Gujarat was one of the first laboratories where communal polarization was put to test. The result was amazing. It catapulted the Bharatiya Janata Party to power. They did it in Uttar Pradesh with the results surpassing their expectations. In some other States too, the experiment brought favourable results, warming the cockles of BJP leaders making them bolder to go ahead on the proven track. The party has realized that there are two ways to come to power. One, polarize the masses on communal lines and gain majority. Two, bring the regional parties around by carrot-and-stick policy and ally with them. The party prefers the first as it gives unrestrained power to unleash its Hindutva agenda. The BJP realizes that it has reached its saturation point in some of the western and northern States and its score is bound to show a downward trend in the next general elections. Hence, it is imperative to shore up the prospects of the party in southern and eastern regions.
However, States like Kerala and West Bengal have either strong national or regional parties which have built impenetrable walls to keep the BJP at bay. Finding strong allies in these States has proved to be elusive. Hence the party has embarked on its successfully tested path of polarization to capture power in the States which have strong secular credentials. The ongoing road show (padayatra) in Kerala which was inaugurated by party chief Amit Shah is an unmistakable attempt in this direction. The harping on the killing of RSS workers by CPM activists is just an alibi. Look at the leaders who participated in the Yatra. It is in Amit Shah’s Gujarat over 1000 people were killed in the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom. It is Yogi Adityanath’s Uttar Pradesh that witnessed communal riots on several occasions in which many of the BJP leaders have been accused of instigating violence.
The party has embarked on expanding its base not on the basis of its performance but on communal and religious agenda. It was ridiculous to hear Yogi Adityanath urging Kerala to follow the U.P. model of development. Statistics show that on every aspect of human development index, Kerala is ahead of Uttar Pradesh by miles. In a short span of six months, Uttar Pradesh, under the Yogi, has seen administrative failures on many grounds, leading to several deaths. Hence it is clear that the Yogi was roped in not for his governance acumen but for Hindutva appeal. It is nothing but Amit Shah’s masterstroke of using the U.P. template in Kerala. The whole talk of Kerala becoming a fertile ground for jihadis and a graveyard of RSS workers is to prepare the ground for an electoral battle on communal lines.
The track laid by Amit Shah in Kerala seems to be laden with potholes. The saffron party’s ride may not be as smooth as it expects. This became clear on the very third day of the padayatra as the party chief cancelled his plan to rejoin it. The BJP is bound to face a rough ride in West Bengal too where the party is hoping to make inroads. The party needs better vision, rather than vicious approach.(Published on 09th October 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 41)