Muslim voters in India have been voting to defeat BJP since its inception. Independent analysts attribute socio-political motives and hardwired supremacist mindset to this. To which Liberals are quick to provide counter offensive; that only BJP itself is to be blamed for it. Or at the best, cynical justifications that large majority of Muslims are law abiding citizens and like any other Hindu are worried about Roti, Kapda and Makaan. Notwithstanding all these evasive answers, the fact remains that feeling of supremacy is deep-rooted in Muslim minds and hence are not open to Social Reforms. Resulting in opposition to BJP, which has been pushing for reforms such as abrogation of Triple Talaq and Uniform Civil Code etc.
Just concluded Delhi Assembly elections, in which Kejriwal won another landslide exactly same thing happened. 69% Muslim voted for AAP and 91% against BJP. This voting pattern deserves a close scrutiny, as normally its Congress which is known to corner larger share of Muslim vote. But in Delhi, as it became clear that Congress is no position to defeat BJP, 7 out 10 votes shifted to AAP. And that’s not all. Out of balance 3 votes, 2 went to Congress where it had a chance to defeat BJP. So this leaves a little doubt that Muslim voters not only do not vote for BJP, but actually they vote strategically to defeat it. Every time!
Muslims not voting BJP is almost cynical sounding but fair electoral politics. And as explained above as always Muslims had voted against BJP out of siege mentality. But just look at the glorious cover provided to this by Liberals. On 11th Feb, the counting day, as Kejriwal’s victory became a certainty, the Lutyens’ commentariat could not hide its glee. No they were not even making an effort. All the pretentions of neutrality (if any remaining) were gone. With every increase in number of seats of AAP, the absurdity and awkwardness of comments became starker.
Praise was heaped on Kejriwal for ‘Avoiding’ Shaheen Bagh. On Kejriwal’s Hanuman Chalisa recitation, another Delhi journalist went to the extent of saying, now we have our own Chanakya! In a repeat of 2014, Kejriwal was egged on to go national. AAP providing free water and subsidised electricity was hailed as ‘Positive Nationalism’. Even a first time mother makes more objective comments on her new born child! But amongst all these absurdities, what took the cake was a pompous and reeking-with-agenda comment, made by a very popular and mediocre English fiction author. He giggled and blurted out ” Kejriwal is a Chota Modi!” Important point to be noted is that this author was another person who was going around with ‘Neutral’ garb for a long time.
Now what’s so different or dangerous about this Liberal backing Kejriwal and eulogising him? For all this while Liberals have been backing anyone and anybody who looked even distantly capable of taking on Modi. And all that support had come from Liberals with Leftist bent of mind. Historians swearing allegiance to dynasty, JNU-type academicians, NGO sponsored Urban Naxals etc have been in search of formidable opposition to Modi. But for the first time, a Liberal supporting Capitalism and Free markets has deserted BJP, and jumped on to Kejriwal band wagon. And he’s from Delhi and he’s not alone!
Many of the Economically Right leaning Liberals, who dumped Congress in 2014 due to complete mishandling of economy and endorsed BJP are getting jittery now. It may be IT raids, or slowing growth rate or not so great Divestment program…but they are losing hope quickly. As it is, they were waiting for an opportunity to blame demonetization for all economic ills. Now they have one. I mean no harm in admitting 5 % growth is not something which even Modi supporters will speak about in glowing terms. Government own data is declaring unemployment at 7 %. I always thought one of the biggest achievements of all BJP led regimes has been Low Inflation. But even on that front things seem to be wriggling out control. CPI for Dec 19 and Jan 20 has crossed 7 %. For all these 6 years it has been around 4%. Now if Inflation continues to remain high and growth doesn’t pick up we surely will have a problem.
Forget Liberals for a moment. But even small businesses are complaining. Add to that the fact that Credit growth for 2019 has slowed down to 7.1 %. And the biggest worry of them all for Government is something which was looking like its biggest achievement after DeMo – Direct tax collections! For the first time Direct Taxes are showing a negative growth compared to last year. Most importantly, Government itself is only projecting 6% growth for 2020-21. All in all, the heady days of 8% are far away. This means not only Liberals, but ordinary voters who deserted Congress in 2014 owing to slowdown are rethinking on support to BJP.
So in a way for the first time Economically Left Liberals and Liberals on the Right have enough reasons to collaborate openly. Till Rahul Gandhi was leading the charge against Modi, just out of shame they could not back him explicitly. Now they have a candidate. Arvind Kejriwal! And he has a plan!
If you inspect closely what AAP is doing in Delhi,it has been tried successfully by Congress. Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv kept Hindus and Muslim clergy in best humour for a long time. Mrs Gandhi herself never shied away from displaying her faith. But she never even tried to reform or initiate any change in personal laws followed by Muslims. To take another example, Rajiv in 1985, tried to placate Muslims by bludgeoning SC decision in Parliament on Shah Bano case. And in the same year he ordered to open the gates of Ram Mandir and performed a Shilyanyas.
So when Kejriwal increases the salary of Maulavis and AAP MLA performs Sundar Kand, they know what they are doing! The formula has been tried before by Secular parties with varying degree of success. So actually the teenage icon author should have named Kejriwal “Chota Rajiv” instead of Chota Modi.
Another important element which BJP can not overlook is reverses in state elections, engineered by regional satraps. What these regional leaders need is central figure which can be projected as upright, capable, not from the dynasty, Hindu and yet loved by Muslims! “Chota Rajiv” is that man!