By Abhishek Jha:
Reports from Bengaluru say that five BJP workers were found trying to steal voter ID cards in Siddapura area (ward 144) of the city. “Five women came into my house around 5pm and told me they were from the census department. They asked me to show them my voting card. When I showed them the card, they said it was no longer valid and tried to take it away,” Shamsunissa (62), a resident of the locality, told a newspaper.
Some locals told the newspaper that they had been following them for an hour and that these women had been going only to Muslim houses. Since they knew that no census was being conducted, they intervened finally, and the women finally confessed that they were BJP workers. However, the accused women, who have been arrested following an FIR, have told the police that they were only campaigning for the BBMP polls scheduled for August 22.
If the accusations are true, this is a disturbing trend that the BJP’s activities are charting. Last year, 400 houses were demolished in the Israil Camp in Rangpur area of south Delhi. The residents, who were mostly migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, alleged that this was in response to their non-participation in the communal polarisation being effected there. The case of Muzaffarpur and Shamli districts of Uttar Pradesh is well known. Polarising speeches made by prominent BJP leaders, the hijacking of the Bhartiya Kissan Union by BJP members were all fuel-to-the-fire that burned the two UP districts. The Hindus bought the idea of a faux enemy and united under the banner of Hindu honour to vote BJP to power. Even this year, similar machinations were at work in Tikri Brahman and Atali villages in Haryana. While in these two villages an active role of the BJP has never been confirmed, the ideas that led to these riots were the same as those that were planted in UP. It is then difficult to not see the case in Bengaluru as the part of this larger trail.
It is also noteworthy here that the BJP workers were not some fringe elements or loose associates which the party can later dissociate with. It seems to be a planned strategy and even a regular one from the accounts that have come to the fore, post this incident. The report also includes a statement from one R Khaleemullah of the Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR). He had visited the area and said, “Names of Muslims, other minorities and SCs had gone missing from the electoral rolls during the last Assembly and Lok Sabha polls as well.” The allegations earlier were that BJP had been paying people to part with their voter cards.
There is no shortage of evidence- recent or old- to prove BJP as a polarising communal party. However, one hopes that when a tainted leader is trying hard to keep the slate clean, past follies will not be repeated. However, there seems to be no stopping the BJP. The only hope here is the people themselves, who begin to see the pointlessness of communal fervour or the need for parties to address the issues that concern them. The summers this year saw the Jats in western Uttar Pradesh become disillusioned with the BJP when they saw no help from the messiah they had voted for. As a BJP worker from the region told a newspaper, “It’s a bit difficult now to hear a voice on the streets still talking about acche din except in jest and for poking fun at the promise which became a successful electoral mascot for Narendra Modi.”