DEMOCRACY IS NOT FOR THIS

The ugly face of social upheavals are on obscene display again. In the season of #JNURow (raging national Vs anti-national debate after a pro Afzal Guru event was held in Jawaharlal Nehru University on February 9).

Social upheavals are for good if they are society driven but not when they are managed (or rather mismanaged for the overall health of the society).

That is what is happening in Jat reservation case.

The trend of influential and prosperous communities like Jat, Patels in Gujarat, Kapus in Andhra Pradesh or Marathas in Maharashtra is ominous to undo the whatever little good that social affirmative action or caste-based Reservation has achieved in India.

Today again, after days of continued violence, the government had to bow down to ‘public pressure’ (or appeasement politics or votebank politics) and offer the ‘demand’ the Jat leaders had put forward. They stopped trains, burned vehicles, created chaos, engaged in arson and armed protests and what not.

Democracy gives us avenues to raise our voice for anything and everything but within constitutional framework only – the framework that says that Reservation cannot exceed the 50% cap.

And in spite of that, when we engage into violence to coerce state to act on our whims and fancies, based on our numerical strength and history of our influential place in the society, it sends out the clear message that democratic norms are being subverted.

The affirmative action that was rightly intended to the weaker sections of society – is being diverted to them who don’t need really it.

To continue..

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

MARATHA AND MUSLIM QUOTA IN MAHARASHTRA: NO EFFORTS TO LEARN LESSONS

Yesterday, in a desperate effort, intended to score points of the votebank appeasement politics, like its character has been/has become, the grand old party of India having its origin in late 19th Century, the Congress party, did what was expected from it.

And in doing so, not learning lessons from the recent poll drubbings, they tell us they are yet to go into some serious thinking mode on what led them to this historic low. Yes, the loss was written and widely analysed but no one could gauge it was going to be so humiliating.

The assembly polls in the state are due later this year and the Maharashtra government, led by the Congress-NCP combine, is in imminent danger of losing its hold on the state power corridors as well. In the recently held Lok Sabha polls, the ruling combine could win only 6 seats out of 48.

And instead of putting serious thoughts into ‘whys’ of this political gloom for them to address the ‘real’ issues before the polls, they are still busy in devising cosmetic measures hoping they would be able to tackle the sky-high anti-incumbency, somehow, like the Congress led UPA government in Centre had ‘envisioned’.

And proposing reservation quota for the targeted votebanks has been among the most practiced cosmetic measures of the Congress party in the recent political history of India, irrespective of the fact it has failed to deliver most of the times.

Maharashtra government today proposed 16% reservation for Maratha people and 5% for Muslims. It is nothing but a poll sop, to go to these votebanks, claiming their right on the votes ‘in lieu of’ this largesse that is going to remain on papers.

Tomorrow, some PIL will be filed and the High Court will give stay order as has been the case in many other such cases, where states breach the 50% reservation ceiling. Also, the Indian Constitution is clear that reservation cannot be given on religious basis. And no one can say how this ‘Maratha reservation card’ is going to play, in courts, and in the electoral arena.

Even the politicians proposing the reservation quota in such arbitrary ways realize it but being politicians, they don’t care. They just need some talking points to exploit the electoral sentiments.

In the recent political history, every such political attempt by the Congress party has backfired. Attempts to introduce the Muslim reservation (before assembly and Lok Sabha polls) have been blocked by the Supreme Court regularly and have not translated into electoral victories for the Congress party. Giving minority status to Jains was just a filler, a symbolic step, never important electorally, but it was yet another window into the pre-poll mentality of the Congress party. Another electoral ploy of giving reservation to Jats just before the Lok Sabha polls proved a dud. The poll results showed the Jats voted for the BJP, in Haryana, in Rajasthan and in Western Uttar Pradesh.

And yet, they don’t change. No lessons learnt yet. No efforts to learn lessons yet.

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

CLEAR MANDATE TO THE BJP IS A WARNING TO NARENDRA MODI

GENERAL ELECTIONS 2014

Clear mandate to the BJP is a warning to Narendra Modi. Perform or perish after 5 years. Shape in or be thrown out.

Yes, that is the clear writing on the wall.

If it is the matter of jubilation for the BJP, it is also a healing sign from the Indian electorate as well, that it is taking well informed decisions beyond the worn-out lines of caste, community and regionalism.

And this healing sign is what the BJP needs to keep in mind while governing the country for the next 5 years.

The clear mandate overwriting the proponents of the day of the coalition politics in India says Indians are willing to give a decisive mandate so as to bypass the hurdles that a coalition alliance presents, as we have seen in the last two decades of the coalition politics at the Union level in India, to take India back on the path of high growth that it looked set to be on when the last decade began.

