Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has said that if BJP wins the elections to the Lok Sabha in 2019, it could work towards making a ‘Hindu Pakistan’ out of India. The statement has been panned by news channels and Shashi Tharoor roundly criticised. His Congress party, as expected, distanced itself from the remarks too.
After BJP secured a majority in the Lok Sabha for the first time, in 2014, and with Modi at the helm, it did not try to amend the Constitution of India to make India a Hindu Rashtra. So, I do not see how winning another Lok Sabha election in 2019 could make BJP change its strategy.
To that extent, Tharoor is not technically correct. He makes one believe that BJP has not attempted to amend the Constitution because it has not won a majority twice in the Lok Sabha. The fact is that the BJP-led NDA needs a two-thirds majority of members presenting and voting in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha to make any amendment to the Indian Constitution.
With the party ruling majority of states, it is a matter of time before its numbers swell in the Rajya Sabha. Tharoor may have realised this and hence focused just on the Lok Sabha.
The BJP does not exactly need two-thirds majority in both Houses either. It will always find a few pliable parties to go along with it for the fishes and loaves of office. Then there are individual MPs from rival parties or party leaders who can be threatened or blackmailed to ensure they either walk out or don’t vote. These are time-tested techniques employed by the ruling party to secure the desired majority. Tharoor may have considered all these things before warning all those who do not want India to become a theocratic state. Hence, there is no point in shooting the messenger.
The ‘P’ Word
But why is the BJP upset? Hindu Rashtra is the RSS’ ultimate goal and stated objective. With BJP being the political arm of the RSS, why should the BJP object when someone says that if BJP wins again, it would convert India into Hindu Rashtra?
In my opinion, BJP should thank Tharoor for stating a fact about the RSS’ raison d'être. It could probably help the BJP to get back votaries of Hindu Rashtra who may have for one reason or the other be disillusioned with the BJP for the ‘gap’ between ‘promise’ and reality’ in the last four years.
One has to, hence, presume that BJP is not so much unhappy over Tharoor’s warning but the use of the word ‘Hindu Pakistan’. Comparing itself with the makers of present-day Pakistan is something that the BJP can never digest.
Ironically though, Tharoor had only showed the mirror to BJP, whose leaders while asking anyone who opposes its policies to ‘go to Pakistan’ has been unwittingly trying to emulate the deeds of the unfortunate neighbouring nation.
Ever since BJP became a national force, it has been trying to create a discourse that has created hostility and intolerance in society. Godmen with questionable credentials who know nothing about modern society, meanwhile, have been trying to influence government policy. Whether it is about education, environment or infrastructure, their skewed views are given importance over modern scientific arguments.
BJP supporters have been advocating uniformity over diversity and trying to interfere in the personal choices of citizens. What one eats, how one dresses or what personal choices one makes have in recent times shockingly become ‘concerns of the state’. Pakistan is an easy example for anyone to warn fellow citizens of what could be in store if we continue to travel in that path.
Pakistan was a nation founded on religion by Muhammed Ali Jinnah, one of the advocates of the two-nation theory, the other one being Vinayak Savarkar. While, Jinnah had his way, tried to usher in secularism but ended up creating a failed state caught between politically ambitious feudal lords and military dictators who Islamised the polity while playing puppets of America’s Central Intelligence Agency, Savarkar and his disciples were exposed as British agents by the Congress party led by Mahatma Gandhi. His disciples ushered in a modern secular democracy in India, while the followers of Savarkar had no role in India’s nation-building.
Today, the party that calls itself the Congress has travelled far away from the ideals of Gandhi and Nehru. It has no leader but a coterie of power brokers who vainly hope that use of the Nehru-Gandhi name will work. It has no will or conviction to fight the BJP, has no idea what the ideals of the Congress are and have been running a shady company that has given handsome profits for its proxy directors.
The worthlessness of the Congress has reached such proportions that it advised Tharoor to be careful about the words that should be used in public discourse. If Hindu Rashtra is a theocratic state and the Congress believes in India’s plurality and knows theocracy would lead to its doom, and if we have a clear example of what can happen to India in the neighbourhood, what stops Congress from saying that Tharoor is right?
Congress does not have a leader. It has a part-time President who spends a good portion of his time abroad and on matters considered trivia by a national politician. Congress has become a party that is run by a clutch of old backroom boys who think it’s risky to use its eloquent leaders to engage Narendra Modi and his minions in a debate that would expose the RSS-BJP and make it clear to misled citizens waiting for ‘Achhe Din’ where the country is headed.
They believe that Congress needs to get the votes of BJP supporters to win. They believe only in symbolism, not secularism. They try to scare minorities and hope they would vote for Congress. They have only paid lip service to Mahatma Gandhi’s dreams of empowering the Dalits and weaker sections of society. The personal wealth of these backroom boys have been growing even when the party remains out of power. To counter the challenge India faces from the RSS-BJP, the Congress needs a politician who has conviction and who would lead from the front.
Stuck In The Past
Opposition parties are planning a ‘Bharat Bandh' before Independence Day against ‘anti-people’ policies of the Modi Government. This idea made impact in the last century. With most jobs in private sector and no labour unions in private establishments, the bandh will only manage to make life miserable for millions of pakorawallahs, chaiwallahs and panwallahs condemned to eke out a living on the street.
( firstname.lastname@example.org)(Published on 16th July 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 29)