"When a writer tries to explain too much, he is out of time before he begins." wrote Isaac Bashevis Singer, 1978 Nobel Winning writer. As year wraps to an end and Bengal Elections are around the corner, Analysts are jumping over one another to analyze the way politics panned out over this Pandemic-ridden unfortunate and sad year.
When you go through most of the analysis, you find them dipping into the froth floating at the top. They often develop the hypothesis first then try to fit the data. This gap between interpretation and data leads to their conclusions mostly turning way off the mark. The most common and prevalent hypothesis that is being currently floated is that those who support Narendra Modi are some sort of fanatic army, which has no reason to support him and which are loyal to him in the most retrograde terms. For that very reason, Narendra Modi, in return, cares only about those who voted for him and no one else. While there is no proof of Narendra Modi appointing BJP workers (forget the non-Party electorate which votes for him, like yours truly) for Government jobs, now do not throw a Sambit Patra as Government Appointed director in EIL at me, that appointment is a conventional practice. There have been known instances of AAP appointing their cadres as volunteers and such in Government institution and under Government campaigns, but I have not heard of any such thing for BJP voters. AAP also brazenly appointed the media personnel who helped creating a larger-than-life image of Arvind Kejriwal to College boards. It is not much heard of on BJP side. Not at the level at which AAP did it or the way Samajwadi Party created a Yadav-rich State Bureaucracy. The idea of to basically let go of the current BJP supporters as untouchable for the opposition parties and to somehow consolidate the non-supporters of BJP as a singular entity to defeat the BJP.
Unfortunately, the problem with such uniform classification of the electorate is the over-simplification of the complex Indian politics and in the end, erroneous predictions of the outcome. This is a matter not only in Indian politics, rather also in the US politics where the political pundits had earlier claimed a sure victory for Hillary Clinton earlier and a smooth and definite majority for Joe Biden this time. They were wrong both the times. Closer home, they predicted a merry romp to the power for Tejashvi Yadav in Bihar elections and missed by a mile.
The article dated 23rd December, 2020 in The Print by Shivam Vij, also is one such article. The author begins mentioning the vote percentage of the BJP in current parliament. It was 38% in 2019 election. Together with the vote-share of its pre-alliance partners, NDA vote share was 45%. On 12th March, 2019, Shivam Vij had written how the possibility of Narendra Modi losing the elections is a real possibility. Whether it was hope or cluelessness is hard to understand. Post-results, however, he wrote another piece where he contended that BJP will rule uninterrupted for another Thirty Years. That said, in the current article under discussion, his point is that since BJP has around 45% of votes (38% even without Shiv Sena and SAD), they do not need any of those who had not voted for it in the last election. As per him, this reflects in the policies of the current government. To illustrate his point, he goes into rhetoric, propaganda and falsehoods, totally unbecoming for someone who wants to project himself as a neutral and objective political commentator.
See some examples of hypocrisy and hyperbole. He says it is not Hindu Versus Muslim polarization only. It is 38% versus 62% polarization. But before I begin to agree to him on this, he refers to the way Government handled Anti-CAA protests, somehow alluding to high-handedness on the part of the state. Those protests were ineptly handled but not because the state was too harsh, but because the State was much less firm than the duty demanded. The Judiciary moved too and fro on it, with SC first appointing arbitrators and later claiming the protests to be illegal. Sporadic waves of vicious violence in the initial days across the country was quickly brushed under the halo of Gandhian drama of the protestors. He claims that CAA brought mistrust among the citizen towards the government (well, those who are not in the 38%). Why do these 62% mistrust the Government even after they see Hindus, Sikhs and Christians persecuted in Pakistan, even after they see School buses attacked by the so-called peaceful protestors?
This is a pertinent question to be asked. Who is misleading the people? India, unfortunately has never had an opposition as irresponsible as the one we have today. AAP started this politics of recklessness, standing with fanatics, potential terrorists of Islamist or Khalistani-hues to win power, brazenly and shamelessly. Congress turned this recklessness mainstream. When Congress Leader thundered in the Parliament under the approving gaze of Sonia Gandhi of bloodshed as they were voted out of power, they actually meant it. Frustrated at the inept leadership which would put people out to riot on issue they claimed to be of critical significance and themselves moving away to foreign vacations, ignoring Parliamentary sessions, they put the entire organizational muscle they had in becoming AAP. Congress became an Elephant with the sting of a mosquito. If one reads the questions raised by Vajpayee during 1962 Chinese intrusion (thousands of Kilometers of land lost to China then as Nehru played one-upmanship with General Thimayya), they were factual, objective. Vajpayee, than a young parliamentarian, almost two decades younger than the Youth-leader of the Congress, Rahul Gandhi, asked those questions in the Parliament, backed with data. He never called him Surrender Nehru, never went into name-calling, was never a naysayer, and believed in the inherent good of India and the Government which represented it, even we faced our only military debacle. He never was a haughty heckler who does not attend Parliamentary Committee meetings on Defense and tweets on not being informed.
