced by society is reinvested for the prosperity of all in society. Towards this, the workers and toilers should take their ally, the peasantry along and intensify the struggle to take power in their own hands, by which all exploitation can be eliminated. People must be empowered to take decisions on all kinds of matters that concern them.
Communists must organise workers and peasant for this work. They have to be made conscious to reject capitalist prescriptions. The workers have to be trained to think in the interest of the working class.
Since 1857, UP has been in the forefront of militant revolutionary struggles. Based on their advanced political consciousness, the people of this region vigorously opposed the British and played a leading role in the movement for independence. The workers of our country will always salute the sacrifices made by the brave people of UP. In the Ghadar of 1857, the Hindus and Muslims had unitedly opposed the colonialists. The brutal atrocities of the colonialists forced the people to migrate to other states. It is the same story today, 65 years after independence, capitalist rule is forcing the people of UP to leave their homes in search of livelihood. Times are calling on the communists to organize all the workers, peasants and revolutionary intelligentsia around the program to open the path for the renewal of society.