Must Go On
By Ganesh S.
24 May, 2004
recently concluded elections in the subcontinent have baffled psephologists,
media persons and political analysts alike. How could a nation reject
a ruling alliance that had projected India as an economic superpower
and had done so much to make that happen? Were the high voltage, high
decibel publicity campaigns launched by the BJP so ineffective as to
result in its humiliating defeat at the hands of the electorate? One
needs to look closely at the ground realities and no further to find
out the reasons for this
The BJP prided itself
as the party of governance and with great fanfare stitched together
a coalition of parties to stake its claim to power after the 1998 elections.
It projected Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee as its Prime Ministerial candidate.
He was seen as the most acceptable face of the Sangh Parivar and it
must be said to his credit that he managed to rally ideologically disparate
groups around him in his effort to make the government happen. Despite
the pulls and pressures of running a coalition government and the innumerable
scandals that rocked the NDA government, the gentleman was made to appear
invincible by the BJP spin doctors and their collaborators in the media.
This was what the
image makers wanted us to believe. The nuclear test at Pokhran and the
Kargil crisis gave a clear indication of the ruling dispensation's real
intentions- to militarize the subcontinent and keep it in a state of
permanent siege. We were told that all this was necessary to contain
our neighbour, because "strength respects strength". The consequences
of this policy became evident with the increased confrontation between
the two nations, the spate of terrorist attacks culminating in the December
2001 assault on the Indian Parliament and its typically short sighted
response- Operation Parakram.
In the background,
the storm troopers of the Sangh Parivar were working overtime to communalize
Indian society with their vicious, offensive propaganda of religious
nationalism.Ayodhya was raked up from time to time to pressurize the
government into acting in the" interests" of the "Hindu"
community. The riots in Gujarat in February 2002 and the state sponsored
massacres of the Muslim community were all part of an offensive to promote
"Hindu" interests. One expected the NDA allies and the honorable
Prime Minister to intervene decisively and dismiss the Modi Government
for its shameful role in organizing the riots. Nothing of that kind
happened. It was left to the handful of NGO's and a few courageous publications
to expose the misdeeds of Modi and his henchmen.
The passage of POTA
in Parliament with the then home minister passionately vouching for
it, without a debate on such a crucial issue, only served to highlight
the BJP's contempt for parliamentary democracy. Equally disgusting was
its riding roughshod over the opposition in pushing through its PSU
disinvestment & privatization programmes. Top BJP functionaries
in the government did not bother to hide their contempt for the Public
Sector and the reasons for its establishment. It was very clear that
the Indian economy was being geared to cater to the interests of a privileged
Education was another
area of interest to the Sangh Parivar where it could reap the fruits
of its divisive ideology. The HRD Minister used his office as a battering
ram to put his nominees in place to rewrite the history of India and
give it a communal slant. Eminent academicians and historians were unceremoniously
ousted from their posts in institutions like NCERT & ICHR to accommodate
those who shared the RSS viewpoint. This represented the most audacious
attempt by the RSS to degrade hallowed institutions to serve its spurious
ideas of nationalism.
Finally, the spin
doctors of the BJP, carried away by their own "feel good"
propaganda, did not take into account the goings on in the mind of the
average voter- a disgust for their arrogance and their contempt for
the institutions of democracy. There is a lot of truth in the saying-
the voter knows all and spares none.
The elections have
seen the rout of the BJP from the political arena. A Congress led coalition
will assume power shortly and hopefully undo the damage inflicted on
society and the polity by adopting a magnanimous attitude towards its
electoral allies and combating divisive issues with their help. Sonia
Gandhi's refusal to assume the reins of government has deprived the
Sangh Parivar of one issue which had the potential to assume Ayodhya
The monster of communalism
still stalks Indian society and has the potential to catapult its practitioners
to power. We must not forget that the results of the Karnataka Assembly
elections represent a victory of sorts for the BJP, since it was the
communalization of politics that gave it a tally of 80 plus seats.MP,
Rajasthan & Chattisgarh have voted in favour of the BJP.
The fight against communalism must go on and it is the average citizen
of this country who will play a crucial role in ensuring that India
remains a secular nation wedded to the spirit of tolerance and accommodation.
(GANESH. S. IYER,
13/47, "Anjali", Scheme #6,
Sion (E), Mumbai-400022.)