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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has proved that it is a party with a difference, a party that does not hesitate to adopt any kind of manipulation to grab power. The events that unfolded and the drama played out by the BJP in the aftermath of the declaration of the result of the Assembly election in Karnataka on May 15 vindicate that the party has scant regard for ethics and morality. During the 2014 Lok Sabha election Narendra Modi had promised to the people of India a corruption free administration. He had assured that he would put behind the bars the corrupt politicians. "I will ask the Supreme Court to hear the cases fast. Those, who have committed crime, will go to jail and their seats will go to candidates with clean image. No accused will dare to fight polls. Who says that this cleansing cannot happen? I have come to cleanse politics. It is necessary to free Indian democracy from criminalisation," he said.

It seems that the BJP and the PM forgot totally the promises they had made during the election campaign. The BJP in the recently concluded assembly election in Karnataka gave ticket to G Somasekhar Reddy of the infamous ‘Bellary Brothers’ (Gali Reddy brothers) who were named in a mining scam. An estimated Rs 16,000 crore worth of iron ore was alleged to have been exported out of India with help from those in the government. A number of non-bailable criminal cases are pending against them. G Somasekhara Reddy, currently out on bail, is reportedly accused of bribing a judge in a case involving Janardhan Reddy. Janardhan Reddy, a former minister in the BS Yeddyurappa government, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation in December 2014 along with his brother-in-law B V Sreenivas Reddy. The scam tainted Reddy brothers were allowed by the BJP to play a key role in the Karnataka assembly election. Prime Minister  Narendra Modi also campaigned in Bellary, where he shared the stage with Somashekhara Reddy. The Chief Ministerial candidate, Yeddyurappa, also has many criminal cases pending against him.

According to an analysis by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) along with Karnataka Election Watch, the BJP fielded the highest number of candidates with criminal records (37% against the 27% of the Congress) in the assembly election. The BJP’s choice of the CM candidate and the rehabilitation of Reddy brothers vindicate that the party has no qualms to compromise with corruption for gaining power.

The whole process adopted by the BJP government at the centre after the declaration of election result through the Karnataka Governor makes it a party with a difference because it adopted all kinds of tricks to cobble a majority, throwing to winds all ethical norms. It was crystal clear to everyone that the BJP with 103 MLAs out of 222 could manufacture a majority only by poaching MLAs either from the Congress or Janata Dal Secular (JDS). The two parties had made a post poll alliance and together they had the strength of 117 seats. In order to facilitate ‘horse trading’ the Governor, who was member of the Modi’s Council of Ministers in  Gujarat and an RSS follower, gave Yeddyurappa 15 days to prove majority on the floor of the assembly, even though he had asked for only seven days. In the same way the appointment of BJP MLA, KG Bopaiah as the pro-tem speaker, departing from the precedent of appointing the senior most member of the assembly as pro-tem speaker, was suspected to be a means for manipulation. Because of the Supreme Court order to conduct the floor test within three days and live telecast of the confidence vote on the floor of the house, the nefarious plans of the BJP got defeated.

Use of double standards by BJP in the event of a hung assembly makes it a party with difference.  In Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya the party that got the highest number of seats in the election was not invited to form the government by the respective Governors. On the other hand the BJP that cobbled a majority with the MLAs from different parties was the choice of the Governors. But in the case of Karnataka the majority party was invited to form the government, even though there was no possibility increasing the number of its MLAs except through fraudulent means. According to K T S Tulsi, a senior advocate of the Supreme Court, “the manner in which the Governor acted promoted and nourished the biggest social evil of corruption”. Since the BJP has appointed its own members as governors it is easy for the central government to use them as its agents. Corruption does not mean only swindling public money. Use of any unethical means to gain power or holding on to power is also corruption. Giving party ticket to corrupt people is a higher form of corruption because it often leads to politician criminal nexus. 

BJP is a party with a difference because it withdraws cases against its leaders as and when it comes to power without waiting for the judicial process to be completed. In December 2017 Yogi Adityanath government initiated the process withdrew 20000 cases considered to be ‘politically motivated’. The cases included 8 cases against the CM Yogi Adityanath. It also has decided to withdraw all 131 cases, including 13 of murder and 11 of attempt to murder in both Muzaffarnagar and Shamli. Is it not corruption to intervene with the judicial process in order to save those who have committed crime?  

BJP is a party with a difference because violence and crimes against the dalits and minorities increased since it assumed power at the centre in 2014. The Times of India editorial on October 3, 2017 had highlighted rising crimes against the Dalits. “Cases of atrocities against SCs in the country have grown dramatically from 26,127 in 2005 to 45,003 in 2015 but conviction rate has come down from 30% to 28%. Gujarat’s record is abysmal, with conviction in only 11 cases out of charge sheets filed in 949 cases in 2015.” The dalit leaders have alleged that after the coming of BJP to power in the centre the atrocities against the Dalits increased.

