Where politicians of all hues vie with each other, but the BJP’s shenanigans ‘stand apart’!
In its insatiable lust and a desperate bid for power, the BJP government is pulling no punches to use all the tricks in the trade to fleece masses so as to get back to the hot seat in Delhi in 2019. The latest one pertains to how the party’s spin doctors have thought of issues which they have the audacity to rake up, never mind the act of doing so flies into the face of the Indian Constitution. Indeed, it redounds to their evil genius that the choice of these issues has it in them that the opposition is caught off-guard which just can’t afford to do better than fall in line and support these initiatives including passing of bills during debates in the parliament which the opposition would not ideally wish to be a party to. Whether it is the façade of gau raksha as in M.P., the Sabarmati ashram imbroglio in Kerala or the 10% reservation quota for the upper caste Hindus who are economically backward, Congress party’s capitulation by choosing not to be seen on the other side of the fence is unmistakable. Earlier reports about the Modi government contemplating an increase on the current slab of 2.5 lakhs for zero income tax to 5 lakhs, obviously as a sop with an eye on the impending LS elections, have since been vindicated during the budget session of parliament a some weeks back. Provided below is a smorgasbord of such ‘initiatives’- surely of dubious import – having been conceived and played up by the party to mobilise mass support for the party in the run up to 2019.
- Upping the ante for the construction of Ram Temple while scoffing at the SC ruling that the issue does not merit adjudication at the moment on the one hand and now bringing pressure to bear upon the SC by moving a petition for return of the undisputed land in Ayodhya to its ‘original owners’.
- Playing up the Sabarimala temple controversy, even as its stand on this issue goes against the SC ruling while exposing its hypocritical stand on it as has been the case in its stand on the Triple Talaq issue.
- Seeking to erase history by renaming cities, towns, lanes and institutions bearing names which are reminiscent of the Muslim rule over India.
- Perceiving and presenting the country next door as the ‘real villain of the piece’ that is responsible for all the ills besetting India and closing the doors for a dialogue with them and with the Resistance Leadership in Kashmir as again, there are takers in India for this show of belligerence.
- Strengthening the forces of hate and divisiveness by looking the other way when acts of physical violence and lynching are committed upon members of certain sections of the society.
- Appointing its own men and women in positions of power, including in public institutions like the judiciary, the CBI and the universities where the vice chancellors are appointed to force its writ to be run through the inanities like the celebration of ‘surgical strikes’ as an act of valour by its armed forces. The recent appointment of new CBI director R. K. Shukla and earlier of Srikanta Das as governor RBI in place of Urjit Patel who had perforce to bow out of office is part of the same strategy.
- Ruthlessly going after its adversaries by seeking to frame them in cases which turn out to be fake after a closer scrutiny. Witness the recent drama involving the Police Commissioner of W. Bengal being hounded and grilled by the CBI sleuths who had swooped on his residence in Kolkatta to arrest him some days back. Part of the same bag of tricks is the earlier case of the ex-CBI director Alok Verma being framed, later followed by his acquittal by the SC and then being shunted out of office by the government in an alleged case of corruption, and now Robert Vadra being grilled by the ED for cases of money laundering framed against him. The issue is certainly not of opening cases of corruption against them, but of the timing which has been chosen to go after them that raises deep suspicions about their intentions.
- Erecting a boondoggle in the form of a Rs 30 billion worth statue for Sardal Patel who is thus appropriated as its new found idol, even as this money could have been more fruitfully used to ameliorate the lot of the teeming millions of poor Indians living in abject penury.
- Unleashing a reign of terror in Kashmir through its security apparatus by inventing reasons which are not there in the first place to warrant mass murder of young innocent Kashmiris- I repeat innocent Kashmiris. This is done precisely to sell this gimmick as a ‘war against terror’ which sadly has takers in vast segments of the Indian society.
- Hatching conspiracies to unsettle governments in the states where other parties are in power. The recent one pertains to the unedifying spectacle involving the 103 BJP MLA’s of the Karnataka assembly being ferried out to a ‘safe’ location in a 5-star hotel in Mumbai following the surreptitious attempts by the BJP to break the coalition government in Karnataka by seeking to buy over the JDS-Congress MLA’s in lieu of inducements which are being quoted as too prodigious and too attractive for them to remain loyal to their parent party.
