Hindutva brand politics seems to be in trouble in all the five poll bound states – Telangana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Mizoram – for which election schedule are to be announce within few weeks from now. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has come on the centre-stage to campaign for BJP’s Hindutva Brand Politics, since none of these states are now left with unanimously agreed Chief Minister face to project during the campaign, which is in contrast to earlier several elections, chiefly due to severe level of infighting. It is adversely affecting even their support base.
No wonder, Congress seems to be the biggest beneficiary, not only on account of the continued infighting in the BJP and its rank and file across the state, but for other reasons too, chiefly the human predicaments brought by ever worsening economic hardships. Though the common people, who were made to ring utensils as bells to drive away Corona, on the word of PM Narendra Modi, are not now ready to act on his bidding this time, and have now become somewhat meditative on how and who to vote.
It may be noted that all BJP leaders are actually dependent on PM Modi’s strength in the five poll bound states this time, and hence in a sense on PM Modi is contesting on all seat on behalf of BJP candidates. The weaknesses of the state BJP leadership and the contesting candidates are obvious, and hence the party does not rely on them to win these elections which are considered as semi-final for the Lok Sabha election 2024, in which PM Modi will be seeking for his third term.
This situation explains the reason as to why PM Modi has shifted his campaign strategy – from anti-minority Hindutva slant, spread of minority phobia, and jingoism to spread of opposition phobia telling Hindu majority that the INDIA alliance is out to destroy their “Sanatan Dharm” (The Religion Eternal). His political statements imply that Hindus are in danger of total neutralization by INDIA alliance’s political constituents. What he does not care to tell is the reality that it is in the power of none to destroy any “eternal doctrine” that we call “Sanatan Dharm” the principle on which rests the universe (Dharm Dharyate Jagat). Either PM Modi does not know this, or he willingly wants to eradicate this principle of the Religion Eternal to his communal Hindutva Brand Politics. Eradication of his Hindutva Brand Politics is possible, and all the forms of politics in the name of religions, but not the Religion Eternal (the God or nothingness Personified, whatever you may like to call it) in which everything originates, lives, and finally dissolves. Anyone who believes in this doctrine is the follower of the Religion Eternal. It has nothing to do with either Hindutva Brand Politics or anti-Hindutva politics.
However, it is a socio-political concern that a prime minister is rousing and fanning religious fundamentalism, superstition, and passion among Hindus in the name of “Sanatan Dharm” which he wrongly substitutes for communal “Hindutva” as Udhayanidhi had wrongly substituted it for the darker political side of the followers of “Hinduism”.
The two-day newly reconstituted Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting in Hyderabad, on September 16-17, has decided not to fall in the communal trap laid by the RSS-BJP and PM Narendra Modi, who in election bound Madhya Pradesh picked the thread from Udhayanidhi to create “INDIA alliance phobia” by alleging opposition parties having hidden agenda to destroy “Sanatan Dharm”.
There are negligible takers of PM Modi’s statement in Telangana and Mizoram. Electorate are by and large with non-BJP political parties. The contest in Telangana seems to be between the BRS and Congress. Since, AIMIM has not been invited to join INDIA alliance, the party is trying to forge third front both for the Vidhan Sabha election 2023 in the state and the Lok Sabha election in 2024. The proposal does not suit the BRS, since it would not benefit it much. AIMIM overtly plays Muslim politics as the BJP plays Hindutva politics. In a house of 119, BRS (TRS in 2018) had won 88 seats, while AIMIM was able to win only 7 seats. Congress had won 19 seats. BJP could win only 1 seat. Anti-incumbency is likely to weigh heavy on KCR led ruling BRS, that has signalled improvement in the political prospect of Congress, that has announced 6 guarantees to the people of the state.
Mizo National Front (MNF) is ruling Mizoram that had won 27 seats in 2018 in the house of 40. MNF is part of NDA, though the party is not happy with the BJP on several issues, including violence in Manipur. BJP had won 1 seat in 2028. Congress had won 4 seats, while independents 8. Anti-incumbency marks the ruling NDA while Congress has improved a little. Vote share of MNF was 37.7 per cent while Congress had bagged about 30 per cent votes. BJP’s share was 8.09 per cent and is set to lose. The state is heading for a close contest between Congress and MNF. PM Modi’s Hindutva campaign has become hateful there in light of Manipur violence.
PM Modi’s Hindutva campaign is stirring the electorate most in Madhya Pradesh, compared to Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. It may be perhaps because, BJP is ruling party in Madhya Pradesh, and both Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh are ruled by Congress. In all the three states, BJP state units are ridden with unprecedented level of infighting which is still continuing despite all efforts of the central leadership. Additionally, the ruling BJP in Madhya Pradesh has been facing a public sentiment of double anti-incumbency both in the state and at the Centre. Hindutva passion is visible, but public dissatisfaction from the governments is so deep that it may impact their voting finally against the BJP.
Both in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, Hindutva wind is too weak to make any major impact on electorate from the majority community. Congress governments in both the states have cared their citizens comparatively well through numerous public welfare schemes. There have been continued infighting within the Pradesh Congress Units in both the states, but it has been somehow kept under control, and the warring groups have been brought to reconciliations.
PM Modi’s statement that INDIA alliance has a hidden agenda of eradicating “Sanatan Dharm”, did not attract electorate in any of the five states, since Congress is in contest, which has distanced itself from DMK leader Udhayanidhi’s opinion that “Sanatan Dharm” needs to be eradicated. Moreover, people are not able to stomach it that Congress too is anti-Hindu or has any hidden agenda of destroying Hindus. The general mood in all the five states does not seem to accommodate hyper communal Hindutva propaganda of the RSS-BJP or even of PM Narendra Modi. Their sufferings under PM Modi’s rule and exposed selfishness of warring state BJP leaders, even in BJP ruled Madhya Pradesh, seem to be dominating factors in their emerging electoral sentiments. (IPA Service)