What PM Modi faces is not an organic distrust, rather a distrust created by the Party which refuses to grow into a constructive opposition and in time to become a real alternative to the Party in power. The last attempt of resurrecting Rahul Gandhi as a voice of intellectual conscience has failed miserably as his videos first turned into a YoutTube Propaganda and then died out disinterest. Those who wanted to make a Ram Manohar Lohia out of Rahul Gandhi, ended up turning him into another Dhruv Rathi. The opposition is doing little to create trust in the minds of people towards themselves. Most of their time is spent on creating distrust towards Modi. But when you have facts like Crop Insurance, PMJAY, PM Awaas Yojana, Neem-Coated Urea staring at you on matters of Farmers; Direct Benefit Transfer, Loan Scheme, Free Ration for the Poor during the pandemic; Quick ramping up of healthcare in terms of PPE, Ventilators; OROP, Border infrastrusture, Rafale, Bulletproofs, Benefits for Para-Military on Defense front; Ram Temple and Triple Talaq on civilizational front- staring at you, the supporters consolidate and everytime, every lie of Rahul Gandhi is caught, while the 38% solidifies, the 62% fizzles away. I will not be surprised the way it is going, in 2024, Modi might manage 45% for the BJP on its own steam.
This campaign of constant negativity which the opposition is trying to build is too much for India population to stomach, whether pro or against Modi. The young kids who have become opinion-makers and analysts think such foolish attempts will resurrects Congress, but they will not. The Neutrals are slowly drifting towards the BJP, annoyed and disgusted with the constant cribbing of the Congress. Congress has fallen into the Communist mold (AAP was the first one to fall into it). There behavior pattern is absolutely similar to what Ambedkar predicted about the Communists in his now-famous speech in the Parliament, where he had said-
"Why do they (the Communists) condemn the Constitution? Is it because it is really a bad Constitution? I venture to say 'No'. The Communist Party wants a Constitution based on the Principle of Dictatorship of the Proletariat... the Socialists want two things. The first thing they want is that if they come to power, the Constitution must give them power to nationalize or socialize all private property without payment of compensation. They second thing they want is that the fundamental rights mentioned in the Constitution must be absolute and without any limitation so that if their party fails to come to power, they would have unfettered not merely to criticize, but also to overthrow the state."
The Marxization of Congress began when the Communists agreed to support Emergency and Indira Gandhi responded by giving them institutions to run, while amending the Constitution and also by Nationalization of the Banks. This cycle has run its course, and there is now little difference between the Congress and the Communists. Nehru's worst fears have come true. Those intellectuals who a care about the Country more than they care about Congress must ensure that the Congress distances itself from the Communist mindset of overthrowing a government, merely because they are unable to come into power through legitimate means. When writers like Shivam move around in circles while knowing fully well that the distrust among the 62% as he claims, is not organic, not reasonable, and still try to fan it with fake propaganda like 'where is my Fifteen Lakhs'; they do a disservice to the pen they hold. A strong support is no reason to malign a party in power. After all, Congress on its own had vote-share of more than 40% between Nehru and Indira era (44.99% under Nehru in 1951 to the Highest of 48% in 1984 under Rajiv). No one ever implied, even when all the institutions were flooded with the Leftist-Congressis, that the Government did not care about remaining 52% as it did not need them and thus they should distrust the elected Government. Sonia Gandhi took over the reigns in 1998. In 1999, It's vote share was 28.3% and has been falling since (26.3% in 2004, 28.55% in 2009, 19.5% in 2014 and 2019 respectively). Congress would do well to look inside its own leadership issues which is alienated from the rest of India. Maligning a faith which was forced to put its head down and never to speak is not a solution. They must align with majority and stop maligning it. The best years of Congress were when they did not malign Hinduism, no matter what Shashi Tharoor and Chidambram tells them.