Last updated on August 7th, 2022 at 04:46 am
Best Known for Gandhi-Nehru’s legacy, the Indian National Congress (INC) has lost the battle of survival as Narendra Modi and his BJP have won the 2019 Indian Lok Shaba election with a landslide majority. Is the fate of the INC in India hanging in the balance like that of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in Bangladesh? When the BJP ideology of politics is premised on Hinduism, so is that of BNP backed by the Islamist groups.
Of the contested 436 constituencies against 543 seats, BJP bagged 303 seats alone without the help of its alliance NDA. Narendra Modi and BJP this time were able to add 21 seats more to its host from 282 seats in the 2014 national election. Narendra Modi, with BJP, has taken the helm of the leadership of the country for a consecutive second time.
BJP’s and its alliance parties under NDP such as Shivsena, Janata Dal (United) Lok Jan Shakti Party, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Shiromani Akali Dal, Apna Dal (Sonelal), Asom Gana Parishad, All Jharkhand Students Union, Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party, Pattali Makkal Katchi, Rashtriya Loktantrik Party all together secured 359 seats in the parliament.
On the other hand, BJP’s main opposition party the Indian National Congress under its alliance UPA mostly with moderate and liberal and leftist parties such as Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Nationalist Congress Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Indian Union Muslim League, Jammu & Kashmir National Conference, Communist Party of India, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal (Secular), Kerala Congress (M), Revolutionary Socialist Party won 82 seats while with Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Dr Shashi Tharoor’s victory it won 52 seats of 521 candidates which 8 seats annexed than the last election.
Of the 900 million eligible voters in the 2019 Lok Shaba election, the turnout stood at 67.11% which was 65.95% for the 2014 Lok Shaba elections.
With the rising trend of BJP, Hindutva or Hinduism or Hinduness with its conservative ideologies of proselytizing and conversion and insistence to accept Hindu Nationalism, which aims to enforce the Hindutva ideology to followers of other religions, have seen its political triumph with Narendra Modi over an inclusive and secular political party: Indian National Congress. INC’s social democracy, social justice and secularism lost its struggle for upholding Gandhi-Nehru legacies.
BJP ideology of politics and Narendra Modi’s winning facts
Backed by another Marathi regional Hindu nationalist party Shivsena, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) backed BJP is indeed from now will be able to make India Congress-free—as the BJP president Amit Shah’s proclamation of ‘Congress-Mukta Bharat’.
Founded by Dr K.B Hedgewar in 1925, RSS’s B.S Moonje travelled to Italy and met with another fascist, Mussolini in 1931. Along with RSS’s famous figures like former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former home minister L.K. Advani and former chief minister and now second-time Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today its squad of stormtroopers numbers million. By the time of WWII broke out, Hitler and Mussolini were, and still are, its spiritual and political leaders. Even the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, Nathuram Godse was also a former activist of RSS.
The agony and ominous legacy of Casteism are going to grip the nation even tougher. The situation of millions of Dalit will remain unchanged under RSS-led BJP conservative policy as ever and time and again they are going to be discriminated against. Dreams of the secular government of minorities shattered once again. Once again eating beef for Muslims going to be unimaginatively tough. Cows are going to have even more reverence than human beings. Sense of communalism, parochialism, and obscurantism prevails over rationality and liberalism.
Populist, nationalist and protectionist leaders like President Donald Trump of America, Jair Bolsonaro, president of Brazil and Narendra Modi, the president of India are rising across the globe. As Karl Marx said, “Religion is the opium of the masses”, using religion and conservative views in the political advantage has become the foremost objective of politics.
Narendra Modi has become the first prime minister of India since 1971 to secure a single party majority for two successive times in the national election. In the 2014 national election as well the party managed to have an absolute majority as the Indian National Congress party embroiled with corruption was shown the way.
Backed by the Hindu nationalist, BJP’s social dominance is centred on the country’s privileged upper-class castes’, corporate economic growth, cultural conservatism and intensified misogyny. Of the 1.3 billion population 180 million of whom are Muslims and denigrated by Hindu nationalists as ‘termites’ and alongside other castes, they are considered as second class citizens of the country which made them nothing but political orphans by the majority of Hindu conservatives.
Charged under ‘terror law’ for conspiring the 2008 bombast of in a Muslim majority city of Maharashtra that killed 10 people was a Hindu priestess from the state of Madhya Pradesh: Pragya Sign Thakur. Her allegiance to Abhinav Bharat — a nationalist political wing of BJP that aims to turn India into a Hindu state, and establish nationalist supremacy– was reaffirmed in her pledge in the event of her victory. Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi whom he thought a Muslim sympathiser and could not stand a chance for it was hailed by Thakur making him a true patriot.
