84 KOSI YATRA: WHAT LIES BENEATH?

Battle for perceptions dear! Perceptions!

It was naturally a political Yatra, no two opinions about that and the mileage that was sought is already in, even if it could not take off yesterday.

If Narendra Modi is the prime-ministerial face of the largest opposition party, the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), one must be prepared to come across such developments.

Modi is the most skilled politician in India who can most efficiently exploit the elements of the communal politics for political gains.

And he is right on the job. This ‘84 Kosi Yatra’ that was to begin yesterday was just an element in the grand scheme of the things Modi would be working on.

The debate whether Narendra Modi or BJP are behind this Yatra that has religious and spiritual significance for Hindus or not is irrelevant. The promoters, the mobilizers, all come from an extended family and share same ideology.

Irrespective of the outcome yesterday, everyone is talking about it, from media to political pundits to politicians. And given the developments of the day, there are clear indications that efforts are afoot to deepen the row. Let’s see what happens today.

But one outcome is assued – expect more of the chatter. And a growing chatter midst a deepening religious row would naturally add the group, the majority Hindus, in the chain of communication, the ultimate aim of such Yatras and events and this Yatra may be just the beginning of many more such measures.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu outfit that is aligned with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha (RSS), has announced this Yatra that, to begin from Ayodhya and to pass through six districts of Uttar Pradesh. VHP leaders, though detained yesterday, categorically said the outfit was going to go ahead with the Yatra.

Whatever be the developments ahead, a deepening row would certainly scale-up the stature of Narendra Modi and the BJP. Handling it is not going to be as simple as Akhilesh Yadav would be thinking.

In fact, his condition is more precarious. The best scenario for him would be to allow the Yatra to happen. In that case, nothing much on communal line would move. Raking up the RamTemple issue before every election doesn’t produce return anymore. But the blind rush to appease the minority Muslim votes blocked possibility of this option.

Now, if the row over the Yatra deepens and some untoward incidents happen today and in next few days, it may push the people to think again for the RamTemple and so, on the religious lines. And if that starts happening once in India’s most populous state, the work of Narendra Modi would become much easier.

And, even if anything like that doesn’t happen in this case, the state response already taken is enough to tell more such Yatras (or similar events) in future may produce the desired result because ‘when the situation flares up is impulsive’ that no one can predict.

Also, even if the chatter grows only, it will help strengthen the persona of Narendra Modi as the sole Hindu leader who cares for the majority sentiments. In India, perceptions still play a major role in deciding the electoral outcomes.

Communal politics of minority appeasement has been the dominant practice in Indian politics.

Narendra Modi is taking a different line by pushing for the communal politics of majority appeasement, something that he has successfully tried in Gujarat.

What is going to be and what is going not to be can only be tested on the timescale and the immediate point of reference for it on the timescale is going to be the next parliamentary elections.

For now and the time till the next parliamentary elections, it is going to be the time for the intensifying battles of perception!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

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