May 04, 2014

BJP Baring its Communal Fangs

(April 30, 2014)

AS we go to the press, the seventh phase of the 16th general elections has been completed out of this marathon nine-phase election. This phase has been marked by widespread violence, terror and rigging indulged by the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. Complaints in this regard have been registered with the Election Commission with the demands for a re-poll under the proper supervision and scrutiny of the central forces. We shall have to wait for the Election Commission to take the appropriate decisions. Elsewhere in the issue, we carry the memorandum submitted by the CPI(M) to the Election Commission listing the large number of incidents that have sought to prevent the conduct of a free and fair poll. As the final two phases of the elections approach, the RSS/BJP is systematically stoking communal passions. This is because the bulk of the seats in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar will go to polls in these phases. Apart from sending the largest number of members to the Lok Sabha, UP and Bihar constitute the heartland of the Hindi belt which is crucial for the communal forces and often regarded as their strongest support base. The worst of the vote bank politics – the consolidation of the majority Hindu vote bank – is now being unleashed. The BJP’s prime ministerial aspirant himself has fired the salvo, in a recent election rally in West Bengal, warning that Bangladeshis should be prepared with their bags packed to be deported from India as the results come out on May 16. The tirade against the so-called Bangladeshis is an age-old RSS pet recipe to stoke communal passions by targeting all Bengali-speaking people. In such campaigns in the past, they have targeted, harassed and intimidated bonafide Bengali-speaking Indian citizens who hail from the state of West Bengal, particularly in metros like Delhi and Mumbai. This latest call by the RSS/BJP prime ministerial aspirant is nothing else but the signal to the Hindutva storm troopers to go on a communal offensive. As noted in the last column, this comes in the background of the efforts to raise the communal temperatures by various leaders of the numerous tentacles of the RSS octopus. Togadia’s speech additionally also served to expose the real content of the Gujarat model. By raising an umbrage over some Indian Muslims buying land in Hindu colonies in Gujarat, he has confirmed that Gujarat today is a society that is divided between Hindus and Muslims living in separated colonies. Under this present Gujarat chief minister, who aspires to be the country’s prime minister, Gujarat has been partitioned on religious lines decades after the British inspired partition of the Indian sub-continent. The next two weeks, thus, comes as a forewarning to all Indians. Such spread of communal poison and polarisation may fetch the BJP’s some electoral dividends but that shall be at the grave expense of India’s unity and integrity and communal harmony. It is by now clear that the BJP had embarked, as usual, on an agenda of double-speak and a dual track strategy. In areas where communal polarisation may not fetch handsome electoral dividends, it has harped upon development at its agenda trying to camouflage its real agenda of communal polarisation. Now that elections to most of these parts of the country are over in the first seven phases, it is baring its communal fangs. The most important consequence of this is that the disconnect between the media highlighted agenda of these elections and the pressing issues that overwhelmingly concern the voters is near complete. The people are yearning for relief from the growing economic burdens that is crippling the quality of their lives. Untiring efforts by the media seek to distract people’s attention into a spiral of sensationalism, say, like around the PM’s former media advisor’s account of his years in office. Or, for that matter, note the effort to persuade us that the BJP is underplaying its hardcore Hindutva agenda. This, notwithstanding the anti-minority `hate speeches’ delivered by its leaders. The core of this agenda is spelt out clearly in the BJP manifesto. A degree of solace is sought to be drawn by `experts’ pointing out that this agenda finds mention only on page 41 of a 42-page manifesto! We, therefore, are urged to `accept’ that the BJP, despite functioning as the political arm of the RSS, has put this hardcore Hindutva agenda on the `back-burner’. They are perfecting a Machiavellian dictum, advising the Prince on ways to consolidate his rule. This says: first show the people the worst that your rule is capable of. Then proceed not to do that. The people, then, will heave a sigh of relief singing praises of the benevolence of your rule. Indeed, reliving Machiavelli. It is clear that for the remaining two phases, the RSS/BJP are perfecting Hitler’s fascistic propaganda methods, on the one hand, and re-living Machiavellian diabolism, on the other. This is a dangerous combination of a particular methodology and an ideology that pursues the RSS agenda of transforming the secular democratic Indian Republic into a rabidly intolerant fascistic `Hindu Rashtra’. If such an agenda is allowed to succeed, then India, as we know of it today, will simply not exist. This will happen at the expense of grievous loss of lives, acrimonious communal hatred and everything else associated with it that will halt and distort the onward march of India’s syncretic civilisational advance. It is, thus, all the more necessary that the Indian people rally together to ensure that these elections produce an alternative government, alternative to both Congress and the BJP, that will pursue alternative policies, as argued in these columns earlier, which will provide both immediate relief to the people as well as build a better India for the future.