BJP’s conservative political ideology gave birth to many leaders like Narendra Modi in the past. Narendra Modi’s desire to be a Hindu leader led him to preside over the 2002 Gujarat pogrom that left nearly 2000 Muslims lifeless. Mr Modi, who became a ‘Gujarat pride’ after that event started garnering the popular slogan, ‘Dekho dekho kaun aaya, Gujarat ka sher aaya’—see, there is the lion of Gujarat.
The boy who once sold tea at a railway station in his father’s tea-stall nearby the office of BJP’s nationalist political wing RSS in Gujarat has become the most famous Indian through the landslide majority win of BJP in his hand in the national election.
His personal burden as a tea-boy culminated in his victory and made him a dreamer of the marginalised section of the poor aspirational voters, of whom 10 million newly registered young population who have grown up as netizen saw him as someone who can fulfil their economic aspiration.
Coming from an ‘educationally and socially disadvantaged’ caste he has become the symbolism of the poor section of the population. A self-made man becomes a ‘symbol’ of underdogs. He realised what people are really looking for is someone who can get their things done.
The generation that has grown up seeing the Western, Singaporean and all modern lifestyle all of sudden caught up with someone who seems to provide it with employment, bullet train and other infrastructural development: Singapore or Seoul model of ‘Smart
Cities’, clean, green and purification of the river Ganges. But none of the promises he made has been realised, and the Ganges remains unquantifiable litres of sewage and industrial effluents.
Despite Mr Modi’s failure to create a million jobs annually, the country’s record-high unemployment and rural distress BJP won a majority because when it comes to ‘pure pollution’, nationalism, religious supremacy naturally other things do not count. The staged encounter and extrajudicial killing of Shahabuddin Sheikh of Gujarat in 2005 ultimately came in favour of Mr Modi to present Muslims as true enemies of the state, and as a result, he was re-elected as chief minister of Gujarat the very next year. Mr Modi failed but he has the ability to contain the Muslims.
Because of the religious game of bigotry against the minorities from the majority in the state like Assam and West Bengal where the number of Muslim population relatively high and have been controlled by a liberal political party the Congress, BJP led coalition NDA won 18 of 42 seats in the West Bengal, 9 of 14 in Assam, breaking Trinamool Congress’s stronghold. There too, BJP preached its newly amended Citizenship Amendment bill, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which allows citizenship to persecuted minorities, except Muslims, in the neighbouring states.
It unquestionably attracted Hindu voters to Modi’s pole. On August 31, 2019, the Indian government released the final National Registry of Citizen (NRC) leaving 1.9 million citizens of Assam stateless. Began in May 2015 and ended on 31 August 2015 throughout the process 33,027, 661 people applied for citizenship through 68,37,660 applications.
But only 31,121,004 people were included in the final chapter of the NRC while it left out 19,06,657 people from the register. The party is likely to propose NRC-like activity across the country.
As of 26 May, an 88-year-old man Ashrab Ali from the Kamrup district of Assam committed suicide taking poison as he ends day-long fasting. He chose to take his life because the Amended NRC introduced by BJP drops his name for him being a Muslim. A small farmer Rahim Uddin committed suicide on 19 July 2019, because the final NRC dropped his name.
A woman committed suicide by jumping into well on fake news that her name did not come in the NRC. BJP introduced it to throw out the ‘infiltrator’ of a sizeable Bengali Muslims which eventually solidified BJP’s stand in the states. Without any candidate in the ruling party, the 180 Million Muslims has only 26 representations in the parliament. Narendra Modi and BJP’s ‘Unwanted People‘ policy is causing more people to take their own lives.
Cultural sterilisation, intellectual vacuum, emotional resentment, racial prejudices, the belief that the land of ‘the pure’ is replete with fudge and fakery, religious bigotry against minorities, the rise of mob vigilante are among the remedial options for the nationalists to whom the failure to upgrade their living standard means next to nothing. BJP activists tend to focus on less practical matters. It has long promised to build a temple to the Hindu god Rama in Ajodhya at the site of the demolished mosque.
Whether it is BJP or Congress, the sectarian prejudice has always been there. All Indian privileged Hindus entertain racial or caste prejudices. Even in the eyes of the law, an atheist is naturally considered a Hindu. Hindutva, Hinduism or Hinduness is everywhere, in everything. It is in the way they talk, the way they eat, the way they wear clothes and the way they live.
