Post Mortem

Confronting new reality in India’s political discourse

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 6/8/2019 11:55:34 AM IST

 The rise of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, firebrand Hindu nationalist and symbol of RSS’ version of New India in the form of Hindu Rhastra, in Indian politics is abrupt and swift. When she joined the ruling BJP, election for the 17th Lok Sabha had already started and within three days of her joining she was given a party’s ticket to take on Congress veteran Digvijay Singh from the prestigious Bhopal parliamentary constituency, and living up to the expectation of the party by winning her seat by over three million votes. A Malegaon terror blast accused who was alleged to have gone through numerous torture at the hand of police personnel during her prison’s period, and who earned a notorious reputation for calling Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin as an “Indian patriot” and claiming that cow urine had cured her cancer, her sudden ascendency and inevitable presence at the center pool of Indian politics epitomizes the rise of elements of right wing Hindu nationalism and its eventual takeover of Indian politics which is now bound to occupy a major portion of political discourse in the country for the coming decades.

This inevitable rise of Sadhvi is marked by the rise of another popular and charismatic Hindu nationalist leader from the most fertile ground of Indian politics in the person of Yogi Adityanath. Yogi, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, the state that sent maximum number of seats in Indian parliament was instrumental in disseminating the Modi’s wave in his home state, through successful polarization politics under Hindutva poll plank, which had helped the party to overcome the apparent formidable challenge which is supposed to be pose by the Mahagathbandhan (MGB), the concept of grand alliance that was conceived by Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav which remained just in theory and that the short term political experiment never was grand nor an alliance in real sense of the term. BJP’s stunning performance in UP, decimating the experimental politics of the state’s two regional parties, under Yogi provides a major ground in retaining its rule in New Delhi. The saffron party cannot discredit the role of Yogi, who emerges as a major star campaigner in the election. And emerging himself from the politically most crucial state, if the party retain UP in 2022 under his leadership, then he will be well on his way to become No. 3 in the party after Mod-Shah’s hierarchy, and can position himself as a future leader not only in his party but in India.

Disorientation within the oppositions’ camp becomes the biggest winning factor for the ruling party as they successfully exploited their opponents’ melee to turn the electoral tide in their favour. The desperate attempt by Chandrababu Naidu, only after the entire election’s process got over and the national poll survey starting to project the imminent return of BJP to power, running from pillar to post, for a possible formation of non BJP alliance and Mamata Banerjee’s relentless but failed “Modi chor hai” onslaught sums up the entire oppositions’ flip-flop strategy of fighting electoral battle without any clear alternative political narrative to offer to the country. Fighting political opponents not on the bases of their strength and merit but on the platform of blunt criticisms had hurt the oppositions’ prospects of putting up a spirited contest contributing to the landslide victory of the ruling party. This election had in fact offer a valuable opportunity to the oppositions to unseat the BJP, with anti incumbency factor being their biggest asset, had they joined hand together and contest this election as they all possess a common agenda of stopping the BJP from retaining power. Unfortunately it is their sheer political greed, opportunism and unwillingness to accept each other that had overruled their common political agenda and cost them dearly.

What brings biggest disappointment to the country from this poll result is not the failure on the part of the Congress or oppositions’ coalition to win election or the BJP’s returning to power with a bigger mandate but the nature of the verdict that has failed to produced a viable and strong opposition for playing a role of constructive opposition in the house of the people. The absence of strong opposition will badly hurt the spirit and principles of democracy and can further erode India’s democratic institution. In effect, for the record, independent India for the first time will have no leader of opposition for two successive Lok Sabha’s terms, leaving the ruling party to run the affairs of the country with their own whims and will. The decline of the grand old party of India, which was further stamped in this election as a continuity of its abysmal performance in electoral politics, would means the country would not just no longer see or read the party as a major political party in India but also no longer a principal opposition or a viable political alternative to the present saffron regime. Still haplessly stuck under the clutch of the dilemma of ineffective dynastic politics manned by inefficient leaderships, the party can now only concentrate on the question of reorganizing the party, which is in total disarray, whether by remaining within the confine of one family’s control or mustering courage towards looking politics beyond dynasty rather than devising a strategy for wining any future elections.

With the total decimation of the oppositions including the Lefts and the Congress virtually losing its place in Indian politics, what is left is the complete domination of the saffron political force all over the country which means further consolidation of the right-wing, communal and majoritarian politics. It’s such a curious case where democratic election conducted in the most diverse country in the world, at the time when identity politics is at its peak, produced a result that could a give a decisive mandate in favour of a party that is considered as a blend of Hindu nationalism with the idea of RSS vision of making India a Hindu nation.

And as the new phenomena of Saffron party’s rapid upsurge that is changing the entire country’s political landscape and how this would fit in to the Sangh agendas of Hindu Rhastra dominates the political discourse of the country, what the new regime cannot ignore is the very foundation and promise of India: that the nation can never be govern under the influence of majoritarian culture, and that the success of India as a nation depends on the government’s ability of governing the nation with the spirit of inclusiveness and willingness to accommodate and respect the interests and  sentiments of diverse Indians. And any attempts made by any regime to dilute this pluralistic and secular character of India would mean consciously and deliberately letting the very idea of India to cease to exist. 

Dr. Nsungbemo Ezung, 

Wokha Town, 



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