Skip to main content

BJP leaders’ ammunition to polarize society 'getting exhausted, people want change'

By Sandeep Pandey* 

As Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections draw to a close, a wind of change seems to be blowing through the state. Initially it was thought that because of farmers movement the Samajwadi Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance will dominate Bharatiya Janata Party only in western UP. Although revival of SP had begun much before the elections but it was believed that BJP would would make a comeback riding on the double engine governments of Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath.
However, as the elections moved eastwards, an issue which BJP had not taken much seriously, and neither had other political parties, that of stray cattle – sprang up as a surprise, so much so, that even the Prime Minister had to say during the fourth phase of campaigning in Unnao that BJP government, if re-elected, would buy cowdung making it economical for farmers to feed unproductive cattle.
The Chief Minister had to say, also before the fourth phase polling, that he would provide Rs. 900 per cattle per month to the farmer so that s(he) may take care of unproductive cattle. The issue of stray cattle had become a serious issue even in 2019 and should have been a cause of their defeat in parliamentary elections, at least in UP, but BJP was mysteriously able to win seats by huge margins here. There is a general belief that there was foul play in 2019 elections marked by absence of any celebrations by BJP even after a ’resounding’ victory.
Amit Shah made a surprising statement in the middle of ongoing elections that Muslims can vote for Bahujan Samaj Party. Why should he worry about BSP? People suspect that there is a behind the scene alliance between BJP and BSP and either can help the other to form a government.
However, if one talks to general people they are clear about two things. They want a change in government and are fed up with this government on various counts – price rise, unemployment, education and health care in shambles, fear and terror in the name of law and order, over publicity of government achievements on public money, general insecurity in people after COVID, etc.
Second, most people would like Akhilesh Yadav to be back as CM. Muslims and Yadavs are unanimous in this but other castes as well, from Dalits to Brahmins, also endorse this option. In seats where Samajwadi Party is not the strongest opposition to BJP, people are voting for BSP or any other candidate in best position to defeat BJP.
This is an amazing phenomenon. Muslims have been known to do this kind of tactical voting – vote for whoever is in the best position to defeat BJP. However, this time a much wider cross section of population beyond the Muslims is exhibiting this voting behavior.
BJP has always instilled this fear in the minds of people – that Muslims will one day overtake the Hindu population. That may never happen but already a much larger section of population has begun to think like the Muslims – that BJP needs to be kept out of power. Such has been the amazing effect of BJP’s polarizing politics.
The BJP leaders’ ammunition to polarize the society is getting exhausted. While Yogi Adityanath seems to be repeating, ad nauseam, that SP government used to build boundary walls of graveyards for Muslims, he has built temples, Amit Shah keeps repeating that Azam Khan, Mukhtar Ansari and Ateeq Ahmad will be out of jail if SP comes to power.
Although, he forgets to add that Ashish Mishra or Ajay Mishra Teni will never go to jail in BJP rule. Yogi Adityanath has started sounding like a bulldozer contractor rather than a CM. BJP leaders are now appearing to be unimaginative.
Finally, a day before the fourth phase of polling, they came out with a front full page advertisement in newspapers abandoning all their divisive issues and instead focusing on people’s issues. They are now talking of meeting the demands of farmers, unemployed, poor, students, etc. But even here they seem to be copying the solutions offered by other political parties like free bus ride for women, scooty for meritorious girls, cooked food a low cost from Annapurna canteens, etc.
Akhilesh Yadav is going about his task in an unruffled manner. Many people are surprised at how he has handled dissent within his party
On the other hand Akhilesh Yadav is going about his task in an unruffled manner. Many people are surprised at how he has handled dissent within his party after his last term when the SP government was said to have four and half CMs to how has taken on an entire battalion of BJP leaders, each more aggressive than the other.
He has been wise enough not to fall in the trap of BJP leaders and has ultimately forced them to talk about people’s issues rather than just harp on communal agenda. It is not just Akhilesh but even his voters who have displayed tremendous maturity.
There is silent resolve among Muslims and Yadavs this time to see Akhilesh through. Many people from other castes are also happy to be part of this desire to see a change. The BJP is in for a rude shock on 10 March. They will be humbled by a leader whose age is less than the average age of all important BJP leaders of state and centre.
Akhilesh has entered into very useful alliances with parties like Rashtriya Lok Dal, Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party, Apna Dal (Kamerawadi) which will yield him dividends as well as he sought the blessings of important national opposition leaders like Mamta Banerjee and Sharad Pawar, whom he has offered one seat.
Priyanka Gandhi has already declared that if required Congress Party would support SP. Things seem to have fallen into right places for Akhilesh and things have gone awry for BJP inspite of a much stronger leadership, structure of party assisted by Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, financial power, media and government institutions like Election Commissions, Enforcement Directorate favourable to them.
Indian electorate has always responded whenever democracy has been threatened. First time they did it when Indira Gandhi had imposed Emergency in the country suspending even fundamental rights. And now when people have started feeling that an undeclared emergency is in place and Constitution is in threat they are ready to act decisively.
---
*Magsaysay award winning social activist-academic, general secretary, Socialist Party (India)