The fact of the matter is that the Congress party sustains progressive, liberal and inclusive political views regarding religions and the minorities when BJP cannot stand a chance for it. Otherwise, no state can sponsor and support of demolition of a mosque built in the 16th century instilling fear and insecurity among the minorities. In reality, ‘a nation’s progress is determined by the way it deals with its minorities.
I have no idea how India can be termed as the largest democracy in the world while the social and religious lines are a responsible stumbling block to their prosperity, opportunity, education and determining factor for their misery.
Despite Mr Modi’s brainchild of his ‘raw wisdom’s results of ‘demonetisation, 20 years of record-high unemployment, economic instability, and social distress he was able to win the majority in the national election. Why? Mr. Modi’s flagship programmes such as allotting toilets to every household, bank account, cheap loans, electricity, and cooking gas to a few poorest sections of the population are his only salt to capitalise during the campaigns.
A folk song used in the BJP’s campaign says, “Modi is the only leader who can remove the anti-Indians and anti-nationalists from the pure Hindu soil’. BJP might be impotent as a government but it is strong and peerless to its opposition to oppose what is not up ‘Hinduness’ of the country.
Rahul Gandhi’s losing facts
Educated in Oxford, the fifth generation of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty to hold the helm of leadership of the Indian National Congress party is Rahul Gandhi.
The Indian National Congress party which is 132-year-old has seen Rahul Gandhi’s ascension to the top of the party in 2013, with a promise of a radical change of its constitution. His high moral, hope and aspiration with the Congress seemed to revive the party.
As a simple man Rahul Gandhi, a pilot turned politician, led the national election of Indian in 2019. As a scion of the Gandhi dynasty, Rahul Gandhi has been a not-much-interested politician.
Since Rahul Gandhi’s ascension to the second-highest position, after his mother Sonia Gandhi, in the party, it did not see any change regarding its strategy and ideology irrespective of his benevolent perception. The party rather have experienced its constant slide. He never hides his limitation as a politician which is considered as a ‘pressure point’ in our parlance.
As George Bernard Shaw said, “Politics is the last refuge of scoundrels”, Rahul Gandhi could not make him a scoundrel of politics. In a conference of students at the University of California, Berkeley, he even said, “that Mr. Modi is a better communicator than him”. Consequently, Rahul Gandhi is often seen as more of a refreshingly entertaining figure instead of a shrewd and strong politician with an iron fist to the people who desired to be governed.
“Cruelty impresses, people want to be afraid of something. They want someone to whom they can submit with a shudder, the masses need that. They need something to dread”, said Adolf Hitler. Being a considerate, rational mind Rahul Gandhi simply miss it amid the human brutality and savagery of supremacy.
His sincere demeanour to engage the voters did not work because Rahul Gandhi lacks charisma and political shrewdness failed to generate general hatred towards his opponents. Rahul Gandhi’s entrance revived the party spirit somewhat but he certainly lacked political intelligence and cruel standing.
Moreover, voters have distanced themselves from Congress because of the growing perception that it appeases the minorities. He has been criticised for being ‘remote and distant’.
Rahul Gandhi’s strategy to win the hearts and the souls of conservative Hindus and Hindu-nationalists with being a mere copy of Hindutva, and to oppose the Hindu nationalists without segregating them did not bear expected fruits at all. See what the Congress was able to retain and hold onto what certainly its.
Congress is not just shown the place it also has been defeated at its 40-year-old family stronghold: Amethi. Amethi was a seat from where both of Rahul Gandhi’s parents— Sonia Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi—contested and won, but taken by BJP’s actress turned politician Smriti Irani this time around.
“Great liars are also great magicians”, said Adolf Hitler. Unlike Rahul Gandhi, Mr Modi who is a self-made man uses his personal humble beginning as a political ploy to win public sentiment that worked in his favour. A nation that is divided along the caste hierarchy and where most populations are uneducated or undereducated sentimentalism and exhibitionism make their inroad perfectly. This is exactly the same scenario in Bangladesh, as well.
While Mr Modi has been applauded for rising above his stature and for being Lord of ‘the pure land’, Rahul Gandhi is denigrated for being ‘pseudo elite and having the dynastic line in his politics who did not have to make himself a politician through politics, which is why, many thinks, the Congress failed to sell its visions.
The Indian retaliatory strike on Pakistan in February followed by a suicide attack that killed 44 paramilitary police in Indian-controlled Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Modi used it as a major electioneering issue in dealing with a long-time nuclear-armed country.
The form of false news circulation is prevalent in India which frequently leads to unspeakable mayhem and mob lynching. False news and rumours circulated through social media and WhatsApp which has 25 million users across India propagated Mr. Modi’s victory in a way that millions of poorly educated users who encountered online contents in their phones are very gullible and pretty quick to take for granted what they see in their phones.
