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UP verdict underlines need for clear alternative to BJP-RSS: CPI-M

IANS | New Delhi |

The Uttar Pradesh verdict underlines the need for "a clear cut alternative political and ideological platform to the BJP and the RSS", the CPI-M has said.

"This requires both a political alternative to the Hindu communal agenda and an alternative policy platform to the neo-liberal policies," said an editorial in the CPI-M journal "People's Democracy". 

"The muscular Hindu nationalism has to be countered by a firm secular, anti-imperialist nationalism. The victory of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh marks the continuation of the rightwing offensive which began in the country after the Lok Sabha election," the Communist Party of India-Marxist said.

"The fusion of neo-liberalism and Hindutva will get further cemented.

"This presages more attacks on secular values, freedom of expression and democratic rights. The growing authoritarianism will need to be resisted and fought back through united movements in all spheres." 

The Bharatiya Janata Party with its smaller allies won 325 of the 403 seats and polled 41.4 percent of the vote, just fractionally lower than the percentage polled in the Lok Sabha election.

"The fact that (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi and (BJP President) Amit Shah could replicate the sweep of the victory in the Lok Sabha election in both scale and intensity shows that the Hindu communal consolidation combined with a wide ranging caste coalition which was cemented with a communal nationalist appeal, has worked this time too," the CPI-M said.

"Modi continues to retain his appeal as a strong Hindu nationalist leader who can deliver on development. But this latter aspect is also coded with a majoritarian appeal."

It said that though the Samajwadi Party and the BSP were essentially regional parties of Uttar Pradesh, they have no regional identity and there was no regionalized politics in the state. 

"People of UP see themselves not as part of any distinct regional-state identity but in national terms. They are thus more susceptible to the national appeal.

"In this case, the communal message was embedded within a nationalist appeal.

"The main non-BJP parties – SP and BSP who have together more than 44 percent of the vote – had no counter to this communal-nationalist platform and to Modi's economic policies.

"The narrow caste identity politics and their competitive wooing of the Muslim vote could not match the overarching appeal of Hindu nationalism which cut across caste lines," the editorial said.