Tripura Model Electoral Violence: Lessons the Fascists teach us!

The fascists are making the opposition parties realize that their wish of defeating the fascists in the electoral arena is impossible. The fascists should be combated politically, ideologically and organisationally by organising the masses outside the spheres of elections.

The Election Commission of India (ECI), on January 18, announced the schedule for Assembly elections in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland. The BJP, which has an absolute majority in Tripura, is restraining the opposition parties by indulging in violence since they assumed power in 2018. The ECI has even launched a special campaign called “mission zero poll violence” for the 2023 Tripura Assembly polls. Within hours after the election announcement, the fascist BJP goons unleashed murderous attack on the opposition parties thereby making the ECI’s announcement a mockery.

The BJP goons attacked the Congress party workers in the bike rally they conducted in Majlishpur Assembly constituency in West Tripura district. Not only this, “there were incidents of stone pelting in rallies in Sachindra Lal colony, Mohanpur, Ranirbazar and Pritha Nagar. Moreover, petrol bombs were hurled at the Congress party office in Udaipur” said senior Congress leader and MLA Sudip Roy Barman. Barman  alleges that Sushanta Chowdhury, Majlishpur  MLA and minister in charge of the departments of Information & Cultural Affairs, acted as the brain of this attack.

Many including Tripura’s All India Congress Committee in-charge Ajoy Kumar and ex-MLA Gopal Chandra Roy were attacked. More than 15 were severely injured and admitted to the hospital. The police has arrested 8 persons in connection with this violence. Moreover, the Election Commission has suspended 3 police officers for “not taking appropriate action in time”. CPI(M) has been continuously complaining that the state police were just mute spectators from 2018, i.e., after BJP’s victory. This attack too happened in front of the eyes of the Central Paramilitary Force personnel.

In Udaipur, CPI(M) cadres were attacked by the BJP goons and the party office was set on fire. There were attacks in South Tripura and in S N Colony of Jirania, where CPI(M) ex-minister Manik Dey participated in a meeting. A CPI(M) party office in West Tripura was demolished. In Dhalai district, Pranajit Namasudra belonging to the TIPRA Motha party was killed while he was returning home in a four-wheeler.

Also Read: Karnataka, Tripura, Assam : ‘The Hindurashtra menace’ spreading like wildfire !

Seven parties including the Congress and the CPI(M) held a joint rally condemning the attacks by the BJP goons on January 21. Displaying banners and placards with ‘My Vote, My Right’, ‘Stop Poll Violence’, thousands took out the rally. Following the rally, they complained to the state Chief Election Commissioner about the violence.

Until BJP took power in Tripura, religious riots and electoral violence were unheard of. But, after the RSS–BJP Sangh Parivar mob placed their foot in Tripura, the colour of Tripura has changed. Religious riots and electoral violence became rampant. To be specific, electoral violence first occurred in Tripura during the 2018 Assembly elections. According to the statistics of the Election Commission, 370 complaints regarding electoral violence were registered during that time.

The electoral violence which began in 2018 Tripura Assembly elections attained its peak during 2021 Tripura civic body elections. Capturing polling booths, blackmailing opposition candidates and forcing them to withdraw, attacking opposition parties’ offices and their homes, intimidating people and preventing them from casting their votes have reached unprecedented heights in the history of Tripura. And the RSS-BJP saffron mob is the proprietor of this electoral violence. The BJP won 112 out of the total 334 seats uncontested in the civic body polls in Tripura. From this we can understand about the violence unleashed by the BJP.

But these attacks cannot be viewed as attacks that usually happen during elections for ensuring electoral victory. The violence has entered new dimensions and we can call it as “Tripura Model”. The attacks on the Congress and the CPI(M) are not just for temporary electoral gains but orchestrated with the intent to wipe out these parties. The fascists are creating an ecosystem which would not allow any opposition party to exist. These attacks indicate us that the saffron fascists who were taking away even the namesake democratic rights provided in the existing pseudo-democratic State structure are now dared to annihilate them.

Till date, the bourgeois parties, which could not compete with the extreme religious fanatic campaigns of the fascist RSS-BJP mob, claim that they too were protectors of Hindus. They view this as a measure to counter the BJP and put forward soft hindutva as their ideology. But they lost in the ‘Hindu protector’ competition.

Also Read: Hindu fanatic goons go berserk in Tripura ! Need An Anti-Fascist People’s Front and Protests!

The opposition parties, which do not have any intention to mobilize the people against the fascists, are now petrified as the fascists directly attack them. They stand disarmed in front of a enemy who is fully armed. No one is ready to smash the anti-people anti-democratic hindutva ideology by exposing it before the people. They are not even ready to propose an alternative democratic programme (even within the parliamentary system they believe in) and win the hopes of the people.

The CPI(M) has been in this condition for the past 25 years. Since they call themselves as Communists they need to put forward certain programs. But they do not have any obligation to implement it. So, they continue to lose their support base and vote bank among the tribals and non-tribals.

The CPI(M) Central Committee in its review of the 17th Lok Sabha elections stressed the need for concerted political, ideological and organisational work to win the people. But, the review did not transform into serious action plan. Instead the party indulges in the usual economic struggles and works which could reap them electoral benefits. The election review reports and party congress reports reveal that the party along with its support base is shrinking throughout India except Kerala.

CPI(M) is ideologically deteriorated and it thinks that revolution is capturing power through parliamentary means. It lacks proper understanding on fascism and thinks that the fascist BJP mob, like other usual political parties, can be defeated through electoral means. Even in this situation when the fascists are attacking with weapons, they ‘strictly condemn’ them and indulge in the business of publishing condemnation reports.

During the 2019 parliamentary elections, the Left Front could not post polling agents in 27 percent of the polling booths in the Tripura East Lok Sabha constituency. Now, the fascists have pushed the Left Front into a situation where they could not even announce candidates and campaign for elections. Both the party leadership and the rank and file have constricted themselves to the limits prescribed by the elections. So, they do not know what to do when the fascists attack and they make complaints to the Election Commissioner.

Because of these methods, CPI(M) did not gain anything, even in elections; but it lost many. In particular, the party is at the verge of losing its recognition as a national party. Since the people view it as just another opposition party, the votes the party gets has also reduced. The party struggle to get even 2 percent votes, no matter in how many constituencies the party contests. Therefore, CPI(M) should set aside their day dream of bringing about a societal change and defeating fascism through electoral means. In order for the party to survive, CPI(M) should at least implement the lessons we published as resolutions in our party conference.

The fascists are making the opposition parties realize that their wish of defeating the fascists in the electoral arena is impossible. The fascists should be combated politically, ideologically and organisationally by organising the masses outside the spheres of elections. This is the only possible solution. This is the lesson that the opposition parties who consider election as the solution and the democratic forces who consider elections as a method to defeat fascism should learn from Tripura experience.



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