Invoking Lord Ram on Electoral Battlefield | Ram Puniyani
As General elections 2019 are approaching different political parties are raising issues according to their deeper agenda, and according to what they perceive will appeal to the voters. There are some parties which thrive on polarization as it pays electoral dividends to their fortunes. The efforts to throw up such issues as a prelude to electoral battle are very much visible now. As elections’ shadows are falling on the social thinking, last few months have seen the revival of Ram Temple issue. Mr. Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of RSS called upon the ruling BJP to bring the law through parliament to make Ram Temple at disputed site, despite it being pending in the Court. As if, on the cue all other affiliates of RSS started raising the same issue. The VHP organized its Sant sammelan which expressed its restlessness about Ram Temple not having been built so far. RSS spokesperson gave a sort of warning that if Government does not comply it will revive the agitation for the same.
It is very interesting that the RSS combine had been watching its government induced ill effects in most of the fields, economic, social, defense, foreign affairs and what have you. So far Ram temple issue was on the back burner. With elections round the corner, it is being flung on the society which is in the grip of economic hardships. Society is also in the throes of divisions brought in due to heightening of the issues like love jihad, chanting of Bharat Mata ki jai, putting ‘anti national’ label for those disagreeing with its policies and to cap it all its subtle encouragement of lynching’s and floggings in the name of holy cow and beef.
BJP came to power in 2014 on the plank of Acche din, depositing 15 lakhs in everybody’s account due to recovery of black money stashed broad, ending of corruption and guarding the nation’s wealth through the PM, who promised to be a good Chowkidar. While there was undercurrent of divisive communal politics, the primary focus was on the economic issues, promise of good governance, promise of a foreign policy with better dignity for the country, promise of massive employments and reduction of prices of commodities, particularly that of petrol. Four and a half years down the line we witness, rise in prices of commodities, petrol diesel prices shooting through roof with unemployment rising and posing one of the major challenges to the society. The so called surgical strike was proffered as sign of the strong policy towards the neighbor, Pakistan. The reality is that the number of casualties on the border has risen; the lives of our soldiers being killed on the border are gradually rising. In the matters of foreign policy our neighbors are keeping us at arm’s length in matters of collaboration on different issues.
Economy has suffered a severe jolt as the thoughtless demonetization not only lead to the loss of life of over hundred people, printing of new notes cost a fortune to our economy, while the claims that it will lead to black money free economy turned out to be fake as 99.3% of circulating currency came back to the bank. It led to the loss of employments of lakhs of workers in farm sectors and small scale industries. The GST implementation was so tardy that traders are most uncomfortable now. Petrol-diesel price rise has been horrifying and adding to the existing woes of the large sections of society. While some rich- Corporate have made merry by making a great escape from the country with thousands of crores of our wealth others of their tribe have increased their fortunes tremendously during this period. The poor farmers are in pain due to worsening agrarian scenario. With this balance sheet at four and a half years, it might have become clear to BJP and its parent organization RSS that appeal of the types made in 2014 will bite the dust in elections. So it is back on its time tested formula of religious polarization.
One recalls that BJP built up it political prowess around Ram Temple issue. Advani’s Rath yatra, which left the trails of blood also laid the foundation for BJP’s electoral rise. Since then it has been the biggest trick in the electoral trade of this communal party, which revives this issues every time it faces the elections. So in that sense Bhagwat giving a call for the legislation for Ram Temple through the act of parliament, and his associates making various emotive noises is just an attempt to distract the popular attention from the all round failure of this government in fulfilling any of its promises.
Adding on to the issue of Lord Ram, another game has begun that of change of names of places. It aims to erase the names of Muslim origin. This is more to target the present Muslim community rather than aiming at any cultural attainment. Every other BJP leader is coming up with a suggestion for name change. Probably the RSS combine is taking a leaf out from the communalists of Pakistan, who also erased all names which signified the mixed nature of our culture, the syncretism which has been the spinal cord of our society.
Adding on to the emotive-divisive issues, they also have picked up the issues of Sabrimala, entry of women between the age group of 10-50 in the temple. After initially welcoming the Supreme Court verdict permitting women of all groups to enter the temple, now BJP stalwarts are out to repeat the Ayodhya experiment. Mr. Yeddyyurappa, the former Chief Minister of Karnataka is out on a Rath yatra, al la Advani to ‘save Sabarimala from women’s entry’.
These issues well reflect the core agenda of RSS, the agenda revolving around emotive issues and as an accompaniment the pro corporate stance at the cost of the interests of the common people of the society. This is a derailment of our democracy so to say!