Skip to main content

Bihar polls: Why desperate bid to impose fragmenting agenda after securing  a mandate for modern India?

Nitish Kumar
By RK Misra*
Mindsets chasing mandates have a maudlin mentality. They put band-aid on a cut finger when seeking power but amputate from the elbow when safely settled. And, all in the name of public interest. Headed by a modern day prime minister elected on a landslide development mandate ,the BJP still needs to fall back on crass communal polarization in the Bihar State Assembly elections, brings out its total bankruptcy of ideas.
A party as old as Independent India which seeks to give a new vision to the country has even failed to clothe its age old polarization formula in more trendy wear. Many of us media persons had watched the polarization drama unfold in the 2002 Gujarat Assembly elections that followed the Godhra train carnage and the statewide communal riots thereafter.
It was then personally led and spread by Chief Minister Narendra Modi through his Gaurav Yatra launched from Phagvel in Central Gujarat on September 8,2002.His speech was all about the ‘daughter of Italy’ and how the Congress could not return to power wearing ‘Italian spectacles’. It did in 2004 and ruled the country for two terms. Modi’s speeches of the time in all its virulence still litter the ’you tube’ landscape.
Time and tide seems to have brought about hardly any change .Three Vidhan Sabha elections in Gujarat and three Parliamentary elections later in a state election in Bihar, it is almost the same communal film in playback mode. There is neither any improvisation, improvement or updating.
In the 2007 State Assembly elections in Gujarat, when Modi carried out his first poll campaign based on a staid developmental agenda ,it had failed to enthuse an audience long used to an opiate of aggression .Within 24 hours he switched communal gears and cottoned onto the ‘maut ka saudagar’ remark by Sonia Gandhi to win back his audience. Eight years later, it has been the same strategy in the final phases of the Bihar elections.
Traditional BJP politics has seen a counterfoil combination holding forth with Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s soft, sombre, poetic persona matched by LK Advani’s hardline ,matter of fact exterior. Modi prefers to play solo so for all the borrowed aura, party chief Amit Shah remains at best a ‘Sancho Panza’, a loyalist not an equal despite sharing space alongside the boss in the hoardings in Bihar.
These also had to yield ground when the ‘soloist’ was effectively matched in the campaign offensive by the hard-soft combination of Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar. Lalu was more than a match for Modi’s rough talk while the Bihar Chief Minister kept to the developmental agenda .Every lob had a matching volley, every abuse was traded with an acerbic diatribe.
Nitish’s tantric picture was promptly answered with Modi’s astrologer foray (Bejan Daruwala). A new low in parliamentary democracy was struck when a prime minister who swears by federalism charged a chief minister (Nitish Kumar) with protecting terrorists.
The final outcome of this contest notwithstanding, the fact that Modi was forced to turn to the tried and tested communal agenda in his final poll pitch is proof enough of the imminent attack of nerves. If Nitish-Lalu were targeted for proposing reservation for Muslims in 2005, the Congress was held to charge for the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.
Targeting Nitish rule, Modi seems to have forgotten that the BJP was in alliance with Nitish’s JDU in 2005 and 2010 Assembly elections. Amit Shah’s attempt to build communal phobia with his reference to celebratory cracker bursting in Pakistan if the BJP loses in Bihar may have turned him into a butt of ridicule but his party remains unfazed. It has come out with a mother of cow advertisement to milch the animal for poll purposes on the penultimate day.
It is ironic that the RSS swears by the highest values of national unity and it’s political outfit ,the BJP practices blatant communal polarization to win an election. Do you need a Pakistani ISI to sow discord when your own are doing a much better job? How does communal polarization, beef politics, poisoned barbs from ruling hot-heads, murders and mayhem help the cause of national unity?
Why the desperate, even frantic hurry to impose a fragmenting agenda after securing a mandate to build a progressive and modern India? Would prioritized consolidation of power through people oriented measures not be better strategy than expending energy in re-writing history and dismantling the old before creating the new?
The national manufacturing output has hit a 22 month low this October. The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which is considered a single figure indicator of manufacturing performance, has registered a third straight monthly fall. Alongside comes the revelation by HSBC whistleblower Herve Falcini that “millions of crores worth illicit funds” are flowing out of India. 
The man who is facing charges of leaking details of account holders of the HSBC Geneva branch accounts in Switzerland has expressed willingness to cooperate with official agencies in their black money probe. “The government lacks seriousness in pursuing the stashed cash”, he says.
Falcini’s leaked list had reached the French government which shared the details of its indian accountholders with the government here. The Supreme Court has been beseeched with a plea that the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) which was initiated to provide employment to the rural poor is languishing because the centre has not released Rs 3500 crore to states since 2012.
The Centre has been put on notice by the apex court. Faced with a National Green Tribual (NGT) whose pro-active role in environmental protection is causing acute discomfort for environmental violators, the NDA government at the Centre is planning a new watchdog body that will stifle the NGT and make legal action against polluting industries more complicated.
The crowning glory, however is the allotment of 10,Rajaji Marg, the former residence of the late President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam to the union culture minister Mahesh Sharma. The union culture minister hit the headlines for his uncultured remark that “Kalam was a great man and a humanist despite being a Muslim”. A former BJP union minister, Arun Shourie whose respect as a journalist stands tall put it aptly when he said, “allotting the house in which Kalam lived to the minister was like” spitting in the face of the people.
This is really symbolic. But then symbolism is lost on a government which prides in humiliating and wearing down the students of its premier institute of cinematic excellence, the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) despite the stalwarts of the profession voicing support for them.They are our own children, not enemies.
Just because a leader of the Opposition visited them does not make them Congress henchmen.They have a just point which should be respected. The BJP has big film industry names in its ranks who would have done justice to the job. But this was not to be. Not where pettiness rules and prejudice governs with a strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles in an egotistical environment.
---
Senior Gandhinagar-based journalist, RK Misra’s blogs can be accessed at http://wordsmithsandnewsplumbers.blogspot.in

