Desperate Unity called From Regional Parties
In the political heat generated in the high decibel election campaign in five states which went to polls recently two important calls given by two regional parties has not got the attention they deserve. The leaders are Mamata Banerjee of Bengal who is facing serious challenge from BJP and the other is M.K. Stalin the new inheritor of political mantle of DMK. The call from Tamil Nadu and also from Bengal has a common chord given in a similar context but the lyric and tune are slightly different. However the timing of the call and desperation in voice is palpable. Normally the distress calls from any corner would receive the attention but surprisingly this time around the desperate unity calls of two regional party leaders have gone unheeded and the reasons are obvious.
Current political situation in the country is akin to that prevailed in late sixties of last century. Then it was dominating Congress under a strong leadership of Indira Gandhi totally controlling the party, government and was even the agenda setter. The non-Congress parties tethering under the charisma of Indira Gandhi was desperate for unity to fight the Congress in the elections. Now in the second decade of twenty first century the scene is exactly opposite of earlier situation. Now BJP is the agenda better and consistent winner in elections under the strong leadership of Narendra Modi. It is BJP which is setting the political agenda and that was proved in the recent elections held in five states.
Hindutva is the agenda of BJP and they never hid that. It was through successful exposure of pseudo secular policies of Congress and increased corruption of UPA2 was taken up and won the elections in 2014 and increased its seat number and vote share in 2019 elections. After its success it went ahead with the core ideological issues such as abrogation of Art. 370 and Ayodhya Ram temple construction. The opposition failed to convince the nation as they took the special status to J&K as a Muslim issue and not as national issue. This gave the BJP courage to challenge the opposition on secularism vs. Hindutva issue. The questioning was so intense that the opposition blinked.
The agenda of BJP was so intense and tactical that even the known atheist and rationalist parties and leaders are forced to leave their pseudo secular credentials and embrace the soft Hindutva as was done earlier by Congress and its leader Rahul Gandhi without success. The unthinkable statement that “Sabarimala Ayyappa and all deities are with LDF” came from the self-confirmed Marxist and atheist Kerala CM Pinirayi Vijayan on the beginning of polling hour and it was obviously to send a pro Hindu message to voter. The rationalist from the neighbouring Tamil Nadu and DMK president M.K. Stalin announced that “we are not against Hindus and even their party cadre are Hindus and temple goers”. The second concession DMK forced to exhibit is mentioning of protecting the properties of Hindu temples and allot development fund of Rs. 1000 crores for temples and offering subsidies to Hindu pilgrims. This is certainly a step down for DMK from the high rational pedestal. That the cadre was asked not to talk against the Hindu beliefs by the top DMK brass is also a victory for BJP.
Mamata Banerjee an established pro-Muslim vote banker was forced to announce her Hindu identity by visiting as many temples as possible on the nomination filing day in Nandigram. Publicly announced her caste identity and presented herself as true Hindu by chanting of ‘Durga strotram and announcing that she was in the habit of chanting that ‘strotram’ before leaving the house every day.
All the three leaders are winning their respective states as per the pre-poll surveys and are sure CMs even without their forced Hindu identity but still they preferred to counter BJP agenda only through a pro Hindu stance. That was the level of desperation and the unity call for opposition coming from all those three leaders is also a desperate call.
The Indian voter has changed, more so the post economic generation. This educated neo liberal class is not clamored by the established narrative of Nehruvian secularism and Congress and Left propagated socialism. This generation demands recognition for merit. They all understood how the talented, like Satya Nadella and Sundar Pitchia, both heading tech giants, were lost by India to the ‘merit honoured American society’. Like Hargobind Khorona of late sixties, who was denied a place in Indian university under the social justice policy, migrated to USA and won the Noble Prize the meritorious young are leaving for foreign shores depriving the Indian society of huge human potentiality. This generation is not against the social justice but they believe that social justice is never to be obtained under the existing political dispensation as that slogan is used to mobalise caste groups as a political vote bank rather than actual establishment of new social order. In fact the current generation wants to take away that caste scaffolding and permit them to grow on their knowledge and skill. They could see, at least in two fields like sports and defense where there is no caste consideration, growth of people with hard work and merit.
To preserve their self-interests the political parties are giving a call for unity as those leaders are fully exposed their corrupt, family centric party ruling. Since in these parties now in call for unity there are separate caste and religious preferential groups as such they can’t exhibit unity in politics. The Congress is not for such political unity as that party’s top priority is the continuation of Nehru family dominance and nothing else. For all other regional parties like SP, RJD, JDS, TRS, TDP, TMC and their chiefs the hidden agenda is the continued family grip on the party. For NCP, which claims to be a national party, the preferred agenda is Sarad Pawar’s dream of being in PM seat. At least the anti-Congress platform demand of late sixties are not on caste and family centric but based on the ideology. Then there were leaders with better, honest political track record compared to the present regional and national parties which are doing politics utilizing the wealth and cash amassed through the money laundering scams. This bunch of leaders whose desperate call for unity was not taken seriously by other parties so there is no way the general public are no desperate to vote for selfish and personality cult parties. Till the fight is built on ideological issue these calls may remain like five time prayer calls blaring through mikes.