Delhi Elections: The shades of communal polarization

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Anurag-Thakur and Parvesh Verma

By Dr. Prem Singh

The voting-day (8 February 2020) for the Delhi Assembly elections has finally arrived. The BJP has continued its all-time strategy of communal polarization and Congress bashing in its election campaign. However, the emphasis remained more on communal polarization in the discussions held in the public domain and also in circles of anti-BJP intellectuals. There has been such a concentrated publicity against the Congress that it’s chances of a comeback are finished and it is nowhere in political competition. This publicity has also affected  several Congress leaders and active workers and, to some extent, even those voters who returned to the Congress fold  in the 2019 Lok Sabha general elections. The Congress got 22 percent of the votes in the Lok Sabha elections and was second after the BJP, which got 56 percent of the total polled votes. AAP was third with 18 percent votes.

The BJP had been the second largest party in Delhi after the Congress for a long time. In the 2013 and 2015 Assembly elections, its vote percentage was above 45 and 32 respectively. It got this major share of votes during the storm that swept away votes in the form of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). So, it will be wrong to say that the BJP used communal polarization as strategy because it was worried about the speculation that 65 seats out of 70 will go to AAP. The fact is that BJP was very much in the fight from the beginning. To make sure that the Congress, which pushed AAP to the third position in the Lok Sabha elections, would not raise its head in between, the AAP raised the rumour that there is no one in the fight against it in Delhi. And the BJP deliberately allowed that rumour to blow across because it knew that it would push the AAP backwards with the strong strike of communal polarization. The Congress had already been pushed back through this strategy of the BJP at national level. Considering that the BJP-fearing Muslims would not have any choice but to come its fold, AAP was engaged in appeasing Hindus with a variety of tips for the last six years. This fits well into the schemes of BJP’s Hindu-Rashtra to have other parties/leaders and their intellectual supporters revolve around communal polarization. It knows how to keep the victory on its side by using the real power of communal polarization.

The experiment of BJP’s communal polarization strategy has significantly moved forward in the Delhi Assembly elections. Whether the BJP wins this election or not, it has put communal polarization at the center stage of national life. Kejriwal, in his speeches and advertisements, constantly tells the voters that they  should stay in the BJP, but vote for him in the Delhi elections. That is, keep Modi in power at the center and keep him in power in Delhi. Needless to say that ‘Modi at the Center, Kejriwal in Delhi’ has been a common slogan of BJP and AAP since 2013. The life-breath of the secular and progressive intellectuals lies suspended in this balance of power, one in which  the voters who led Modi  to victory with absolute majority at the Center should also lead Kejriwal to win with absolute majority in Delhi!

This layer by layer communal polarization is worth noting. Those who, through day and night, have been calling out to save the country from fascism, approve the victory of BJP/Modi if it facilitates Kejriwal’s win. They solemnly undertake the Herculean task of protecting  the Constitution and destroying fascism with the help of this or that regional satrap. This trail has reached on to Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. The BJP has lost power in Maharashtra, but has achieved the far-reaching victory of communal polarization. Advocates of fundamentalist Islamism and those who make abusive remarks against the RSS/BJP or particular individuals associated with them are also associated with communal polarization. If this mobilization around communal polarization continues, then the strength of the RSS/BJP will continue unabated.

A few days ago, an intellectual acquaintance of mine sent me an article published in ‘The Wire’ – ‘For the Sake of India, I Believe Arvind Kejriwal Must Be Re-Elected in Delhi’. In the article, expressing huge concerns, an earnest appeal is made to re-elect Kejriwal in order to save India. It seems that the writer’s ‘India’ exists intact somewhere else, and for this he considers the victory of Kejriwal necessary to ensure. Little does the author know that the constitutional values and institutions have been massively abused in India, the entire public sector is being transformed into the private sector, the national assets, institutions, heritage and services are being sold, unbridled decisions of foreign or private investments are being made in every sector, and so forth.

In fact, many well meaning people express this kind of naive concerns. Most of them are  a-political. They do not understand, and do not want to understand that the fight to save India is a political one, which can be won by creating a new alternative politics. For this, there is a need to stop for a while and think. These good people, always full of haste and impulse, may not even understand that the RSS, which they are always embattled to destroy, remains active within them.

(The author teaches Hindi at Delhi University)

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