From the way and the kind of political atmosphere that is being created in the country, it seems clear that riots are about to take place. Along with communal forces bent on making riots happen, there are those so called secular forces whose eyes are fixed on the 19 per cent votes which they shamelessly call the Muslim votebank. Somebody is showing a stern face to frighten Muslims while someone else is trying to put forward a sympathetic face. It is strange and surprising that everyone is fighting for Muslim votes but there is no one to fight for the Muslims. To end the problems of Muslims, neither does anyone have a concrete policy nor any intention. All the political parties have only one strategy to trick the Muslims. In this tricky political environment, the biggest challenge before Muslims is what to do and where to go?
Let us talk first of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP made the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, the head of its election campaign committee. This indicates very clearly that the BJP will fight the Lok Sabha elections under the leadership of Narendra Modi. Advani had opposed Modi, but the BJP did not budge. Advani also resigned from all the posts of the party but that did not have any effect either. Dozens of BJP leaders opposed Modi, but the RSS did not change its decision. The BJP quit the Government in Bihar and the Ministers in it had to give up their portfolios but still Modi prevailed. The BJP had to break its relationship with its most reliable ally, the JDU, but even this had no effect on its Modi decision. Now, when the party is playing or gambling for such high stakes all because of Narendra Modi, it clearly means that the Sangh Parivar is working according to some strategy and whoever opposes this strategy will be sidelined. Now let us try and understand what are the implications of the elections being fought under the leadership of Modi.
Whether Narendra Modi talks of development or shows the country some tantalising dream, it is certain that there will be polarisation in the elections the moment he steps forward. The strategists of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar know this very well. Despite this, the BJP, by projecting Modi as its biggest leader has made it clear that in 2014 it wants polarisation of Hindu and Muslim votes. In fact, its seems to the BJP that the more the polarisation, the more it will benefit. Therefore, it is with this strategy that the reins for the elections have been handed over to Modi. Fighting the elections with such a strategy means that brotherhood should end in the country, there should be rioting, people may even lose their lives, but to win the elections polarisation is the only way. Modi has been talking of development so far and he confirmed this strategy in Pathankot. Modi began the election campaign from Pathankot. By talking here of a Uniform Civil Code and ending Section 370, he made it clear that the Sadbhavna mission was merely to mollify the Muslims but the real agenda is quite different.
On the other side, leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad have started gathering in Ayodhya. On 12 June, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s Central Core Committee or the Kendriya Marg Darshak Mandal held a meeting here. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad announced that for building a Ram Temple in Ayodhya it will start a yatra on 25 August, it will be for 19 days, it will start from Basti adjacent to Ayodhya and will end in Ayodhya itself on 13 September. During the yatra it will be demanded from the UPA Government that a law should be passed in Parliament and a Ram temple should be constructed on the disputed site. And if the Government does not agree to do this, on October 18 theVishwa Hindu Parishad will convene a huge gathering, a Maha Kumbh of sadhus and saints. It is noteworthy that this matter is in court and making such a demand from the Government clearly means that the Government will not be able to fulfil it. The second dangerous aspect is that this yatra starting from Basti in Uttar Pradesh will be passing through areas that are not only ‘sensitive’ but which have a fairly large number of Muslims. The RSS and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad want to play with danger, because a spark from here can engulf the entire country in flames. After having slept for so many years, and then starting this kind of programme just before the elections clearly means that the BJP, by keeping a gun on the shoulders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, has made full preparations to communalise the atmosphere. During the coming elections, the BJP will be making Ram Janambhoomi, Section 370 and a Uniform Civil Code the issues. In fact, these are issues which are not just anti-Muslim, but in a way are like dynamite that can put the unity and integrity of the country in danger. The truth is that such issues can not only inflame feelings, but riots can also break out.
In polarising the elections and inflaming feelings the Congress party does not lag behind either. The difference is that the BJP is furthering the strategy of polarisation by bringing Modi forward and the Congress and all other secular parties are doing so by building up fear of the Sangh Parivar. Spokesmen of the Congress, its leaders and Congress controlled media Modi is making such a big, monstrous issue of Modi’s name as if there is no issue other than Modi in the country.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the Janata Dal United are bent on pushing the politics of polarisation in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. It seems to the leaders of all these parties that in 2014 they have a golden chance of becoming Prime Minister. It also seems to these parties that the more the polarisation, the more the advantage they will gain. Therefore, it can be said that these parties can go to any extent for polarisation of votes in these elections.
