Hindu-Muslim election card in India
S M Hali
BJP managed to bag majority votes in the 2014, polls riding on an extremist manifesto, promising to rejuvenate Hindutva and Hindu supremacy, which is contrary to secularism prescribed in the Indian Constitution. The result was disastrous as unbridled forces of terror were unleashed on the minorities, wreaking havoc on the hapless souls. The barbarism of the last half a decade caused international academics, thinkers and human rights activists to take cognizance of the brutal attacks and send a petition signed by a thousand concerned litterateurs beseeching the Modi government to reign in its brutes.
Serious Indian human rights activists and even sensitive persons belonging to the field of literature, performing arts and the academia surrendered their state awards protesting the extremism of BJP’s armed militants against the minorities. They all fell on deaf ears. BJP is looking to play the same Hindutva card again. Late November 2018, virtually on the 26th anniversary of the demolition of Babri Masjid (6 December 1992), at Ayodhya (Faizabad), UP there was a massive buildup of extremist Hindus spearheaded by Shiv Sena and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), who projected it as a massive ‘show of strength’.
Shiv Sena Chief, Uddhav Thackeray also attended the gathering in Ayodhya, whereas many Shiv Sena parliamentarians were also present. The center was urged to act on the “Ram Mandir” issue ahead of 2019 general elections. Interestingly, the congregated mob dispersed without creating any law and order situation.
While it is known that the Hindu Mahasabha had a role in placing the idol in the mosque, the larger plot and the chain of events that led to that act have never been subject to rigorous scrutiny but are now being brought to light. This time around, BJP
If that were not enough, Senior BJP leader Uma Bharti in her speech in the Indian Lok Sabha, lauded Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray who is mounting pressure on the Union Government over the Ram Temple issue. Bharti stating that ‘BJP doesn’t have a patent on Ram Mandir’ and urged all the political parties to support the demand for construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
In the wake of Indian SC’s un-accommodative posture i.e. declining early hearings of petitions, RSS and VHP are resorting to organizing huge demonstrations to exert pressure on judiciary. Moreover, their activity is aimed at threatening the minority groups as well. Apparently, the BJP leadership is deliberately keeping mum on the issue because many political pundits opine that in view of the lackluster performance of the BJP, the farmer’s movement and failing to live up to its electoral promises of spiraling India’s economy, annexing Kashmir into India and subjugating Pakistan, BJP may not be able to win elections 2019 and may have to opt for a coalition government. This will seriously tie down the hands of the extremists and protagonists of Hindutva. In such a scenario, BJP may have to resort to the Hindu-Muslim election card; albeit it may be the last resort for the revival of party politics.
Yogi Adityanath, a rabid Muslim baiter may have won the 2017 UP elections but losing in the Kairana by-elections should be an eye opener for BJP. Reality check is that Muslims, Dalits and Yadav are 20, 20 and 9 percent of UP’s population respectively. This is formidable across the state. The BJP won 2017 in the UP-assembly election because these votes were divided. Yogi unfortunately, is the Hindutva mascot, not of development, till 2019, who may unite the minorities.
If BJP opts to making “Ram Mandir” as its core issue for 2019 elections’ campaign, out of sheer desperation, it may be in for a shock. The GauRakhshak Dal (Cow Protection Organization)’s agenda has already alienated Muslims while the latest outburst of BJP MP Sachchidan and Hari Sakshi alias Sakshi Maharaj, calling for the demolition of Jamia Masjid in Delhi, claiming that Mughals played with the sentiments of Hindus and constructed over 3,000 Masjids by demolishing temples, may deteriorate the situation further. Sakshi is reported to have said that he would be ready to be hanged if idols were not found below the staircase of Jamia Masjid.
Ironically, two Hindu researchers Krishna Jha and Dhirendra K. Jha in their 2012 exposéAyodhyaThe Dark Night based on intrepid research and first-hand interviews of eye witnesses, reveal in a chilling disclosure that after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, on 22 December 1949, an idol of Ram was planted in the Babri Masjid. A little-known sadhu, Abhiram Das, and his followers surreptitiously entered the Babri Masjid and planted an idol of Rama inside it. While it is known that the Hindu Mahasabha had a role in placing the idol in the mosque, the larger plot and the chain of events that led to that act have never been subject to rigorous scrutiny but are now being brought to light. This time around, BJP will perhaps have to rely on the appeasement of Muslims rather than targeting them.