In picking up Yogi Adityanath as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, BJP played to its strength and showed that it is not apologetic about promoting its core agenda of Hindutva despite the apprehensions of the opposition.
At a time when the entire political spectrum reeks of hypocrisy, it’s refreshing to see a party adhering to its core ideals and conviction. The decline of the Congress has led to intense contestations between different ideologies and it was necessary for BJP to appoint a Hindutva poster boy in the politically significant state of UP to give wings to its agenda of cultural nationalism.
The electoral verdict has delivered a death blow to the politics of social justice & secularism. This was bound to happen. Social justice politics was divisive; it identified a common enemy i.e. upper castes. It promoted hatred. It thrived at the cost of upper castes by constantly demonizing them and excluding them from state benefits.
Though it was originally intended for social transformation and democratization, it departed from its moorings and legitimized power in the hands of dominant castes just below the upper castes in hierarchy. It was Reverse Manuwad in motion. It was never inclusive. It was caste majoritarianism at its worst.
The lesser be said on secularism politics, the better it is. It made us fearful to acknowledge that we are Hindus. It divorced us from our cultural, civilization roots. It mocked at our convictions & religiosity. It painted us as violent communities.
The victory of BJP is an endorsement of politics of social cohesion; politics of development, politics of nationalism. It is rejection of politics of blatant casteism under the garb of social justice, politics of Hindu bashing & Minority appeasement on the pretext of secularism and politics of Kichdi nationalism in the name of plurality.
The society has changed but the political leaders have refused to acknowledge. Just witness how the leadership is busy in dividing society, digging old wounds and needlessly debating about ideologies that were relevant fifty years ago. The leaders have been treating the citizenry as worthless, unable to decide for it and hence, driving the agenda.
Now, with an increasingly young population where 50 percent of it is below the age of 25 years and is highly aspirational rather than be driven by any ideological baggage, things have become complex for political leaders. The fact that any information can be accessed by a mere click of the mouse or a swipe on the mobile screen and there are more mobile phones in the country than toilets with around 400 million internet users has made the political class sweat. Leaders have got to perform in a nation which is rapidly getting urbanized and digitalized. They can’t get away playing caste and religion easily.
With PM Modi at the helm, things have changed fast. Leaders are expected to behave like CEOs and deliver tangible outcome within time schedule. Development and Governance agendas have acquired more importance. People are learning to dream. The Union Government’s programmes for financial inclusion of the marginalized through Jan Dhan, creating opportunities for youths through loan grants through Mudra and providing gas connections to poor through Ujala have greatly increased his pro poor image.
Though the benefits of Demonetization may be debatable, the conclusion that this led to class cleavage in Indian society may not be untrue. This move has wide ramifications for changing the grammar of mass politics in the country which has till now being defined in terms of caste. Nationalism agenda of the BJP has found many takers and this has led to the party dismantling the liberal left of the political spectrum. No wonder, the party is winning states after states.
Modi has shaken the society out of slumber. He has challenged status quo. He has exposed the hollowness of the political regimes that have taken the nation for a ride in the past more than six decades. He has shown the willingness to think new and think big to change the lives of ordinary people rather than relying on outdated & tested programmes and policies. His appeal has cut across caste and regional barriers; people are ready to believe his words and support actions that may not be popular and even, at times, defy popular wisdom.
The UP poll outcome has the potential to change the face of Indian polity. The opposition has to come out with new ideas and programmes to find any resonance with public demand. It has to introspect whether its disruptive and confrontational approach while dealing with BJP is doing any good for the cause of the nation. For the time being, it’s Modi on the roll with the opposition dwarfed.