(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
June 17, 2012
Building Castles in the Air
THE RSS and its political arm – the BJP – seem to be building castles in the air. Two years are still left for the next general elections, yet a keen inner-party tussle on who would be the likely prime minister is being publicly aired. The veteran old warhorse, Mr Advani, continues to obdurately adhere to his attitude of never “giving up”. The BJP president has shed substantial physical weight hoping to gain some political weight and be eligible. The leaders of the opposition in both the Houses have also joined the race. The former presidents of the BJP, currently in the parliament, have also not given up their hopes.
The most desperate of them all, however, appears to be the Gujarat chief minister, Mr Narendra Modi. He has demonstrated that he is more powerful and effective in implementing the RSS ideological project of ethnic cleansing in establishing the RSS objective of converting the secular democratic republic of India into a rabidly intolerant fascistic ‘Hindu Rashtra’. He had managed to sideline his long-standing rival, an RSS pracharak of some-standing, Sanjay Joshi. Recall how Govindacharya was banished for calling Vajpayee as a mukhota. Hoping to consolidate Hindu communal polarisation and learning from the Shiv Sena’s attacks on North Indians, particularly Biharis in Maharashtra, he had now launched a broad side against the Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. He sees the latter as the potential threat to his prime ministerial chances in the event of the NDA ever coming to power.
While these public spats among the RSS/BJP leaders may provide some political entertainment, the fact that they are looking forward to form the next central government is ominous. The RSS vision stands in complete contrast and contradiction to the very ‘idea of India’ as being a multi-religious, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, multi-socio cultural, secular democratic republic.
The communal genocide in Gujarat has shown the country and the world the depths of inhuman criminality and the grave breach of security for the religious minorities under their dispensation. Despite the report of the Supreme Court appointed amicus curie to the courts, no case has been registered against Modi. After more than a decade of disruption and communal riots that spilt the blood of patriotic Indians, the threads of consolidating the secular-democratic republic were picked up once again with the defeat of the BJP-led NDA government in 2004 general elections. The country cannot afford to return to a situation of communal mayhem.
Former member of the Planning Commission and currently member of the Rajya Sabha, Bhalchandra Mungekar has exposed the myth of a vibrant Gujarat under Modi’s leadership recently. He shows that Gujarat is not the leading state as per any economic parameters like growth rate, per capita income etc.
With respect to Human Development Index (HDI), Gujarat's story is devastating. The HDI for Gujarat, in 2008, was 0.527 and it ranked tenth among major states. Kerala stood first (HDI: 0.790), Himachal Pradesh scored 0.652, Punjab 0.605, Maharashtra 0.572 and Haryana 0.552. With respect to three HDI components – income, health and education – Gujarat does not present a shining story. In this respect, states like Kerala took the lead in every sector, while Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamilnadu and West Bengal did better than Gujarat.
It is found that inequality with respect to income, education and health is higher in Gujarat than some of the major states. Shockingly, in terms of hunger – as revealed by the ‘State Hunger Index 2008’ –Gujarat ranked 13th among 17 big states and worse than Orissa.
In Gujarat, the percentage of women suffering from anaemia has risen from 46.3 per cent in 1999 to 55.5 per cent in 2004, and amongst children from 74.5 per cent to 80.1 per cent. The conditions of dalits and women have deteriorated during the last decade; while those of Muslims and tribals are still worse.
There is also yet another substantial contradiction in the RSS/BJP’s efforts to realise their dreams. Their core support base is dependent upon the intensity of communal polarisation that they are able to generate. However, having tried and failed a number of times in the past to get a majority on their own, they had to seek allies and, thus, was born the NDA. These allies, however keen they may be to share power and the spoils of office, cannot, for their own political reasons of sustaining the support of the minorities in their own states, go along with a programme of intensifying communal polarisation. It is this contradiction that the RSS/BJP continues to remain incapable of resolving satisfactorily.
How these contradictions will unfold in the run-up to the next general elections, only time will show us. However, the Indian people’s commitment and steadfastness in defending our secular-democratic republic may, once again, be put to test. In this context, it needs to be recollected that often in the past, the Congress party has displayed a vacillating and compromising attitude in frontally confronting the communal monster, in whichever form it may appear. In the past, they had performed the shilanyas to launch their election campaign, providing grist to the communal mill; they sought to appease a section of the minorities in the Shahbanu case, the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 etc etc. Such an attitude can only bolster the agenda and polarisation that the communal forces seek.
However, the current race for the chair of the prime minister amongst the BJP leaders is throwing up interesting combinations. The old opponents – Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi – are reportedly closing ranks to confront the Gadkari-Modi-Jaitley nexus. Whatever may finally happen, all this reminds us of an old Telugu saying: aalu ledu, chulu ledu, koduku peru Somalingam (I have neither a home nor a wife, but my son’s name is Somalingam). The general elections are two years away. The BJP has neither won the election nor is it likely to muster a majority in the Lok Sabha, yet the dreams of becoming the prime minister seem to be growing in numbers.
(June 12, 2012)