Did the BJP bite the semi-final dust in the recent Assembly elections in the run up to the 2019 Maha Yagna?
It appears to be so at least in India’s three heartland states. It isn’t just a perception. Perhaps Madhya Pradesh was a neck and neck run but the Congress ‘bull’ emerged as the victor even as the people of the neighboring cow belt looked on with keen interest and some amount of anxiety. Even the U.P. Mahant’s urging and goading for instant cooperation wasn’t stimulating enough. Nor could the Modi-Shah combine get the magic rabbit out of the hat. It got stuck in the button hole of Modi’s world famous overcoat. The souls of the farmers who died in desperation or had fallen victims of bullets found the BJP defeat justified and a portent to events to come.
Does this semi-final fiasco teach the BJP/Parivar bhakts a lesson? It does not seem to be so. Even as they bite the dust of defeat, they still spew venom against the Congress. The never suppressed channel haunting motor mouth Narasimha Rao was not just uncharitable but was like a beaten cobra. Even as the election results began to roll out on December 11, Rao, appearing on Times Now Channel, spewed venom at Rahul Gandhi with the appellation that Rahul was a ‘joke’ and Rahul’s visits to worshipping places were fake displays. Rao’s was a sluggish joke in desperation. That of a demoralized Parivar bhakt. The slip was showing. And, Farooq Abdullah on the same channel was succinct. His words were: ‘The slide has come.’
Yes, the downward slide has come for the BJP which acts as the pliable tool of the Sangh Parivar. Capturing political power with this tool, the Parivar’s sole aim is to convert India into a Hindu Rashtra after unhinging the nation’s democratic traditions and secular ideals. No wonder, when the houses of the farmers were burning in indebtedness and frustration, here was the Parivar fiddling its way to Ayodhya. The voices of exploited Adivasis in central India were kept on mute mode by the ruling dispensation. In the name of ferreting out Naxalites, the central and state militia dealt a heavy blow on them. No wonder Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh gave the BJP dispensation a fitting response.
Interestingly, Rajya Sabha BJP MP, Sanjay Kakade, admitted that, in Modi’s mode of governance, the much touted development agenda has taken a back seat while the Mandir issue was in the driving seat. “We forgot the issue of development that Prime Minister Narendra Modi took up in 2014, and turned our focus to statues, name-changing and the Ram temple,” news agency ANI quoted him as saying.
In order to launder black money into white through the banks, the government ordered housewives and vegetable vendors, chaiwallas and doctors to line up on public streets and deposit their hard earned cash in the bank as if they were black money hoarders. The Modi government saw no crime in the deaths of people fallen dead on the road while standing in queue before banks as victims of demonetization. That episode was justified as development-oriented display of devotion to the nation. Meanwhile, the government opened a backroom window for people like Mallya and Nirav Modi to jump out and disappear into oblivion.
India’s voting public is capable of taking to task erring politicians and bluffing buffoons. Even illiterate voters have, as it were, a built in automatic lie detector in them to expose falsehood. They will not stomach the antics of self-styled politicians who want to feed the public with slogans and freebie promises.
As time hastens towards the 2019 Maha Yagna, the nation ought to be more wary about the gimmicks the communal forces may play. The public should understand the harm being done to the unity and national integration through the Parivar’s demolition drive against secular and minority institutions alongside the push up of a nationalistic agenda. Critics say Modi, the ‘flying saucer’, has become ‘a lame duck Prime Minister.’ As he gets grounded, one hopes, the Ayodhya urge of his Mandir Bhakts and the Modi-Shah call for a Congress-free India will end in a flop shop. Perhaps, the message the voters in the heartland has given is that they prefer a BJP-free establishment.
The Congress cannot sit on its laurels at this stage but do some homework and change its gears for constructive plans in good governance. The time for mudslinging or name calling should be over. And playing communal politics or opportunistic appeasement strategies should be shunned. The nation cannot afford to be sold out to communal parties or religious outfits with their nationalistic agenda. In the coming months before the national election the electorate should be educated and prepared to say yes to parties which will ensure the strengthening of our democratic and secular institutions and genuine development of the people.(Published on 17th December 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 51)