Indian Elections: The Return Of Saffron Tide
“What is India? We have the growth of nuclear science and atomic energy in India and we also have the Cow-Dung age. In the tumult and confusion of our time, we stands facing both ways, forward to the future and backward to the past, being pulled in the direction.” Renowned historian Stanley Wolpert had quoted these words of India’s former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru from one of his speeches in his book.
It’s been more than six decades and the Indian elections results show it’s being pulled in both directions. On one hand, India is collaborating with global corporations for ‘Made in India’ initiative and, on the other, its leading political party is giving tickets to the candidates who believe that cow urine can cure cancer.
Indian elections outcome is amazing and alarming at the same time. First time in history, the BJP with 303 seats has become a party other than Congress to come in a position to make government without asking for allies support. Seculars are silent, Congress has accepted, while the Bhakats of RSS and workers of BJP are lightening up every street and corner. India that once had the pride of being a secular country has rejected the secular Congress, its ideology and the leadership of Rahul Gandhi.
Did democracy defeat the secularism or India needs a statesman, not some sort of foreign educated guy promoted to the seat of leadership by loyalists with nothing new of offer but selling the family legacy.
Hindutva used democracy to jolt the foundation of India society – the debate has started.
Before the 2014 election, when the brand-making process of Modi was started, Congress was struggling at a number of fronts. Party’s structural problem, nepotism, corruption, the leadership skills of Rahul Gandhi, media backlash – all indirectly supported the BJP‘s narrative and that party used its machinery for the politicization of religion to convert it into solid vote base to take the advantage of Congress’ failures.
The two questions that arise here are; how did BJP win and why Congress tasted defeat along with allies?
After the election, the Modi government immediately had to deal three issues; mob lynching of Muslims, intolerance debate and demonetisation.
If I have to explain the success of BJP is single word, that would be ‘”BOLDNESS” – the seeds of this victory were sowed in the Utter Pradesh election. Modi- Amit Shah duo’s approach was different than the Vajpayee- Advani partnership. The former based it policies on the regional politics and politicization of hardcore Hindu mindset, while the latter’s policies always provided space for secularism in order to maintain the plural structure of Indian society.
Domestication had to face the backlash by renowned economists and common people also had to suffer by standing up at kilometres-long bank lines and ATMs – but it added more support to BJP as its media machinery termed this move a fight against black money.
From nominating controversial Yogi Adityanath to control the Hindu vote bank of Utter Pradesh to giving ticket to Pragya Thakur (accused in a terrorism case against Muslims), the BJP was clear that it needed victory at the price of division on the basis of religion.
On the foreign front, the careful application of hyper nationalism, use of media tools to term the opponents as anti-state, controversial surgical strike, the political use of Pakistan’s peaceful gesture of returning Indian air force pilot Abhinandan and use of power in Kashmir, presented Modi as someone who knows how to deliver, who takes risks and this party is not like Congress that is boneless and always remains answerless to Indian problems.
The case of Congress has to be understood with a little historical perspective. From Nehru government’s constitutional designs to Indira’s Gandhi’s emergency – Congress always kept an eye on Hindu factions in order to stop slipping of this vote bank towards the hardcore organizations like RSS.
After Manmohan Singh, in the galaxy of political moguls, the party found Rahul Gandhi to fight the opposition forces and to take on the family legacy. His leadership style, lack of oratory skills, inability to attract hardcore Hindus, rising nepotism and especially ineffective media handling – all led to gradual decrease in his rating among middle class to the match the rising Modi brand. In the party earlier, the debate was going to nominate someone else as the PM to counter the Modi affect. Names of Mamta Banerjee (as coalition head) and Chidambaram were circulated, however the Congress darbar was reluctant to give throne to next in hierarchy.
Now! Stop for a moment and compare the two candidates for PM from an eye of common Indian person. Modi – a tea seller who rose from the ranks of RSS and BJP; he performed exceptionally in his native state Gujrat. Infrastructural development, foreign investment, relations with the business groups, the media grip, vocal abilities and common lifestyle – all these appeal to masses and demonstrate that this party knows how to provide leadership for future.
Rahul Gandhi, on the other hand, was termed Pappu in media since the beginning, a foreign educated guy who got the top post just because he owns the name Gandhi. He had no record of performing at any public post. In Amethi this time, Rahul Gandhi has been defeated by former actress-turned-politician Smriti Irani, which shows the kind of penetration BJP has acquired in the Congress strongholds. There is a perception that India needs a statesman not some sort of foreign educated guy who got promoted to the seat of leadership by loyalists with nothing new of offer but selling the family legacy.
The Indian middle class was fed up with the traditional legacy and policies of Congress. Modi in the last five year provided with all the things the Indians want to see. By 2025, Indian middle class will be 41% of the current figures which shows the rise of middle class.
However, the ambiguous future of minorities, the possibility of using power in Kashmir, relations with Pakistan, equation with the south and the power that the hardcore will assert themselves – all these question put doubt to the fruits this democracy has brought to India. A new Hindu voters’ class generated by BJP will definitely question the Nehruian formula by relying on which Indian society has travels through tough times.
Although some opposition factions are questioning the credibility of EVMs by saying that these machines were rigged but the statement of Assaduddin Awasi brilliantly ended the debate. According to him, it’s not the EVMs that were rigged but the Hindu minds that has been rigged.
God Bless Secular India!