Friday, April 4, 2014

A party habituated to abusing the Indian Constitution (Column dated 28.3.2014)

For the readers of the Rashtriya Sahara apologies from the bottom of my heart. My two weeks silence is again because our team was working day and night to complete the Appeal in the Zakia Jafri vs Narendra Modi case, to be appealed in the higher courts and I am hoping that within days we will have some news for readers on that front. Until then, for the country, for Uttar Pradesh and for Benaras a singular challenge has been thrown. The Bharatiya Janata Party, the Parliamentary wing of the rank unconstitutional RSS, banned in the days following Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination and who was known to collaborate with the British, brazen enough first to field a candidate for the country’s top sovereign post who has blood on his hands, now dares sully the traditions of the holy city of Benares with his candidature.
Benares has a rich and syncretic tradition, the saanjhi sanskriti that some of us Indians are so proud of, that Ganga Jamuna tehzeeb that the politics of majoritarianism seeks to destroy by attacking the Sufi tradition, Urdu, and of course demolishing of Mosques and take over of syncretic places of worship. (The RSS-VHP-BJP has plans for over 400 such rich symbols of our syncretic culture just like Baba Boudhangiri in Chikmaglur district of the south). But more on that later, today what we need to ask is why Kashi and what does this spell for Uttar Pradesh and for India?
An interesting analysis in The Times of India a month ago by Ashish Tripathi exposed Modi and the BJP’s hollow claims on the bartering of hatred for votes. His article put together an interesting timeline.
In the 2012 UP assembly elections, the Gujarat chief minister and now BJP's prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, campaigned only in Ayodhya, where he addressed a public meeting and talked about development alone. The party lost in Ayodhya, which had been its bastion since 1989 following the Ram temple movement, which made BJP a national player. Election results were declared on March 6, 2012. BJP won 47 seats, down from 51 in 2007.

This election therefore the saffron hardline party with its head hunting honcho is bound to change its tack.

March 15, 2012: Soon after the SP forms government and Akhilesh Yadav becomes the chief minister of UP, the SP government also starts implementing its promises for Muslims, including the withdrawal of cases against terror-accused. Within hours, the sangh pariwar (RSS, BJP, VHP, Bajrang Dal and others) starts a campaign to instigate Hindus against Muslim appeasement. It also launches propaganda on cow slaughter and ‘love jihad’, accusing Muslims of working against Hindus. A petition is filed by lawyers associated with VHP in Lucknow claiming the right of Hindus on a 'disputed place' where a mosque was constructed during the medieval period. Right-wing activists come out with more such claims in other parts of the state. There is also a surge in religious procession(s) and pandals on festivals across the state leading to rise in cases of communal tension. Even minor disputes are given a communal colour in which social media plays a major role. The result: In 2012, there are 118 incidents of communal tension, which claim 29 lives and leave over 500 injured. In October 2012, during riots in Faizabad, rioters raise the slogan "UP bhi Gujarat banega, Faizabad shuruat karega (UP too will become Gujarat, beginning with Faizabad)". In 2013, around 250 incidents of communal tension are reported in UP, in which 95 people die and over 300 injured. Muzaffarnagar riots in September 2013 extensively reported but a large number of incidents across the state go unreported. These incidents create a sharp communal divide.
The SP's so called Muslim appeasement and Sangh Parivar's Hindu appeasement are responsible for over 90% of incidents of communal tension. The ruling SP and BJP are accused of playing a fixed match to polarize votes.