The Congress has made the 2014 elections Modi-centric a year in advance. The Congress has understood it as its eternal duty to counter every statement of Modi. Either there is a comment about what Modi does or the entire Congress gets involved in making comments. After the natural calamity, Modi went to Uttarakhand. First, by trying to stop him the Congress raised an unnecessary controversy and then sent three of its own Ministers to Uttarakhand! Modi was in Uttarakhand for two days, so Rahul Gandhi too stayed in Uttarakhand for two days, meeting people. If something about Modi is printed or projected in the media, Congress Ministers immediately reach the media to respond to what has been said about Modi. In other words, the Congress is doing more publicity for Modi than Modi is doing for himself. This is because it seems to Congress strategists that the Congress will gain and it will be an advantage if Modi comes forward, because except for the Congress, the Muslims have no other option.
The question arises whether the responsibility of the Congress is over merely by opposing Modi? Is the meaning of secularism in the country limited only to protests against Modi? To attract Muslims, the BJP has come forward with a road map for their social and economic development, but what did the Congress do? Will the lollipop of reservations be dangled before the Muslims once again to deceive them, as was done during the Assembly Elections in Uttar Pradesh? During the Assembly Elections, the Congress went to an amazing extent. First, through Urdu newspapers and other media minority reservation was projected as Muslim reservation and an attempt was thus made to cheat the Muslims by misrepresenting the actual facts. When this cheating got caught, Salman Khurshid promised 9 per cent reservation to Muslims, but when the Congress party election manifesto was released, what was written in the context of Muslims was different in Urdu and different in English. What kind of politics is this? Does it seem to the Congress that this time too by making false promises it will succeed in deceiving the Muslims? The way history has been so far, it seems that the Congress is engaged once again in preparing to announce reservation and some other package for the Muslims to get their votes — through false declarations. The result of such politics result is that nothing comes into the hands of the Muslims and instead, in protest against Muslim appeasement, polarisation certainly takes place. Perhaps this is also what the Congress desires. It seems that by making false promises, by spreading rumours, by threatening and highlighting the fear of Modi, the Congress is engaged in executing the strategy of polarisation, so that it can get the 19 per cent Muslim votes just sitting as it were. The Congress too is waiting for the atmosphere to be poisoned by communalism, so that it gains an electoral advantage.
But there is a very big error in the Congress strategy. The votes of Muslims or Modi opponents will go the candidate who will seem the most capable of defeating the BJP candidate. Since this election is a fight between the support for Modi and the opposition against Modi, therefore, those against Modi will not take any risks. This time, along with strategic voting there will be intelligent voting too. This is the thinking of Mulayam Singh Yadav too. It seems to him that with Modi coming forward, all other issues in the Lok Sabha elections will be put to an end and the minorities will make communalism an issue and to defeat the BJP, they will side with the Samajwadi Party. In other words, the more the polarisation, the more the Samajwadi Party will benefit. The Samajwadi party Government in Uttar Pradesh is impatiently waiting for Modi to come to Uttar Pradesh, because Modi is the key to its victory. In the time to come, the Samajwadi Party will not only give Modi and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad the liberty to create chaos, but will also strongly oppose it. This means that before the elections the Bharatiya Janata Party will mix the poison of communalism, and the Congress and the Samajwadi Party will add fuel to the fire.
Nitish Kumar too is an example of such a strategy. The Muslims have pushed back the politics of Nitish Kumar by 30 years and have given the the BJP complete freedom to practice communal politics. In Bihar, there was an alliance between Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United and the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Government was carrying on. Both had fought many elections together. For the first time in Bihar, Muslims openly supported the BJP with their votes. On the BJP ticket, Muslim candidates won the elections too. With their understanding, Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi kept communalism at a distance from the State. During their coalition Government, those guilty of the Bhagalpur riots were also punished. During elections the BJP never raised disputed or controversial issues and neither did it give any opportunity or occasion for Narendra Modi to plant his feet in Bihar. Whenever elections were held, Narendra Modi was stopped from going to Bihar. In this, Sushil Modi had as much of a role as Nitish Kumar. Muslims kept voting for development and good governance without fear.