The media on a daily basis report harassment or killing of dalits. A 30 year old dalit rag picker, Mukesh Vaniya, was beaten to death over suspicion of theft from a factory in  Shapar  industrial area on the outskirts of Rajkot on May 20. Vaniya’s wife alleged that the attackers had first inquired about their caste, hurled casteist abuses, and then began thrashing them when they refused to clean up filth near their factory. It is shocking that a video of the attack showing two persons taking turns to beat the victim with a stick while the third holds him by a rope tied to his waist has gone viral. As The Times of India has written in its editorial on May 23, “this clearly highlights a sense of impunity of the part of the accused as they were confident enough to videograph the incident”.

Unprecedented spurt in cow vigilantism has been another significant contribution of Modi administration and the victims have been mostly Muslims and to some extent the dalits. According to Indiaspend 25 persons were killed and 60 got injured in cow related attacks from 2010 to 2017 and as many as 97% of these attacks took place since PM Modi came to power. Many investigations have proved that these attacks took place either because of the connivance or the laxity of the administration. Killing innocent Muslims have become very common in the Modi Raj. A 45 year old tailor, Riyaz was attacked by a crowd in Amgara village of Satna district on May 19 on suspicion of killing cow. Later he succumbed to death at the district hospital. Another man, Shakeel was seriously injured and he is undergoing treatment. But a biased and prejudiced police registered a first information report on the basis of a complaint by one of the attackers against Riyaz and Shakeel under sections of the Madhya Pradesh Cow Slaughter Ban Act, 2004, and the Madhya Pradesh Agriculture Cattle Preservation Act, 1959. Often the anti-cow slaughter laws are misused by the right wing groups with the connivance of the administration for harassing and attacking innocent Muslims.

The BJP is a party with a difference because during the BJP rule a new brand of terrorism and the new breed of terrorists target individuals who question blind faith, superstitions, use of religion for political purpose, caste discrimination, enslavement of women, and those who criticize a particular religious and political ideology.  The criminals who shot and killed journalist and social activist, Gauri Lankesh belong to this new breed of terrorists. The anti-social elements that harassed Rohit Vemula and forced him to commit suicide belong to the new breed of terrorists. The root cause of terrorism is hatred and revenge. The right wing organizations have succeeded in injecting the venom of hatred into the veins of Indian society and the result is the birth of a new breed of terrorists.

BJP is a party with difference because it blatantly misuses religion for political purpose and at same time denounces those who raise their voice for saving democracy. The Delhi Archbishop Anil Couto had sent out a pastoral letter to all parishes in which he had appealed to the Catholic faithful to pray fervently for the preservation of democracy in the country. “We are witnessing a turbulent political atmosphere which poses a threat to the democratic principles enshrined in our Constitution and the secular fabric of our nation”, he wrote in the letter. The BJP president Amit Shah and the VHP were quick to attack the Archbishop, accusing him of polarising in the name of religion. The Church has a prophetic role to play in the society. In the context of India preserving secular democracy is a moral responsibility of every Indian citizen and the Archbishop has rightly exercised his right to remind the Catholic faithful of their bounden duty of preserving secular democracy. He has not appealed to the people to vote for any political party. On the other Hindu god men and god women and the Hindu religious leaders appear on the stage along with BJP leaders and directly and indirectly appeal to the people to vote for BJP. Baba Ram Dev is an outstanding example in this regard. BJP has no shame to make use of religion for political mobilization. It is highly hypocritical on the part of Amit Shah to criticize Archbishop Anil Couto.  

The BJP as a political party is entirely different from other political parties because it is the political wing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the goal of which is establishment of Hindu Rashtra. According to M. S. Golwalker, the second Sarsangchalak, Hindu Rashtra is a country in which the Muslims and Christians will have no rights and privileges, not even citizenship rights. RSS does not believe in democracy. It was deadly against the present Indian constitution when it was adopted. It wanted to have a constitution in tune with Manusmriti that envisages a society based on chaturvarna (caste system). Manusmriti has many portions that denigrate women and dalits. The increased violence and attack on the dalits and minorities are nothing but a trailer of the Hindu Rashtra which the RSS-BJP is planning to impose on the people of India.

For the Sangh Parivar democracy is a means for capturing power in order to establish Hindu Rashtra as envisaged by MS Golwalker in his book, “We or Our Nationhood Defined”. The tricks played by the BJP to capture Power in Karnataka are to be seen and judged from the perspective of the ideology of the Sangh Parivar.

(jacobpt48@gmail.com)

(Published on 04th June 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 23)