ML Update 17 / 2014

MLUpdate

A CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine

Vol. 17 No. 17 23-29 APR 2014

BJP-RSS Leaders’ Rants:

Symptoms of Would-Be Despot’s Desperation

The recent rants of BJP and Sangh leaders smack of frustration and desperation in their bid to somehow achieve the throne of Delhi for Narendra Modi. And in their desperation, they end up letting the fascist cat out of the Modi bag, and revealing the true colours of a would-be Modi regime.

BJP’s Nawada candidate and prominent Bihar leader Giriraj Singh declared that all those who criticise Modi have no place in India, and should be sent to Pakistan. Even after the ECI has filed an FIR against him in this regard, Giriraj Singh has defiantly repeated his statement, indicating that he in fact enjoys the blessings of the BJP top brass, which has formally distanced itself from his remarks. Giriraj’s remarks confirm that Modi in fact visualises India as his fiefdom, from which he can evict dissenters. No wonder Modi names his rallies ‘Bharat Vijay’ – indicating he is a conqueror seeking victory over the country. And once his ‘Vijay’ over Bharat is complete, he will be free to brand all critics as agents of Pakistan and deal with them accordingly.

This is in fact how Gujarat is now ruled – activists who have painstakingly pursued cases of massacres and fake encounters have found themselves inundated by false cases alleging various crimes, and publicly accused by the Chief Minister of being in the pay of foreign powers. The ‘Pakistan’ touch in Giriraj’s threat is telling – it seeks to associate critics and Muslim minorities alike with Pakistan. References to Pakistan, in Sangh-speak, serve to question loyalties of Muslims in India. Giriraj, let us recall, had also hailed the Ranveer Sena chief Brahmeshwar Singh, mastermind of horrific massacres of landless poor and dalits, as ‘Bihar’s Gandhi’.

Meanwhile, VHP chief Praveen Togadia has provided a timely reminder that in Modi’s Gujarat, he is able to practice what Giriraj preaches, and openly threatens Muslims to vacate ‘Hindu’ areas of cities. He did this in Bhavnagar, but promised to conduct this eviction drive all over India. In his legal notice to media houses, Togadia actually confirms the substance of what he is accused of – i.e., he admits to having advised Hindus to invoke the Disturbed Areas Act as amended in Modi’s Gujarat, to free property from Muslims. The Disturbed Areas Act as amended in Gujarat, instead of serving its intended purpose of protecting vulnerable groups from distress sale of property, actually serves to enforce ghettoisation and criminalise Muslims who buy property from Hindus.

Giriraj’s and Togadia’s threats serve as an ironic counterpoint to the efforts of media persons like Indian Express editor Shekhar Gupta, who has written to suggest that the ‘Modi threat’ are a figment of liberal phobia, and that India’s democratic institutions are robust enough to tame Modi. India’s democratic institutions have failed, as of now, to prevent or punish massacres, fake encounters, organised violence against dalits or women, or hate-speech. To mock those who speak of the Modi danger to India’s democracy, is to pander to Modi’s own corporate-driven communal-fascist agenda. It would also be a grave mistake to dismiss the likes of Giriraj or Togadia as a ‘lunatic fringe’ and advice BJP to distance itself from them. The examples of Godse and Aseemanand serve as sobering reminders that the RSS is skilled at deploying such terrorists to commit unspeakable crimes against humanity and democracy – only to disown them as ‘lunatic fringe.’ Former West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi is far wiser in sounding the alarm against the corporate subversion of democracy and the real and present danger of a despot on Delhi’s seat of power.

Gadkari’s remarks on caste being in Bihar’s DNA smack of sour grapes. After all, Modi himself reminded his audiences in Bihar, Kerala and every other state, many a time, that he was an OBC. In Bihar, from his Hunkar Rally speech to his many election speeches, he repeatedly appealed to the sentiments of ‘Yaduvanshis’, drawing on the mythological relationship between Krishna, the God dear to the Yadavs, and Dwarka (Gujarat). He even compared himself directly to Krishna, claiming to have come from Dwarka as a saviour. He even brought divisive politics to the food thali, trying to divide the traditional ‘Muslim-Yadav’ solidarity by instigating the dairy-farming and cow-worshipping Yadavs against Muslims who got subsidies for ‘exporting beef and meat’. At the same time, the BJP also tried its best to consolidate its traditional upper caste vote base; but of course the casteism of the dominant castes never recognises itself as such – it only brands the assertion of the backward and oppressed castes as ‘casteism’!

Perhaps all Modi’s appeals to OBCs and Yadavs in Bihar fell on deaf ears, since Bihar seems to be defying the so-called ‘opinion polls’ that predicted massive gains for the BJP. Certainly Gadkari’s outburst seems to indicate as much. When voters fail to vote for you, it is common to blame the voter. Like the despotic regime in Brecht’s immortal poem, the BJP of course has the option to dissolve the people – or, as Giriraj recommends, send the entire people packing to Pakistan – and elect another.

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