The much awaited results of the mammoth Indian elections are coming in as I write this and, regardless of what the final tally is, the writing is on the wall for BJP. The Lotus has wilted and it will take a very long time for it to revive (if ever).
Congress supporters celebrate
The wily and wise Indian voter has not only snubbed BJP’s brand of politics but also realised that not voting for BJP was not enough….voting the other big national party (Congress) in with a good margin was essential for the nation to move forward.
So why did the Lotus wilt? First and foremost, I think people have not really rejected its pro-Hindu stand but its anti-‘others’ plank. The grievances of the majority community may be many and valid but it seems the voter has brought to a halt any attempt to address those by victimising the minorities. The sooner the BJP understands that pro-Hindu should not automatically translate into anti-minorities, the better it will be for its survival and recovery.
Second,the BJP went into this election bereft of any charismatic leader with a national appeal and with no real election plank.They periodically brought out the tired ‘mandir’ issue but it failed to fire anyone imagination. The religion of the majority comunity is too plural, too varied across regions and all attempts to make Ayodhya into the Hindu ‘Mecca’ had died a natural death a long time ago.Then again Ram though venerated in all parts of the country in various ways, can not be made into Hinduism’s answer to Allah or God of the monotheistic religions.We are what we are and the Punjabi is as happy to trek to Vaishnodevi shrine for his pilgrimage, the south Indian to Madurai,Rameshawarm or Sabrimalai,the Gujarati to Somnath temple as the Maharashtrian is to go to his Siddhivinayak temple. Ofcourse we cross visit all these sacred places but I do not think an average Hindu feels the need to have a centralised ‘Vatican’ for our religion.
So, minus the temple issue the BJP’s rath screeched to a halt. Which way the BJP goes now will be crucial for Indian politics and its people going ahead.The media at the moment is predicting that BJP will go more communal and more strident in its Hindutva stand in order to stir up the communal pot and try and polarise the population along religious lines.
I HOPE NOT.India needs a national party that can be a credible alternative to the Congress but BJP can never be that unless it brings itself in slowly towards the centre from its extreme right stand.Its think tank that has ‘tanked’so badly in its startegies this time around needs to do some hard thinking and realise that no matter what the drawing room and corner shop conversations maybe,when it comes to choosing a government the people are wary of voting in anyone who can potentialy de-stabilise the country, increase its communal rifts and threaten its economic development.
Its not for nothing that the Hindu is stereotyped as THE BANIA ….. our economic viabilty and prosperity are our Holy Cows and we will do all to preserve it.So, if BJP wants to ever emerge from the ICU, that this election has sent them to, it must realise the power of the inclusive development mantra.That is what Congress was able to project.
The biggest gift the electorate has given to the country, and ultimately to itself, is that they have given enough numbers to the UPA so that it does not have to seek the support of the Left parties.Minus such debilitating partners the ‘Singh who will be King’ again can go ahead with his economic policies and hopefully provide more inclusive development to all of India’s citizens.