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Defeat of BJP is defeat of communalism
By Asghar Ali Engineer

The crushing defeat of the BJP in the recent elections in U.P. Uttaranchal and the Punjab is, in fact, defeat of communalism. The BJP for long had been playing double game. 

The crushing defeat of the BJP in the recent elections in U.P. Uttaranchal and the Punjab is, in fact, defeat of communalism. The BJP for long had been playing double game. It pretended to be secular before the Indian people in general but maintained its communal face before its hard core cadre. It is not possible to deceive the people for ever. Its leaders, including the Prime Minister Shri A.B. Vajpayee told the nation that the construction of the Ramjanambhoomi Mandir was not on its (NDA) agenda but whenever elections were declared its other face appeared in the form of VHP and Bajrang Dal. And these outfits of the Sangh Parivar would threaten to construct the temple from a declared date to satisfy the Hindutvawadis. This bluff now has been called off.

Of course the VHP and some hard core elements still maintain that the BJP faced crushing defeat, as it did not fulfil its promise to construct the Ram temple in Ayodhya. They maintain that the BJP would have won had it taken up the cause of the Ram temple. However, this claim is not borne out by the ground reality. All surveys show that people are tired of temple issue. They are more interested in developmental issues than temples and mosques. The BJP was defeated simply because it did not deliver.

The BJP failed on all fronts. Its slogan was “bhay, bhook aur bhrashtachar se mukti i.e. freedom from fear, hunger and corruption. It was nothing more than a deceptive slogan. The BJP governments in all states – in Gujarat, in U.P. and in Uttaranchal indulged in record corruption. In Punjab too, along with the Akalis it was partner in corruption. It had several criminals among the elected representatives and even in the Cabinets. In Gujarat the VHP and the Bajrang Dal repeatedly attacked the minorities and minorities including Muslims and Christians have been living in perpetual fear in Gujarat. In U.P. they had to moderate their attacks on minorities as they ruled in alliance with other secular parties. Gujarat was referred to as the ‘laboratory of Hindutva’ by the supporters of the BJP.

The minorities in Gujarat are living in the constant fear of attacks. The attacks on Christians also began from Dang in Gujarat. Their churches were demolished and bibles burnt down in various parts of Gujarat. So much for their slogan of freedom from fear. While BJP launched a tirade against the corruption in the Congress it described itself as the ‘party with the difference’. Its governments turned out to be more corrupt than the Congress governments.

As often asserted by this writer a democracy cannot be run by communalising the polity. A democracy has to be based on secular principles. In democracy it is citizenship which is fundamental category and not religion. Parties like the BJP in India and Islamic parties in other countries try to make religion as fundamental category rather than citizenship. Only a secular democracy can guarantee rights of all citizens irrespective of their religion, caste or creed. Communal parties cannot.

It is unfortunate that even Prime Minister Shri Vajpayee was not above this kind of politics though he is projected as moderate in the BJP politics and Shri L.K.Advani as the hawk. Shri Vajpayee went to the extent of saying during his election campaign that he does not care for the Muslim votes and that the BJP will win even if the Muslims do not vote for his party. This resulted in furore and Mulayam Singh went to the extent of demanding his resignation. The party managers had to do the damage control and Vajpayee issued a clarification maintaining, as politicians always do, that he was misquoted by the press.

But the fact is he did say the BJP could do without Muslim vote. No doubt he said this in sheer frustration. He was of course receiving the results of pre-poll surveys which clearly indicated that the BJP is losing and the Muslims will vote either for Samajwadi party of Mulayam Singh Yadav or the BSP of Mayawati. Muslim votes are crucial in more than 60 assembly seats of U.P. No party can win without the Muslim support in these constituencies and sixty seats matter a lot.

And it is interesting to note that it was not the first time that the BJP leaders had made such statement. In previous elections too, in U.P. in 1991 elections as well as in the Centre in the 1999 elections the BJP leaders had said that they have shown that one can win without Muslim votes. Shri A.B.Vajpayee spoke in the same vein. Somewhere it is the desire of the BJP to win the elections without the Muslim support and then dispense with their democratic and constitutional obligations towards minorities. This is what the communal politics is based on. After all the RSS talk about the Hindu Rashtra is not just a slogan. It is their deep desire and their political logic is based on this. Zial-ul-Haq also marginalised the Hindu and Christian minorities in Pakistan politics by introducing separate electorate for them. Continued

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