CAN BJP GET WHAT IT GOT IN MAY 2014?

It was again a thoughtful selection by the folks working in Facebook backrooms or some algorithm working on my account this morning, if I can say so, about picking up one of my memories that I chose to scribble on my Facebook wall some time ago.

Yesterday, it was about what I had written on counting trends – on May 16, 2014 – the counting day – the counting day of the General Elections in 2014 – that BJP won comfortably (an unexpectedly, because a victory was in the air, but not with complete majority).

On a day when the 2016 assembly elections got over – on May 16, 2016 – with counting slated for May 19!

Today, it was again on a related issue – on the electoral behavior of Muslim voters.

MAY172014-MAY172016

That was in 2014 – the year of the Narendra Modi wave. Two years later, the first real test is here.

The Narendra Modi wave is certainly in reels now. Even BJP has finally accepted this.

Muslims are even more polarized against BJP now. All the analytic opinions point to just one thing – that defeating BJP has become the primary objective of Muslim voters – and the miserable performance of Asaduddin Owaisi led AIMIM in Bihar polls is being seen as a testimony to that.

Two factors that were attributed to the massive victory BJP got in 2014 are not going to work for BJP here – because assembly polls are localized, and affected more readily by caste and local issues – and because of the rush of fringe voices ever since the BJP government came to the office.

The question is – can BJP achieve the Hindu vote polarization of 2014 – at least in Assam – the only state in this round of polls where BJP has some chance? Can the luck smile on it in other states, West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, especially in West Bengal and Kerala, states with sizeable Muslim population.

Certainly not!

And the question is – can BJP see a fractured Muslim vote again – like it happened in 2014 – helping the party electorally – something that it is hoping for in a state like Assam? –

Probably not!

Let’s see what happens on May 19, 2016.

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

UTTAR PRADESH: POLARISATION VS COUNTER-POLARISATION

GENERAL ELECTIONS 2014

No Muslim candidate has won from Uttar Pradesh. Call it ‘reverse polarisation’ or ‘counter polarisation’ of simply polarisation of the Hindu voters against the perceived ‘communalization’ of the ‘Brand Narendra Modi’ pushed hard by his political opponents that has boomeranged.

The 16th Lok Sabha will not have even a single Muslim representative from Uttar Pradesh. And what is more startling (or analytically remarkable) is, it has happened so for the first time since Independence.

Though Muslim candidates are runner-ups in as many as 18 constituencies, catering to the logic of 12-15 Muslim MPs in the mainstream fight corresponding to around 18% share of Muslims in UP population, the absolute absence of a Muslim voice from Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha gives rise to the valid questions on the Muslim appeasement politics as has been practiced by the political parties like Congress, SP, BSP, RJD, JDU and other similar members.

Muslim vote polarisation has always been a reality, ever since the BJP became the main political opposition in the country.

And the BJP successfully countering that polarisation with the Hindu vote polarisation (a major factor in projecting the Modi Wave) in the General Elections 2014 is an ominous sign for the Muslim appeasement politics, for the Muslim voice of representation in the legislative and other elected bodies, and for the overall health of the Indian society that has been a meeting point of different cultures and religions.

One important pointer about it is, the winning margins in most cases where Muslim candidates are Number 2, are big. It shows the trend of a sweeping wave of Hindu vote polarisation. The backdrop of the fact that UP fought these Lok Sabha polls in the shadow of Muzaffarnagar and other riots in the state support the logic well.

The trends of polarisation and counter-polarisation, if practiced further, has the potential to divide the societies further.

And it doesn’t speak well of the future until the concerned ‘populations’ understand this ugly game of the votebank politics, that divides the societies lethally, that pushes the relevant issues to the periphery making community the pivotal point of access to the voters.

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

THE FRACTURED MAJORITY, THE CONSOLIDATED MINORITY AND THE VOTEBANK POLITICS

Ironically a rueful fact in a democracy – electoral politics in India is dominated by votebank appeasement. This votebank politics has some inherent traits.

Hindus, the majority votebank (80%), are divided and sub-divided along different caste and sub-caste lines and caste is still the major factor in deciding whom to vote for. Though, the widening base of the middle class does act independently (and so positively) of this caste prejudice sometimes, it is still a long way to go before the country can see a democratically healthy electoral process based on issues of human development.

Over the years, to exploit the caste sentiments, politicians have worked overtime to make the fissures go deeper in the fractured Hindu society by promoting caste-based politics.

On the contrary, with the minority votes, the situation is different.

They vote in pockets, more or less uniformly distributed. This pushes politicians to go to any extent to attract the minority votes. And in this minority lot, Muslims count for the biggest votebank and, so are the biggest attraction for the manipulative practice of the votebank politics.

(Now, it is matter of yet another debate if the appeasement of minorities and the subsequent votebank politics has done any good, either to the minorities, or to the overall social fabric of the country, or to democratic spirit of the country.)

The fractured majority and the consolidated minority – the paradox sums up the essence of the votebank politics in India – a paradox perpetuated by the exploitation and over-exploitation by its political class – at the cost of the democratic spirit of the Republic.

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