The youth forming the decisive chunk of the Indian electorate that really votes has voted Narendra Modi and the BJP in.

The burgeoning middle class that had grown apathetic because of its neglect during the run of the politics of different votebanks where it did not figure in the scheme of the things has voted Narendra Modi and the BJP in.

And if the BJP has the clear majority today, it is because these segments voted for Narendra Modi, for his development track record.

And these voting segments act largely independent of the caste and community considerations.

They need development and in electing their representatives, they decide based on the prospects of development only. These segments are the demanding class of voters who expect the scenario to change and are ready to experiment.

They don’t hesitate in taking swift decisions when they see their decisions not honoured. They don’t err in judging the history and the context of political legacy as a burden when it stops delivering.

We saw it beautifully in case of the Aam Aadmi Party’s unexpected surge in Delhi and the party’s immediate fall in the Lok Sabha elections when it betrayed the mandate of the people, the people who were not from some particular votebanks and who had voted Arvind Kejriwal in, the people who were from every caste and community, including the aspiring and demanding youth of the nation.

Narendra Modi and the BJP need to read this writing on the wall regularly if Mr. Modi is serious about coming back to power in 2019.

©/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/

CANCEROUS CONCOCTION OF RELIGION AND POLITICS

CANCEROUS CONCOCTION OF RELIGION AND POLITICS

CANCEROUS CONCOCTION OF RELIGION AND POLITICS

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

CANCEROUS CONCOCTION OF RELIGION AND POLITICS

“Politics is supposed to be the sociological function to shape and strengthen the democracy in a country like India. Politicians are supposed to be the elected custodians to serve the cause of the people to support the elements of democracy.

Religion is supposed to be the ideological, spiritual and social function that inculcates a discipline to follow life according to the norm in a society, a norm that intends to promote the humane values, the concept of ‘humanity first’.

But, both, politics and religion are creating effects, events and undercurrents in the society and in the country that are antithesis to these supposed functions.

Add to it the cancerous concoction of religion and politics. It completes the circle of exploitation, of democracy, in the name of democracy.”

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

RAHUL GANDHI AND THE OWNERSHIP PAPERS OF THE RESETTLEMENT COLONIES: THE ALL SO FAMILIAR IRONIES OF INDIAN POLITICS

September 10, 2013 – it was a news heavy day yet again. In the galaxy of two sweeping news events, the verdict in the December 16, 2012 Delhi gangrape case and Narendra Modi’s rally in Jaipur, almost every other development was scrambling to get some more elusive space.

But on this news heavy day, there was yet another somewhat stuffy news story. Though it was too on the front pages of many newspapers in Delhi, it did not get the attention that a Rahul Gandhi story usually gets.

But that is not the point here. The point is about the news story related to Rahul Gandhi and the associated irony with it, the irony that has become all so familiar by its abundance.

The newsy stuff was Rahul Gandhi was to distribute the freehold ownership papers to the families of 45 resettlement colonies in Delhi. The promoted welfare measure (read opportunistic electoral step) was intended to benefit 7 lakh (700,000) families who were rehabilitated in these resettlement colonies.

On the face of it, for a person unknown to the realities of the Indian politics of the day, it all sounds so socially oriented.

For a person, who is well aware of the demoralizing facts of the Indian politics of the way, it was yet another electoral sop timed and pushed ahead of the upcoming assembly polls in Delhi.

But scratch a little, and the famed irony surfaces. These resettlement colonies were already there by 1980 with most of them built during Indira Gandhi’s days to rehabilitate the slum dwellers.

So, why did it take so many years, over three decades to handover a mere piece of paper to a house-owner, who was already, in principle and in real terms, given the ownership of the house by the government only?

When the land was already demarcated and the residents were already relocated, why did it take the governments so long to give the people their rightful authority over the property that had become their?

But, no one is asking this question. The issue may not be on the radar of the people resettled in these colonies as they were already in hold of their possession, something that was ‘given’ to them at a nominal lease rent, though they could not do many things that a full ownership could have helped them do, because they could never realise the full rights given to them by the Constitution. They could not differentiate between ‘right’ and ‘largesse’.

So, even if there should have been protests over it, no one protested.

It could have been done much earlier. But such measures only come to the fore when politicians find them short of issues to score easy victory in elections. It has become a trend, to deliberately drag the issues to time them according to the poll schedules, no matter how much more good, in real terms, the measures could have done, when properly and timely implemented.

Its glaring example is the United Progressive Alliance’s Food Security Bill. It was in UPA’s 2009 manifesto but could only come to the implementation stage right before the important assembly polls of 2013 (Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattishgarh) and the parliamentary polls of 2014.