Comments

TRENDING

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

Kailash Satyarthi NGO makes slum kids laud RSS founder Hedgewar as freedom fighter

By Rajiv Shah  In a move which may raise many an eyebrow, a Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi-supported child rights NGO has celebrated Prime Minister Narendra Modi-intitiated Har Ghar Tiranga by commemorating 75 freedom fighters by "narrating their famous deeds and chanting slogans of each leader", including Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose, Lala Lajpat Rai and a person who had little or nothing common with the freedom movement -- RSS founder Keshav Baliram Hedgewar. A communique from the Kailash Satyarthi Childrens Foundation (KSCF), which organised the event, said among the freedom fighters celebrated by 75 children on the occasion of 75 years of India's independence placing photographs of each freedom fighter included that of Hedgewar, who is alleged to have maintained a distance from Indian Independence movement led by Gandhiji. According to Hedgewar's biography, when Gandhiji launched the Salt Satyagraha in 1930, Hedgewar sent information ev

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Unlike other revolutionaries, Hindutva icon wrote 5 mercy petitions to British masters

By Shamsul Islam*  The Hindutva icon VD Savarkar of the RSS-BJP rulers of India submitted not one, two,or three but five mercy petitions to the British masters! Savarkarites argue: “There are no evidences to prove that Savarkar collaborated with the British for his release from jail. In fact, his appeal for release was a ruse. He was well aware of the political developments outside and wanted to be part of it. So he kept requesting for his release. But the British authorities did not trust him a bit” (YD Phadke, ‘A complex Hero’, "The Indian Expres"s, August 31, 2004)

