Being consistent with its Hindutva agenda, BJP has managed to expose the pseudo-secular policies of opposition parties, which are now facing existential crisis. Despite their efforts to hoodwink Hindus through half-baked pro-Hindu policies, a crisis of credibility haunts the opposition camp
-Dr Duggaraju Srinivasa Rao
Mamata Banerjee, a wholesale dealer of Muslim
vote bank, was forced to announce her Hindu identity by visiting temples
In the political heat generated in the high decibel election campaign in five states which went to polls recently, the desperate calls for unity of parties to stop Bharatiya Janata Party has come from more than one state. The leaders are Mamata Banerjee, MK Stalin and Pinirayi Vijayan. While Mamata Banerjee of Bengal is facing serious challenge from BJP and has written letter for unity to all most all parties, including the Congress acting president Sonia Gandhi, DMK leader MK Stalin gave not only a call for unity but he even suggested Rahul Gandhi to lead such a united front.
The current political situation in the country is dominated by BJP. Now, BJP is the agenda setter for the Nation and also the consistent winner through its electoral agenda. BJP has better agenda and is consistent and insistent with its agenda forcing the opponents to recalibrate their strategy for survival.
Hindutva is the agenda of BJP and it never hides this. It was through successful exposure of the pseudo-secular policies of Congress and high level corruption of UPA 2 that led to BJP winning the elections in 2014 and increasing its seat number and vote share in 2019 elections. After its success it went ahead with the core ideological issues such as abrogation of Article 370 and construction of Ayodhya Ram temple. The opposition failed to convince the nation as it took the special status to J&K as a Muslim issue and not as a national issue. This gave the BJP courage to challenge the opposition on secularism versus Hindutva issue. The questioning was so intense that the opposition blinked.
The agenda of BJP was so intense and tactical that even the known atheist and rationalist parties and leaders are forced to leave their pseudo secular credentials and embrace the soft Hindutva as was done earlier by Congress and its leader Rahul Gandhi without success. The unthinkable statement that “Sabarimala Ayyappa and all deities are with LDF” came from the self-confirmed Marxist and atheist Kerala CM Pinirayi Vijayan on the beginning of polling hour and it was obviously to send a pro-Hindu message to voter. The rationalist from the neighbouring Tamil Nadu and DMK president MK Stalin announced that “we are not against Hindus and even their party cadre are Hindus and temple goers”. The second concession DMK forced to exhibit is mentioning of protecting the properties of Hindu temples and allot development fund of Rs 1,000 crore for temples and offering subsidies to Hindu pilgrims. This is certainly a step down for DMK from the high rational pedestal. That the cadre was asked not to talk against the Hindu beliefs by the top DMK brass is also a victory for BJP.
Mamata Banerjee, an established wholesale dealer of Muslim vote bank, was forced to announce her Hindu identity by visiting as many temples as possible on the nomination filing day in Nandigram. Publicly announced her caste identity and presented herself as true Hindu by chanting of ‘Durga strotram and announcing that she was in the habit of chanting that ‘strotram’ before leaving the house every day.
All the three leaders are winning their respective states as per the pre-poll surveys but still they preferred to counter BJP agenda only through a pro-Hindu stance. That was the level of desperation and the unity call for opposition coming from all those three leaders is also a desperate call.
The Indian voter has changed, more so the post-economic generation. This educated neo-liberal class is not clamored by the established narrative of Nehruvian secularism and Congress and Left propagated socialism. This generation demands recognition for merit. They all understood how the talented, like Satya Nadella and Sundar Pitchai, both heading tech giants, were lost by India to the ‘merit honoured American society’. Like Har Gobind Khorana of late sixties, who was denied a place in Indian university under the social justice policy, migrated to USA and won the Nobel Prize. The meritorious young are leaving for foreign shores depriving the Indian society of huge human potentiality. This generation is not against the social justice but they believe that social justice is never to be obtained under the existing political dispensation as that slogan is used to mobilise caste groups as a political vote bank rather than actual establishment of new social order. The current generation wants to take away that caste scaffolding and permit them to grow on their knowledge and skill. They could see, at least in two fields like sports and defense where there is no caste consideration, growth of people with hard work and merit.
To preserve their self-interests the political parties are giving a call for unity. Their leaders have fully exposed their corrupt, family centric party rulings. Even though these parties have given a call for unity there are separate castes and religious preferential groups. Therefore they can’t exhibit unity in politics. The Congress is not for such political unity as that party’s top priority is the continuation of Nehru family dominance and nothing else. For all other regional parties like SP, RJD, JDS, TRS, TDP, TMC and their chiefs the hidden agenda is the continued family grip on the party. For NCP, which claims to be a national party, the preferred agenda is Sharad Pawar’s dream of being in PM’s seat. At least the anti-Congress platform demand of late sixties are not on caste and family centric but based on the ideology. Then there were leaders with better, honest political track record compared to the present regional and national parties which are doing politics utilising the wealth and cash amassed through money laundering scams. This bunch of leaders whose desperate call for unity was not taken seriously by other parties are no desperate to get votes. Till the fight is built on ideological issue these calls may remain like five-time prayer calls blaring through mikes.
(The writer is a retired Professor and political columnist based in Vijayawada)