Not development but divisive politics

By nominating Yogi Adityanath as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the BJP has given a clear message. The message is that hard Hindutva remains its core agendum. Highlighting development during the election campaign was just a ploy to inveigle the electorate into voting for the party. That purpose having been served, development will now have to take a back seat. It is Hindutva which will be the driving force of the party not just in UP but in the country as a whole. Hindu consolidation has to be completed before the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
So, it is natural that the first decision of the new UP Government is to ban slaughterhouses in the State. Since the Muslim community is claimed or believed to have voted hugely for the BJP, they are expected to endorse the decision enthusiastically.  Throughout the poll campaign the BJP leaders had accused the Akhilesh Yadav Government of creating a jangal raj in the State. But in less than twenty-four hours affer Yogi Adityanath was sworn in CM, Mohammed Shami, a Muslim leader who had left the Samajwadi Party to join Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party on the eve of the elections, was shot dead in Allahabad. Not a good beginning for the new government by any reckoning.
The Yogi is well known for his hard Hindutva views. He will now try to give shape to his ideas with the blessings of his mentors in Nagpur and Delhi. How the people of the State – not necessarily the religious minorities but liberal and enlightened Hindus as well – react to the implementation of the Hindutva agenda remains to be seen. It will give a reliable indication whether BJP will be voted back to power in 2019. Narendra Modi has undoubtedly become a charismatic personality enjoying immense popularity. The people by and large have come to believe in his ability to deliver on his promise of development. That is why demonetization failed to make a negative impact on the poll outcome for the BJP. That also explains the electoral support that the Muslims gave him. But if with the passage of time and consolidation of power, development is gradually de-emphasized and transforming the Indian polity into a Hindu Rashtra gains momentum, how will the people of India react? If Modi retains that charm and that charisma till 2019 then India as we have known it will change.

Wednesday, 22 March, 2017