Monday, August 26, 2013

Results of 2014 Indian Elections depend on fake religious polarization ?

Results of Next Indian General Elections dependent on Voter Polarization?

 The political parties in India have started singing their different ragas for next General Elections. Indian news channels can't have enough of the topic. Every party wants to predict the timing and outcome of these elections as per its liking. Some of them want it as soon as possible and others are in damage control mode. For last almost six months every act of the Government and that of opposition is being connected to elections. Where on one hand INC has started making special bills and amendments so as to appease common man's expectations, on the other side of it opposition has started reshuffling its organization. Specially main opposition party BJP has been through a lot in last six months. The party went through some real in-fight among its stalwarts for the leadership and it also had to say good bye to its long time political ally JDU.

 The JDU had been showing its great concern about BJP trying to revive its old Hindutva agenda to regain its lost grounds in country's politics. All of the JDU leaders have opposed Narendra Modi's increasing influence in same voice. the once integral part of NDA, JDU suddenly felt the need to move away from Modi's strong Hinduism that he interestingly puts forward as India first. It was just the beginning of BJP trying to reinvent itself as pro-Hindu party. The way some of the BJP's top leaders have been sidelined slowly and steadily shows the increasing influence of organizations like RSS and the VHP. The issue of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya seems to be regaining its political importance across different political parties after being sidelined for almost a decade. Even those who claim to be secular spare no chance of getting into controversy as soon as possible.

 One can easily understand how different parties are trying to score more on VHP's 84 Kossi Yatra (a parade that is supposed to cross through some of religiously most controversial regions and end at the place where supposedly a temple of Lord Ram is scheduled to be erected). The parade that should have been a religious one has turned into a political drama over the last week or so. Weather the parade was actually needed is the question that requires to be answered but still the way different parties are using this issue to appeal to their respective potential vote banks is inexplicable (or may be very well understood).

The Smajwadi Party which is in power in the state of Utter Pradesh and a political ally of Indian National Congress has taken the issue seriously ( for its own benefit? ) and is cracking down heavily on the activists and religious practitioners. Till yesterday it has already made around 1600 preventive arrests. The party says it is trying to maintain the law and order that is in danger due to this parade. One feels even if the party has a justified fear for law and order in the state that it rules; the local government could also have mastered the situation by allowing this parade under strict supervision and tight security measures. But then it would not have a chance to call the BJP and its partners communal and score more in the eyes of Muslim minorities that make a large chunk of its vote bank.

 Since the controversial and bulldogging character Narendra Modi has been made Head of the election committee by the BJP leadership there has been a noticeable change in the way party projects itself. It has become more of a right wing flag bearer. One wonders if the party is making an attempt to polarize the voters and possibly target the largest chunk, the Hindus? Another question that arises is weather there still exists that fanaticism in the country's more self aware voters that once pushed the BJP to National Parliament in large numbers and a BJP lead government was formed.

 It is going to take some time before we can see results of those 2014 elections and substantiate weather the communal polarization plays any role therein. The only thing one can pray for is that there should not be any sad riots and/or communal hatred making its presence felt as its been in the past. Another interesting topic would be weather any political party has the courage to fight these elections on the basis of some real, existing issues like corruption, depleting economy, bungee jumping Rupee, threats from neighbors like China and Pakistan, Unemployment and all those avoided reforms.         
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