Skip to main content

2019 polls: "Mainstream" Indians accepted Hindu nationalism for their safety, security

By Nava Thakuria*
Amidst talk of majority-based politics and Hindu-centric propagandas vertically dividing the country and one man worship, the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) triumphed again in the recently concluded national elections of India. There was an undercurrent of cautious nationalism, which led to the NDA crossed the tally of winners up to 353 in the 543 member Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament.
BJP alone emerged victorious in 303 Parliamentary seats crossing the magic number (272) to form the federal government in New Delhi, where the prime opposition party Indian National Congress along with its allies remained restricted within hundred seats in the Lok Sabha.
The rightist political party, led by hardliner Prime Minister Narendra Modi succeeded in spreading its presence to almost all corners of the huge south-Asian country. States of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh along with Bengal, Odisha, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Jharkhand witnessed massive victory for candidates belonged to BJP or its allies, which was far better than the 2014 general elections.
The billion-plus nation witnessed seven-phase polling exercise (April 11 to May 19) through electronic voting machines (EVM), supported by the voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) mechanism, where over 700 million voters participated in the process.
As the counting of votes began on May 23, which started reflecting the prediction of exit polls to indicate for a comfortable majority of NDA in 17th Lok Sabha, various foreign media outlets began circulating articles to downplay Modi’s magnificent poll-victories. Those media contributors termed the achievement of Modi as one man’s over ambitious aggression to saffronisation of democracy to anti-minority trepidation.
Modi planned the electoral campaigns as Presidential style of polls where the prime slogan was Phir Ek Bar Modi Sarkar (Once Again Modi Government, not NDA or BJP government). Even though putting exclusive focus on one individual simply contradicts to the concept of India’s decades’ long Parliamentary democracy, but the entire opposition could not resist the tendency.
None could match to Modi’s personality, oratory skill and the leadership quality. Riding on a pro-incumbency wave, Modi along with saffron party chief Amit Shah promoted national pride with the clean ideology of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The Hindu nationalist leaders projected their “aggressive” foreign policy, which allegedly enhanced India’s relationship with various superpowers like USA, Russia, China, Japan, UK, Israel etc.
While the opposition leaders repeatedly termed Modi as a liar and thief, millions of electorate, including a large section of young and educated voters seemed to accept Modi’s campaign for referring to corruption free image, digitization of economy, skill development, new bank accounts to poor families, etc. At least 220 million Indians were claimed to have directly benefited from various welfare schemes of the Modi government ranging from new toilets to houses for poor families, cooking gas and electricity connection to health insurance schemes etc.
More than this, Modi projected himself as a capable leader to address terrorism, homegrown or exported from outside (Pakistan). He campaigned against dynastic politics of not only the (Indira-Rajiv) Gandhi dynasty, but also the political families of Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati, Sharad Pawar, Bhupinder Hooda, Ashok Gehlot etc.
Even in the restive Northeast, where separatist militants once ran parallel administrations, the lotus bloomed for the saffron party. The region with 25 Parliamentary seats was swept by BJP and its allies to elect 18 members to the NDA tally. Voters of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim hopted for BJP and NDA constitute Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) for their province governments in Itanagar and Gangtok.
Keeping alive the national trend, where many veteran Congress leaders lost the electoral battles, northeastern voters also rejected many influential Congress candidates. While the grand old party was losing its vote-shares, BJP nominees had two Lok Sabha seats of Tripura and one seat in Manipur for the first time.
Unlike many parts of the country (particularly West Bengal), where various phase of polling marred with violence, northeastern region witnessed very peaceful, participatory and smooth electoral process that might have helped the residents of various ethnic communities to nurture a new kind of nationalism where the electorate came forward for a “strong, safe and prosperous” India.
With Islamist-sponsored terrorism continues grabbing the international media headlines, the mainstream Indians perhaps accepted the Hindu nationalism for their safety and security. During the elections, an invisible wave of nationalism defied the relentless campaigns generated by those who claim to be secular, tolerant and liberal sections.
---
*Political commentator based in northeast India

Comments

TRENDING

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

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.”

Evolution of Sardar Patel's understanding of those 'involved' in Gandhi's assassination

By Shamsul Islam*  As the world mourns the 73rd anniversary of MK Gandhi's assassination by Hindutva terrorists on January 30, 1948, RSS, the most prominent flag-bearer of Hindutva politics, whose cadres rule India today, is found reacting angrily to the reality – that the criminals who assassinated Gandhiji were not only part of the ideological world-view of Hindu Mahasabha (led by VD Savarkar) and RSS brand of Hindu nationalism but were also connected with these. 

No Election Commission safeguard against electromagnetic hacking of EVM: Study

Counterview Desk  Releasing a new study simultaneously in Chennai and Kolkata in view of the forthcoming elections in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the Citizens’ Commission on Elections (CCE) – a civil society initiative – has regretted “lack of integrity of EVM voting”, pointing out, the Election Commission of India (ECI) does not appear to safeguard against the possibilities of ‘side-channel attacks’, i.e, hacking electronic devices through electromagnetic and other methods.

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

'Viability' of agricultural cooperatives vs govt proposed pro-corporate economic model

Dr Gian Singh* The farmer struggle started from Punjab against the promulgation of three agricultural ordinances by the Union government in June 2020 and the enactment of three bills by Parliament in September 2020 to replace these ordinances is unique in many respects. There is no other example of such a peaceful and democratic farmer struggle.

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.