The by-election results on September16 would have come as a shock or surprise, depending on who is observing the results. The objective analysis would be that in the last general elections there were two major reasons for the victory of Narendra Modi. The first was the absolutely low level of esteem in which the people held the Congress Party because of the large number of scams with very large figures, indicating that a big loot was underway. The common man who doesn’t apply his mind much, got shocked by the sheer enormity of the scams. The second reason was that Narendra Modi throughout his campaign did not try to polarise the polity but talked of development, more factories, more jobs and a good future for the youth. A combination of both these factors led to the victory and the Government came into place. What has happened since then in the last three-four months, what the Government is actually doing and what the results will be, we’ll have to wait and see. But what has definitely happened is that the various wings of the Sangh Parivar have got so enthused and emboldened that they have shown their colours within no time.
The open Hindu-Muslim hostility, the open denigration of people in Pune, assault and murder, insult by a Shiv Sena MP to a catering boy in Maharashtra Sadan forcing him to eat when he himself said that he is on a Roza because of the Ramazan; Muzaffarnagar, Moradabad not to speak of the atrocities, within three months they have shown that the development rhetoric was limited to Modi; the rest of the Party and the Parivar think that they have got a license now to act against everybody who is not with them. That is what the public have reflected in the by-elections. Again, these elections by no means show a trend that if elections are held today Modi will not win. No, no, not at all, that’ll be a mistake. After all the assembly by-elections cannot change a Government. So people are less enthusiastic, the voting percentage goes down, people are not interested. But the BJP cannot take that simply, the BJP must understand that this result shows that after all they have come to power only with 31 per cent votes. Nobody grudges that because that is the system. Other parties have also ruled with minority votes. But they must understand the objective reality — that their support base in the country is not more than 31 per cent; 69 per cent do not subscribe to their views. Of course for 5 years they will rule legitimately, there is no problem, but they must understand that if they want to rule a longer term, they must add to the 31 per cent, which will be difficult because 69 per cent people are normal people who believe in secularism — not as Congress, or as Mulayam Singh or some people teach but normal Hindu secularism, which means live and let live. Nobody wants strife, nobody wants polarisation, nobody wants a daily dose of acrimony, not at all. There are 5 lakh villages in India, Hindus and Muslims stay side by side as brothers, there is no tension. Tension is injected by communal parties of one side or the other. The lesson that the BJP must draw is that no matter who rules India, it may be the Congress Party. it may be the BJP, the paradigm of the rule remains the same. The Directive Principles of the State Policy of the Constitution have laid down what this country has approved in 1950, that the Directive Principles speak for themselves. Each article of the Directive Principle is very important, and everything is covered there. So any Prime Minister who wants to remain Prime Minister will have to follow that. He might have come from a party which may by extreme but that extremism cannot be translated on the ground. The moment you do that you will lose ground. And the Sangh Parivar is not understanding that. By trying to implement its own agenda in the name of various issues it is only weakening the position of Mr Modi. Mr Modi has become the Prime Minister, let him perform for the five years, let him perform what he has promised to the people. The agenda of the RSS is not even worth pursuing. But even if they want to pursue it, for that they need a two third majority. Then they can talk about Hindu Rashtra, whatever. Their own version of the Kashmir solution, Article 370, Uniform Civil Code, Ayodhya — all that has gone to the backburner and so long as they remain on the backburner there will be a legitimate Government. At the moment there is a Minister of State in Narendra Modi’s Government in the PMO, the moment the Government came to power he said that the process of removing Article 370 has started. If an uneducated, absurd statement comes from such a high place it shows, of course, they contained the damage. He has been told not to speak on the subject. But we must understand that the country is above everything else. Of course, the RSS always use to say “Rashtra pahle, Dal uske baad, vyakti uske baad” — that is their formula. Unfortunately, Modi has reversed it, the way he came to power, vyakti first, Dal next, nation –I hope – at least at number three. The nation is inviolable, and the wise people who made the Constitution of India have taken it into account, after all even in 1947 when there was a 33 crore population, the mix was the same — there were 10-15 per cent Muslims, there were Sikhs, there were Parsis, there were Christians, the social realities were the same. They gave a formula, they gave Directive Principles, they gave Fundamental Rights, they gave Constitutional safeguards to see that even with this the country can run smoothly and indeed it ran smoothly till the Babri Masjid was brought down in 1992. Problems have increased after that. These election results are only a reality check. I am sure wiser people sitting in Nagpur and elsewhere must be thinking over it, but I hope wisdom prevails and they don’t disturb the equanimity of this country beyond a certain limit.