I am watching ABP News’ live coverage of the BJP’s celebratory dance at a cafe’s LCD screen in Connaught Place in Delhi, while reading an article on The Wire on the implications of India’s 2019 general elections. Two concerns surface in my mind.
The biggest power of the BJP has been money – in helping it win two consecutive terms in the country. Its second biggest power has been its foot soldiers, which the party has been fielding from the poorest tabkas (levels) of India. If one has to help make the BJP and its ideology a lost cause, one has to take away the monetary support it gets. The fact the the Sensex shot up the day of the exit polls and the day of the actual results, clearly shows which section of Indian society considers Modi and the BJP its dearest allies.
As much as the poorest support group of the BJP is concerned, no party can ever again come to power without bringing them into the fold of decision-making at all levels. No other party has been able to weave the rich and poor alike into the single thread of nationalism the way the BJP has. Letting this thread remain solely the property of the BJP’s tailors has proven to be a foolish political move.
My second concern is centered around the prevention of further spread of the “cult of stupidity” in the country. One of the answers is definitely mass education. Education of the masses about the Constitution of India and its core values has to constitute a part of the opposition’s agenda, this is non-negotiable. At the same time, the opposition has to connect the core constitutional values with the everyday lives and issues of the people living in this country. Else, who needs an education at all?
The opposition has to come out of its board room, connect with the people and open its organizational doors to the poorest of the poor. The organizational strength of the BJP has not found its match in an opposition in the past half-a-decade. The party has compensated for its lack of legacy in the Independence struggle with building up its organizational strength and mustering support of the most privileged and least privileged populace alike in an India that is neoliberal.
The richest of the rich have been projected by the current Prime Minister to be the “garibi mitane wala” (the remover of poverty) in his post-result address, thereby de-recognizing the politico-economic entitlements enjoyed by the rich, while carefully tapping into the aspirations of the poor.
The opposition has another urgent task at hand, which is to insulate its own doors and windows from the invasion of the BJP. Till the time our opposition rises and mends its ways, I will be living with the discontentment and frustration of losing and feeling like a defeated football club fan.