What could have backfired BJP’s Delhi debacle?
N Janbemo Humtsoe
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he 2015 Delhi Assembly pool results send shockwaves across the nation as the AAP, considered an underdog, emerged as the largest winner securing 67 seats out of the total 70 while the BJP faces its first ever embarrassing defeat post Lok Sabha and the Congress which have been ruling the state for decades have been decimated to zero. Just as the BJP benefitted from the anti incumbency wave of the Congress regime in the last Lok Sabha election, the AAP appears to have benefitted from the high handedness and insensitivity of the ruling BJP and its overconfidence post 2014 Lok Sabha elections.If face is the index of the mind, one can also say that Delhi is the index of India. The mood in the national capital shows that the nation takes seriously when secularism is replaced by religious fundamentalism, democracy by bigotry and diversity by alienation. The BJP, whom the nation has voted to power for governance and transparency appears to have been carried away with its astounding Lok Sabha victory that it banked heavily on Modi image rather than on the nitty-gritties of electoral politics and governance which has brought them to power in the first instance. However, the decision to field a newcomer in politics as the chief ministerial candidate was the biggest mistake as it has sown mistrust and division within the party setup. Many heavyweights in the Delhi BJP were offended as they feel they were upstaged and their opinions ignored.
However, it could be plain politics for Amit Shah, the party president. The parachuting of a Kiran Bedi, a retired bureaucrat, as the BJP chief ministerial candidate, was nothing but a ploy by the party high command to use her as a masterstroke in case of victory and a scapegoat in case of defeat. Now that the results are out, the party can simply put the blame on Bedi and move on. However, as it is easier to reach the top than to remain clinging on it, BJP has to deliver what it had promised a year back and move away from the negativism that surrounds the party if the party wants to regain the trust and confidence of the people. Just as good governance, development and accountability is important for the country; liberty, equality and tolerance are also crucial for the progress of the society and the nation. Any authority that ignores these tenets are likely to be rejected by the people sooner or later.
One setback for the BJP is that the communal institutions, like the RSS and the VHP, whom the BJP is closely associated with, negate the good performance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In August 2014, the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat went to the extent of saying that all Hindustanis are Hindus. Another senior BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy stated that all Indians are both scientifically and historically Hindus. Such statements are not healthy for politics as well as for social harmony as it only sows the seeds of hatred and enmity. These fervent and repeated attempts to make India a Hindu state by the Hindu fundamentalist will only harm India’s social, cultural and religious cohesions and can have far-reaching consequences on her unity and national integrity.
The communal face of the BJP stands exposed when a senior Minister of the ruling government, Smti. Sushma Swaraj, pressed for making Bhagwad Gita, the Hindu religious book, as the national book. On top of it, an advertisement column issued by the central government on republic day deliberately omits the word ‘Socialist and Secular’ from the preamble of the Constitution. These incidents happen in the background where Hindu religious organizations organizes ‘reconversion’ ceremonies in several states. In Aligarh, a Church belonging to the 7th Day Adventists was overnight converted into a Hindu temple after conducting a ‘ghar wapasi’ or reconversion ceremony. The cross in the church was allegedly removed and replaced by a portrait of a Hindu god Shiva.
In the national capital Delhi itself, miscreants suspected to be from Hindu fundamentalist groups have vandalized several churches in the past few months. The authorities, instead of detaining the miscreants, arrested the peaceful protestors who were protesting against the vandalism and religious intolerance in the country. A police officer said that around 350 people were detained outside the Sacred Heart Cathedral on suspicion of ‘unlawful assembly’. The nation is certainly not moving in the right direction when the Law itself is misinterpreted to suit the designs of the communal majority and to deprive the rights and privileges of the minority few.
The BJP vision document released just days before the Delhi Assembly election referred the people from the North East as ‘immigrants’. This has infuriated the people from the North East including the Union minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju as he said, “If it is a mistake at the policy making level, then it is a serious mistake. I am from the northeast and I am not an immigrant in my own country.” All these onslaught against the religious minorities and ethnic communities does not augur well for party who dreams to become the largest political party in the world. Nor such politics of alienation, hatred and intolerance could take the nation to a higher scale.
After all, the health and progress of a country is not only measured by growth rate and per capita income, but by many other indicators of which the BJP is not doing a fair job.