By Sushil Kutty
There’s this voter who was born in Mangalore and he has lots of BJP “karyakarta” friends. Good fellows who do the booth management for the world’s largest-richest political party. The commitment of such people wins elections. But, this time in Karnataka, the BJP did not have the confidence that booth management alone would deliver to them the goods.
Somewhere along, the BJP displayed signs of turning secular, a Xerox copy of the Indian National Congress, and that made chunks of hardcore BJP workers nervous. But if karyakartas were disappointed, imagine the confusion in the legions of BJP supporters, the millions of ‘tilakdari Hindus’ who had helped catapult the BJP from a party of 2 Lok Sabha MPs to 303 Lok Sabha MPs?
Earlier this year, the BJP celebrated the saffron party’s singular performance in the northeastern states. The evening of the day results were out Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP bigwigs held court at the New Delhi HQ of the BJP. There, Modi asked BJP leaders to reach out to the Pasmanda Muslims, invite them to be part of the ‘New India Story’.
Less than six months later, Narendra Modi was endorsing ‘The Kerala Story’. Imagine the consternation among the Pasmanda Muslims, a vote-bank the BJP thought was in its pocket because Modi had told the Pasmanda and Bohra that they had found in Modi their best friend, one whom “Abbas” befriended when Modi was a child selling chai for making a living.
Modi’s ‘The Abbas Story’ found traction among the Muslims. Or, so people thought. And like loyal soldiers of Babar and Aurangzeb, the so-called “Godi” electronic media joined the bandwagon to try and woo the Pasmanda Muslim to serve the political interests of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Whoever thought the fear of losing Karnataka would compel Modi & Co., to return to the tried and tested.
The fact is, BJP is out and out an election juggernaut. It tasted blood, so to speak, in 2014. We’ve heard of how the Congress cannot live without being in power. The BJP isn’t any different. Also think of the confidence with which the BJP talks of Amrit Kaal, and 2047. A confidence that comes with the surety that no force can unseat the BJP from power for the next 25 years.
Shouldn’t we think on what surety can the BJP continue to rule India right through ‘Amrit Kaal’ to 2047? And should the Muslim voter help the BJP to hold on to power through ‘Amrit Kaal’? It’s a mystery why the Muslim hasn’t understood the game. Whether it’s the Congress or the BJP, or one of those “kichdi coalition”, a Muslim will never become Prime Minister of India, period. In Modi’s reign not even an MP. Sonia Gandhi could have chosen minority Ahmed Patel, instead she plumbed for minority Dr Manmohan Singh.
That said, the principal opposition to ‘The Kerala Story’ is that the film sullies the fair name and reputation of Islam and its leading lights, who cannot be caught in the crossfire come what may. Like most Hindus, the Hindu nationalist BJP hadn’t a clue about how Islam works. But Modi came out in support of ‘The Kerala Story’ and ‘Bajrang Dal’ only after he realized Karnataka cannot be won without Hindu-Muslim polarization and Hindutva voters were the Bharatiya Janata Party’s mainstay.
A fact from which Modi-Shah-Nadda had deviated from when Modi went wooing the Pasmanda-Shia-Bohra votes. The BJP cannot help it because for as long as can be remembered, right-leaning parties haven’t been sure whether ideology should guide them or they should concentrate on gaining power for power itself. The Bharatiya Jan Sangh couldn’t settle the question and when Shyama Prasad Mukherjee passed away, ideology went out the window.
The BJP labelled itself “secular socialist” but soon realized there was only one slot vacant – Hindu nationalist. And it cannot shake off the “communal” tag. But so long as Modi was confined to Gujarat, it didn’t matter. But when the frog in the well became a prime mover and shaker, and stepped out into the big wide world, the communal tag had to go, which wasn’t happening.
Instead, the ‘Vishwaguru’ found himself “hoist with his own petard”! His ‘Gharwapsi’, after a short interlude, isn’t without a lesson. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not the dacoit who reformed and authored ‘The Ramayana’, he continues to have shades of grey. The “20 percent” will not vote for the BJP out of habit. May 13, if the BJP wins Karnataka, it will only be because of the “Bajrang Dal”, and ‘The Kerala Story’. Try as it can, the BJP will not be able to shake off its Hindu nationalist party tag. Even the foreign Press does not call it by another name. (IPA Service)