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/

RAM TEMPLE SHOULD NEVER BE AN ELECTORAL ISSUE BUT!

A media report quoting the original litigants in Ayodhya Ram Temple issue asked if the Ram Temple was the biggest issue in India.

Certainly it is not. And it should never be.

A God, be of any religion, never allows violence in His name. And so, the multitudes of us, who indulge in violent activities in His name, are not his followers but traders of His name for our own benefits; for our own selfish agendas. Politicians acquire the highest place in this category of traders, the mercenaries of Faith. And millions of us act as their stooges, the idiots!

Fortunately, it has not been an issue for over a decade now.

Unfortunately, in the prevailing political circumstances of the country when moral corruption has shadowed the ethical politics completely, it can emerge as ‘the principal issue’ or ‘one of the principal issues’ anytime.

The cocktail of religion and politics in the run up to the upcoming ‘big’ assembly elections and the parliamentary polls – the rush to appease the minorities to fool them again to secure their vote and the emergence of Narendra Modi as the most popular national leader and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)’s prime-ministerial candidate – has started creating bitter taste.

The ‘polarisation war’ has begun. The ‘politics of polarisation’ is going to make the cocktail of ‘religion and politics’ taste even more pungent in the days to come.

Though, seeking a wider ‘perceptive’ acceptability, even beyond India, the BJP is not going to play the religious card openly in the elections, and even Narendra Modi is not going to be verbose about exploiting the religious sentiments, but in a heightened religious atmosphere with overemphasis on minority appeasement, a mere presence of Narendra Modi is enough to polarise the Hindu votes, given it gets the ‘push’ to stir the majority sentiments. And certainly, the Ram Temple could be an issue to begin the process to give the ‘push’.

And the rest of the job of carrying out acts for the ‘push’, like ‘84 Kosi Yatra’ or ‘rallies and protests for the Ram Temple’ or ‘Kashi’ or ‘Mathura’ or ‘anti-Hindu violence in J&K’, can be done by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha (RSS) or Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) or some other Hindu outfits.

Construction of Ram Temple or any such religious demand is just a tool to push the electoral politics along the religious lines and may not have significant impact but when aligned with the polarising persona of Narendra Modi, may well serve the purpose of aligning and uniting the divided Hindu votes.

Like always, it will not lead to the work leading to the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, but Narendra Modi’s emergence in national politics and his emphasis on UP makes it different this time.

Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and NDA strategists think so. And Narendra Modi thinks so. And by the political mood of the nation, it seems logical, if looked at in the context of a sociopolitical analysis.

So, he is going to address four rallies in UP in October with clear reports that he will be contesting the Lok Sabha polls from Uttar Pradesh, too. And there would be many more ‘religiously aligned’ events lined up as the elections near.

Winning UP or scoring a significantly enhanced performance in India’s most populous state with maximum number of parliamentary seats is crucial for the BJP. And so the BJP and the NDA’s strategists would do all to rake-up the issue of construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya, once again, like they have been doing in the past, before every election, to align the Hindu sentiments, on religious lines, against the caste and class divide.

And if that happens, that would be unfortunate, for us, for the nation, once again.

But, equally detestable is the minority and the caste appeasement politics.

What is the way out then?

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

MAJORITY APPEASEMENT POLITICS AND NARENDRA MODI

What Narendra Modi is doing is akin to tapping the neglected votebank of the majority Hindus.

Indian politics has had absolute shades of minority appeasement. The politicians enjoying the riches of a fractured majority votebank have crossed limits many a times in appeasing the minorities, clearly at the cost of promoting communal divide in the country.

It is foolhardy to ignore this fact. I am confident that I am free from religion and caste biases and I am not writing this because I am a Hindu. I am writing this because I am an Indian first. Hindus, Muslims or people of any other religion or faith are equal citizens of India and there must not be preferential treatments based on religious lines, as the politicians have been doing, to a particular religion.

In a democracy with staggering number of poor people, that India is, the only criteria for preferential treatment can the social and economic conditions.

If the BJP has to come to power and if Narendra Modi has to become the next prime minister of the country, they need something to mobilize the votes that can match the huge (but not enough, as it may depose the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government but may not guarantee the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) the 7 RCR) anti-incumbency against the Manmohan Singh led UPA government.

And for an alienated votebank, largely unaware of its rights and the power of its vote, that can be achieved through polarisation of votes on communal lines.

Polarisation of votes on the communal lines is the only factor in the prevailing sociopolitical circumstances in the country that can unite the majority Hindu votes divided along the different caste and regional lines.

It is not that only Narendra Modi is realizing it. Others, too, realize it but they would never be sure of getting returns as they, till now, have played the communal card of the minority appeasement politics and have no experience on dancing to the tunes of majority appeasement.

While Narendra Modi of the day is creation of the communal card of the majority appeasement politics! An intensifying ‘communal Vs secular’ debate benefits his style of politics.

It is true, the BJP did reap the benefits of the religious politics by exploiting the majority sentiments on Ram Temple issue to become one of the major political forces in the country but it doesn’t hold that ground anymore. On the other hand, Modi, though trying to reach out to the Muslims or other votebanks in recent times, has carefully continued with his Hindu hardliner image.

But, in the prevailing circumstances, the BJP is not going to play the religious card openly in the elections, and even Narendra Modi is not going to be verbose about exploiting the religious sentiments.

But, mere presence of Narendra Modi is enough to polarise the Hindu votes.

And the rest of the job of carrying out acts, the ‘push’, like ‘84 Kosi Yatra’ or ‘rallies and protests for the Ram Temple’ or ‘Kashi’ or ‘Mathura’ or ‘anti-Hindu violence in J&K’, can be done by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha (RSS) or Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) or some other Hindu outfits.

Modi has proved his identity as an efficient election manager in uniting the fractured Hindu votebank in Gujarat. He has, for the first time in the Indian political history, successfully sustained the majority appeasement politics by combining it with a pro-development agenda and its efficient execution.

It is true what he has been able to achieve politically in Gujarat cannot be applied for the rest of India. But the alternative premise is also equally possible that it can be applied to the rest of India.

What happens will only decide the next course of drama in the political arena of India and that leaves the doors open for extensive and wild experiments, at least, till the outcome of the next parliamentary polls.

In other words, ‘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 this on the timescale is going to be the next parliamentary polls.

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