Get organized, become the rulers, and transform society!
The results of the elections to the 70 member Delhi Assembly have been declared. Aam Aadmi Party has won 67 of the seats, with BJP winning the remaining 3 seats. After 15 years of being in charge of the Delhi Government, Congress Party has been completely voted out, with no presence in the Legislative Assembly.
Thousands of crores of Rupees were spent on the election campaign, including full page daily advertisements in all the Hindi and English daily newspapers, and huge hoardings all over the city. Through television channels, FM radio, SMS messages and other means, constant propaganda was carried out by the major contestants. Political discourse was reduced to the lowest possible level, with accusations and slanders leveled against each other by the main contestant parties and their leaders. There was no informed discussion on what was the source of the problems facing people and how they can be solved.
Candidates and spokespersons of BJP, Congress Party and Aam Aadmi Party made numerous promises to the voters. They promised housing for those living in slums and other "unauthorized" colonies. They promised free water, cheap electricity, public toilets, raising the standards of government schools, establishing new schools and colleges in rural areas, increased security for women, regularization of contract workers in government jobs, free wifi in public spaces and an end to corruption and police harassment of street vendors.
The election results have raised fresh hopes and expectations among the toiling majority of residents of Delhi. However, past experience shows that election promises have rarely been fulfilled. It is important to examine the reason why the popular demands for basic rights have not been fulfilled by successive governments in the past.
The reason why electricity is not available or is too costly is because its distribution has been handed over to private profiteering companies. The reason why casual workers have not been regularized is because it serves the interest of big capitalists to keep workers in insecure conditions, denied of any benefits, so as to super-exploit them. The reason why people are forced to live in slums and resettlement colonies without safe drinking water or sanitation is because land allotment is driven by the greed of capitalists and not by the needs of working people. In short, the deprivation of basic rights stems from the capital-centric orientation of the economy and government policy.
The capitalist class, headed by the biggest monopoly houses, controls state power and sets the agenda in our country. This class is pursuing the program of globalization through liberalization and privatization, to enrich itself and its foreign imperialist allies, and to join the ranks of the leading imperial powers of the world. Rapid enrichment of the big capitalists is taking place precisely by lowering the standard of living of workers, grabbing the land of peasants and squeezing small producers out of the market. Big capitalists are reaping maximum profits in Delhi and the whole country by looting the state treasury, by plundering the land and natural resources and by super-exploiting the working class.
There are two alternatives in front of Aam Aadmi Party at this time. One alternative is to actually fight for people’s empowerment, which is the stated aim of this party. That means to take measures to reverse the privatisation of power distribution and to restrict the loot of the treasury and the exploitation and plunder by capitalist monopolies. It means to fight for radical changes in the political process so that people have a say in selecting candidates and enjoy the right of recall and to initiate legislation. It means that Aam Aadmi Party must work closely with all the progressive forces in Delhi, including the numerous workers’ unions, women’s organisations, youth clubs and people’s samitis in jhuggi clusters.
The other alternative is to more or less take the place of the Congress Party as the main parliamentary rival to BJP, thereby becoming yet another trusted party of the ruling class, saying what people want but implementing the capitalist program. This is the pressure that operates on every party that is entrusted with running a government in the existing system.
If Aam Aadmi Party adopts the first alternative, the class struggle will advance. It will, of course, increase the risk of this government being destabilized by the bourgeoisie. A party that takes the path of struggle against the ruling bourgeoisie must face this risk, in unison with all the progressive forces.
If, on the other hand, AAP places the survival of its government as top priority, it will have to confine its actions within the limits of what is acceptable to the big capitalists. Then it will not be possible to empower the people and fulfill their basic rights. It will only be a matter of time before the people start feeling betrayed once again.
The election results have shown the deep desire and aspiration among the people of Delhi for a radical change in their conditions of life and work. People need to be vigilant and watchful. We must not on any account get diverted from the struggle for people’s empowerment and for the human-centric reorientation of the economy.
The situation calls on all communists to unite firmly around the task of rallying the working class and people around the alternative to globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation. We must politicise the masses of people, in the course of building and strengthening their organs of struggle against the attacks on their livelihood and rights.