Zul Hijja / Muharram 1422 H
Volume 15-03 No:183
The Electoral verdict in the four states in North India has removed the fascist and communal forces from power. The results are particularly surprising from the key state of Uttar Pradesh where the BJP has been placed third, way behind the Samajwadi Party (SP) headed by Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) of Mayawati Devi. And this happened at a time when the fascists chose to heat up the communal atmosphere by their threat to go ahead with the plan of constructing a temple at the disputed land in Ayodhya by challenging the law. That even this ploy did not work in hoodwinking the voters, 82 per cent of whom are Hindus in the state of Uttar Pradesh, is a sure indication that people cannot be fooled all the time and their votes cannot be bartered away by sentimental largesse.
The crushing defeat of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal needs a realistic analysis in that, a host of factors, forces and influences have shaped the verdict there. First of them is the fact that having ruled the State for five years, the BJP and its allies earned the anti-incumbency votes. Secondly, it is futile to attribute the defeat to the anger of Hindus who were disappointed with the promise of the temple not getting materialised. Five years earlier, they had voted for the BJP not so much for its promise of the temple, but to test the “party with a difference.” The fact is that the BJP behaved no differently than the Congress in power. This weighed heavily with the voters. The five years saw three chief ministers occupying the helms in Lucknow. They all had jumbo cabinets, comprising almost one fourth of the legislators. They included criminals, some of them even having been charged with murders. As for performance, Uttar Pradesh was far from Ram Rajya. With industries facing closure in the Agra-Kanpur belt, chronic power crisis gripping the state and total economic downturn, there was nothing to cheer about the performance of the government. With bread and butter being the principal concern, the people could not have been swayed by the attempts to push the fictitious issues of ‘ nation in danger’ and terrorism to the fore. It is a tribute to the sanity of the vast majority of electorate that they saw through the game an attempt to villainise Muslims and paint the madrassas with a black brush. In fact, the nation has never been more secure than today with chief tormentor Pakistan being most vulnerable and under international pressure to wind off its terrorist seminaries. This in itself carries a message : if Muslims could satisfy the innocent Hindu brethren that there was nothing to fear from them, the Sangh Parivar’s plank will crumble and the BJP would be forced to think of alternative issues. In the final analysis, hate does not make a viable plank to garner votes.
The results in Uttar Pradesh evoke only half a cheer, for it does not augur well for the political stability. The fractured mandate is reflective of the social realities whereby, the upper-castes vote for the BJP, scheduled castes (SCs) for the BSP and the Backward Classes (BCs) for the SP. The Muslims choose their candidate from constituency to constituency as per the secular credentials of the candidate. It is an undesirable situation. It is unbecoming of a country which is secular in character. The situation will not change unless people shift their choices from caste, community and sectarian agenda to ideology and programme of action based on the welfare of the people. For this to happen, social justice, education for all, reservation for the traditionally and economically weak should get centrality in party programmes. Unfortunately, the dominant parties such as the BJP and the Congress seem interested only in flaunting Kalyan Singh as the ‘BC mascot’ or Muslims as ‘Votebank’ without empowering the underprivileged communities such as BCs, SCs, STs and the Minorities. Unless the political parties begin to remove the secret caste / community underpinnings of their ideological exterior, their loud claims of popular weal will remain mere pretensions.
Finally a word about the Muslim vote in Uttar Pradesh. It is rather ironic that Muslims’ desire to defeat the communal forces comes to a nought in the Muslim dominated constituencies. As is evident from the voting pattern in Rohilkhand (Western UP), the communal parties registered their biggest win from these areas while the BJP was mainly rejected in Hindu dominated constituencies elsewhere. There can be nothing more painful than this. Muslim will have to further fine-tune their sifting skills in choosing a candidate from among their multiple secular benefactors who ultimately cancel each other out to lend the advantage to communal forces.
Altogether the elections in the Northern States do signal rejection of communal forces, but do not send good omen for stability. It is time the people’s preferences are moulded into ideological mould to impart an issue-based orientation to the polity. Unless people’s preferences stabilise, the polity will not.Top