People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 23, 2006
BJP Faces Growing Irrelevance
THE BJP and Mr Advani are, by the day, falling victims to their own rhetoric. They had embarked on their `rath yatras’ on the ostensible plea of highlighting the serious threats to the internal security of India. These, according to them, were due to the UPA government’s overt policy of appeasement of the Muslims. However, unable to answer whether the startling growth of terrorist attacks under the erstwhile BJP-led NDA regime --- remember the attacks on Parliament House, Red Fort, Raghunath Temple (twice), Akshardham Temple etc etc --- were due to their government’s policies of `minority appeasement,’ Mr Advani made a startling disclosure that he was against the decision taken by the Vajpayee government to release three terrorists, including JeM chief Masood Azhar, in exchange for the hijacked IC-184 passengers in 1999.
Needless to add, this created quite a furore among all tentacles of the Saffron octopus. Advani made these remarks at Pune on April 11. Reacting sharply, Mr Vajpayee cancelled his scheduled meeting to greet Advani’s `rath yatra’ in his constituency, Lucknow. Rattled by this, Mr Advani sought to wriggle out of the situation by, as usual, blaming the media for distorting his observations and creating a ‘needless controversy.’
Concealed behind this entire episode remains the fundamental conflict plaguing the RSS-led saffron conglomerate. Unable to come to terms with the fact that the people are no longer responding as they did during the 1990s to the unbridled whipping up of communal passions, the RSS and BJP are in an ever failing search of issues on which to regain their lost social base. The running theme of the yatras by M/s Advani and Rajnath Singh has been the raking up of the Ram temple issue at Ayodhya. Much to their dismay, this was received as a political ploy, with indifference, by large sections of the people. Mr Advani’s earlier efforts to wear a secular hat by calling Mohammad Ali Jinnah secular had boomeranged. In fact, he was made to lose his job as the BJP president.
The crisis becomes deeper for the RSS/BJP due to the fact that they stand opposed to people’s interests and in favour of big business and foreign capital on all matters of economic liberalisation and privatisation. They are thus completely alienated from the ongoing people’s struggles that seek to protect and improve the people’s daily existence and livelihood. Given this fact, it is only natural that they fall back on their core communal agenda as the only way of garnering political support.
That these yatras were timed to grab some media attention during the ongoing important assembly elections in states where the BJP has been reduced to irrelevance is by now well established. However, as its irrelevance continues to deepen, there arises the danger that they would seek to rouse communal passions further, so as to reap political benefits from a sharpened communal polarisation. This may wreak havoc to our country’s unity and integrity. The country and the people have to be vigilant on this score. The ongoing people’s struggles for a better livelihood and the pressures being put on the UPA government to implement policies aimed at improving people’s welfare cannot be allowed to be distracted by such a communal agenda.