Assembly poll verdicts: post-truth, post-caste or new India ?
So-called secular liberals who wear their identities on sleeves and mouths only, have concocted an ingenious epithet to explain away their collective failure to foresee or prejudge a socio-political or economic reality. Whenever a prognosis over an impending political event goes off the track, the SL brigade designate this as 'post-truth' : in a resounding rebuff to the SL brigade, the British electorate in a referendum had opted for 'Brexit'-that is Great Britain's secession from the European Union (EU)-and the rebuff was packaged as 'post truth'. A veritable tsunami of disinformation campaign and negative coverage from the paid and purchasable media notwithstanding , US voters exercised their sovereign choice to make Donald Trump their president for four years. This too qualified for the status of 'post-truth'. But this had been preceded two and half years ago by another 'post-truth' or 'post-national' verdict : the largely unforeseen but decisive victory of Narendra Modi in the loksabha polls had left the SL brigade in media and metropolitan intelligentsia orphans of a lost world. Media persons who have emotionally seceded from the idea of India and who had spent thirteen long years demonising Narendra Modi as a mass murderer held fire for a brief period before egging on the 'Award Wapasi Gang', 'Afzal Premi Gang' and the culturally rootless global citizenry of JNU, Jadavpur and Hyderabad. It is an altogether different issue that neither 'caged parrot' CBI,nor supreme court-appointed SIT,nor courts and devious conspiracies of Chidu, Shinde and Shivraj found an iota of evidence to pin down Modi.
But the just concluded string of assembly polls has cast a shadow of silent gloom in the SL camp. Squirming in a state of mourning, SL commander Rajdip Sardesai has effected a semantic shift to attribute the UP outcome to 'post-caste' verdict in an elegiac tone. There too the 'post-national' paid media seems to have gone horribly wrong as Modi and his faithful band of followers had never embarked on a programme to build up a caste-neutral society out of the UP polls. From all evidences emerging from the debris of SP-BSP disaster, it is crystal clear that Modi and his alter ego Amit Shah had laid an effective and ultimately very successful siege around SP-BSP's Yadav-Jatav and minority vote bank by cobbling a formidable combination of OBCs, upper castes, sections of Dalits and minorities. This social engineering banked on deep discontent among the targeted voter groups against the divisive politics , administration and rhetoric of SP-BSP combine amidst a lawless state in entire UP, humongous corruption and politics of negativism to pit the minority in perpetual enmity with the majority.
Minority voters, at least a section of them including the vast majority of women , had the confidence to press a different button to see whether anything better than mere lip service can be obtained . The BJP's clear and unequivocal stand on medieval 'triple talaq' did play a role in moulding female voter psyche but overall the vast majority in Uttar Pradesh sought for a respite from SP-BSP's misrule , lawlessness and brazen corruption that ultimately endanger everybody. The self-proclaimed custodians of secular deceit in Indian political parties perhaps care less to know how nationalist sentiments motivate the minorities and how the elite among them stoutly defend India on foreign soil including Pakistan. A viewing of 'Youtube' video clips may convince them that even minority leaders who occasionally make disconcerting noises in partisan interest are stout defenders of India and Indian nationalism.An indication in this regard was the BJP's victory in Deoband seat where 72% minorities constitute the overall electorate.
It is in the crucial ideological space of nationalism and Indian pride that the so-called SL parties throw the wrong dice. The Marxists avoid committing themselves to nationalist slogans because they are accustomed to ideologically looking upon the concept as 'class conciliation' or 'class consolidation' even as their priority is to hasten class contradiction. But the host of other non-left anti-BJP parties fails to take an ideological stand on nationalism, treating this as hot potato that may undo their prospective electoral arithmetic and considerations. Even in a rapidly globalising world where cultural relativism is anathema , nationalism or nationalist rhetoric retain its potential for garnering support as evident from Trump victory in USA and ‘Brexit’ in Britain.
What happened in Uttar Pradesh was not unexpected as evident from forecasts made by a few pollsters including SL champion Prannoy Roy. But even in this massive victory BJP can hardly conceal a blush or two for the party's deliberate failure to put up a minority face in its list of 403 candidates. The BJP could never have foreseen victories in all 403 seats and hence the argument that the party had no minority candidate with winning potential hardly holds water ; even for the sake of common decency and courtesy a limited minority representation should have been ensured by the BJP. But perhaps this was done deliberately to create a traction in its targeted voters but the overall impression this has generated is one of revulsion and distaste. 'Sav ka saath sav ka bikash' is in danger of degenerating into 'kuch ka saath kuch ka vikash' at the cost of national unity unless a course correction is effected sooner rather than later. The elections to Rajya Sabha will provide an occasion for making amends and this needs to be seized with grace and gratitude to cement fissures within ‘New Indian’ body politic. Besides, the farces enacted post-election in Manipur and Goa may be acts of BJP’s political smartness over Congress but the taste left behind by both is bitter and was avoidable. Punjab was always predictable in the run-up to the polls but the lone positive by-product is the reverse suffered by hypocritical and deceitful scumbag, Kezari.