Okay, if it would take a year to get it to the legislation and implementation stage, still, it could have been lunched three years ago. It is not that the segment of the population intended to be covered under the Food Security Act was not there three years ago or was not there all these three years. So, going by that, the UPA government should be held guilty for denying millions the right to food security after making a promise. The Indian Economy was certainly in better shape in 2010 than now.

Politicians know voters are fools who don’t realise what is good or bad for them or who is good or bad for them. They know voters are controlled by a myopic vision that obstructs their rational thinking ability and so they can easily be manipulated by the populist electoral sops just before the elections to get that impulsive reaction from them in the form of their vote.

So here, the Congress timed, yet again, an electoral sop to handover the ownership documents to the relocated population of these resettlement colonies just before the assembly elections of Delhi. It is also to be seen with the poll projections that are saying the Congress is going to face a certain defeat.

On target are the 3 million (30 lakh) residents of these colonies, a significant chunk of Delhi’s over 16.5 million population base and a lucrative votebank thus.

What Rahul Gandhi did yesterday, Sonia Gandhi had done before the 2008 assembly polls in Delhi. Then, she had distributed the provisional certificates of regularization to unauthorized colonies. The party had won the polls. Reports say the Congress is preparing for a big rally this month where Sonia Gandhi would distribute the original certificates of regularization to these colonies.

The pile of the ‘familiar irony’ keeps mounting up.

©/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/

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/

NARENDRA MODI BEGINS: THE EXPECTED KEY ELEMENTS FROM THE FIREWORK THAT IS GOING TO BE ON DISPLAY

It has already begun. The Reuters interview should be seen as the formal announcement – timed and worded the Narendra Modi way!

It is just a matter of time when Narendra Modi is declared the NDA’s prime-ministerial nominee. Anyway, he is already calling the shots. He has started writing the script of BJP’s and NDA’s strategy to approach the upcoming assembly and parliamentary elections.

As expected, it is going to be the reflection of the Narendra Modi style of politics and is going to be based on the experiences gained in Gujarat. And it has to be seen in the light of the growing realization among the majority of the BJP leaders that a wider deviation from the core Hindutva ideology has harmed the party, especially in absence of someone like Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

This would certainly push the party and the coalition strategists to push for a ‘mix’ of religion and politics that could serve the twin purposes of – not looking too deviant on the core Hindutva ideology as well as not sounding communal while wooing the voters on the religious line.

And Narendra Modi has been doing it exceedingly well in Gujarat, especially after 2007 when he won the state the second time.

And so, the cardinal elements of the script are expected to be:

A greater emphasis on the Hindutva branding: As already indicated in the Reuters interview where Modi reiterated himself to be a Hindu nationalist first.

An increasing mix of the hardline ideology as the time progresses: More in sync with the RSS thought process – to stir the voter’s thinking pattern with the notions of Hindu identity and the Hindu pride!

Religion and politics to gel even more deeply: Yes, the BJP may not make the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya an election issue but it is only because the party knows its support groups like the VHP or its ideological mentor RSS would do this bit.

But the party would keep talking about it in varying degrees as Amit Shah spoke about the temple during his Ayodhya visit recently. Expect Modi to polarize and exploit the religious sentiments of Hindus to unite them across the divided Hindu votebanks on similar lines.

‘Gujarati Pride’ to prop up the ‘Indian Pride’: ‘Gujarati Asmita or Gujarati Pride’ has created a huge pro-Modi middle class votebank across the different caste lines in Gujarat. It pulls the affluent class and the Diaspora as well. Modi would love to rake up the imagination of Indians for their position in the globalized world, a not so encouraging picture at all. He would talk and eulogize the Gujarat development putting it in context of the BJP’s performance in the party-run states. The development plank would run parallel to the religious plank.

Expect more of the comparisons like with China and other neighbours as Modi elaborated on in his Pune speech on July 14. The meekness of the Manmohan Singh’s government in dealing with China, Pakistan and other neighbours as well as acting coy in dealing with the global powers like the US can be exploited very well. And there are plenty of such issues.

Besides these are the routine pot-boiler elements like the UPA corruption or the price rise or the falling Rupee.

Elections in a country like India are not fought on statistical manipulations like what the Congress tried to do by putting a point-by-point rebuttal targeting the Narendra Modi’s Pune speech a day after.

In a country that has not had the history of distinguishing between ‘status quo’ and ‘progress’ as the election plank, elections are fought by creating stronger elements of perception putting the adversary in the negative light. Yes, having a pro-development image is an added advantage. And Narendra Modi as the most popular political leader in the country with the twin advantages of being ‘pro-religious’ and ‘pro-development’ looks far more capable than any other leader in any political outfit to deliver it.

So be ready for the fireworks. Narendra Modi knows a small spark lit by him creates a huge fireball taking every political opponent within its reach. And he seems to be enjoying it. That is what he is looking for.

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