Delhi verdict has defeated BJP but not decimated communal politics
The Delhi results are out. Aam Admi Party i.e Aap has won decisively and with a massive mandate again. This is unique and remarkable for a party to repeat its performance. With nearly the same vote percentage AAP won 62 seats out of 70 while the BJP has to console itself with 8 seats though it got nearly 38.58%. The Congress party remained zero as was in the last poll with less than 5% vote percentage.
I have always questioned the First past the Post system as it is unfair. With a 38% vote a party get merely 8 seats that BJP is crying and consoling over the vote percentage but it gained massively during the Lok Sabha poll as with less than this vote percentage it won nearly 70% of the seats in the Lok Sabha.
AAP victory has consoled many people who feel that the BJP and Narendra Modi will learn some lesson and the arrogant campaign would stop now.
Some people suggested that Delhi’s people have voted for ‘Bijli-sadak-pani’ and defeated the divisive and hate filled campaigned launched by the BJP. It is true that the amount of hatred that BJP and its top leadership created in this election was unprecedented. Delhi never saw such kind of filth and gutter language that the Ministers and senior ministers spoke one by one, terming Indian Muslims particularly those living participating at Shaheen Bagh protests as anti-national and no less than a minister like Prakash Javadekar, called Arvind Kejriwal as terrorist. Some ministers even asked their supporter to fire at the dissenters and protesters. Uttar Pradesh chief minister used the filthiest language ‘boli se nahi goli se baat karenge’. If any other person had spoken that language, the media as well as the Delhi police would have filed cases of sedition against him but then BJP leaders are free to speak anything and get away with it.
Arvind Kejriwal has learnt the art of politics and he used the BJP’s targeting him as terrorist in his campaign.
‘Do I look like terrorist’ he would say, and perhaps it touches the chord with the people though neither Kejriwal nor Narendra Modi can tell us how does a terrorist look like but this was the most unfortunate part. Rather than taking the BJP head on and challenging their narrative, political parties are now succumbing to their pressure and trying to prove they are ‘more’ Hindu than the Sanghis. Arvind Kejriwal chanted Hanuman Chalisa and refused to speak anything on Shaheen Bagh protests. He did not utter a single word on JNU and Jamia incidents. Even the Gargi college incident went unreported and only today the Delhi Commission for Women took note of it.
Kejriwal was not merely silent on Shaheen Bagh protests but he actually claimed that they were ‘disturbing’ the traffic.
It was same Kejriwal, who never bothered to stop everything in Delhi and the whole Anna movement sponsored by the Sangh Parivar, refused to listen to the Parliament and claim all the people participating in his Ram Leela Ground rally were the ‘real’ India.
AAP has got huge support from Muslim majority areas as well as all the 12 reserve constituencies are won by AAP with a massive mandate.
While, it is good that AAP focused on governance yet we must not forget that AAP is essentially an upper caste party whose major cadre are similar to those in Sangh Parivar and would anyway like to vote to BJP than any secular party in case AAP does not exist. Secondly, the AAP is also product of anti-reservation forces, so it is important how AAP tackle the issue of communalism and reservation in the coming days.
The issue of governance is important but you cannot deny the fact the Sangh Parivar has vitiated the atmosphere in the last 10 years. Any party who want to just claim to focus on ‘Bijli-sadak-pani’ but refuse on the issues such as CAA, NRC, communalism and systematic isolation of India 15-20% Muslim population cannot fight the hatred politically. We can understand that Muslims have voted for AAP overwhelmingly despite the party’s absolutely and disappointing response to the while issue. AAP did not even sought clarification on police brutalities inflicted on students in Jamia, JNU and Seelampur. By deliberately keeping quiet, AAP actually ensured that the upper caste vote bank remain with them but then such silence though may politically, but will not be able to fight against the forces of communalism.
That is why, we appreciate AAP’s victory, we must not ignore the fact that BJP won nearly 39% votes of the people of Delhi. Secondly, AAP has not challenged BJP ideologically and since Delhi’s people are relatively educated and given AAP’s upper caste background, the Delhi voters voted for the same. Delhi voters will not vote for the social justice issues and still got influenced with BJP’s narrative. Don’t take it wrong, the narrative that BJP built remain there and will be used as they are not defeated.
AAP has defeated BJP but fact is the Hindutva has won.
RSS has always fancied that while even if they are not in power, their Hindutva agenda must work. Today, political parties have gone bankrupt as they are unable to challenge the Brahmanical hegemony and the main reason is that most of the parties in India are Savarna or brahmin dominated and hence wont challenge the Sangh narrative but only try to prove that they are better Hindus.
There is also a fact that any party other than Congress will be better equipped to challenge the BJP in the state. Anti BJP voters will vote to only those forces who are better equipped to defeat BJP. Congress lost in Delhi because the Dalits and Muslims felt that Congress was not in a position to defeat BJP. This will happen in other state as the BJP’s intimidation and oppression has increased so much that people will prefer any party which is better placed to defeat BJP. Congress and all other parties must introspect and build an alliance. For at least next ten years, all likeminded parties who swear by secularism, social justice, federalism and constitutionalism must join hand and contest those places where they are in a position to defeat BJP. We know most of the parties don’t believe that they are losing but it is time they leave this manipulation and think according to previous elections and then contest jointly. Akhilesh Yadav in UP, Tejaswi in Bihar, Mamta in Bengal, Stalin in Tamilnadu, Udhav-Sharad Pawar-Congress in Maharashtra should take the lead. In all other places where the parties don’t exist, they should stop fielding candidates.
Delhi election shows that people will not vote for highly divisive agenda. They don’t appreciate foul language. There may be some bhaktas who jump on such language but at the end of the day, people would prefer governance but it is also fact that people are polarised and parties need to take secular narrative powerfully and not to feel guilty on it. Democracy without secularism and social justice can’t survive and therefore, Delhi’s poll outcome are good in terms of pro people agenda but also important is the fact the communal and sectarian virus is not fully defeated and for that to happen, we need strong political leaders who can reach out to minorities, Dalits, OBCs and tribal and ensure their fair representation and participation in power structure. You can’t build a narrative without an enabling environment and without proportional representation of India’s diverse communities. India must feel proud of its constitution and its historic and inclusive legacy of the freedom movement. Political parties need to own that and defeat the communal and sectarian forces permanently. Evading the communal question will only strengthen the Hindutva forces even if the other parties win, it is their agenda which will run the government which at the end will be detrimental for the health of democracy itself. Ideologically weak forces suit BJP politically as it will be free from any strong opponent nationally and the party knows it well that it can ‘handle’ them well.
For the moment, we congratulate AAP for its historic victory and hope it will continue to focus on issues concerning the common people and will not shy away from taking a strong stand on the CAA and NRC.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat
February 11th, 2020