This is in response to your editorial, “Winds of change” (NP, December 18, 2018). In the recent assembly elections, the BJP got 1 out of 40 seats in Mizoram, 1 out of 119 seats in Telangana, 15 out of 90 seats in Chhattisgarh, 73 out of 199 seats in Rajasthan and 109 out of 230 seats in Madhya Pradesh. Barring Madhya Pradesh, the BJP could not come anywhere near the halfway mark in the five state assemblies.
It is really interesting to find out what factors have changed the people’s mood. We know that the British game of Hindu – Muslim divisive politics had culminated in bloodshed and a partition. We had learnt from our past bitter experience what was the cost of allowing divide and rule sort of politicking to vitiate our mindsets. As a result, Indian voters cannot be swayed by Ali versus Bajrangbali or samsan versus kabarsthan kind of narratives for long.
Moreover, the 2006 Sachar Committee report placed Indian Muslims below SCs and STs in terms of their backwardness as well as their under – representation in the administration. The fact of the matter is that many Indian Muslims are poor and backward. So, the poor and backward among Muslims and the poor and socially challenged Dalits among Hindus cannot be divided on religious line as they all are the victims of inequality and lack of inclusive growth.
We must not forget that the BJP got a huge majority in 2014 Parliamentary election with the help of secular and inclusive slogans like toilet over temple and sabka sath, sabka vikas. But the people of our country got disillusioned by watching the mindless game of name changing, cow prioritising and spending a bomb for statue building while ignoring its election pledge of solving unemployment, agrarian and corruption issues.
On corruption matter, people cannot like the bottom – tight – top – loose kind of approach. While the policy like demonetisation took the water away for small fries, big crocodiles happily survived on the land without water with the help of plastic money. On the other hand, soft dealing with macro bank loan defaulters and the hard approach on farm loans does not go down well with the farmers. Finally, Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s constant questioning of why the ruling party has been fighting shy of setting up of a Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Rafael deal seems to have given him an electoral dividend.
Sujit De, Kolkata