Comments

TRENDING

Tracing roots of Hindutva Zionism: cannon fodder for 'warped' nationalist pretensions

By Shamsul Islam*  Those who believe in a world free of hegemonic ethno-nationalism, racism, religious bigotry and hatred have rightly taken note of Zionism and its ally Christian Zionism, major perpetrators of ethnic cleansing of ‘Others’. However, the civilized world with its core belief in multi-culturalism and peaceful co-existence is oblivious to a no less dangerous threat to the present human civilization: the Hindutva Zionism. As the term reads it is part of the Hindutva world-view which stands for an exclusive Hindu India minus Muslims and Christians. The other religions like Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism will have no independent status but treated as part of Hinduism. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS; National Volunteer Organization) is the most prominent flag-bearer of the Hindutva politics whose cadres presently rule India, the largest democracy in the world. RSS was founded by Keshav Baliram Hedgewar (1889-1940) in 1925 who was disillusioned with the Indian freedom st

'Blatant violation' of law by Central government in making NREGA payments

By Our Representative  In September third week, NREGA workers across the country were mobilised for two day so raise their issues and submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister. Organised the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM), a collective of groups that work with NREGA labourers across the country, workers from 13 states -- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal -- carried out Kaam Do Abhiyaan, staging demonstrations and rallies against what they called blatant violation of law by the Central government in making NREGA payments. While NREGA has had very positive impacts, it has lately become fruitless, exploiting labour, even though workers who have put in honest hard work have to wait for their wages endlessly, it was suggested.  In such a situation, there is a need to firm up NREGA implementation and end systematic corruption to ensure that workers get their basic NREGA entit

Shocking? No Covid vaccine trials conducted on pregnant, lactating women: RTI reply

By Rosamma Thomas*  A Right to Information applicant who sought details of safety trials conducted in India on pregnant and lactating women for three Covid vaccines in use in India – Covishield, Covaxin and ZyCov-D -- was shocked to learn from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) that Serum Institute, manufacturer of Covishield, and Cadila Healthcare, manufacturer of the ZyCov-D vaccine, had not sought permission for such trials.  Bharat Biotech, manufacturer of Covaxin, had sought permission for trial on pregnant women and later withdrawn its application. This response , provided after the applicant was initially unsatisfied with the response and went in appeal, is from the joint drugs controller, CDSCO. It was dated September 13, 2022. One researcher closely following the vaccine rollout, however, is of the opinion that the lack of a trial on pregnant and lactating women is a blessing; potential trial participants and their unborn babies thus escaped harm. Aruna Ro

Fascism on prowl? Religious meet 'deeply pained' at silence of Church, bishops, priests

