Amit Kushari IAS Retd
The by poll results have come at a time when the general elections are hardly ten/ eleven months away. Therefore these have become very important. The present government has to learn lessons and should take corrective measures, whereas the opposition parties can also make a mid term assessment to make fresh strategies for encircling the government.
The BJP thinks that India has passed through a glorious period since 2014. The feelings of the public are mixed. Many people feel that the government took many harsh unnecessary steps which harassed the public without any ostensible gain. Demonetisation was the biggest blunder of this government. No black money was recovered by the government but the people had to bear unending miseries. Many people lost their jobs, no new employment opportunities were created also due to closure of small industries. People had to run from pillar to post to get their bank accounts, pan numbers, insurance policies linked with aadhar numbers…..but later the Supreme court said that this was all unnecessary. Because of these reasons I knew that the present government might lose popularity to the extent of 7 to 8 %. The India Today survey, done recently, exactly confirmed what I was anticipating. Therefore the by poll results were more or less as per my expectations.
However, we know over the last few decades that India has a 24% committed Hindu vote bank which believes that Muslims and Christians are at the root of all our miseries. This is the core vote bank of the present BJP government. In 2014 the Congress party became very unpopular and as a result there was a so called Modi wave. BJP got 7% additional votes from traditional other voters and it received 31% votes in all. It received 46% votes in the Hindia region (all Hindi speaking states plus Gujrat, Maharashtra, Goa, Jammu and Punjab) and 20% votes in the rest of India. It couldn’t pick up seats significantly in non Hindi areas, but with 46% support it made almost a clean sweep in Hindia giving BJP a clear majority in the Lok Sabha. Narendra Modi became the PM or Hriday Samrat of the Hindi speaking Hindus. That 31% support base is now shrinking to 24%( core vote bank) once again due to terrible arrogance of the party. BJP MP, Subramaniam Swamy has correctly said that this downfall is primarily due to “hubris” which means over confidence. We had voted him to become the PM and not as a huge social reformer. Getting absolute majority he took upon himself to reform the Indian society which was certainly not his basic job. Nor is he educationally or otherwise well equipped for doing such a huge job. That was exactly his undoing. He went around taking unpleasant decisions putting the Indian people on an operation table. He took up knives and scissors without being a trained surgeon. That was his undoing. The 24% electorate of India, his core supporters, mainly upper caste , well-to -do Hindus living in Northern and Western India could not understand that he was on a wrong track and went on crying “Modi, Modi” without correcting his mistakes. This 24% is the most powerful group in India, the wealthiest and the best placed. All our TV anchors of national channels are also from this 24%group and they went on fanning the flames of arrogance and conceit . No one ever told him that he was on a wrong track. For this 24% privileged group Modi’s imminent defeat has come as a rude shock. The opposition has united and it is now in a position to check the arbitrariness of the Modi government.
The results of the Kairana by poll are especially important. Although BJP lost the election it got a fantastic 47% vote and the opposition candidate got 53%. Kairana has only 66% Hindu population but even then BJP got 47 % votes showing that 70% Hindus voted for BJP although SP and BSP were against that. Obviously many backward Hindus have also voted for BJP. In other words, the communal polarisation of Hindus in UP against ” those wicked Muslims who were the architects of Pakistan ” appears to be totally complete. Mr Aditya Nath Yogi is very successful in his mission of polarising UP. If the government punishes Mr Yogi for the by poll losses it will be a wrong step. Even if SP and BSP and RLD and Congress join hands, they will never be able to remove the saffron colour completely from the map of UP. Communalism has gone into the bones and blood of the Hindus of UP.
Even now there is still some time left for the Modi government to take some corrective measures. Whatever obstructions might be there, the construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya must start immediately. The triple talaq law must be cleared from the Rajya Sabha, the government should roll back fuel prices and start talks with Pakistan and Hurriyat Conference for restoring peace in Jammu & Kashmir. PM Modi may be successful in crossing the 2019 hurdle if he can get a permanent seat for India in the Security Council. He must direct all the central government departments not to use Hindi in non Hindi speaking areas. There could be many more steps that probably he could take.
(The author is former Financial Commissisoner J&K Feedback to the author at 09748635185 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Amit Kushari IAS Retd