Indeed Mr. Modi was greatly favoured by such a rumour that gave a boost to his electioneering. The anonymous WhatsApp accounts that circulated the fake news which claims ‘that airstrike in Pakistan territory exterminated hundreds of Pakistanis which frightened Pakistan to return the Indian pilot who was captured by Pakistani army’ during the retaliatory Indian action.
In fact, the action from India caused no harm to Pakistan except the death of 7 Indian civilians. Incriminating Muslim Mr. Modi himself declared that ‘the terrorism in India is liked to Pakistan while his opponent kept talking about the Hindu terror’.
Therefore, he asked his crowded followers to vote for ‘the martyrs’ who died during the Pulwama attack in February this year. For a sentimental fanaticism what can be more sacred to make their voice be heard? Being an incumbent prime minister he asked his followers whether it’s ‘felt good’ when India hit Pakistan.
Pro-corporate and sycophant media constantly built up the ‘Modi Image’ as a saviour while the country’s once undisputed, incorruptible Election Commission played shamelessly a partisan rule. The electioneering body even failed to censure BJP’s use of religious slogans in the campaigns.
Mr Modi’s charisma to outplay his rivals demonstrated in the relentless ubiquity of his presence, in print, on-screen and in the streets may be something to take note of. His heroic rise above his rivals made him a vessel of dreams not only for the underprivileged communal Hindus’ individual pride but also national glory, as he became the man who is capable of providing a Utopian sort of story that promises a certain happy ending.
BJP also has made it clear that no other party should compete it. As any other conservative Hindu does, Modi too accused his rival of being a Muslim sympathiser after he had brought Pakistan and India close to war over Kashmir.
10.3 billion rupees spent by BJP is huge a cost that Congress has to pay with another historic defeat. His anti-Muslim but pro-corporate nationalism lent him a huge backing. Until the 1990s BJP struggled to 10 per cent vote but when they started basking on the nationalistic pride of Hinduism which brought its luck.
It had started campaigning about demolishing the 16th-century Babri mosque in Ajodhya and building a Rama temple on the site. The catastrophic imagination turned into reality in 1992 when BJP came to power. Led by the then Deputy Minister of Indian L.K Advani 150,000 Hindu activists destroyed the mosque and killed 2,000 people.
“BJP would have probably lost if it were not for Modi”, say the experts, “while his rival only aided their own defeat, because the Congress was unable to solve its inter-party disputes”. Notwithstanding, playing the ‘religion’ card always safer where ignorance holds the helm of society in countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Hindutva, which is the core value system of Indian culture is what paved Mr Modi’s victory.
As a consequence, time and again we witness the same conspiracy, the same propaganda, the same nasty game with public sentiment, the same nationalistic game, incitement of religious exclusivism, rejection of inclusive, liberal and moderate political ideals by the majority of Muslims—equally guilty as Hindu nationalist- resurfaces during election time.
Of equal importance, if the current ruling party of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Awamileague, fails to live up to its core promises and create a political vacuum that can only be filled with nationalistic, conservative and fanatic ideals, then the same fate awaits Bangladesh Awamileague as of the Indian National Congress.
No matter how glorious its past is once fanaticism hijacks liberal and inclusive ideals from the public psyche the social fabrics will become corrupted and plagued. And of course, as the Latin writer, Publilius Syrus said, “Some remedies are extreme than a disease”.
With the rise of the ‘Modified’ administration, Narendra Modi and BJp, along with its spiritual-religious backing, India is going to give Imran Khan an even harder time—which is observed when he was not invited to Narendra Modi’s sworn-in ceremony– Kashmir is going see even more unrests, Bangladesh is going to get more dead bodies on the border unless it comes up with any tangible solution. The Possibility of a war-like situation is intensifying through Kashmir-Pakistan tensions initiated by the current government in the region.
However, halting farmers’ self-demise in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh will be an immense g task for BJP. Compare to Congress’s proposal about farmers BJP’s proposal seems, even more, farmer-friendly. Regardless of caste, race, and religious and political affiliation protecting farmers ought to one of the primary objectives of BJP.
Instead of awarding the peaceful citizens of the country with communal clashes of ideologies, and religious and political supremacy, I hope PM Narendra Modi will remove financial inequality, stop backing RSS vigilante, and promote communal harmony and focus on the repatriation of Rohingya from Bangladesh.
Read more: Rohingya Crisis: Is Bangladesh a Victim of International Politics?