Wednesday, May 23, 2018
 News Details
Looking Beyond 2017

By Amit Kushari (IAS Retd)

Many people have been surprised by the UP Assembly results of 2017. Actually there is nothing to be really surprised. In the last 2014 parliament elections BJP had bagged 73 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats. BJP was in a lead in 310 Assembly segments and had obtained 40% of the popular votes. Even now the figures are quite the same. In Uttarakhand BJP had bagged all the 9 Lok Sabha seats and today also it has captured 2/3 of the assembly seats. People are surprised — how did BJP get 80% of the seats! Do 80% people support BJP in UP? No. Only40% support BJP—–the remaining 60% are divided in the following way— SP + Congress 34%, BSP 22%, other parties 4%. In more or less all the constituencies it was a fight between BJP’S 40% versus the divided rest. In 80% of the constituencies BJP defeated the second biggest party SP+ 34% and came out with the tally of 325. That is the beauty of a parliamentary democracy where many parties contest. In the Lok Sabha election of 2014 BJP got only 31% of the votes, but that was enough to get them absolute majority in the Lok Sabha.

I was surprised that the voting figure remained at 40 % . My idea was that it will dip substantially to about 32/33 . Didn’t the people of UP feel the harsh pinch of the Modi government in taxation policies and demonetisation? The very poor people might not have felt the tremors but around 60% of the people who are “not so poor” must have felt the tremors. Surely the top leaders of BJP knew about this and that is why nobody even mentioned demonetisation and other oppressive taxation policies during the entire election campaign. They knew about it quite well but cleverly managed to wipe out this 6% drop in votes by arranging a 6% hike through naked polarisation. I use the word polarisation because it sounds better and more polite than naked communalism. BJP tickets were given in western UP to people who were believed to be culprits in communal clashes. Their virtues were extolled before the Hindu voters as brave young Hindu boys safeguarding the interests of Hindus and who have “taught the Muslims a few good lessons.” A foolish propaganda was launched that many Muslim women voted for BJP because they were trying to take the women out of cruel, medieval Muslim patriarchy trying to keep them imprisoned by triple ‘talaq,’ polygamy and ‘halala’. If this presumption had been true I would have been the happiest person. But I know this is absolutely wrong. Very few Muslim women would have voted for BJP. In muslim homes the atmosphere is such that men women and children firmly believe that BJP is their foremost sworn enemy. They hate the BJP as much as the snakes hate the mongoose (neola) and mice hate the cats. It is really laughable to suggest that muslim women voted BJP. Then how did BJP get this 6% unexpected hike which demolished demonetisation and other oppressive Modi policies? Free cylinders to the poor? Jan Dhan Yojna? Manipulation of the EVM machines as allegedby Mayawati, Congress, AAP and Akhilesh Yadav? These may not be the likely reasons. EVM machines are not computers with internet access. These are basically calculators. I don’t know how they can be tampered with. However, since so many political parties are alleging, EC should enquire into the matter and future elections could be held through ballot papers as is the practice in western countries. The pro poor policies of Modi govt would not be able to give BJP a huge 6% push because all parties give goodies to the voters and people take these things as their normal dues.Goodness , love, peace are not as powerful tools as hatred and divisiveness. BJP achieved this by plain and simple hatred and fear of muslims.
So much was this hatred and polarisation that a poet recently described it very aptly —“nafraton ka asar itna hua ki jaanwaron ka bhi batwara ho gaya–gaye Hindu ho gayi aur bakra musalman ho gaya ” (so much was the effect of hatred that even animals got polarised and divided–the cows all became hindus and goats became muslims)
Rationally Mayawati is mostly responsible for this type of results in UP. In 2014 she didn’t win a single Lok Sabha seat. Still she did not learn a lesson. She did not accept the hand of friendship offered by Akhilesh Yadav and refused to form an alliance with SP and Congress. She tried to damage SP by putting up large number of Muslim candidates in all Muslim majority areas. She lost many SC votes because of this and her party was weakened. By dividing the Muslim votes effectively, she ensured that even where Muslims were 40 to 50 % of the population, BJP (40%) could come out victorious in all the Muslim majority constituencies. She has actually cut her own nose to spite Akhilesh Yadav and helped the BJP in a big, big way. She deserves a Bharat Ratna from the BJP Government in Delhi.

What will happen in 2019 general elections, depends a lot on Mayawati. If she agrees to form an alliance with SP and Congress, even with worst polarisation, BJP will not be able to get more than 20 seats in the Lok Sabha. If she doesn’t make an alliance, BJP will get 75 seats in UP and may again be close to absolute majority. She must realise that singlehandedly she cannot face Modi. All other powerful regional leaders must learn the same lesson. Kejriwal, Mamata and Naveen Patanaik must ally themselves with Congress in 2019 as well as in other state elections. Modi has a huge support base among the Hindus who are 80% in India, especially the communally inclined Muslim hating Hindus and it is not easy to defeat him. Communal organisations are trying their best to pollute the minds of the Hindus in Orissa, Bengal, Kerala, Andhra, Telengana and if our regional leaders are not very alert BJP may gate crash into these areas also. A mahagatbandhan is therefore the need of the day. Kejriwal should show the way by forgetting his enmity with Congress. He should try it first in the coming Gujerat elections as well as in Karnataka where BJP is very strong. Congress is too weak and they desperately need some medical help. All states should follow the mahagatbandhan way shown by Nitish Kumar. Outside Bengal even the Left has to be brought in the alliance.

(Amit Kushari is former Financial Commissioner, J&K. Feedback at [email protected] or contact at 09748635185)

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