Dividing the country on communal lines

Dr Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardee and CNS Columnist
Rambabu is a dalit activist working for the empowerment of marginalized section of the population in rural Hardoi. He feels for the first time in any elections that people are being divided on communal lines. His religious identity is in conflict with this caste identity and is beginning to create pressure on him to vote in the forthcoming elections on communal lines. Needless to say the result could be disastrous for the country.

Narendra Modi has claimed that he will rid the parliament of criminals including those in BJP or NDA. He doesn't have to look very far. His trusted lieutenant Amit Shah is an accused in more than one encounter cases. Modi himself is not completely absolved of involvement in the 2002 violence in Gujarat. Mystery surrounding the death of former Gujarat Home minister Haren Pandya is yet to be cleared. It is amazing that coming from a murky background as this Modi has been able to project himself as a person who'll give good governance.

While Modi has been able to ward off the communal image, his colleagues from the Sangha Parivar ensure that people are reminded of the basic character of Modi's associations. Pravin Togadia has graphically described how Bajrang Dal people have been capturing houses belonging to Muslims. A not so well known fact about the Gujarat model, which means different things to different people, is that Hindu and Muslim populations have been totally segregated. If Modi becomes the PM chances are that this aspect of Gujarat model will be implemented country wide. The entire country is under threat of division second time in history on communal lines. Muzaffarnagar was probably just a trailer. Physical division will take place internally. BJP leader from Bihar Giriraj Singh says people who don't agree with Modi must all go to Pakistan. Now even if Modi becomes the PM, his party is not going to get more than 50% votes. This implies that more than half the country should be packing their bags to move to Pakistan.

The communal politics is taking over the minds of people and even affecting other parties. Shazia Ilmi became a victim of this. She couldn't help herself saying that Muslims should become a bit 'communal' as by being secular they were paying a price. It shows how bad the situation has become. Secular leaders have to use a communal argument.

Such a large population as that of Muslims will have to live as second grade citizens in India under Modi rule as they are living in Gujarat now. This will create volatile situation. The country is already paying a heavy price for Babri Masjid demolition, which too was the handiwork of Sangha Parivar, in terms of emergence of the problem of terrorism. Had Babri Masjid demolition not taken place, this country would probably not have witnessed bomb blasts anywhere. The Sangha Parivar is ready to give another blow to the secular fabric of this country and will cause irreparable damage. If Modi becomes the PM and continues to rule for 5 years, the future of democracy in India is threatened. He is a person who will not only muffle any dissent coming from outside but will also suppress emergence of any competition from within his party. People who have got fed up of corruption promoted by Congress party don't realize what they are bargaining for when they talk of bringing in Modi.

Congress is to blame itself for giving Modi a chance to emerge in the manner he has been able to do. The Congress, in spite of having done a few good things, has appeared to have run a very weak government, allowing its ministers and allies to loot the public exchequer. It is seen as a party which accepts dynastic rule and promotes the interest of Gandhi family. What Robert Vadra has done is indefensible and yet Priyanka Gandhi is trying to shield him. The more Congress will try to defend its wrong doings Modi and BJP will gain in reaction. It took some time for people to figure out that Arvind Kejriwal was taking a secular stand. In the beginning he kept people in dark about this with taking a stand just against corruption. But now it is patently clear that Arvind is secular. This is the reason Muslim voters are supporting him in a number of constituencies.

When the results of Delhi Assembly elections were out it became clear that AAP had prevented BJP from attaining clear majority. It was seen as a force which could check the rise of communal politics as Arvind was raising real issues. For example, BJP is after Congress on the Vadra land deals. But the fact of the matter is that it was Arvind Kejriwal who exposed the matter. BJP is just using it.
However, the manner in which Arvind abandoned the Delhi government without consulting the people as he had done when forming the government, a message has gone out that he cannot run a government. He can do protest politics very well and he is a tremendous street fighter but when it comes to governance it is not his cup of tea. For this reason people have stopped considering him as a serious contender to run the national government. This is the main reason why he'll not be able to repeat the Delhi performance in national elections. Hence, unfortunately, what appeared to be a challenge to the comeback of communal forces to Delhi's seat of power is fading away.

By Dr Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardee and CNS Columnist
30 April 2014
(The author is a Ramon Magsaysay Awardee and a senior social activist. He is the Vice President of Socialist Party (India) and member, National Presidium, Lok Rajniti Manch. He has led National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) and is a former faculty of IIT Kanpur. Presently he is a faculty at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) BHU. He did his PhD from University of California, Berkeley and is a visiting faculty for a number of US Universities and IITs in India. Email: ashaashram@yahoo.com)