For the BJP, Mr. Modi is an obvious choice in post-Vajpayee era. He has the ability to let the BJP revive in the next general elections and help it emerge as the single largest party. But he faces opposition too; particularly from the JD (U) and Shiv Sena for opposing reasons. JD (U) opposes him because it believes that supporting Mr. Modi would shrink its popularity among minorities in Bihar. Shiv Sena believes that supporting Mr. Modi as Prime Ministerial candidate would result in the BJP eating into its vote bank.
Ms. Swaraj is very decent but equally firebrand Hindu nationalist leader. She may be the more acceptable face as the NDA’s Prime Ministerial candidate. Only thing is that she is not as popular as Mr. Modi is. It requires proper regional alliances for the BJP to expand in the South and the North East. But the AIADMK, the BJD and the TDP would be part of the larger NDA only after the election results are announced. It would depend on the manifesto of the BJP and NDA and NDA’s post-election choice of Prime Minister. They would have to agree on common minimum agenda. Obviously, all the three regional parties would look for a soft BJP agenda.
Unlike last general elections, the upcoming election would be fought more on the divisionism versus unity of Hindus than on the collectivity of the minorities. There is eternal law of Hinduism: Hindus divide themselves to gain against others. Regionalism is not always negative as it contains various non-Hindu identities. It also compels non-Hindus to accept various regional identities as a defense mechanism. There is constant debate in India about who serves the interests of Hindus more; the BJP or the Congress Party? Is the passive Hinduism a better dose than the aggressive and explicit Hinduism?
The Right is a very legitimate force in this era of consumerism induced nationalism but one thing is certain that if the Right were that potent during India’s freedom struggle as it is now then India geography would have been different: smaller and skewed. Gandhi’s pacifist Centrist way of fighting against Britons was not only morally high but it was the most practical way; the way geographic India would remain united. It is the Congress Party which has ruled India for almost the whole period till the dissolution of the erstwhile Soviet Union and it shrewdly contained the demands of minorities. Its first family though constantly marrying with non-Hindus has served the interests of Hindus more, both on absolute and relative scale, than the others have.
There is nothing to add about the BJP which seeks to protect Hindus and their values but the Congress Party is not bad at all when it comes to Hindus. The blatant open way to support Hindus and highly sophisticated way to protect Hindus’ interests both are equally valid ways. Specifically, Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul would never think and act against the interests of Hindus. When they appear to be taking sides of non-Hindus against Hindus it should be considered as their compulsion. That should be considered bottomline.
But the consciousness has changed the whole game and Congress Party being the biggest and most adaptive party in India is mulling the option of providing affirmative actions to Muslims in government jobs. Only thing is that for that Muslims need to be categorized into some sort of castes and only those ‘Muslim castes’ which are considered backwards would be granted quota within the stipulated 27% quota for OBCs in jobs and probably in educational institutes too. As per the present Constitution the reservation based on religious identity is illegal except under rarest and exceptional circumstances.
The problem with the BJP is that it cannot verify how much dose of hardline Hinduism is best for it. If it goes the extreme then it would be a devastated entity even though regional situation in the South Asia may support the theory of revival of Right. But Hindus may choose softer options because of the economic selfishness and competitiveness. Even if the BJP crosses the half-way mark towards the extreme, the opposition to it would increase to that extent that it would be damned as untouchable. Islamic Right in India can not go to the extreme. But if it becomes close towards the half-way mark there would be reactionary tendencies and the BJP would gain.
It is the arithmetic in the Lower House of the Parliament which would determine the positions of Hindu and Islamic Rights on the axes. The axes have different starting positions and they differ on the absolute positions as well. The Hindu axis starts with smaller magnitude and ends at the higher magnitude as compared to Islamic Right in India. What it means is that Hindu fundamentalism is softer than Islamic fundamentalism initially but could become deadlier than Islamic fundamentalism if the situation warrants so. It also means that Hindus are simultaneously more divided and united on an absolute scale.
If the Congress Party gets close to the majority in the Parliament or gets it, the Hindu Right would weaken for a while though its untouchability would decrease. The Islamic forces would be moderate then and Muslims would gain. But then there would be reactions to the Congress Party’s near or absolute majority and the opposition would be more united against it. The Hindu Right would gain but Muslims would move more towards Center. Now if the BJP tries to go to the extreme then again it would loose the governance and the Congress Party would gain. Therefore, there will always be a balancing force restricting Hindu Right to the middle and Islamic opinion towards Center. This has to do majorly with Hindu divisionism. There would be no time when Hindus would become monolithic till there is an entity called India. Also, Muslims in India cannot consolidate beyond a point otherwise Hindus, though divided, would ignore and discriminate Muslims more.
Defining Hinduism and writing down rules for Hindus is no exclusive prerogative of the BJP, just like, defining secularism and writing down rules for secularists is no exclusive right of the Congress Party. India’s home minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde appears to be a very reasonable, sincere and decent person. Being a Marathi, and not a South Indian Congress leader, he should be having reasonable opinion about the BJP, understanding its importance in national politics. But then why did he make such an irresponsible and unreasonable remarks about the BJP getting involved in saffron terror? The nation must try to find out the answer for that.
If the BJP and the Congress Party are doing it in order to segment before the general elections due in first quarter of the next year, then it would be unsuccessful as the egos of the leaders and interests of parties and individual would clash. The segmentation would fail in the non-Western countries, particularly in Asian countries. It would succeed maximum between the Republicans and the Democrats.
But still people try and die-hard indeed never die. Senior BJP leader and the then NDA’s Prime Ministerial candidate Lal Krishna Advani after the elections in 2009 remarked that India was heading towards two-party system. The BJP then got only 121 seats and the Congress Party and the BJP together won only 327 seats. It may hint at the possibility of segmentation between the BJP and the Congress Party. But under what circumstances can the BJP and the Congress Party segment?
In order to understand this one needs to understand that it is the BJP which has the urgent urge to convert bureaucracy, law enforcement agencies, judiciary, media etc towards an acceptable Right. Increased nationalism does not guarantee outright victory for the BJP but it guarantees its ideological victory. Therefore, the BJP can concede victory to the Congress Party in order to make various state institutions Right to the extent possible.
Second thing is the issues about Muslims and they include reservation, Kashmir and Pakistan. The BJP in the case of increasing consciousness can segment with the Congress Party; meaning conceding victory to it, to deny Indian Muslims their due or assigned privileges. The hatred is equal on both sides. Segmentation is not possible without agreeing on many issues, particularly about economics. The BJP and the Congress Party would agree on many issues. The BJP would loose somewhat politically but would gain ideologically.
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