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BJP's Overtures To Minorities

By Ram Puniyani

25 April, 2004
Issues In Secular Politics

This election (April2004) is very crucial to survival of Indian democracy. Its also crucial for those who want to bring in Hindu Rashtra, as having been in the seat of power from last six years, the victory in this election will give them a lever to push forward their agenda at a higher speed. To ensure this BJP has
already spent millions from public exchequers to create an image of "feel good" and Shining India. The campaigns were a fair bit of advertising 'success' as a large section of middle class was taken in by this propaganda of economic betterment despite India being amongst the bottom few Nations in the scale of social indices. The fly in the ointment came from the unexpected quarter. The Saree disribution function, organized to lure the poor voters in the constituency of Prime minister himself, on the pretext of the birth day function of his regular election agent, Lalji Tandon, spoke the truth of India's shining and feeling good.

In this function, Rs. 20 were charged from those who wanted to receive the saree whose worth may have been close to Rs 40. The deprivation and destitution of the women in the area came forward eloquently as thousands
of women thronged to the site and in the stampede, which resulted twenty women, and one infant lost their lives. Any way no doubt that section of Indian Middle class is feeling good with mobile to flaunt in their hands and shopping malls to spend their money and time. But that's not all of India. So in addition to the loss of sheen in the BJP campaign majority of Indians were not game for being bought over by the Feel Good, projected in the shining face of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The campaign was backed up by the claims that BJP itself is set to sweep the polls as the leader like Vajpayee are a big asset for the country and the
nation wants to see him as PM again. Somehow these claims seem to be biting dust with the indications coming from exit polls results of phase one of the elections. Mostly there is a likelihood of decline in the total seat share of NDA and even BJP may bite the dust as far as its projections are concerned. So midway between the campaigns the efforts are being unleashed to win over Muslims and Christians, more aggressively, for the electoral purposes.

Just to recount, with the beginning of the election campaign many a showpieces from the minority communities were bought over by BJP to adorn its electoral campaign. Arif Mohammad Khan being the major acquisition while and odd Christian father here and there also started praising the BJP and the 'great' achievements of its rule during last six years. The attempts are being reinvigorated midstream to win a larger section of the minority vote.

Meanwhile one of the firebrands of BJP, its nominee from Gorakhpur, Yogi Adityanath spoke the true heart BJP. In a forthright manner he spelt out that he will accept Muslim votes but after washing them in Gangajal (Water from Ganges). In Brahminical Hinduism Gangajal incidentally ranks very high on the scale of holiness and spiritual purity, its only competition in the holiness coming from cow's urine.

Yogi's utterance coming at a time when Vajpayee's head is regularly
being adorned with green turbans is no surprise. The RSS progeny is capable of talking in multiple languages at the same time. That it is capable of assuming multiple strategies at the same time, is not any news for the social analysts. RSS is an outfit, which has not only been championing the cause of Hindu Rashtra; it has also outlined the problems, which it is faced in its agenda. The second Sarsahgnchalak of RSS, M S Golwalkar, wrote in one of his major ideological outpourings that the Muslims, Christian and Communists are the internal threats to Hindu Nation.

And who knows it better than the Shining Vajpayee, who stated in Staten Island in US that he is first the loyal volunteer of RSS than anything else. Who knows it better than Vajpayee and Advani who broke Janata Party in the post emergency phase when they were asked to clarify their stand on dual membership? Meaning that either they should be a part of RSS or Janata Party. The duo with their cohorts chose RSS and severed their links with Janata Party, breaking the party in the process. Who knows it better than
Vajpayeeji who in one of the previous victories said that they could come to power even without the Muslim votes? Who knows it better than Mr. Advani who unleashed the whole Hate Muslim campaign at a broader level by taking up the Ram Temple issue and duly went to demolish the Babri mosque.

Surprise is not that BJP is talking sweat language for minorities; surprise is that few minority leaders want to believe in that. All those who have some sanity left should take pre-electoral promises, with more than a pinch of salt. It is not too far in the back that Gujarat violence happened and the butcher-in-chief of the violence, Narendra Modi, called it as the glory of Gujarat. It is not too much in the past that Pastor Stains was brutally burnt and Mr. Advani subtly defended the Bajarang Dal to which the killer Dara Singh belonged. It is not too much in the past that in the aftermath of Gujarat violence and defending Modi at that time that our PM went on to say that wherever there are Muslims, there is problem.

It is only during the election time that the poison spewing Dr. Pravin bhai Togadia has been sent on a sabbatical to keep the minorities under the illusion that BJP means Vajapayiji, and Vajapayiji is great man of peace, protector of minorities etc. No doubt Muslim and Christian votes do matter for the BJP if it wants to come to power to usher in its agenda of Hindu Rashtra. No doubt there are week-kneed characters amongst minorities who will like to bend to the BJP in the hope that they will be protected. This illusory thought process gives a lot of legitimacy to the party like BJP, which essentially does not believe in democracy but is using it as a means to come to power to be able to abolish the democracy itself.

It is time that minorities should realize the true character of this party. The sweat pre electoral talk of Muslims being part of the mainstream etc. will last as long as the elections are not over. And it is then that the Togadia's will take over again to demolish the threads of harmony and to make a makeshift Hindu
Rashtra, waiting and pressuring for making India Hindu Rashtra in due course. One has to recall the that Gujarat was not an aberration, it was the logical out
come of Hidnutva politics, one has to remember burning of Pastor Stains was not an aberration, it was the Hindutva in action. No doubt other electoral
formations have committed lots of mistakes in living secular values, but it is possible that a vigilant society can ensure that those parties do not slip
again to commit those mistakes. But for BJP that is not a mistake, it is their political program.

In these times, one is seeing many faces of the PM. He can wear different turbans with ease while hiding the RSS black cap with great cleverness. He can wear many a masks to suit the occasion. He has crafted his political face in a way that while keeping the basic Hindutva loyalties he can wear any mask to fool the people for some time. One hopes he knows that you can fool some people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. The prayer is that Indian people see the true character of BJP in its horizontal connections with VHP, Bajarang dal etc., the prayer is one locates the vertical control of BJP in the RSS which is doing the background work to see that its
political wing comes back to power again so that its upper caste/upper class agenda, its goal of abolishing the liberal democratic space from the society is implemented and India follows the 'glorious' path of nation building as laid down by Hitler, their ideological mentor in chief.