As the splashes of colour in various hues welcomes the festive season heralding spring, the nation’s political canvas is being inundated by a surge of the saffron shade.
Finishing off with a few deft strokes of the brush, it is as if the artist had repainted the whole spread in a suffuse of saffron wiping away traces of all the other tints from the picture.
So emphatic has been the BJP’s vice-like grip on the electoral politics of the country that with the recent victories in the three Northeastern states, the Lotus Brigade along with its allies will now govern 21 of the 29 states in the country.
Having lost its Northeastern Bastion, the Left retains Kerala as the lone state where it is in power. However, the blood-baths that typify politics in the region has left a distinct feeling that the party will never get over its fascination for the red colour which reflects in the way God’s Own Country is being governed by the Front today.
The decline of the party for that matter has been steady in the last ten years. Losing its popular support base among the workers, farmers and tribals, there is a feeling that the Left needs a new narrative outside campus politics.
As for the Congress, the fresh rounds of elections in the Northeast have brought it to the brink of perdition. Its nose-diving popularity with every passing election however fails to move its leaders out of a stupor. Moreover the assurances by the Party President after every electoral defeat that the Congress will strive to win over the confidence of the electorate in the next round of polls, hardly does anything to lift up the spirit of the cadres who, overawed by the BJP-might, have by now resigned themselves to the inevitable every time an election is announced.
It is this abject surrender that should have the Congress introspecting on its failures. Otherwise the grand old party of the country is in danger of losing its space and on its way to facing a certain extinction.
But having said that, the mysterious ‘Modi-Shah magic’ that seems to work very emphatically for the BJP whenever election results are announced in any region has left many wondering at the regularity of these ‘surprises’. Will any new political Front envisaged combine to stop this juggernaut!
It is being jocularly said that even with one seat to its credit, the BJP manages to cobble up alliances to take a shot at government formation. And has it been succeeding in every state where elections are held!
Hence should one be reading much into the unambiguous message of the Lok Sabha bye-elections in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where the Saffron ensemble crashed to an unimaginable defeat. The Gorakhpur and Phulpur loses in UP, and the walloping defeat in the Araria constituency of Bihar, makes one wonder whether the Modi-magic is that lone factor that helps sustain the BJP mystique in the electoral field!
Of course it would be naïve to read these verdicts as precursor of an imminent downfall of the BJP. But with an eye on the upcoming General Elections in 2019, these results do assume significance considering the changing voting patterns. .
With just two individuals deciding the fate of the party in electoral battles and ensuring that the saffron flag flies high across the party, it is as if the whole party has been ‘hijacked’ by these two who have no inhibitions in asserting their might across the ranks and files of the party.
The RSS, as the ideological parent of the BJP, exerts considerable influence over Modi’s government. Accordingly, the post of general secretary in charge of organization is held by a full-time RSS leader through whom the parent body oversees the affiliate’s functioning.
With many in the right-wing Hindu organization fearing that Modi would try to limit the organization’s oversight of the BJP through his loyalist, Dattatreya Hosabale’s appointment as the new Sarkaryavah of the RSS, the disquiet in the Sangh Parivaar was quite palpable. Moreover the move to curtail the RSS’ influence over his party and government is being seen as a move by the PM to get a major say in the decision-making of the Sangh.
Bhaiyyaji Joshi’s election as the RSS General Secretary for Fourth term has however quelled any serious threats from the PM’s camp in this regard!
However, no matter how much of intrigues characterize the power games in high places, the people are yet to show any marked improvement in their attitude and continue to plod a listless route to their dreary existence.
We are presumably citizens of a developing nation. Yet the embarrassment at often being recognized as people from a Third World country hardly seems to worry us.
With the government regularly rolling out welfare agendas aimed at the betterment of the populace, it is consternating to have a majority still showing their reluctance to avail the benefits of the schemes.
While the fondness for blaming the government for all the ills that ail the country is an inherent trait that many of us very ardently love to flaunt, hardly has anyone bothered to usher in changes and improve the conditions responsible for the sorry state of affairs.
Even when the government has been forthcoming with various facilities, services and amenities with an eye on the overall betterment of the masses, a marked reticence for adhering to the changing norms has been the bane of the Indian population.
Access to safe and clean toilets which was made possible through the incessant efforts of the government in an apparent bid to combat the menace of open defecation has however not eliminated the scourge of toileting in fields, roadsides or by train tracks to the level desired and India continues to be home to the world’s largest population of people who still prefer the comforts of open-air defecation.
Swachch Bharat Abhiyan, the flagship campaign of the Modi-sarkar, which aims to clean up the streets, roads and infrastructure of India’s cities, smaller towns and rural areas continues to feature as a statistics of targets achieved by various government departments in implementing the programme.
Public participation being at its worst, nothing much by way of awareness has come out of the movement except for the occasional cleanliness drive to commemorate important events.
However, a strong conviction that it is the will of the people that will bring about radical changes in the society is dispelled the moment one encounters the stoic silence that greets many of the inconsistencies that describe some of the government workings.
At times instances of the highhandedness of the government too have come to the fore with the common man bearing the brunt of faulty proposals and policies. Even so, a meek acceptance that has characterized public response to these inconsistencies is in sharp contrast to the ever-complaining attitude of Indians.
The nation has much to look forward to in the coming year, touted as the year of reckoning! If the populace is to judge the BJP on its five-year of absolute power in the country, it has first to understand what sorts of reforms and developments the Saffron brigade has ushered in.
As for the BJP, is the unassailable duo going to script another success story for themselves and the party!
(Published on 19th March 2018, Volume XXX, Issue 12)