On Saturday, the rightist ecosystem put out a post; ‘What Israel is facing today, India suffered between 2004-14”. The post also mentioned; “Yesterday, Israel faced a dastardly terror attack, just like Mumbai was targeted 26/11/2008. Israel has declared war and their military has struck back. What did India under a weak-kneed Congress do?” What does this post imply?
The post released just two days ahead of the election announcement scheduled for the five state assemblies, makes it explicit that RSS and BJP ecosystem will use the communal polarisation, exploit Islamic terror and kindle anti-Muslim feelings as the key issues to outwit Rahul Gandhi’s electoral strategy of projecting caste census as an instrument for justice and representation which is not driven by electoral considerations.
By identifying with Israel cause, Narendra Modi literally threw out 50 years of cautious Middle East diplomatic manoeuvring to the dustbin. But Modi government extending support to Israel has not come as a surprise. Ever since the BJP came to occupy the power in Delhi, RSS and BJP have worked hard to strengthen their bonds with Israel. After the expose of the Pegasus racket it became crystal clear that Israel spy agency Mossad succeeded in making a deep inroad in India. Senior government officers also confide that its shadows are visible in the security circle and operations.
Modi’s Statement on the Israel Crisis demonstrates a transformed India-Israel bilateral relationship. India has started bilateral relation with Israel in 1992, but it got strengthened during the rule of NDA led by Narendra Modi. He tweeted on X, “deeply shocked by the news of terrorist attacks in Israel. Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour.” It is a known fact that even while India did not have any relation with Israel in early years after Independence, RSS had all praise for the country.
The primary reason for Modi and Israel’s ruler coming closer is the brand of politics the two countries practice. RSS and BJP’s brand of extreme rightist Hindu nationalism and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud and its alliance with far-right ultranationalists have a common ethnonational, anti-Muslim ideology that has drawn the two countries closer together.
Inability of RSS and BJP to counter the Congress on socio-economic issues has finally made them to resort to their relied and tested strategy of fanning communalism and polarising the Hindu votes. The RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, the prime architect of this communal strategy is sure that identifying with the rightist Israel would have huge positive impact on the Hindus of the country. This will to a large extent neutralise the caste census benefits. The OBC and EBCs, as they have rallied behind BJP after Balakot surgical strike, would once again come in support of the BJP.
The BJP’s official X handle sought to exploit the West Asian crisis for domestic political mileage, saying “What Israel is facing today, India suffered between 2004-14. A video with clips of various terror attacks in India was attached to the post. The BJP handle, however, overlooked the attacks the country had faced when the NDA was in power.
The 1999 Kargil invasion, the hijack of the IC-814 Air India flight, and the 2001 Parliament attack. During Modi’s tenure, India witnessed the deadly attack on a military camp in Uri (2016), followed by the Pulwama attack (2019) that killed around 40 CRPF men. Terror attacks in Kashmir continue despite the government’s “all is well” stand since the dilution of Article 370 in August 2019.
It is quite interesting to note that Right-wing ecosystem has cited the attack on Israel to stroke “Islamist Jihadi terrorism”, Kashmir militants and Pakistan. Modi’s pledge to supply of Indian missiles to Tel Aviv for use against Hamas must not come as surprise.
It is equally significant to watch that the PM who maintained a passive silence when pogrom was being perpetrated in Manipur, only five months back, had taken personal endeavour to extend support to Israel. In Manipur the Hindu bigots were on offensive against Christians and non Hindus. In Manipur the BJP identified himself with Hindu ultras, the anti-Muslim and Christen forces.
With rightist ecosystem opting for aggressive anti-Muslim, implying passionate Hindutva politics, the Congress is decisively moving ahead with its policy of echoing the voice and feelings of the poor, OBCs, EBCs and Muslims. The Congress Working Committee which met on Monday had promised to launch nationwide caste census. It also promised to remove the quota cap of 50 per cent to provide reservation to OBCs, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in line with their share of the population.
Addressing a media conference after the CWC meeting, Rahul Gandhi said: “A caste census is about justice and representation, it is not driven by electoral considerations. Our highest decision-making body has taken a unanimous decision, without any dissenting voice, and we will implement it come what may. We accept our mistake. We should have done it earlier. Now we are going to do this. A new development paradigm will emerge. Once we make a promise, we don’t back out.”
One thing is absolutely clear that RSS and BJP’s political ecosystem might not succeed in countering Congress move, but its aggressive stance on Hindutva has the potential to create problems for Congress. The next four months are going to be of quite political importance. While the RSS and BJP political ecosystem would intensify their aggressiveness against the Muslims, and aggravate the communal polarisation, the Congress would conduct caste census as part of the normal decadal census which was due in 2021, in the states ruled by it.
Nonetheless some senior BJP leaders are sceptical of the party’s strategy catching the imagination of the common Hindus. They feel that BJP was simply committing hara-kiri. They are also aghast at RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat refraining to issue any guideline to the BJP. They view his silence as tacit approval of Modi’s political line. .
This is the first time the Congress has resolved to remove the legal cap of 50 per cent on reservation. This decision was made by the CWC in the light of the Bihar government’s survey, which found that the general category population was merely 10 per cent while the OBCs constituted more than 65 per cent. Rahul said: “Out of our four chief ministers, three are OBCs. The BJP has only one OBC chief minister in the 10 states ruled by it and he (Shivraj Singh Chouhan of Madhya Pradesh) too will not be there after a few days. Modi doesn’t want the empowerment of OBCs; he hasn’t done anything for them. He is the main instrument of the RSS to create distractions from the cause of social justice.”
Rahul has been quite aggressive about the objective, saying: “We will force the BJP government to do a caste census or ask it to get out of the way.” The CWC said: “The Modi government has cheated the OBC communities and other deprived sections of the country by not releasing the data of the 2011 socio-economic and caste census and not carrying out a fresh caste census; it has also failed in its constitutional duty by inordinately postponing the decadal census that ought to have been conducted in 2021 or soon thereafter. It is a matter of shame that India remains the only country in the G20 that has failed to carry out the census.”
Rahul’s emphatic aggression on caste census has made the party cadres at the lower level quite enthused. They see a new future for the party. But at the same time the feudal and rich leaders view Rahul’s move with suspicion. But this has not gone unnoticed with Rahul’s think tank. They have been initiating all measures to ensure that these people may not try to create confusion in the rank and file, which eventually will help the RSS and BJP. In this backdrop the word of caution from Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge is cited which asked party workers to work in coordination, discipline and unity and put in all might to win the assembly elections in five states. It is also said that caste census is a “historic decision” and “powerful step” for the emancipation of the poor. (IPA Service)