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Mainstream, VOL LX No 12, New Delhi, March 12, 2022

Letter to the readers, Mainstream, March 12, 2022

Friday 11 March 2022

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, March 12, 2022

The just-concluded state assembly elections of February March 2022 in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, and Goa have forcefully demonstrated again the overwhelming dominance of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as a political force in India. In all four states it has been re-elected successfully for a second term. Unfortunately, since 2014 many in democratic and left circles have, repeatedly failed to realise that the party is over; Official left circles are still caught in definitional polemics over whether BJP Hindutva politics is fascism or neo-fascism or authoritarianism, etc. Many of the opposition parties would still like to believe that they can carry on with their old ways to challenge the BJP. The big elephant in the room is that large sections of the labouring poor, including marginalised sections including the Dalits, women voters, not to speak of the middle classes and elites have become politically swayed and attracted to pro-Hindutva and anti-secular ideas. In Uttar Pradesh (UP), India’s largest and politically most influential state and elsewhere the BJP’s politics has popularised everyday sport of xenophobia, intimidation, repression against co-citizens and dissenters while engaging in high propaganda over ‘development for all’ — half-baked delivery of welfare schemes, and all that is socially acceptable to the voters, citizens and society. We hope there will a real rethink across the board by all opposition parties to work together and forge a common secular programme and an electoral pact across India without waiting for 2024. We hope that the near complete failure of the Congress party in these elections will spur moves for real organisational change and openness to work with other parties despite big differences. The Samajwadi Party campaign in UP was very good and it managed to considerably raise its vote share, but a joint and united opposition campaign in UP and all other states could have thrown up a different electoral outcome. The writing is on the wall, will there be any takers.

Tribute:

Aijaz Ahmad a leading South Asian Marxist intellectual passed away on March 9, 2022 in Irvine, California. He was best known for his work ’In Theory: Classes, Nations and Literatures’. He taught at several Universities in North America and had re-located himself in India for a period of two decades but had had to leave in 2014 for reasons of non-renewal of his visa for residence in India. He passing away is a big loss to many in the Left circles in India.

We pay our homage to Aijaz Ahmad and offer condolences to his friends and comrades.

March 12, 2022 – HK

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