Analysis

Cry Beloved India

Original_mg345-m-hasan-jowher

M Hasan Jowher

 

 

1. 16th LOK SABHA 2014

a. Parliamentary elections were held at the end of the UPA’s 2nd term in the background of sweeping anti-incumbency sentiments and wide-spread accusations of corruption which resulted into perceptible slow-down in governance.

b. By and large the Election Commission did a magnificent job of securing the polls and ensuring a clean poll, a world class achievement undoubtedly. The elections registered a record 66% turnout of the voters.

 

2. MODI’s VICTORY

a. Gujarat’s infamous Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, nominated BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, swept the polls bagging 282 seats in the 543-member house, more than doubling the party’s 2009 tally of 116.

b. Thus he decimated the Congress to its all-time low tally of 44, far below the minimum of 10% required to register as the Opposition Party. Congress has been wiped out from several states including such large states as Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

c. Modi worked very hard, addressed far more rallies than any other major leader, travelled far and wide, struck smart - if unprincipled - alliances, courted media successfully, played to the gallery with well-researched local issues, used technology to the hilt, and marketed himself systematically and successfully. If this is all politics then he turned out the smartest politician and is reaping the fruits of a flawed system of governance.

d. In the process, he commands a clear majority in the Lok Sabha, the first ever non-Congress party to do so, and the first since Rajiv Gandhi in 1984.

e. On the flip side, he mustered only a third of positive votes of Indian voters, effectively meaning that 2/3rd of the voters rejected him. But - thanks to our first-past-the-post polls - he could register impressive wins almost in every part of India.

f. The writing was there to see on the wall weeks before the verdict: massive crowds in his rallies, huge media hype, deafening publicity drive at incredible costs, live coverage of speeches, various Modi artefacts and shows and impressive endorsements.

 

3. MUSLIM MARGINALIZATION

a. Never before have the Muslim votes been proven so useless as in this election, virtually a negative vote leading instead to subtle counter-mobilization of Hindu votes in favour of Modi.

b. Not a single Muslim MP from BJP has entered this Lok Sabha. Therefore, ministers, if any, will be entirely a matter of courtesy, or will come from some dispensable alliance partner.

c. I have said this before and repeat - after all the political punditry, and nuanced narrative ends - that a vote for Modi was a vote against Muslims. I am, however, not absolving the Muslims from the blame for this situation. I note repeatedly that Indian Hindus had opted for secularism - ideologically or strategically - in 1947. As Pakistan slid into theocracy, India steadfastly struck to secularism going on to make it a matter of constitutional doctrine.

d. Therefore, it devolves upon Muslims to examine how the situation deteriorated so much that a man that belonged to the gallows came to rule the nation.

e. The international pariahs that the Muslims have become, their ill-conceived priorities, failure to manage public perception [not one credible and secular national newspaper or TV channel by Muslims, for instance], a completely sold out, morally bankrupt and utterly self-serving leadership, interference of ill-informed clergymen in politics etc contributed to their dispensability. If Gujarat’s Muslim victims gave Modi the assembly, Muzaffarnagar’s gave him Parliamentary seats of UP and Bihar, and those of Assam delivered him the North East. Every Muslim loss of life has profited this man.

 

4. MODI’S WEAPONRY

a. Undoubtedly communal polarization was the chief factor, for all the hypocritical talk of development. Notice that UP and Assam where communal polarization was engineered returned the largest proportionate victories.

b. The bogey of anti-corruption crusade was another subterfuge for the soft-saffronites [else Nitish wouldn’t lose, Jagan and Yadurappa wouldn’t win]. By design or accident, this started the beginning of the end of the Congress chances this election. Anna’s movement - may history unveil - appeared a calculated move to malign this party. Arvind played into their hands - hopefully unwittingly - with AAP contributing to nothing but the division of the secular vote - thanks to Arvind’s single act of taking on Modi.

c. The over-hyped anti-Congressism and its demonization by the Left [largely due to the ego of Prakash Karat], the electronic media [undoubtedly a large section properly greased and oiled, with India TV actually telecasting Modi interview a dozen times including on the polling day], the loose talk of pseudo-secular ones creating an environment as if nothing good ever happened in 67 years and particularly during UPA’s two terms, as if the Gandhis’ was the only dynasty and it was seeped into corruption [although other than against Vadra no semblance of credible evidence was ever produced].

d. It is naïve to deny Gujarat’s infrastructural development and its very effective marketing by Modi. The migrant labourers of UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, MP carried these tales back home and the word of the mouth spread. Obviously they did not have to feel the pain of the 2002 victims, which the Muslims did not drive home properly anyway.

e. He successfully show-cased his agricultural achievements to sarpanchs invited from the whole of India and were photographed for the proposed Sardar museum.

f. His smart moves initiated months in advance to involve common Indians, such as collecting iron from every village for Patel’s statue, offer of scholarships etc. attracted nation-wide attention.

g. Modi thus creating myriad vested interests in his victory across a wide spectrum of classes and sections, from corporates to carpenters, farm owners to farmers.

 

5. CONGRESS’s FAILURES

a. Arrogance of the party perhaps resulting from two successive terms led to a huge disconnect from both the reality and the masses.

b. Rahul was ensconced amid a bunch of technocrats devoid of political sense, discarding old, tried hands. He arrived on the scene too late and experimented ideas without adequate trial-runs. The High Command failed to connect with the workers until it was too late. [This author’s warnings post-Nirbhaya outrage over a year in advance, remained unacknowledged.]

c. The colossal failure of the Manmohan government to communicate, to use the official media to explain its point of view on scandals from the Commonwealth games to Coalgate, and the eerie silence of the party on serious charges led to the perception of complicity.

d. Their failure to fix the guilty including Modi on 2002 carnage, fake encounters, stalking etc, in time, and letting the likes of Gen V K Singh, Baba Ramdev etc off the hook led to villains turning into heroes.

 

6. MODI’S GOOD LUCK

a. Whether or not Modi was complicit in Gujarat’s infamous pogrom, he surely reaped the fruits of polarization it created. This resulted in a massive majority for him in the state assembly, nullifying the MLAs and neutralizing their political pressure. Modi put this to good use by effective, even if arbitrary and dictatorial, governance, which enabled him to deliver economic dividends faster. The corporate patronage followed and so did the resources. Thus avoiding the label of personal corruption he put political corruption to massive use for his own marketing and branding over his successive terms.

b. Monsoons favoured him throughout these 12 years. No major calamity struck Gujarat since 2001.

c. And now thanks to the foregoing he is handed a massive majority in the Parliament. Combining the two Houses he can manage to pass any number - and kind - of legislations, overrule ministers and bureaucrats. For all you know he may be able to deliver even at Delhi to a rapidly enriching money-focused middle class, thus immortalizing his legacy and forever erasing the blame he justly carries. Effectively this puts an end to the pursuit of justice for his misdeeds.

d. On the plus side, badly hungry and gravely in need of international recognition, he may well play the statesman by striking a healthy relationship with Pakistan, and perhaps resolving the Kashmir dispute through a stick-and-carrot approach. To placate his saffron brigade he may well go for a Ram Mandir, by purchasing the loyalties of appeasing Muslims.

Not only as a Gujarati Muslim do I feel badly let down at this turn of events but as an Indian I feel ashamed at the rise of the right-wing just when a 21st century India should have produced a progressive, science-driven and ultra-secular dispensation. But more than others I am angry with Indian and global Muslim leadership for landing their hordes into this despicable situation.

The author runs a Gujarat NGO focused on communal harmony and scientific temper and can be reached at mhj@sprat.in

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 June 2014 on page no. 11

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