Nitish Kumar has now broken the relationship with the BJP. On the surface, this does seem to be an example of secular politics, but the lines etched from this in Bihar are those of communalism, lines that will strengthen communalism. Like, before this, Modi did not go for election campaigns to Bihar but now he will be able to easily tour Bihar. Earlier, the BJP avoided taking up disputed or controversial issues, now it will be able to raise issues which are disputed and controversial and can divide society. The equations of electoral politics are behind Nitish Kumar’s decision. Laloo Yadav dominated Bihar for 15 years. He did not lose elections because of his victory formula was based on calculations of Muslim and Yadav votes. But ever since the Muslims stopped giving their votes to Laloo Yadav, he has been out of power in Bihar.
The Muslims stopped giving their votes to Laloo Yadav because in 15 years, his Government did nothing for the development of Muslims. The Muslims felt that they had been cheated, so they went with the JDU-BJP alliance. Nitish Kumar’s decision to split from the BJP is the result of being based on electoral equations more than on ideological differences. Nitish knows that in Bihar power can be maintained only by weakening Laloo Yadav. The day the Muslims go back to Laloo, the same day the foundations of Nitish’s power will become weak. Therefore, before every election, by opposing Modi, he succeeded in winning the hearts of Muslims. Therefore, the moment the BJP announced the name of Modi for heading its Election Campaign Committee, Nitish Kumar broke off his relationship with the BJP. Only time will tell how much Nitish will profit from this in the coming elections, but his decision is the result of the same strategy on which the Congress and Samajwadi Party are working.
Actually, Indian politics has become devoid of ideology. The meaning of secularism now just means getting the votes of the minorities by deceiving them. There is a Congress Government at the Centre, in Bihar there is Nitish Kumar’s Government and in Uttar Pradesh that of Mulayam Singh Yadav (through Akhilesh Yadav). All of them advocate secularism day and night, but out of them whose Government has prepared an overall plan for the social and economic development of the minorities? Who tried to get them out of the darkness of illiteracy? Each one of them has cheated the Muslims. The Sachar Committee Report conveyed the realities of the backwardness of the Muslims. The report of the Rangnath Mishra Commission made many suggestions. For the last three-four years this report has been rotting in some rack or almirah (cupboard) of the Government and no secular party has the time to remember it. The other problems through which the country is passing are of course having their effect on Muslims, but the kind of economic policy that is being implemented in the country, is making the Muslims suffer additionally. Why has no secular party so far paid no attention to the fact that Muslims have been crushed the most by the economic policy of liberalism, it is the Muslims who have become unemployed in the largest number. With the coming of Chinese goods into the bazaars, Muslim artisans are troubled and worried the most; because of FDI, it is Muslims who have suffered most ruin in their business. This means that political parties in the country have understood secularism to mean only getting the votes of Muslims. Deceiving the Muslims by making false promises has been taken to be the correct meaning, the correct interpretation of secularism. When election time comes the political parties remember reservation for Muslims. Claims and bids are made. Some talk of 5 per cent reservation, some talk of 9 per cent reservation, some talk of 19 per cent reservation and when elections are over, everything becomes zero.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and the Janata Dal United are bent on pushing the politics of polarisation in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. It seems to the leaders of all these parties that in 2014 they have a golden chance of becoming Prime Minister.
It also seems to these parties that the more the polarisation, the more the advantage they will gain. Therefore, it can be said that these parties can go to any extent for polarisation of votes in these elections. Someone will try to fright and threaten, somebody will give a controversial speech, someone will mix sweet poison and try to divide the voters. Apart from the parties named above, there other parties too which certainly appear to be lagging behind in this race, but will do the work of catalysts during the elections, like Laloo Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal, Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party of Mayawati. These parties too will advocate secular politics and try to divide the voters. When so many parties will work with the same purpose, what the result will be is very clear. We must assume that violence and riots are about to happen.