Dr Suresh Mathew
In defeat, truth comes out with a vengeance. The Bihar election results have proved it beyond an iota of doubt. The Hindutva ploy has been exposed. Though it is widely known that the reins of the BJP are with the RSS, both the party and the Sangh deny it vehemently. Now some of the party MPs from Bihar have openly spoken of the bond between the two that spoiled the chances in the State. One of their MPs dropped the bombshell: The impression that the party is taking orders from the RSS has led to its undoing in the State. Though there could be several reasons for the rout of the BJP in Bihar, the most important factor is that it pushed the Hindutva hard. It has become clear to the electorate that the saffron party is paying lip service to the agenda of growth and development while the hidden agenda is promoting Hindutva.
Power and arrogance have gone to the heads of many leaders of the ruling party. This was evident from the demeanour of many of them in the last few months. They had lost respect for many sections of society. While some stooped to the level of asking minorities to leave the country, some others had the temerity to compare the lives of Dalits to that of dogs. The way Hindutva fringe elements have gone berserk and allegedly wipe out those who hold a different viewpoint, they are digging their own graves. The very concept of national integration is in danger as some of the senior leaders and ministers of the ruling dispensation vociferously argue in favour of Hindu Rashtra.
As the nation observes National Integration Day on November 19, the BJP has to shed its image of a sectarian party. The loose talk by many of its leaders gives out the impression that the party is socially reactionary and it promotes divisive sentiments. The party has lost its sheen with some of the BJP leaders becoming votaries of non-issues like beef ban and promotion of Hindutva agenda. This has become evident from the nose-diving fortunes of the party in Bihar, where it had bagged most of the Parliamentary seats last year.
The downfall of the party is much faster than its coming to power. The motor-mouths of the party are playing to the gallery, but they will surely alienate the mainstream as has been evident from the Bihar results. The government has to genuinely reach out to all sections. It would do well to realise that voters prefer positivity and progress. Governance and development are the two main vote-catchers; caste and communalism can utmost be supplements. Unfortunately, the Bihar election campaign saw the political discourse falling to a new low with some of the top leaders indulging in cheap personal attacks. Leaders can learn a lot from Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s civilised way of campaign which was in sharp contrast to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal attacks on the opponents. Such discourse cannot reap rich dividends; the BJP has, probably, learnt it the hard way.