India: From secularism to majoritarian idea

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BJP’s landslide victory in UP assembly elections has brought to the fore a brewing reality in Indian political system. The idea of secularism which formed the very basis of the State of India is paving way to the majoritarian idea. Apparently, there is no change in constitutional rights of the citizens but the social ethos of the country is changing very fast. The Hindu consolidation against Muslims—the second largest population—is becoming a norm. The way BJP and its satellite groups conducted themselves during election campaign said it all. BJP began its campaign for consolidation of Hindu votes by not fielding a single Muslim candidate despite vast population of Muslims in the state (around 5crore). Then all the communal and contentious issues made their campaign agenda. The issues of Ramzan, Dewali, “Qabaristaan” and “Kasab” were the core subjects of BJP leadership including Prime Minister Narendra Modi that made the majority Hindu population to side with the BJP. The election was fought under the direct leadership of Modi as BJP had not nominated any chief ministerial candidate in the state. Modi’s rise to ‘popularity’ has roots in the massacre of Muslims in his home state Gujrat in 2002 when Modi was the chief minister there. Modi’s pro Hindu posturing during election was more than evident when he castigated SP government for ‘favoring’ Muslims by supply uninterrupted Bijli during Ramzan and depriving Hindus from the same facility on Dewali. Maodi also raised the issues of “Qabristaan” and “Shamshan Ghat”. Modi’s crony and BJP national President Amit Shah goaded Hindu voters by comparing anti-BJP parties with “Kasab”—a reference to a Pakistani militant involved in Mumbai attacks and them subsequently hanged to death. Whereas BJP successfully consolidated Hindu votes, the Muslim votes, on the other hand, got divided among SP, Congress and BSP. The division among Muslim votes resulted in BJP’s win even in Muslim-dominated constituencies like Deoband, Chandpur, Moradabad Nagar, Noorpur, Naanpara and Nakur. BJP’s strategy would have far-reaching political consequences. The Muslims would little count now in political and poll strategies. The verdict is nothing short of endorsing BJP’s idea of Hindustan as more than 41 percent of the population put their seal on majoritarian idea. Some political Pundits to believe that UP collections could cast its shadow of 2019 general elections. The political isolation and irrelevance of Muslims has come about steadily under Modi, and because this has enabled him to consolidate Hindus behind him, the ploy is unlikely to be given up. India is firmly under the grasp of a majoritarian idea, and while constitutional rights - irrespective of religion - remain, social isolation has reached worrying propositions. This obviously has left a large number of secular Indians, including Hindus, with a sense of queasiness. The tragedy on the side of upholders of ‘secular’ values is that there is no leader of national stature who can match Narendra Modi. Rahul Gandhi, who has been laboring hard to revive the dying Congress, is a case of one step forward, two steps backward. His every effort is counter-balanced is much greater setbacks. Under his leadership, Congress has fallen off the national stage, and it is not even a regional party now. Congress’s win in Punjab is exclusively the result of local leadership. Samajwadi Party, who had tied alliance with the Congress in UP, is now cursing the moment they joined hands with Rahul Gandhi. Modi is now a star in his own estimation. He knows the art of exploiting the demographic clout. His UP win is deemed as precursor to BJP’s win in 2019 general elections.

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