Gujarat's 'low-key' communalism: right-wing groups compete for anti-Muslim space

By Rajiv Shah  Noticing the emergence of a novel trend, a just-released report based on a fact-finding team's observations following its interaction in particular with Hindu and Muslim political activists, administrators and police officials, has claimed that a major reason why chasm between the two communities in Gujarat has lately reached new heights is, a veritable competition between Hindu right-wing groups and leaders to capture the existing communal space. Titled "Hindu Right, Communal Riots and Demolitions: Emerging Pattern of Communal Riots in India", the report has been prepared against the backdrop of what it calls "low intensity" communalism which has characterised rioting in Gujarat in the recent past, especially after the 2002 communal carnage, one of the worst in Independent India. Especially focusing on riots in two Gujarat towns, Himmatnagar and Khambhat, which took place on April 10, the day clashes broke also out in different parts of India on

Why global recession is 'big threat' to India, despite Nirmala Sitharaman’s bravado

By Prasanna Mohanty*  It would be imprudent to assume that a global recessionary trend will bypass India. In fact, a day after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman categorically ruled out the possibility of recession and stagflation (with high unemployment and high inflation India is technically witnessing stagflation) hitting India in her responses to the Parliament earlier in the week, Commerce Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam dropped a bomb shell. He released latest trade data showing fast deteriorating trends. The data showed, in July 2022, exports fell to five-month low of $35.2 billion and imports sequentially increased to $66 billion. The details revealed a fall in seven of top 10 export items: engineering goods, petroleum products, gems and jewellery, pharmaceuticals, readymade garments, cotton yarn and plastics. All this happened, Subrahmanyam acknowledged, due to the growing recessionary trends in developed countries and elevated commodity prices. The trade deficit (merchandise g

RSS, Sangh Parivar consider tricolour as "state flag" and not "national flag"

By Teesta Setalvad* Today, when the nation has been independent for 67 years, the Sangh Parivar is set to launch ‘Tiranga yatras’ and Satyagrahas to defend the honour of the flag and the nation. Yet when the Indian people were involved in the decades-long struggle for freedom against British imperialism, the RSS was conspicuous by its absence in the struggle. When thousands of people faced lathis, bullets and jail sentences for hoisting the tiranga and participated all over the country in satyagraha during the Civil Disobedience and Quit India movements against the British Raj, the Sangh publicly took the stand that it would not take part in the movement and seldom missed the opportunity of assuring the British rulers that they would keep to the right side of colonial law and avoid any clash with the authorities. Of course the reason given for this was that the Sangh was secretly strengthening itself and would take on British imperialism only when it was strong enough to do so! A simil

Bangladeshi women crossing borders: Demand to sensitise cops, BSF personnel

Counterview Desk  Bringing more instances of how the security personnel along the borders in West Bengal refuse to probe the human trafficking angle while arresting Bangladeshi women, human rights leader Kirity Roy has said, they are treated as accused in violation of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Government of India and the Government of Bangladesh on Bilateral Cooperation for Preventing of Human Trafficking, especially trafficking in Women and Children. In a letter to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), and national convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI), Hooghly, said, “The victims should be immediately repatriated to their own country and the criminal charges against them must be withdrawn at the earliest”, insisting, “The matters must be handled by the police or the BSF personnel with a human approach.” Text: I am writing this complaint regarding det

Need to ask at today's 'critical juncture' of India's history: Whose Freedom@75?

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  The official propaganda states that: “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav is an initiative of the Government of India to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of independence and the glorious history of it's people, culture and achievements. This Mahotsav is dedicated to the people of India who have not only been instrumental in bringing India thus far in its evolutionary journey but also hold within them the power and potential to enable Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of activating India 2.0, fuelled by the spirit of Aatmanirbhar Bharat. The official journey of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav commenced on 12th March 2021 which started a 75-week countdown to our 75th anniversary of independence and will end post a year on 15th August 2023.” So as India completes a landmark seventy-five years of freedom – a platinum jubilee – the only question one needs to ask at this critical juncture of the country’s history is “whose freedom@75?” Since March 2020, it has been a di