Recent Bypoll result must have come as a wake up call to BJP strategists. Earlier there was a shock in Gorakhpur & Phulpur as well.

The recent winner in Kairana, Tabassum Hasan rumoured to have said that it’s a victory of Islam. I have no idea whether she actually said that or not. It is also being projected that all other parties came together to defeat BJP. One may argue that this was a Muslim dominated seat. Possible; but we must not forget it was earlier held by Hindu from BJP.

What has suddenly changed in UP that BJP is facing reversal after reversal?This win also gives huge impetus to the so called opposition unity as it must have given them confidence that BJP can be defeated. This is very similar to Janata Party episode in 1977 when many political parties with complete ideological differences came together to defeat Indira Gandhi. Well, they succeeded then but the kind of chaos they created later sends shivers down the spine.

What has changed in last 4 years? I think that Modi came to power with such thumping majority was because of people were fed up with earlier Congress Government with new scams coming to the fore with regular intervals as well as Modi's war cry of सबका साथ, सबका विकास. I am sure that even many Muslims must have voted for Modi. Who doesn't want development and अच्छे दिन?

Once BJP came to power, there were many positives which were very evident. Hard working PM, no major scams etc.

There have been real beneficiaries of Mudra or the SHG - Self Help Groups. It is a silent revolution taking place. Even if we keep aside the political cronies taking advantage, the change being brought about in rural economy is felt everywhere. The Direct Benefit Transfer is a miracle, but nobody talks about it. Yes, the SME segment got affected initially but they have reconciled to the fact of GST and benefits of proper accounts.

Our country is changing, and that too at breakneck speed. A lot is being done for Smart City implementations, clean look of market places, Co-ordinated public transport, single window Govt office working etc. Also train /stations are much cleaner, power situation drastically improved, road construction in full swing and surfacing of existing roads improved drastically.

But then along with all these positives, also came some unwarranted elements to the forefront. Suddenly there was huge furore over Love Jihad followed by Anti Romeo Squad, Beef Ban backed by Gau Raukahak Goons who were running amok with lynching et el, Karni Sena hungama during Padmavat film release etc etc. However Modi just kept silent on all these issues and hence it is perceived that in a way he supports all such activities.

The BJP think tank must have felt that such polarisation would be to their advantage and since they kept on winning election after election, it must have got cemented.

But then what is going wrong now? Focus only on religion will not help. BJP must be aware that Hindu’s by nature are mild and especially the learned middle class and upper class don’t identify themselves with such hardline ideology. It may be true that Muslims or Christians vote en masse as a block. But Hindus will never do that.

Generally when we say polarisation, we connect it to religion viz. Hindu vs Muslims. But have we even thought once about polarisation within the Hindus? Hindus have been divided on the caste lines so badly that they will never come together as BJP expects them to. In fact I think many Hindus also must have voted for Tabassum Hasan in Kairana. We talk of Hindu as inclusive religion but that is in relation with the other religions but within the religion we have hundreds of walls around us.

The upper castes have been unjust with the lower castes for last many centuries so why would they feel comfortable voting for a upper caste Hindu? And what has been done to break these walls? Nothing. The politicians want status quo so that they can exploit people for votes. Unless there are transactions of Roti and Beti, this, unseen or should I say blinding, wall will never be penetrated. I understand that initially it is difficult to directly jump to Beti but Roti is something which is very much possible. Of course, provided they are not done as photo op’s during election campaigning. How many upper caste politicians will show their genuine efforts of calling Dalits at their home and sharing food together when there is no election on horizon?

Hence one can’t blame the lower caste people if they feel alienated. And then they might as well vote for some other lower caste candidate but which party becomes irrelevant.

The Govt, may be, is trying to be one-up on Muslims by banning beef but they are also alienating them. Well, one may argue that, yes they are & are happy about it. But I think what they don’t realise that Beef is also consumed by so many lower caste Hindus. That is primarily to suffice their protein requirement at minimum price. Beef is the cheapest meat available but by banning it, it has starved these guys and they are also getting alienated from BJP. Further the workers in leather tanning industry are mainly lower caste Hindus and they are losing their livelihood on account of ban on slaughter so it’s very likely they would not support BJP.

We need healthy political system that works towards common goals of interest irrespective of party differences but unfortunately today the common goal is only one - to get power. Hence no issues in changing the parties, giving tickets to corrupt candidates etc.

Inclusion, development, jobs, economy and equality will win more votes. Promise for more decentralised structure and autonomy for states are going to be the keys for the future.

I only hope that good sense prevails as I want Modi to win again in 2019. He is the best hope we have today.

Yeshwant Marathe

#ElectionResults #BJP #polarisation #GauRakshak #lynching

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