Counterview Desk  The ‘Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace’which held its 17th National Convention at the Montfort Social Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana from 22 to 24 September 2022 on the theme “Deepening our Identity as Religious: Responding to the Signs of the Times”, has expressed concern “at the deteriorating situation of our nation on every front”, especially stating, “Fascism seems to have come to stay” in India. At the same time, the convention, which took place with the participation of 60 persons from 16 states representing 20 religious congregations, in its unanimously-adopted statement added, “We have reached abysmal depths on every parameter: be it social, economic and political”, underlining, “The poor in India become poorer every day; the rich and powerful continue to profiteer at their expense and amass scandalous amounts of wealth.” Text: We, members (63 women and men Religious, from 16 states representing 20 Congregations) of the Forum of Religious for Justice

Rajasthan cops 'halt' Gujarat Dalit women's rally: homage to untouchability victim boy

By Our Representative  In a surprise move, the Rajasthan police stopped a Dalit women's rally from Gujarat on the borders after it crossed Gujarat alleging that it would "disturb peace" in village Surana, Jalore district, where the gruesome incident of death of a Dalit boy took place on August 13 after he was brutally beaten up by his teacher on touching the drinking water pot. Sources said, while the Gujarat government had "no objection" in allowing the rally, which originated from the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), an empowerment-cut-technical institute for teens founded by human rights leader Martin Macwan, on September 24 morning, the Rajasthan police stopped it for two and a half hours before allowing it to proceed to Surana. The decision to take out a women's rally was taken at a DSK meeting on September 5 following a condolence meeting of the NGO Navsarjan Trust, also founded by Macwan, activists committed to work against caste-based discrimination, orga

Introducing non-native cheetahs is 'not equivalent' to restoring pride in the nation

By Bappaditya Mukhopadhyay*  The Cheetahs from the African continent has finally been introduced to India by the Indian Prime Minister on his 72nd birthday. The process had started with the previous Government in 2009. However, the Supreme Court clearance was pending owing to the objection by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) plea to reintroduce cheetahs. Finally the clearance was obtained in January 2020 and thereafter Kuno National Park (KNP) was chosen for the reintroduction of first set of Southeast African Cheetahs. In the near future, depending upon the success story of the current reintroduction, more cheetahs from South Africa may also be introduced. This exercise has generated a lot of interest among various stakeholders with opinions on both sides galore. It is important to pose some questions that surround the whole exercise. Let us evaluate some of these arguments. The first set of arguments are quite detached from the issues of conservation as they most

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

'Military diplomacy': US praises Bangladesh Army for leadership role in UN operations

By Kamal Uddin Mazumder* As the Indo-Pacific region represents the world’s economic and strategic center of gravity, the Indian Ocean today is becoming the centerpiece of all geo-strategic play. Cooperation in the region is crucial to implementing the international community’s global agenda, including achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Major powers like the US have enhanced and deepened their strategic engagement and leadership roles with countries in the region. The Indo-Pacific Army Management Seminar, or IPAMS, is a U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) initiated conference that is aimed at facilitating and enhancing interactions among the armies of the Indo-Pacific region. This year's 46th Indo-Pacific Armies Management Seminar (IPAMS)-2022, co-hosted by the Bangladesh Army and US Army Pacific (USARPAC), concluded in Dhaka. The objective of IPAMS is to promote peace and stability in the region through mutual understanding, dialogue, and friendship. It is the largest confer

Grave error? Scholar blames ex-Gujarat babu for anti-Christian riots 'citing fake report'

By Rajiv Shah  A few days back, I received a message from one of the finest former Gujarat government bureaucrats, PG Ramrakhiani, a 1964 batch IAS official, who retired in November 2000. I would often interact with him in 1997-99, even later, after I was sent to Gandhinagar as a Times of India man to cover Sachivalaya. Those were turbulent times. Shankarsinh Vaghela was the Gujarat chief minister, under attack from two sides – from the BJP, which he had left to form a separate breakaway party, Rashtriya Janata Party (RJP), one one hand, and the Congress, which was supporting him from outside, on the other. Ramrakhiani, in his message, referred to the book authored by Ghanshyam Shah and Jan Breman, both top-notch scholars who have known Gujarat in and out. Called “Gujarat, Cradle and Harbinger of Identity Politics: India’s Injurious Frame of Communalism”, I reviewed the book in January 2022.  It claims that Muslims in Gujarat have been turned into “new untouchables”, thanks to the Hin

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.