Upheaval in Indian polity over corruption and Saffron terror

Both Congress and BJP have their axes to grind

Political parties are gearing up for the assembly elections in five states during April-May this year. In wider perspective, India at this moment is witnessing an upheaval in its polity over corruption and Saffron terror. Congress is harping on Saffron terror while the BJP on the issue of corruption. Along with it, the BJP is also trying to regionalise Hindutva. The mood of the people is perplexed more than ever before.

BJP wants to polarise the electorates either by hook or by crook while the Congress seeks to alarm the country over Sangh terror. The issue of corruption and price rise is a concern for one and all. Scams are not a new phenomenon. Scams were prevalent during NDA rule and continue during the UPA regime. But when series of scams takes place within a short period of time it assumes catastrophic magnitude. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, while addressing the second annual conference of chief secretaries of states recently said, “Corruption strikes at the roots of good governance. It is an impediment to faster growth. It dilutes, if not negates, our efforts at social inclusion. It dents our international image and it demeans us before our own people.” Earlier, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitely, while addressing BJP Delhi state activists on 11 January had said that the PM is heading the most corrupt government of independent India. BJP has also planned series of anti-corruption rallies all across India. Former president Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in an interview has said, “A cancer-like situation is engulfing the political-bureaucratic-judicial system, which is harmful for growth. Certainly the country needs chemotherapy at this critical hour.”

In a counter mode, Congress party is also up in arms against BJP and Sangh Parivar over the newly coined saffron Sangh terror. Congress leader Digvijay Singh on many occasions has reminded people about the threat from Sangh terror. Digvijay in an interview said that the RSS is directly involved in most of the terror attacks in different states during the past couple of years and demanded that all such terror attack cases be probed by a single agency like NIA. Singh has also accused the BJP-ruled states for sheltering some of RSS activists alleged to have been involved in bomb blasts. According to WikiLeaks release, Rahul Gandhi had told Timothy Roemer, the then US ambassador, that the growth of radicalised Hindu groups could pose a bigger threat to India than activities of groups likes Lashkar-e-Taiba. Earlier, Rahul had also drawn a parallel between RSS and SIMI. AICC general secretary, Digvijay Singh, has also alleged that series of bomb blasts began in the country after LK Advani’s Rath Yatra in 1990 and came to a halt after the arrest of RSS activists involved in terror incidents two years ago. Congress, in an attempt to raise its pitch on Hindu terror, he has accused RSS leader Indresh Kumar of having ISI links and has demanded an explanation from the BJP.

BJP is once again on the Rath yatra. But the recent yatras are different from the earlier ones. The recent yatras are being used to regionalise Hindutva in order to make its presence where the BJP has so far not been able gain politically. By converting an anti-immigrant feeling into a communal clash between Hindus and Muslims, the BJP wants to polarise the people of Assam. BJP’s Ekta Yatra from Kolkata to Kashmir was again aimed to divide people by fuelling emotive issues. In West Bengal, the BJP is a marginal player and in order to open its account in the state the party has flagged off Navjagaran yatra from Cooch Behar on 30 January. It will end at Kolkata on 15 February. Here the BJP wants to raise the issue of Left Front government’s Muslim appeasement. BJP has so far failed to gain much ground in Bengal despite of it being the home state of Jan Sangh icon Shyama Prasad Mookherjee. The earlier Ekta Yatra from Kolkata to Kashmir was also to remind people about him and his contribution in both the states. In Kerala, the party’s state unit has started to formulate its political strategy on a similar note.

BJP wants to throw its weight in Uttar Pradesh and therefore the first of the 22 nationwide Mahasangaram rallies of NDA against the ruling UPA over corruption and inflation began from Phoolbagh ground in Kanpur. But the rally lacked spirit and turned out to be an uninspiring event. People present at the rally were not even one fifth of the ground’s capacity of 25,000 people and instead of NDA rally it looked like a BJP meet. Leaders like LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Sharad Yadav and party president Nitin Gadkari failed to attend the rally.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-28 February 2011 on page no. 7

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