Monday, April 13, 2009


] Message of the general elections-Amitabh Tripathi-12 April 2009

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Mohan Gupta to advanilk
show details 11:37 AM (6 hours ago) Reply

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Message of the general elections
Amitabh Tripathi
12 April 2009

India is gripped by election fever; in just another week the first phase of
voting will take place. As the world's largest democracy, India's general
elections always evince curiosity worldwide. The final result will be known
on 16 May, but it is clear that the process of formation of the new
government will last long.

India's next parliament is going to receive a fractured mandate and no
single political party or formation will likely muster the majority figure
of 272. After the elections, any political party can join any camp
irrespective of ideological leanings, but Congress and BJP will not join
each other; nor are the Left parties like to join the BJP.

This article strives to decipher the message of this election. Two important
and path-breaking phenomena in this election are that it is not being fought
on ideology; every political party, whether Congress, BJP or even the Left,
is flexible enough to accommodate any political group. Secondly, for the
first time the two national parties, Congress and BJP, will not be able to
cross the magic figure of 272 in a combined tally. This is being interpreted
in various ways; some analysts are of the view that regional aspirations
have eclipsed the national agenda.

1989 revisited

This general election reminds one of the verdict of 1989, when for the first
time a coalition government was formed on an anti-Congress platform, with
BJP and Left parties extending outside support. This was an incomplete
verdict, and scrutiny shows that the people were already preparing
themselves for the next general election.

In 1991, Congress party leader Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated, and the
resultant sympathy along with a postponed election permitted the Congress to
garner the requisite support to cobble a government, even though it lacked a
simple majority. The new Prime Minister, Mr. P.V. Narasimha Rao, decided to
form a minority government without Left support.

This was the time when the BJP witnessed a surge in public support, which
coincided with the collapse of the Soviet Union. This was not a coincidence,
because people witnessed how a Congress Prime Minister was reversing
Nehruvian economic and foreign policies in favour of economic
liberalization, and opening diplomatic relations with Israel. Since then,
almost all Central Governments took the same path and no one reversed these
policies. This churning in Indian society since 1989 was influenced by and
in turn influenced aspirations at the national and international level.

The message of this general election is going to be the same as in 1989 - a
precursor to some change proportionate to the global situation. As this
election is not going to be fought on ideology, it will prove illusory
because everything will be decided only after the polls. The electorate is
totally confused about party or candidates, and unable to distinguish
parties in terms of conviction and commitment. Various survey from different
media house suggest that terrorism is the main issue among the people, but
they are not voting for any party on this issue because both the BJP and
Congress are apologetic about Muslims, refusing to identify jihad as the
enemy. If Congress hopes for Muslim votes, BJP too does not want to
emphasise this issue because in the four assembly elections last
November-December, the BJP tried to corner the Congress for failure to tame
terrorism after 26\11, but could not benefit politically.

Ideological vacuum

BJP and Congress both have created an ideological vacuum in society,
choosing a model of governance to broaden their respective bases. BJP has
focused increasingly on governance, development, and achievements of its
state governments, but has not come out with specific programmes on
ideological issues which led the party to be identified as a Hindu
nationalist party. BJP ceased the process of ideological education to
society, and urged its cadres to become couriers or messengers of
leadership, rather than ideology.

Once BJP proved itself a tool of governance and used ideology only for
speeches without execution, the Congress got breathing space and revived
itself. But Congress in turn did not emphasize ideological issues and its
ideology was confined to criticizing the BJP. Knowing that Nehruvian
socialism, foreign policy, or any other Nehruvian dogma has no contemporary
relevance, Congress reserved it for custom and tradition, as witnessed
during Sonia Gandhi's recent speech that India was unaffected by recession
because of the economic policies adopted by Nehru and Indira Gandhi. This
clearly indicates Congress does not want to do any fresh thinking on its
ideology according to current circumstances.

Development and governance are big issues by themselves, and the welfare of
society the paramount duty of government. But society cannot be driven by
the agenda of development alone, as nations are also driven by cultural
heritage and the burden of history. In the Indian context this has important

Leftists and Political Islam

1991 was the decade when the BJP rose and the Soviet Union fell. The latter
development exposed all Indian leftists who had infiltrated major academic
institutions to a threat of survival; they shrewdly converted themselves
into 'secularists' and 'liberals' and found a new 'class enemy' in form of
Hindu nationalists.

In the process they collaborated with Islamists in India, an alliance which
became vocal globally and locally after the destruction of the twin towers
in United States in 2001. In India, they were briefly confined in academia
and media, but after 2004 they were able to get enough numbers in Parliament
to dictate terms for almost five years. Their political ambitions blossomed
and in this general election they are openly collaborating with Islamists
and Muslim organizations to push the agenda of Political Islam.

In the election of 2009, Muslim organizations have come out with their
political ambitions and are issuing orders to fellow Muslims for tactical
voting according to their strength in every parliamentary constituency. Few
newspapers have published that major Muslim organizations are planning to
appeal jointly to Muslims to support the Third Front, but not at the cost of
their self-interest in favourable constituencies.

The Third Front has been formed as an alternate platform to test the waters
and see if it is possible to galvanize political parties on anti-Congress
and anti-BJP platform to push the agenda of Political Islam with Leftist
collaboration, in the name of secularism. It is very evident that this time
the Left parties are not going to be able to sustain their previous strength
in Parliament, but their collaboration with Islamists for political gain
will have certain implications.

As we are seeing in the Indian context, secularists hobnobbing with
Islamists are putting so much pressure on any initiative to combat terrorism
and asking for proportionality in dealing with terrorism as well as Islamic
aspirations. In the near future, it could become tougher to deal with these
issues as Muslim organizations have become active to educate Muslims with
false theories of atrocities on Muslims (a la Batla House encounter).

Will Hindus resist Political Islam?

BJP has succumbed to the pressure of secularists and refrained from debate
on the aspirations of Political Islam, its impact on India, and the role of
Islamic motivation in terrorism. But Muslim organizations and Islamic
institutions have engaged in massive propaganda. In the coming days, the
secularists will come out openly in support of Muslim demands for more
resources, etc., and any resistance from Hindu individuals or organizations
will be branded as communal.

The unnoticed message of this general election is that Muslim assertion is
visible with all its political ambitions; the strategy has been crafted very
carefully with non-Muslim faces pushing the agenda in the name of

Secularism has done a lot of damage to this country and denial will prove
very costly to all of us as we have neither identified the threat nor made
any plan to fight it. In the 1980s, Nobel Laureate V.S. Naipaul presciently
predicted to the West that Muslims were living in two circles as they wanted
to exploit the idioms and dynamism of Western culture without shedding their
Islamic aspirations and goals. This is now true in India as well. After this
general election, India will witness Muslim assertion equipped with the
global lament of atrocities on Muslims and Islam being targetted by its
adversaries. Let us see if this Muslim assertion is proportionate to Hindu

The writer is a professional translator and social activist



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