- Slapping sedition charges on some university students for sharing certain posts on social networking sites, or on those from JNU for raising ‘anti-India’ slogans, never mind the doubtful provenance of the videos showing such scenes, and waking up to the need for raking up this issue three long years after the incident had come about in the JNU campus.
All this should serve to underscore the abysmal levels of depravity to which modern Indian polity has been allowed to stoop by the politicians, especially by those who have been at the hot seat of political power in India for close to five years. However, this certainly is no occasion to debate the merits of each of these issues individually. A few comments about some of these though, merit special mention, beginning with the issue of construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. Not long ago, the undue haste with which the Sangh Pariwar, courtesy the good offices of the central govt., was seen to pressurise the apex court to adjudicate on the issue well ahead of 2019 elections and to come up with a verdict that would be favourable to the majority community reveals how they look at public institutions, including the SC, as being its proxies to execute their whims and caprices. This was followed by its next gimmick involving the Sants and Sadhus at Kumbh to announce their march to Ayodhya on Feb.21st to begin the construction of the Ram temple there ahead of the SC verdict. Thankfully, all that failed to materialise, or else a throwback to the sinister aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992 couldn’t have been avoided. It is in the backdrop of these circumstances that the Feb.14 Pulwama suicide attack on the CRPF came about, a development which was lapped up as a godsend by the BJP and its Sangh affiliates as part of their arsenal in the run up to elections 2019. No wonder, there is in witness this sordid spectacle involving the BJP ruthlessly milking this grave tragedy as a much needed election plank to play on the raw emotions of the electorate on nationalism. The subsequent air strike by the IAF into Balakot and the unsubstantiated claims by the govt. and other govt/non-govt agencies of 350 odd ‘JeM terrorists’ having been killed during the strike are all part of a deliberate attempt at obfuscation. It is not for nothing that the BJP leader Yedyurappa from Karnataka and the BJP CM from Jharkhand have made no secret of their glee at the prospect of the air strikes helping them to win a substantial number of LS seats in the forthcoming elections!
Equally potent has been the successful attempt by the BJP to invoke the spectre of an enemy within and therefore, to seek recourse to inanities like reminding people of their great past which has been vandalised by enemies from outside who had invaded this country, settled here, ruled it over a thousand years and robbed it of everything that was precious and sacred, both in value and symbolic significance. Erasing every conceivable trace of history which is perceived to have been left behind by these ‘outside marauders’ is part of this dangerous game as is the idea of erecting the Sardar Patel statue in Gujarat who is being ‘valorised’ as the new found hero by the Sangh Pariwar. As if that is not enough, there already are two more lined up in the run up to 2019: the Ram statue in Ayodhya and not to be left behind, now a statue of Modiji due to come up in Meerut. What a colossal wastage of the scarce public funds being used merely for image building of a political party and hordes of its dim witted, mentally effete politicians who have nothing, absolutely nothing to show for economic development or for the promotion of peace, stability and mutual co-existence among sections of the society in the country or in the region.
What makes the matters worse is the intriguing silence of the vast multitude of the educated Indians who have the eyes to see and the mind to think, but who choose to remain aloof for fear of courting controversies. This may be pinned down to one of the following reasons: either they are spineless and can’t see the bigger picture behind these useless, meaningless, soulless inanities or they are terribly afraid of those who they think- perhaps rightly so- as the cabal of most unscrupulous, unprincipled, dictatorial and dangerous politicians the country has ever seen! If anything, all this amounts to the monumental failure of a democratic polity as it is being practiced in ‘modern’ India. Frankly, it is not my case to assert that the BJP is the only political party that seeks to milk the faultlines in the system to its advantage. Besides of course the unmistakable similarities between the politicians and the political parties of all hues, more pertinently between the BJP and the Congress involving the use of muscle power, caste and communal politics, divisive mindset, nepotism, fake secularism, unfulfilled promises and not the least, accumulation of wealth mostly through underhand means, there is also this sick obsession with doling out largesse just days and weeks ahead of elections, without regard for its fallout on the society. The recent promises involving the waiver of farmer loans by the Congress party ought to be contrasted with the far more dangerous promise of a 10% reservation for jobs among the upper caste Indians, as alluded to above. The meek capitulation of the entire opposition including the Congress to this ‘master gameplan’ by the BJP with an eye on 2019 amounts to a monumental betrayal of the people of this country by all the political parties, with the BJP leading the charge!
Prof M A Sofi Department of Mathematics Kashmir University, Srinagar Email: [email protected]