The government, by distancing itself as an independent political entity, seems to be allowing the ‘social’ and ‘cultural’ organizations to fulfill its ‘political’ and ‘religious’ goals of converting secular and democratic republic into Hindu Rashtra.
Meraj Ahmed for BeyondHeadlines
Many political commentators and friends of the B.J.P. alike in the media and elsewhere tried to separate Prime Minister Mr. Modi from his own colleagues after highly provocative speeches made by them. Recent controversies regarding inflammatory and communal speeches were seen as ‘upsetting’ the ‘real’ agenda of development for which the government is apparently voted for.
The parent cultural organization and its various offshoots clearly see the thumping victory in the last general election for the approval of their ideas rather than idea of sabka sath, sabka vikas as reflection of achche din. After much furor in the media and social media B.J.P. appeared to be distancing itself from these comments and activities that are inherently based on communal ideas and majoritarian politics.
Similar trends have also been witnessed over the ways many supporters and sympathizers changed their tones. Even the business conglomerations seem upset over the way the central government is handling the social-political issues.
Some senior Cabinet Ministers went to the extent of observing that media headlines are not what the government actually intended it to be. At the end of the day, on the one hand, some parliamentarians appeared to be actualizing the agenda of ‘cultural nationalism’, on the other, right wing intellectuals cum sympathizers seem to be embarrassed and apologetic over the way they calculated the sequence of events, and that went in undesired directions. All these turn of events indeed dented the image of the present government.
Few noteworthy events that could have been ‘sold’ in the media with much fanfare, as if happening for the first time, went unnoticed. Needless to say, last session of the Parliament saw unbreakable deadlock that provided the present government justification to opt out unhealthy and less democratic route of ordinance making rather than making law by the parliament.
Often it is said that politics is game of perceptions that is easily manipulated by the major turn of events. Since the party in power appears to be on the back foot, by serving ‘show-cause’ notice to M.P. Sakshi Maharaj, as reported in several newspapers, party is clearly attempting to secure one liner that could be used during the T.V. debate (or infotainment?).
The ‘enough is enough’ notice reportedly was given in the wake of latest controversy wherein he suggested all Hindu women to bear four or more children. The controversial Maharaj, though, remained arrogantly unapologetic about his ideas vis-a-vis killer of Mahatma so far. The present notice appears to be complete eyewash due to the following reasons:
Firstly, Delhi election is approaching fast. The coming Delhi Assembly election scheduled to be held on 7 Feb. is taken very seriously by the party in the wake of re-resurgence of Muffler Man (Arvind Kejriwal). As the decisive day approaching very fast the uneasiness could be easily seen by just observing how much stakes are involved in this election, the level of preparations, and finally what signal it will send all over the country if AAP emerges winner.
The last Delhi Assembly election proved that urban voters behave unconventionally, rather, more sensibly. Being the Capital of India and situated at the heart of national political, this metropolitan and cosmopolitan city expects basic civil amenities, security and peace, and safety for women among many other ‘neutral’ issues, over which the party in power seems to be feeling discomfort.
Almost all opinions polls, by sideling Congress, are showing neck to neck competition between AAP and BJP. Recent ‘low-intensity riots’ in Trilokpuri and adjoining areas seem didn’t work, compelling the party to search, again, for a development oriented image to lure Delhiites.
Secondly, the next session of the Parliament, the Budget Session, is expected to present some significant Bills, most notably Land Acquisition Bill, GST etc. Major tax reforms are expected to be completed much sooner than later to pacify ever impatient corporate lobbyists.
Some of these significant pieces of legislations require not only smooth functioning of the Parliament but also good floor management in the both Houses of the Parliament. In the short term B.J.P. would not prefer to bring out halt the functioning of the Parliament. However, change in composition the Rajya Sabha in the coming years may reverse the present strategy.
Thirdly, compulsion of keeping the politics of favorable perception alive. Series of controversies by the B.J.P. members and its parent organization over highly disputable declarations and ‘cultural’ activities like ‘Hindu Rashtra’ or ‘ghar wapsi’ already dented the image of the party heavily. The government in the present year may no longer claim to be enjoying much earlier ended honey moon period.
Senior party strategists are completely aware that in the coming year party will be judged on its slogans and objectively too with razor sharp analysis on several socio-economic fronts. Therefore, it’s utmost necessary that, in the interest of favorable perception, the mandate must be respected.
Having observed that, the government, by distancing itself as an independent political entity, seems to be allowing the ‘social’ and ‘cultural’ organizations to fulfill its ‘political’ and ‘religious’ goals of converting secular and democratic republic into Hindu Rashtra.
Since the Prime Minister didn’t speak specifically and clearly on many controvertible issues, and even the senior party leaders dared not to speak against activities of the some members of the parent organization, burdened to protect the “cultural and national interest” of our great country, it seems that serving notice to just one M.P. and rewarding many others is just eyewash. It is not even example of too little, too late.
[The author is a research scholar at JNU, New Delhi. He can be contacted at: email@example.com.]