Focus

The Fall of a tinsel god

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Rajindar Sachar
Former Chief Justice, Delhi High Court

How mighty have fallen fits in completely with the rout of BJP in recently-held elections to Bihar Assembly. To any analyst it looked that it was going to a be close fight. It is no secret that progressive forces in the country like academics, writers and social activists who were passive at the start were forced to be active as the real face of BJP through its boss RSS emerged threatening the very core values guaranteed by the Indian Constitution, and thus posing a danger to the integrity of the country.

Jayaprakash Narayan, the Socialist leader, had as far back as 1965 given the warning. He said: “Some like the RSS might do it openly by identifying the Indian nation with Hindu Rashtra, others might do it more subtly”. JP warned “those who attempt to equate India with Hindus…are in reality enemies of Hinduism itself and Hindus, as they weaken and sunder the fabric of the nation”. He also had pointed out that the cow was never considered a sacred animal even during the early Vedic period.  

The silence of the Prime Minister at the complicity of BJP members’ involvement in attacking Muslims at Attali (Haryana) and Dadri (UP) created a massive revulsion against BJP

The sheer falsehood and hypocrisy around beef is appalling. This has been exposed by a study done by a research centre thus: “Muslims are earning peanuts as against the general perception about the trade, and it is actually the government and non-Muslims who are benefiting the most from the $ 4.5 billion animal slaughter business. Except for direct consumption, in which case both Muslims and non-Muslims are at par in terms of consuming beef, all associated businesses, including meat export, bone-crushing and powder industry, leather and horn processing industries, blood processing, animal fat and soap industry are dominated entirely by non-Muslims”.

BJP is trying to lower the impact of this defeat by saying that it will not in any way affect the position and popularity of its leader, Modi. How self-serving and false. Even a day before counting, a senior minister of Central cabinet was openly downgrading exit polls and stating that they were absolutely sure that women had voted in large numbers because they had confidence in Prime Minister Modi’s leadership and his promise of development.   

Some BJP apologists may try to distinguish the voting pattern in Parliament and state as elections being influenced by different considerations. It is true that in earlier elections prime ministers, though they may have participated in state elections, no other Prime Minister had canvassed as Modi did whole time for the state as if he was competing to become state chief minister. No, the public will not buy party apologists’ plea that the blame of defeat, if any, is on the party, because this flies in the face of BJP; whole time propaganda which was to ask for vote because of Prime Minister Modi’s alleged sweep of development plans which were supposedly for the masses, but were unashamedly corporate-friendly.    

As it is, Modi has not enhanced his stature by way of functioning of Central governance. Even pro-Modi enthusiasts now concede that the working of Central government in the matter of enunciating policies on important matters are no where to be seen. Decision making is centralised in PMO, with unpardonable delays.   

Even the corporate sector, which was the strongest supporter of Modi, is having second thoughts at the functioning of his government’s divisive policies. To cap it all, Moody Analytics’s public criticism of the communally surcharged atmosphere created by Modi’s inaction in restraining his monkey army shows that the impact of loss of Bihar will seriously damage the credibility of Modi government.

In my view, immense thanks for defeat of BJP are due to the unexplainable conduct of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat pontifically declaring that reservation policy needs to be reconsidered. It is still a mystery how such obviously damaging statement against interest of BJP could be made by the RSS chief. Could it be because of the perceived danger to Brahminical supremacy being challenged by a lower caste? Let us not forget that Modi is from a backward caste. I cannot find any other rational explanation for such blunder.

A slavish excuse for the loss by BJP is being forwarded by the loyalists of the party that the victory or loss of elections should be attributed to the party and not personally to Modi. This is the limit of hypocrisy. The landslide victory in Parliament elections and even in state elections was attributed to Modi exclusively, both in Maharastra and Haryana when no one can deny that in both states BJP as a party was a poor third. If success in those states was legitimately given to Modi’s image how can different criteria be applied to the present loss in Bihar?        

The biggest self-inflicted damage to BJP is its placing of Modi on to the pedestal of a demi-god, who, it is imagined, will alone take the party to victory. Such an approach is suicidal in a democracy as propounded in the impeccable warning given by Dr. Ambedkar thus: “The second thing we must do is to observe the caution which John Stuart Mill has given to all who are interested in the maintenance of democracy, namely, not “to lay their liberties at feet of even a great man, or to trust him with powers which enable him to subvert their institutions”. There is nothing wrong in being grateful to great men who have rendered lifelong services to the country. But there are limits to gratefulness. For, in India, bhakti or what may be called the path of devotion or hero worship, plays a part in its politics unlike in any other country in the world. Bhakti in religion may be a road to the salvation of the soul. But, in politics, Bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship.”

People have given an extraordinary opportunity to Nitish and Lalu. It is expected that they will continue their sagacity and mutual accommodation. This is the least they owe to the masses of Bihar, who have put their trust in them.  

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 December 2015 on page no. 1

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