For How Long Are We Going To Pretend BJP’s Electoral Politics Is Not Divisive?

There’s never been an election like the present one in India anywhere in the world before. Words are failing to describe how current lowly political narratives and rhetoric have dragged the country into the abyss of venom and vulgarity.

The premise was set 6 years back with the ascension of Modi and his portrayal as the supreme leader of the country. From Modi’s chaiwala days to the Gujarat model of development to NaMo to a 56-inch chest, it did not require an Einstein to realize that it was all mere propaganda designed to inflate Modi’s ego and image. To top this off, he had an election manifesto that looked like India would become like the legendary city of Atlantis in 5 years. The fact that the country believed in this fantasy saga that beats the best of Hollywood movies proves how gullible and vulnerable we are to being manipulated.

The BJP had played the political game extremely well. They peaked the anti-incumbency factor against UPA II to the roof by orchestrating the Anna Hazare anti-corruption movement. The only other option was BJP and there Modi stood tall as NaMo. People fell headlong into the trap enmasse. When I tried bringing this up, I was ridiculed by people and friends on social media.

6 years on, with all poll promises fallen by the wayside, Modi and Amit Shah have switched back to their tried and tested strategy in Gujarat and UP during assembly elections in 2017. Polarisation and creating permanently deep divide in the society. I believe divide and rule was far better under colonial rule. It is ironic that Modi was nicknamed NaMo to equate him with Lord Shiva. Just as Shiva is considered the destroyer of the Universe, Modi has brought about the destruction of the country’s economy through demonetization. But, whereas Shiva destroys a toxic Universe in order to help Brahma create a new one with a clean slate, Modi is aspiring to create a more vile and dangerous India with Hindutva fascism at its core.

The polarisation of the country on the lines of religion and caste is a camouflage to how the entire democratic system of the country is being compromised. The bureaucracy, judiciary, EC, media – every institution that is meant to uphold the values of the country’s Constitution and democracy have been reduced to be at the beck and call of Modi and Shah. The fault lines of polarisation has even seeped into the armed forces which can be observed from the way ex-military personnel are actively participating in election debates on TV.

But, what astounds me is the way the entire country has been divided on the pro-Modi and anti-Modi lines. The ones who support Modi are bhakts and chowkidars and the opposing ones are anti-nationals, naxals, libtards and the list goes on. There is no escaping this divide and there is no neutral ground. You are either with Modi or against Modi which has been equated to being against the country itself. I am anti-Modi by force not by choice.

Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. (Photo: Getty Images)

Criticizing his governance and policies has made me anti-Modi though I just support good governance and work for the people without being partial to any other party. Enough and more has been said on social media to write two dictionaries of derogatory words and expressions. The narrative of abuse has exploded like a nuclear bomb on the country during this election and hangs over the country like a poisonous mushroom cloud. Relationships have soured, friends have become strangers to each other and pro and anti-Modi people who are absolute strangers have got clustered into groups on WhatsApp and Facebook. Expletives and choicest abuses even at parents and siblings are in free flow.

What is ludicrous is, people on completely opposite sides of the country who would have never even met in their lifetimes are verbally attacking one another. I am wondering how would it be if two people who are fighting tooth and nail on social media now were to come together because of an alliance between their families a couple of years later and they were to recognize each other. How ironic and sad would that be? The true power of social media has been unleashed but in the most unfortunate way with consequences of utmost disgrace.

What we do not realize is that since there are no neutral people, there won’t be fence sitters during the elections. Since the anti-Modi votes are segregated among the Congress and several regional parties, accumulated pro-Modi votes could ensure his victory or that is what the BJP is hoping for. It is astounding and mind boggling how logic has deserted all of us. Every time Modi is criticized or questioned, the pro-Modi team or as they are popularly known, right-wing (RW) trolls go on the offensive and start equating with and abusing all opposition leaders like Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal. How is blaming them helping defend Modi? Beats all my common sense.

Rather, hitting on Rahul Gandhi every time Modi is criticized will have the effect of listeners gradually wondering if there is some good about Rahul which is why he is getting attacked each time, which in turn will only reflect poorly on Modi. Moreover, attacking Rahul Gandhi implies Modi is indefensible. Modi’s team had coined the slogan “Congress mukt Bharat” in 2014 as the symbol to root out corruption from the country. The slogan has been nothing but one of Modi’s numerous jumlas. Not only has Modi not been able to ‘free’ India from Congress, due to a complete breakdown in governance, he has forced the country to go back to the Congress.

So what lies ahead? As already indicated by some BJP leaders, another 5 years of Modi and there could be no more elections in the future. The Constitution could be amended suitably or it could even be replaced by a new one that suits Modi’s dictatorship and the Hindutva agenda of the RSS.

People’s mandate is most likely to be fractured with regional parties having a huge say in the next government. With the dominant anti-Modi wave in prevalence, anything less than a simple majority for BJP like in 2014 would most probably see Modi and Amit Shah being eased out by existing or new allies in favour of a new, more acceptable and non-authoritarian face. On the flip side, a coalition government with Congress at its centre would throw up many interesting situations and challenges. To become the PM of the country and sit in the PM’s chair is every political leader’s fantasy. But, regional parties are more likely to target key portfolios such as home and finance.

The key to a coalition government would lie in how the dynamics of SP-BSP alliance is going to unravel. Both are key players in Uttar Pradesh, so what would happen when assembly elections takes places in 3 years? Pitting themselves against each other in the state while showing solidarity towards each other at the centre would make no sense to the respective cadres of both parties. This is the biggest fault line I see with a coalition government and the BJP would have understood this dynamics as well.

Elections will come and go, political leaders will die and new ones will take their place. Why are we ruining the relationships in our lives? I have pro-Modi friends and cousins. When our turf war intensified, better sense prevailed. We stopped talking politics and sending political messages and images to each other over text. Even when we do, we make sure not to get into arguments. Modi and Amit Shah are reveling in the fire of intolerance, hatred, bigotry and division that they ignited by reaching the roots of the society. Their objective is to further the Hindutva agenda by polarising Hindu votes under the guise of ‘Hinduism being under threat from other religions.’

Mamata Banerjee fighting fire with fire in West Bengal has only dented the credibility of electoral politics further. For whatever reasons it may be, we should always remember that nothing lives and remains dominant forever.

My humble request to all fellow Indians is to see through the political games and vote for candidates who can provide good governance through creating a robust economy, agriculture, employment, lower inflation, education, etc., rather than vouch for political leaders based on vote bank politics. I fervently hope that there is never an election like this anywhere in the world again.

Featured image for representative purpose only.
Featured image source: Narendra Modi/Facebook.
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