Communal Politics of ‘Secular’ Parties
Secularism is most misunderstood and most misinterpreted word in Indian politics. Some parties claim themselves as secular while others are labelled as communalists. This clash of secular vs. communalism has gone for several decades without the term secular being there in the preamble of the constitution. When the ruling Congress party was cornered on the issue of corruption, the then Prime Minister Indira needed a protective weapon for diverting the corruption issue and she found one such in ‘secularism’ and hurriedly incorporated that term into the preamble through a constitutional amendment without any discussion as she has placed the entire opposition in jail during that emergency period. To justify both her declaration of emergency and new found secularism Indira Gandhi took the support of Left especially then reigning CPI. Since then lot of water has flown in the rivers of India and issues have changed but the political labelling of secular and communal continued with the support of Left intellectuals who have took over the job of unofficial issuer of secular certificates for the political parties. What they did was not fair analysis of political ideology of parties but to protect the Left and Congress through their academic output. So their narration survived till the economic crisis forced the country to choose economic reforms. The youth understood how the economic growth capacity of this country was chained through a fancy ‘socialistic agenda’ and how the national pride was suppressed with the false narration of history by JNU academicians. The unleashed energy of Indian youth made them to understand the real meaning of secularism unlike the Nehru drafted and Congress and Left continued minority appeasement in the garb of secularism.
The defeated political parties are now trying regrouping in the four states and one union territory which are going to polls this summer through different permutations and political combinations while their media cheer leaders are projecting it as a secular front. But in the field they are hugging the minority communal parties with the sole aim of remaining relevant in elections.
The funniest part of the game is played both by the Left and Congress. They are playing the drama of ‘friends in Bengal and foes in Kerala’. The leader of the opposition in Kerala Ramesh Chennithala has said that “CPM would stoop to any level to garner votes”. He also accuses the CPM of trying to silence the media in Kerala by amending the Police Act under the guise of checking cybercrimes. On the other hand CPM accused Congress of “surrendering to the communal Muslim League that represents the religious hatred”. The Left accused Congress of ‘political opportunism’ by joining hands with radical Islam groups in Kerala. The accusations of CPM and Congress against each other is such that people can conclude that ‘both of them are communal’ in their outlook and for them ‘secularism’ is only a façade. Despite all those accusations on the west coast by Congress on CPM and vice versa both the parties travel to the east coast state of Bengal where their mutual criticisms are forgotten and exhibit electoral bonhomie. “That is for protecting secularism” as CPM and Congress wants us to believe but why those two secular champs can’t join hands in Kerala is the question which both the parties never cared to answer.
In Bengal the ‘secular’ parties CPM and Congress are in alliance with Indian Secular Front (ISF) floated by a rabid Islamist and Furfura peer Abbas Siddiqui. Both the parties shared the podium with that communal leader Abbas Siddiqui which is now being questioned by senior Congress leader Anand Sharma. His statement that “Congress can’t be selective in fighting communalist but must do so in all its manifestations, irrespective of religion and color. The presence and endorsement of West Bengal party president is painful and shameful” and he further demanded a clarification on that alliance which was stitched without proper resolution from Congress Working Committee (CWC). But what senior leader Anand Sharma forgets is that Congress has always followed the same policy of doing business with Muslim parties ignoring the secular ethos of the country. It was the Congress party’s electoral association with AIMIM in Hyderabad, Muslim League in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, National Conference in Jammu Kashmir and many Christian parties in Kerala and north east states which gained the pseudo-secular tag on that party. The West Bengal PCC president and leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranja Choudhury tries to justify his communal alliance “on the ground reality” of West Bengal. Thus conceding that Congress and Left can’t survive the electoral battle without the support of the communal outfit. Bengal has about 24% Muslim vote and are in a position to influence the electoral verdict in about 100 assembly constituencies. In those constituencies it is a total communal campaign since many decades irrespective of who is ruling the state of Bengal. When Left was ruling it was pro-Muslim policy in the name of secularism. When UPA was ruling in Delhi the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that “all government benefits should go first to Muslims”, meaning that Muslims are their preferred ones on the basis of their religion.
In a secular country like India where the schemes should have been framed on the basis of economic and social position of the pseudo-secular parties gave an undeserving religious link. The very appointment of committees to determine the socio economic status of one particular religion itself is an unjustifiable anti secular activity. Identifying the districts where Muslims are in good number for special focus of development is another communal political activity of Congress which is not acceptable for the new generation of Indians.
The post economic reforms generation which are now in into their thirties have a different outlook. With technology ruling the world, the social barriers of caste, religion are breached by this generation they prefer to live on the basis of merit and their performance in a given task and not to live on undeserving religious tears. This generation believes that religion should be restricted to their home and pooja rooms and outside they should feel as Indians ready grab opportunities in the development. Unfortunately, when the youth are moving forward the ‘self-styled secular parties’ plan to fetter them with pseudo-secular political strategies.
The hidden communal agendas of ‘secular parties’ is exposed and taught a lesson earlier and this elections it may not be a different story.
by Dr. Duggaraju Srinivasa Rao