Chhattisgarh : Congress defeat by playing with Shakuni’s dice!

This satire has become popular that people want Congress to win, but if Congress is helping in making BJP win, then what can be done?


Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections results have failed all exit polls. Many hopeful observers who were thinking that Congress would win the battle while struggling for breath, have been deeply disappointed. But the results are not unexpected, the statistics are witness to this. In the 2018 assembly elections, BJP got 32.3% votes and compared to the year 2013, there was a decline of about 9% in its votes. These vote were pulled by the alliance of Jogi Congress and BSP combine. But only after six months, these votes returned to it in the Lok Sabha elections and it got 50.7% votes. It is clear that Congress votes had also fallen in its kitty. Congress, which got 43.9% votes in the 2018 Assembly elections, got only 27.3% votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In the 2013 assembly elections, Congress had got 40.3% votes and in this assembly election also it has got 42.1% votes. Its vote base has declined in the last five years, despite the fact that it has taken steps like the ‘NYAY schemes to provide some relief to the rural people. Congress leadership has failed to learn the lessons from these figures. Instead of countering BJP on political and ideological grounds it chose to play it with Shakuni’s dice. Playing on BJP’s ground led to its downfall. In this, one cannot ignore the arrogant functioning of Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, who chose the line of ‘soft Hindutva’ to compete with the BJP.

Congress’s dream of coming back to power in Chhattisgarh has been shattered, the reason for Congress’s defeat is clear. When the arrogance of power comes to the fore, it alienates the people as well as its own supporters. Despite being in power, Congress was so weak that even the band-aid of Rahul-Priyanka-Kharge trio was of no use. Five years ago, by rejecting the BJP, the people had given the Congress an opportunity to present an alternative to the communal-corporate policies of the BJP, but after coming to power, the Congress decided to follow the path of ‘soft Hindutva’ and worked towards snatching the ownership of Jal-Jungle-Zameen of Adivasis. As a result, half the MLAs including 9 Congress ministers have faced defeat. This also includes Congress’s biggest face of Hindutva, Vikas Upadhyay (Raipur West), whose victory of 12212 votes in the last election turned into defeat by 41229 votes. Such an ardent Hindutva fanboy, he organized the conventions with the charlatan babas who preached ‘Hindu Rashtra’ and abused Mahatma Gandhi. Mohd. Akbar, the secular face of Congress also had to face defeat from Kawardha by 39592 votes. BJP has systematically turned Kawardha into a laboratory of communalism. After the election results, videos showing slogans to “drive out Pathans” have gone viral, signalling the arrival of “acche din” under BJP rule. This also includes the defeat of short-term Deputy Chief Minister T S Singhdev, who was in the race for the post of Chief Minister, in Ambikapur. The style of working of Bhupesh Baghel, also called ‘Chhote Modi’ in political circles has resulted in such a consequence for Congress in Chattisgarh. It is to be seen what role does he play along with his band of defeated ministerial candidates.

Chattisgarh: Farmers and adivasi organisations join the nationwide strike against Coal auction

In the context of Chattisgarh and MP election results, Badal Saroj, a seasoned activist’s comments is noteworthy. He says- Playing with Shakuni’s dice ensures Shakuni’s victory!! Somehow Congress high command and Bhupesh Baghel havent learnt this history lesson. This satire has become popular that people want Congress to win, but if Congress is helping in making BJP win, then what can be done?

Hasdeo Forest Protest march

In the last five years, the number of vacant government posts has been increasing and the promise of regularization has not been implemented. Bastar has become more militarized for the plunder of water, forests and land and along with it, atrocities on the tribals of Bastar have also increased. No action was taken on all the reports that came to light, including the Tadmetla incident. When five tribals were shot dead by security forces in Silger, no action taken against those responsible. The journalists who spoke against the actions of the ruling party were attacked. By making rules against the basic spirit of the PESA Act, it was made ineffective, Due to this powerful minister TS Singhdev had to leave the Panchayat department. Everyone also saw the deception of Congress when it handed over the coal mines of Hasdev Aranya to Adani. The administration was also run with the help of the same people who were earlier the props of BJP. The public’s experience with corruption was worse than that of the BJP. BJP openly misused central agencies like CBI and ED, but the general public had no sympathy for those who were implicated, because they are really corrupt. These actions not only diminished the impact of the ‘NYAY schemes’, but also eclipsed the credibility of the Congress’s election promises. Along with remaining silent on tribal rights, Congress also carried forward all the Hindutva-based projects of the BJP rule. Among these were the Ram Van Gaman Path and the construction of Kaushalya Temple. Congress was organising functions based on Ramayana and Hanuman Chalisa recitals. The appointees to all the institutions were also the ones whose devotion towards Sangh and BJP was well known. Due to this, Left progressive forces that had helped Congress in winning last elections also separated from the Congress.

