November 09, 2014

Once Again ‘Forked Tongue’ Politics

FINALLY, elections to the Delhi assembly appear set to take place early next year. The union cabinet, at a special cabinet meeting presided over by the prime minister on November 4, ratified Delhi Lt. Governor’s recommendation to dissolve the Delhi assembly, with immediate effect, and, thus, begin the process of fresh election in the nation’s capital. With this, the process for November 25 by-elections to three seats vacated by BJP members elected to the Lok Sabha should automatically stand cancelled. The last date for nominations for these by-elections, as notified by the Election Commission, was November 5. The Delhi assembly has been under suspended animation since February 2014 when the Aam Admi Party government headed by Arvind Kejriwal with outside support by the Congress party resigned. It is mandatory to hold fresh elections within six months of the dissolution of the assembly. The central government will surely continue the current president’s rule till the elections are held and a new government is formed. This decision has come after the BJP failed to muster a majority in the suspended assembly. The AAP and its leader, former Delhi chief minister, has alleged that the BJP made all efforts to indulge in unscrupulous horse-trading to muster a majority. Following its electoral victory in Maharashtra and it single largest party status in Haryana, the BJP appears to have abandoned such futile efforts to muster a majority. Notwithstanding these assembly election victories, the BJP has been singularly unsuccessful in the various rounds of assembly by-elections that were held since it won the 2014 general elections. Prior to the last round of by-elections in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan, three rounds of by-elections to 50 Assembly seats were held across various states of the country. The BJP-led NDA managed to win a mere 18 seats compared to the 35 assembly segments in which it had a significant lead in the 2014 general elections. Even in comparison to the earlier round of assembly elections in these states there is a sharp decline. In the later round of these by-elections in Uttar Pradesh where the BJP won a record of 71 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats, in a little over 100 days after it formed the central government, it lost eight of its sitting seats compared to the last assembly elections and seven of the segments where it recorded significant leads in the Lok Sabha elections. In Gujarat, the BJP lost three seats in comparison to both the Lok Sabha and last assembly elections. Likewise in Rajasthan, the BJP lost again three sitting seats as compared to both the last assembly elections and the Lok Sabha victory margins. In this round of bye-elections out of the 32 assembly seats across nine states, the BJP managed to win only in 12. Even in its recent electoral victories in Maharashtra and Haryana, media reports suggest that the RSS/BJP scrupulously followed its, by now, infamous ‘forked tongue’ politics of pursuing a diabolic agenda. While the issues of ‘development’, ‘Gujarat model’, ‘ache din aane wale hain’, on the one hand, are for public consumption and, on the other, the sharpening of communal polarisation and violence is its real methodology for reaping electoral benefits. That this strategy will be the backbone of its electoral tactics during the forthcoming Delhi elections is all the more apparent given the comments of senior RSS leaders following the by-election setbacks. They had commented in the media that the reluctance in making slogans like love Jihad and the Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur and Moradabad communal riots as big election issues cost the BJP dearly in these elections. “The fact remains that we got votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections because of our Hindutva related agenda. We lost elections whenever we forget our real identity and start pursuing inclusive politics. (sic)” (Mail Today, September 17, 2014). Following its Maharashtra and Haryana victories, the RSS/BJP has been assiduously sharpening its arsenal of sharpening communal polarisation in various parts of Delhi, like Bhawana, Nandnagiri, Trilokpuri, Samaypur Badli and other areas. In Bhawana area of North Delhi, a `mahapanchayat’ was held on November 2 to oppose a muharram procession that would take place on November 4. The local BJP legislator has been accused of making incendiary speeches at this gathering. Local residents have told the media like NDTV that tensions are being roused with an eye on the forthcoming elections. A small canal separates the Hindu and Muslim residential areas of a colony. Despite the minority community announcing a change in the muharram procession route that has been followed for over a decade now in order to calm down communal polarisation, the tensions continue. In Nandnagiri, North East Delhi, not far from East Delhi’s Trilokpuri, communal clashes occurred last week over some disputes between the two communities. Once again, BJP leaders, according to media reports, instigated the rioters. Using the usual disputes over bursting of crackers on diwali night, communal tensions escalated in Samaypur Badli and Majnu Ka Tila. One 50 year old woman lost her life and around 40 people injured in these incidents. The process of the consolidation of the hardcore Hindutva agenda and the sharpening of communal polarisation as the only sustainable basis for RSS/BJP’s continued governance in national politics has been taken forward by the prime minister himself. Media reports this widely in the election campaign in Mumbai. A speech appearing on the PM’s official website led a political commentator to state: “Who can deny that the current prime minister of India has re-invented himself as a mascot of resurgent Hinduism of a unique variety?” This `unique variety’ refers to the PM’s pride in India’s distanced past, which the PM elaborates, by effortlessly replacing history with mythology and philosophy with theology. It is this relentless pursuit of such a diabolic agenda that spells disaster for our modern secular democratic republic of India. It is this danger that must be squarely met by the Indian people by defeating the communal forces and thus rejecting the RSS vision of converting our secular democratic republic into their version of a rabidly intolerant fascistic ‘Hindu Rashtra’. Only when we are able to secure the foundations of a united secular democratic India can the battle for creating a better India for all our people move forward decisively. (November 5, 2014)