Thursday, June 17, 2021

Communal politics

The Left Front in Kerala and BJP-government at the centre appear to be heading for a showdown with the former cracking down on protestors, who resorted to violence and stopped women from entering Sabrimala Temple shrine despite the directions of the Supreme Court last week. Tension escalated as the Kerala police cracked down on the protestors, who owe allegiance to Sangh Parivaar and its affiliates, with BJP chief Amit Shah threatening to bring down the Kerala government, which after some reluctance committed itself to implement SC orders allowing menstruating women entry to Sabrimala Temple. Though the action of the Kerala police in arresting close to 2000 members of the Sangh Parivaar has come late, yet it not too late than allowing them to rule the roost and take law into their own hands on many issues. Unfortunately, the challenge held out to the Left Front ruling dispensation by BJP chief is a brazen opposition and defiance of logic adhered to by the SC judgment which relied on rationale of ending discrimination on the basis of sex so far as right to pray in temple is concerned. It is surprising that the Sangh Parivaar has taken a u-turn on the issue of Sabrimala Temple shrine as compared to its stand on allowing women equal rights to pray and entry into other shrines across the country where women were barred due to century-old regressive customs. It is also shocking to hear the BJP leaders, who blamed the SC verdict on Sabrimala for the natural calamities that struck Kerala and played havoc with the life and property of the common masses during the floods last month. They went to the extent of blaming the Left Front government in Kerala for the natural calamities for not believing in Gods and earning their curse for their people. In fact, the u-turn by the BJP and its affiliates on Sabrimala stems from their petty politicking and attempts to polarize the society in rest of the country with an eye on forthcoming elections in five states and 2019 General Elections. It is unfortunate that in Kerala both Congress and BJP are joining hands in opposing the actions of the Left Front government in restoration of law and order situation. Apart from what is going on in Kerala on law and order, the BJP’s action seen in the backdrop of its attempts not only to polarize the country on communal lines but also its struggle to reviving its cadres and party in South Indian states where it has faced political reverses in the past four and a half years. Except for Karnataka, where BJP could revive its party to come second in the assembly elections early this year, the party has been making attempts to register its presence in other states of South India. Same is the case in other states of the country, which are going to polls in the next two months and the tensions within the party have heightened due to disillusionment of the people and facing stiff opposition. The ruling BJP is also facing anti-incumbency in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh due to economic slowdown, unemployment, lack of healthcare facilities, inadequate opportunities for education and total absence of social security. The demonetization and Goods and Services Tax (GST) had their own share of economic woes for the people in these states. The anger among the farmers in these states and neighbouring areas have unnerved the central government also as protests have been going up in other BJP-ruled states also with tens of thousands marching to New Delhi and other major cities of the Hindi heartland of the country during the past few months. Moreover, the deaths of farmers not only in MP and other states in police action besides the rising number of suicides have been bothering the centre and the state governments as the ruling dispensation has miserably failed in coming up to the aspirations of the farmers and the rural populations. The promises made to the farmers have not been fulfilled by the centre and the question of writing off the farm loans has continued to stare the governments in their face since 2014, when BJP took over the reins. Instead of redressing these major issues, the BJP is making all out attempts to divert the attention of the common masses by arousing the communal passions in the country. Only time will tell how the people treat the BJP and allies in the next electoral exercise across the country.