Lesson from Gujarat elections

By K.N. Pandita

It is Narendra Modi’s triumph in Gujarat not precisely of BJP. Is every body within the echelons of BJP happy on Modi’s landslide victory in assembly polls? Some of them will be licking their wounds imperceptibly. Modi has not been fighting on one front, namely his political opponents, but on more than one, the rivals within the saffron fraternity not less unrelenting. He has shattered the dream of those who aspired for national leadership whether they deserved it or not. There is no end to ambitions once you get into political groves of this country.  

Modi’s third successive resounding victory in Gujarat has many lessons for commentators if they are able to shed their bias. The first lesson of his victory is for the entire Muslim minority community of India. The lesson is that they are not exposed to any danger in this secular democratic country, and they do not need any particular party to chaperon them once they decide to be part of national mainstream. On principle, the goodwill of majority is always the most dependable security and support for a minority.

The second and most important lesson is that though religion has social precedence with our people in general, yet our nation-building process is not subservient to that precedence. Narendra Modi won for the third time only because he has delivered to his people what he had promised to them. It is development, economy and security; it is neither the rath-yatras nor the Hindutva rhetoric that earned him the triumph. He is a no-nonsense leader, pragmatic, realistic and above board.

The third lesson is for the Congress. Tracing the history of Congress-Modi relations since the dark days of 2002, we find that Congress tried all it could to communalize national politics, profile itself as the solitary savior of the minority community and denigrate the majority as oppressors in Gujarat. This stance was simply politically motivated and the Godhra incident served them as appetizer. Modi’s hat-trick has set all this secular gimmicking at rest. Overtly and covertly, through proxies Congress tried to involve Modi in legal battles hoping to trap him willy-nilly. The same yardstick was not applied in more flagrant cases like the carnage of the Sikhs in Delhi in post Indira assassination or the ethnic cleansing of entire Hindu minority from Kashmir in 1990. Given Congress’ ‘partisan secularism’, we think it is not amenable to leaning anything from the ground situation in Gujarat.

However, the valuable lesson for Indian political class is that the Indian voter is maturing fairly well, and the time has come when he or she knows whom to vote and for what. It is development, economy and security that are the primary concern of every voter … In that sense, our democracy, as shown in the results of Gujarat elections, is headed towards a big movement forward. The forthcoming parliamentary elections will undoubtedly be impacted by the result of Gujarat elections. Thus Gujarat is performing pioneering role in the future politics of India.

One recollects with deep dismay that during election campaign in Gujarat, Modi’s adversaries stooped to cheap politicking, and leveled all wild charges against his government to denigrate it. Labels like corruption, nepotism, mismanagement of funds and maladministration were appended to his government. Imagine the kettle calling the pot black. Who will make Congressites understand that their malicious anti-Modi campaign boomeranged on them?

Now having fallen flat on the ground, Modi’s detractors have raised the bogey of BJP prime ministerial candidate and are dragging in the name of Narendra Modi. We find that pro-Congress print media is not discussing and analyzing the important event but has concentrated on the prime ministerial candidature issue Indulging so vigorously in this premature debate is an indication that their purpose is to widen perceived differences among BJP ranks. We know there are ambitious people in every party. As such, this is a moment for the BJP leadership to close ranks, leave behind their differences and stand solidly behind the leadership. If they fail to do so, then they should remain content with their lot on the opposition benches in the Parliament. Narendra Modi has adopted the right attitude towards this provocative stance of his opponents. He has chosen to be silent on the matter and will address it only when time is ripe. It will be a windfall to BJP if Modi agrees to be BJP’s chief of election coordination committee. So far there is no indication from Modi to this effect. Let us take the positive view of the truth that “by and large people get the government they deserve”. We in India deserve a strong, decisive and upright leader to lead the nation.

No vote-bank lot:

If you fall in no vote-bank category, you have no place in this country and you are doomed to be neglected and written off. This is the characteristic of Indian democracy. Add secularism to it, the definition become more horrendous. Indian secularism means ‘partisan secularism’ in practice. Therefore with these definitions in place, what does the 171 day-old dharna of Kashmiri IDPs at the gate of the office of the Relief Commissioner in Jammu mean?  Or for that matter, what does the skyrocketing cost of living mean to the authorities that subsist on parasitical life culture. “The Kurds have no friends”, is what that dispersed community in West Asia is known by. They are not alone. On the Indian sub-continent they have their counterfoils in the IDPs from Kashmir. But there is a vital difference between the two. The Kurds are fighters; they kill and get killed because they know that is the only option nature and human vagaries have left to them to win their rights. On the other hand, the IDPS are sitting ducks.  Like flies to wanton boys they are to the rulers of this country who kill them for their sport. State and Central governments both want to make them a wretched lot of beggars and mendicants only to prove to someone (?) their credentials of secularism. We wish the IDPs summon courage to caste aside the beggar’s scrip, and grab the tools to work with for honourable livelihood.

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