India is facing the "most crucial" elections after Independence where the criterion for deciding whom to vote for will not be the government's mere performance, but the fact that our secular democracy is in peril and has to be saved, said CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury."This is not an ordinary election where the ruling party of the day is judged on the basis of its delivery of its promises made at the time of the last general elections alone. The balance sheet of its betrayals is often the main issue of electoral discourse," Yechury has written in the forthcoming issue of the party's mouthpiece "People's Democracy"."This election, however, is the most crucial one in the history of Independent India because what is at stake is the very future of the secular democratic republic, as enshrined in our Constitution," he added.Yechury said the Narendra Modi-led government has mounted an "unprecedented assault" on all constitutional authorities and institutions during these last five years."The four fundamental pillars of our Constitution -- secular democracy, economic self-reliance, social justice and federalism -- have all been systematically weakened during the last five years."Hence, the primary task before India's electorate is to ensure the defeat of this government and give a mandate for the establishment of an alternative secular democratic government that must defend our constitutional republic," Yechury said while arguing that this would require a stronger presence of the CPI-M and the Left in the 17th Parliament of India."As a prominent Bharatiya Janata Party leader and MP, now seeking re-election, Sakshi Maharaj had infamously said recently that 2019 elections would be the last general election in India. This has not been contradicted by the BJP or Prime Minister Modi," Yechury wrote.He said it was imperative to "defeat these forces in order to save India", underlining that the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Left were committed to realise this objective in the forthcoming elections.