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Defeat of BJP is defeat of communalism
By Asghar Ali Engineer

Continued from

Vajpayee also sings different tunes in different places. First he said in Staten Island in USA among the crowd of the VHP sadhus that “RSS is his soul” and changed his statement when he returned to India. To please his Hindutva constituency he made a statement that construction of Ram temple reflected national sentiment but when he came under attack from opposition he mused from his holiday resort in Kerala that “ do not disturb the status quo” at Ayodhya, Kashi, Mathura and other places. “The Government will not remain a silent spectator” he said ”and adopt delaying tactics, as unfortunately happened eight years ago.” 

The BJP, and any communal party for that matter, tries to arouse communal sentiments and bases its politics only on these sentiments. Under compulsions of the NDA politics the BJP-led Government at the Centre tries to maintain a moderate and secular face but reverts to its communal face when it comes to winning elections taking people’s religious sentiments for granted. The BJP had totally failed to provide good governance in U.P. and other states and as soon as the U.P. elections were announced it resorted to various emotional measures like banning the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), enactment of POTO in the teeth of opposition to fight terrorism and raise the Mandir issue through VHP and Bajrang Dal.

However, as the results show nothing helped it. The BJP by itself could not get even 100 seats in U.P. The SP of Mulayam Singh Yadav has emerged as the largest single party with 148 seats and Mayawati’s BSP got 94 seats, which is an impressive gain. This is the worst performance of the BJP since its ascendance to power on the Ramjanambhoomi issue. Shri Vajpayee, sensing the defeat, was not referring to local issues in his campaign speeches at all both in U.P. as well as in the Punjab. He was referring only to emotional issues of cross border terrorism and attack on parliament on 13th December.

Again it was keeping in view the U.P. elections that the Vajpayee Government severed all connections with Pakistan. Rail, bus and air links with Pakistan were snapped to arouse emotional hysteria. The people to people contacts in both the countries are very important to promote amity and friendship between the two countries and peace in South Asia depends on peace between India and Pakistan. Now it will take, one does not know how long, to restore these links again. Pakistani rulers of course are no less to blame. It is, however, another story.

The BJP should now learn a lesson that its communalism and politics of religion will not take it far. The basic issues of the people will have to be addressed which are issues of development, poverty, unemployment and housing. People cannot vote for it indefinitely on issues of temple and mosque. The defeat in the U.P. elections is a clear writing on the wall for the BJP. 

Thus one has to wait and watch. One does not know who will form the Government in U.P. If Mulayam Singh forms the Government the BJP may intensify the Mandir issue to embarrass the Mulayam Singh Government. Or under pressure from its hard core elements the BJP leadership may try to intensify it and put the country again on fire. The Gujarat elections are due in next 11 months and conditions in Gujarat are also not very congenial for the BJP. The BJP lost heavily in Panchayat elections in Gujarat last year despite weak and faction ridden Congress. In bye-elections in Gujarat along with the elections in U.P. though its Chief Minister Narendra Modi scrapped through the BJP lost two other seats to the Congress.

Thus it is not the end of woes of the BJP. It has lost the biggest state of U.P. and is likely to face tough time in its ‘laboratory of the Hindutva’. It may play its Hindutva card much more intensely as Gujarat is also quite crucial to the survival of the BJP. The secular forces, unfortunately, are endlessly divided. The future of the country lies only in strengthening secular democracy. 

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