May 19, 2013: Modi's close confidant and BJP general secretary Amit Shah made party general secretary and in charge of UP. Sangh Parivar intensifies its 'save cow' campaign and 'love jihad' propaganda.
June 9, 2013: Narendra Modi anointed chairman of BJP election campaign.
June 12, 2013: VHP announces statewide campaign in UP for Ram temple.
June 18, 2013: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat says in Meerut that Hindutva is the only solution for India.
July 6, 2013: Amit Shah visits Ayodhya, vows to build Ram temple.
July 16, 2013: RSS chief formally approves Ram temple as an election issue.
August 2, 2013: VHP chief Ashok Singhal says: "Modi is a divine creation who rose after Ram bhaktas were burnt down in 2002 and the developments in the 72 hours that followed. He is the gift of Lord Ram. The media, Sonia Gandhi, western powers have all attacked him. But he is invincible. Modi will stop the process of de-Hinduization that is taking place, and address unheard issues. Modi has protected religion, culture, and values and developed his state on the basis of that. Development and religion go together. Hindus got India freedom, and only the Hindu force can develop India into the number one country.”
August 17, 2013: A VHP delegation led by Ashok Singhal meets SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav seeking the state government’s support for the 84-kosi yatra to mobilize people for the construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. Singhal also asks Mulayam to persuade Muslim leaders, clerics and ulema to pave the way for the construction of the temple. Later, Sighal praises Mulayam for his positive approach. The VHP leader says, "Mulayam is no longer the ‘Mulla Mulayam’ who in 1990 had ordered police firing on the karsevaks in Ayodhya. Mulayam and his son Akhilesh touched our feet and sought our blessings". Although Mulayam does not react to the VHP's claim, after two days, SP government bans the yatra citing a Supreme Court order.
August 25, 2013: Despite the ban, VHP goes ahead with its 84-kosi yatra. Many Hindu organizations also oppose the yatra because appropriate time for it is April-May. Though BJP officially stays away from the yatra, several BJP leaders participate in it. There are even more allegations of a fixed match between the SP government and the Sangh Parivar to communalize and polarize the atmosphere in UP for electoral gains.
September 7, 2013: A sustained communal campaign by the Sangh Parivar and the appeasement policy of the SP government result in large-scale violence in Muzaffarnagar and one of  worst communal riots in UP takes place, resulting in the death of 65 persons and displacing over 60,000.
September 13, 2013: Modi made BJP's prime ministerial candidate. The Sangh Parivar launches a campaign in UP (also across the country) that India is all set to have an OBC (other backward castes) prime minister.
September 22, 2013: Despite communal tension in the state following riots in Muzaffarnagar, VHP takes out another yatra to mobilize public support for the construction of Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.
October 19, 2013: Modi's first rally in UP held in Kanpur. He talks about development but allows other leaders to raise communal issues. Former chief minister of UP Kalyan Singh, referring to Muzaffarnagar riots, says: "There is a reaction to every action. Only dead bodies don't react." Singh was chief minister of the BJP government when the Babri mosque was demolished in 1992. However, later he quit BJP and joined hands with Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and won 2009 Lok Sabha election with SP support. Now he is back in BJP. The party has promised to promote his son in politics.
November 8, 2013: Modi, while addressing a rally in Bahraich, accuses SP and Bahujan Samaj Party of inducting criminals. In the same rally, Prateek Singh, son of mafia-turned-politician Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, joins the BJP. Though Brijbhushan is SP MP from Kaiserganj, he also announces his support to BJP.
November 21, 2013:  During Modi's Agra rally, BJP felicitates two of its MLAs -- Sangeet Singh Som and Suresh Rana -- accused of fanning riots in Muzaffarnagar. They are hailed as protectors of Hindus. Som had contested the 2009 Lok Sabha election on SP ticket from Muzaffarnagar. He was then labelled anti-Hindu. He lost the election and later joined BJP. After riots, he is being projected as "Hindu Hriday Samrat".
December 20, 2013: Modi addresses rally in Varanasi. BJP leaders liken Modi to Lord Shiva. They modify 'Har Har Mahadev', chanted in praise of Lord Shiva, into 'Har Har Modi'.
January 7, 2014: Amit Shah picks RSS men as poll coordinators in UP. These coordinators are given charge of campaigning and other election-related activities.
January 23, 2014: In Modi's Gorakhpur rally, BJP leader Vinay Katiyar, who played a key role in the Ram temple movement, greets people with ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and promises a law, if BJP wins and Modi becomes prime minister, to enable the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Later, in Ballia, while addressing party workers, Amit Shah says that Modi belongs to a backward caste and if he became the prime minister of the country, it would be a matter of pride for the section.
January 25, 2014:  BJP workers in Kaushambi district install Modi's statue in a Shiva temple, worship him as a deity, address him as Swami Narendra Modi, recite Modi chalisa and call the temple 'NaMo NaMo Mandir'.
January 30, 2014: BJP leaders perform puja before every Modi rally to pray for its success. However, when members of the BJP minority cell offer namaz on the stage before a function in Meerut, they are pulled up by state party chief Laxmikant Bajpai for performing 'religious activity' on the party's platform.
February 2, 2014: Modi shares dais with riot-accused MLA Sangeet Singh Som in his Meerut rally but promises to make UP a riot-free state. Modi does not mention the Muzaffarnagar riots in his speech but talks about threat to 'maa-beti ki izzat' (honour of mothers and daughters) in UP. The same slogan was used by the Sangh Parivar to stoke communal passion which resulted in the riots.
What does this timeline show ?
While Modi is playing the development card, he himself with his bloodied past and other leaders are speaking in a highly communal language.
Modi is attacking dynastic politics but has allowed BJP leaders to liken him to God and is promoting children of other BJP leaders. Modi is criticizing caste politics but has allowed BJP and RSS to project him as a backward leader.
Modi is accusing other parties of patronizing criminals but has allowed the state BJP unit to induct mafia and criminal elements in the party.
Modi may be avoiding the over metaphor of '
Hindutva' language for which he is known, but through his gestures, vocabulary, actions and symbols at his rallies he has kept his Hindu hardliner image intact.

Modi is promising a riot-free UP, but riot-accused are felicitated in his rally.
Modi is talking about honesty, but is not giving account of Rs 20-25 crore being spent on each rally (he has addressed over 50 such rallies across the country since September) and not removing politicians convicted for corruption from his own cabinet. 
Who dares put these obvious questions to a party that has always abused the Indian Constitution?


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.