BJP nationalism means creating hysteria against Pakistan

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BJP
nationalism means creating hysteria against Pakistan

BJP’s
Nationalism and Electoral Chessboard

BJP is a
party with a difference in more ways than one. It is the major electoral
formation which contrary to the values of Indian Constitution of secular,
democratic nation, holds that India is a Hindu nation. It is the only party
which is the electoral wing of RSS, the organization formed and pursuing Hindu
Nationalism. BJP also has the distinction of gaining electoral strength
parallel to the rise of sectarian violence. It is also the one which has kept
emotive, divisive issues and issues related to its own brand of nationalism at
the core of its politics. Its massive victory in 2014 elections and then in
2019 General elections, gave the impression that it is invincible. 

Its
President Amit Shah did declare that BJP will rule the country for next fifty
years. So when its projection, backed up by the commercial media, that it will
walk away with massive victories in Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly elections
of 2019, bit the dust, some new thinking about its electoral prospects is in
order.

As the
results unfolded, it fell short of simple majority in Haryana and had to ally
with JJP of Dushyabt Chautala to form the Government.

In
Maharashtra, while it emerged as the single largest party, on its own it was
nowhere close to the simple majority and so it’s electoral ally of years, is
trying for a bargain hard this time.

The usual
boasting which has followed earlier victories of BJP is nowhere in sight and
some commentators have termed it as a moral defeat for this party. The claim of
its invincibility is lying shattered and the opposition parties which were
feeling demoralized seem to have been infused with hope yet again.

Who formed
BJP ?

As such BJP
was formed by the elements of Bharatiya Jansangh with the proclamation of
Gandhian Socialism in 1980s. Soon it changed the track and took up the issue of
Ram Temple. The whole agitation around temple, the rath yatras led to communal
violence and polarization of society. This is what gave fillip to BJP which
then went from strength to strength. Mostly it kept taking up issues related to
identity.

BJP
asserted the Hindutva agenda

Having
tasted power in 1996 for thirteen days and then for thirteen months in 1998, it
floated National Democratic Alliance, with the power hungry leaders falling to
the bait of minimum common program, which remained on paper as BJP asserted the
Hindutva agenda through and through. Hindutva agenda is constituted by demand
for Uniform Civil Code, abolition of Article 370 and construction of Ram
Temple.

What is major
strength of BJP ?

The major
strength of BJP so far was the solid support of RSS volunteers, which trained
in the ideology of Hindu Rashtra were seeing political power as another means
to enhance their agenda.

Post Gujarat
carnage another solid support for BJP emerged from the corporate sector. Modi
in the aftermath of Gujarat carnage; encouraged the Corporate, giving them all
facilities in the name of Vikas (development). The Corporate sector also came
to acquire total control on the large section of Media.

The third
aspect which enhanced the power of BJP was its shrewd support to Jan Lok Pal
Bill. Propping up Anna Hazare and riding on the popular sentiments against
corruption it succeeded in defaming Congress to the hilt. Its use of Nirbhaya
case to further defame Congress paid rich electoral dividends. At the same time
BJP perfected its electoral machinery and now it claims to be the largest party
in the World.

Anti
incumbency, corruption, RSS support and corporate funding gave Modi’s BJP comfortable
victory in 2014 elections

Modi’s
promises of Rs 15 lakhs, crores of jobs, reducing prices were cleverly
advertised, and Modi won 2014 elections with 31% of vote share. Anti
incumbency, corruption, RSS support and corporate funding
gave it
comfortable victory in 2014 elections. During this period no efforts were made
to fulfill these promises, BJP kept igniting the polarization through Cow beef
issue.

The
supplementary issues like Love Jihad, Ghar Wapasi kept strengthening the electoral
position of BJP, as it succeeded in projecting that the religious minorities
are a threat to the majority Hindus.

Back on the
emotive issues it added up its brand of Nationalism. BJP nationalism means
creating hysteria against Pakistan
. Its nationalism seemed to be paying
dividends with some sections of society. In 2019 elections all these factors
played their role. Adding on to this Pulwama-Balakot and EVM machines seem to
have aided the victory of BJP despite worsening economic scenario. And this gave
the impression that a party adept at using emotive-divisive issues, converting
nationalism into another emotive issue may take the cake for good.

So what
went wrong with the Modi-Shah duo in Maharashtra-Haryana elections?

Can people
keep consuming emotions and nationalism to survive?  The bread butter issues are surfacing and can
no more remain undermined by hysteria created around nationalism or
communalism. In these elections, role of EVM machines notwithstanding, the
biggest lesson to learn is that even the most powerful electoral machine cannot
trample on the issues related to basic needs of society. The lesson is that
hunger cannot be quenched by the boasts of abolishing article 370 or by harping
on triple talaq, by creating a fear of Pakistan.

While RSS
has seeped into most sections of our social life, education, media, social
work, the BJP-RSS agenda cannot fill the hungry stomachs or give employment to
youth or prevent farmer’s suicides. Surely this election result of two states
will boost the secular values and agenda which talks of right to food,
employment, health and livelihood will come to the fore. Can the opposition
parties committed to issues of people pick up the gauntlet and come forward as
a united force to put the national agenda back on the rails of Indian
Constitution? Can social movements pick up from here and articulate people’s
issues with greater vigor and zest? The limits of Communal agenda and
nationalist agenda lies exposed, now the ball is in the court of those who
believe in pluralism, diversity and humanism to bring back the people’s issues
and counter the Hate and divisiveness which has filled the social space? 

Ram Puniyani

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