ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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BJP's 'Hindu' Model

The Sangh Parivar had better understand that their "Hindu" model is never going to work. The more they drive their supremacist project, the more they would alienate people.

Notwithstanding Narendra Modi’s passionate appeal from the ramparts of the Red Fort for a 10-year moratorium on casteism, communalism and regionalism, the communal intrigues by his Parivar members have not diminished. On the contrary, these manoeuvres reached such cacophonous levels during the campaign for the recent by-polls in nine states that one thought the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had gone back to its old game of doublespeak and deceit. The party had nominated its controversial MP (Member of Parliament) Yogi Adityanath to lead its campaign for the by-poll of 11 assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat in Uttar Pradesh (UP), along with the state BJP chief Laxmikant Bajpai, and Union Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Kalraj Mishra. The young saffron-clad Adityanath – an MP from Gorakhpur since 1998 – has attained notoriety for his communal antics to become the BJP’s Hindutva face. Just two days before Modi’s Independence-Day speech, he had spewed communal venom in Parliament under approving nods from Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, stressing the need for Hindus to unite against minorities. In fact, Sudhanshu Trivedi, the BJP spokesperson, has said that Adityanath was consciously chosen to be the face of BJP’s campaign in UP. It is clear that the BJP wanted to communally polarise the people, repeat what Amit Shah had skilfully accomplished in the Lok Sabha elections.

In a previous column (“Back to Monkey Tricks”, EPW, 30 August 2014), I had warned that the monkey tricks of the Hindutva brigade would prove suicidal for the BJP if such antics were not arrested in time. The by-poll results have verily borne this out. The BJP, which had handsomely won just four months ago, had held 26 of the 32 assembly seats in the nine states, but it could retain only 12. The biggest hit was in UP, the state where Adityanath led its campaign, where it lost seven of its 11 seats. In Rajasthan and Gujarat, where the BJP had swept the Lok Sabha polls, it lost three seats each. I had also warned against the unwarranted euphoria in the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) camp by indicating that despite BJP’s landslide win, its core constituency was more-or-less stagnant at around 22% as in previous elections; what made all the difference was the 40 million odd votes of the first-time voters it attracted with its development rhetoric and strategically muted Hindutva. This election surely shows this first-time voters’ disapproval of its communal politics. While the BJP could ignore this only to its peril, the broader issue it must introspect upon is the very viability of its communal plank in the future.

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