It is said that the path to power in Chhattisgarh passes through the tribal villages of Bastar. Bastar was seething with fierce discontent during the Congress rule. Dharnas and demonstrations have been going on in Bastar for the last two years on the question of rights of tribal communities over jal-jungle-zameen and supremacy of Gram Sabha under PESA law. On an average 40-50 thousand people were participating in them every day. But the Congress government did not take any decisive steps on the question of constitutional rights of tribals. It was clear from the first phase of Bastar voting that the path for Congress is no longer easy. But Congress faced even more crushing defeat than Bastar in tribal-dominated Surguja, where it lost all 14 seats. Thus, Congress has suffered a crushing defeat in both Bastar and Surguja tribal divisions. Out of 26 seats here, Congress has been able to win only 4.

BJP won by riding on the discontent against Congress. Earlier Congress won also riding on discontent against BJP. Congress’s weakness towards secularism and abandonment of Nehruvian policies gives strength to BJP. The politics of communalism and hatred has affected the reasoning ablities of common people and they stand in favor of the BJP. Therefore, in Chhattisgarh, the victory or defeat of Congress or BJP is not based on positive votes but only on negative votes. Besides, being the largest party of the INDIA group, and keeping in mind the goal of the Lok Sabha, the Congress did not show the large heartedness that should have shown towards its allies. Its arrogance became its undoing. In this assembly election, BJP has got 46.2% votes and Congress has got 42.7% votes. The difference of 3.5% votes has increased the gap in seats. AAP, BSP, GGP and Left parties got about 3% votes. To increase its support base, if it had demonstrated political acumen and formed an alliance with the parties of INDIA Group and also made understanding with the Social Left, the results for the Congress would not have been so disappointing. The performance of Congress in three Hindi speaking states proves that now Congress alone is not capable of handling the communal-fascist challenge of Sangh-BJP at the national level.

On the other hand, BJP left no stone unturned in hurting the support base of Congress. BJP used Jogi Congress against Congress and also fielded Amit Jogi against Bhupesh Baghel. It also openly helped Congress-rebel candidates.  Due to its tie-up with corporates and opaqueness of electoral bonds BJP is the richest party in the world today. It misuses this money power to weaken the opposition’s support base. It helped both Jogi Congress and Arvind Netam’s Hamar Raj Party. This has affected the performance of Congress. As an opposition party, BJP has given communal color to every small issue in the state. It has created communal tension in tribal areas. The situation has become so bad that the administration itself has done the illegal work of removing the dead bodies of the relatives buried on their own private lands by the tribals who follow Christianity and transferring them to Christian cemeteries several kilometers away. BJP has benefited from such communal attitude of the administration and Congress has had to suffer the consequences of not being able to protect the human rights of the tribals and their life and property.

As far as ‘freebies’, in BJP’s terminology, are concerned, both the parties have now understood that their boat cannot sail through the elections without talking about social welfare and making announcements. The cost of welfare schemes, announced by Congress was Rs 71000 crore, while the cost of BJP’s announcements was Rs 65000 crore. The plans were also similar. The general experience of the public is that whichever party comes to power, it is not honest towards its promises and declarations. The BJP ruling at the Center has reneged on the promise of providing employment to two crore people every year and giving remunerative support prices to the farmers, and the reneging on the promises made by the Congress, which is in power in the state, to the employees is also seen by the people here. Corruption and favoritism have also been seen in the schemes they have implemented. But when ‘Big Modi’ prevailed over ‘Small Modi’, this was due to the weak election campaign of the Congress and its failure to properly implement the promises made in 2018. Due to this, there was huge resentment among the middle class and employees towards Congress. Reasons for BJP victory can also be traced to the BJP’s extra emphasis on housing and employment issues, its policies of communal polarization and social engineering, etc.

After coming to power, BJP’s Hindutva politics will become even sharper. Even before taking oath, it has raised the issue of conversion. It is not ready for caste census. The coming of BJP will prove to be a disaster for the tribals and Dalits. Along with this, its struggle with the secular and social justice forces will also intensify. This struggle will also be for the implementation of the promises which the BJP has made to win the elections and which till date it has been calling ”free bies”. Now it is certain from these election results that Chhattisgarh is going to emerge as a new ‘battleground’ between BJP and anti-BJP forces, between Sangh and anti-Sangh forces. This battle is fought and can be won only by giving political-ideological edge against BJP.

(The author is a left activist. Contact: 94242-31650)


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May 2024


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