Double Engine of Communal and Caste Appeal
PRIME Minister Narendra Modi has once again used his favourite analogy of “double engine growth” delivering “double profit” in Uttar Pradesh. Speaking at the foundation laying ceremony of the Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh State University in Aligarh, the underlying theme of the speech also made it clear what ‘double engine’ actually means. It is a combination of rank communal and caste appeal.
With the Uttar Pradesh assembly election drawing nearer, the BJP, under Modi and Adityanath’s leadership, have embarked on the twin engine of communal and caste mobilisation. Narendra Modi’s speech must be seen in the background of the farmers’ struggle in west Uttar Pradesh. He did not fail to remind the audience of a time four to five years ago when families used to live in fear in their homes and “sisters and daughters were afraid to step out”. This atmosphere of fear led to many people running away from their ancestral homes. This was an echo of the false claim made by a BJP MP, Hukum Singh, in 2016 that hundreds of families had left their homes in Shamli district because of the fear of Muslim criminals.
The setting up of the Mahendra Pratap Singh University was also hailed as a tribute to a “Jat Shiromani” in the posters announcing the event. It is an absurdity to reduce Mahendra Pratap Singh into a Jat leader. He was a revolutionary who, along with other Mujahideen, set-up a provisional government of India in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1915. He was the president, while Maulvi Barkatuullan was the prime minister. His socialist and secular outlook had nothing to do with sectarian religious or caste identity. But then the BJP is desperate to earn some goodwill among the Jats when the whole Jat peasant community is up-in-arms against the farm laws.
Adityanath, true to his wont, has hiked up his communal rhetoric. A few days before the meeting in Aligarh, Adityanath while addressing a public meeting at Kushinagar claimed that now everyone is getting rations but “Before 2017 did everyone get ration? Only those who say ‘Abba Jaan’ used to digest all the ration”. This crude Muslim-baiting is utterly false. All data in Uttar Pradesh go to show that Muslims are among the most deprived in the matter of delivery of essential services.
While isolating and demonising the Muslims, both the Uttar Pradesh state government and the central government wax eloquent about how they are working for development for all (sabka vikas) and all sections of people are beneficiaries of the government’s welfare schemes. It is this approach which has led the BJP to hijack government schemes in the name of the prime minister and the party. For celebrating Narendra Modi’s 71st birthday, the BJP has decided to distribute 14 crore ration bags with his photo. A government scheme of providing foodgrains is appropriated by the ruling party to glorify the leader.
With the feudal mindset of the BJP, the people of India are seen as only beneficiaries of government largesse; they are not to be treated as citizens with equal rights.
(September 15, 2021)