Sunday, November 17, 2013
BJP’S HOONKAR (!) RALLY IN PATNA - A POLITICAL OBSERVER
THE serial blasts that rocked Patna during the so-called Hoonkar rally of the Bharatiya Janata Party, snuffing out five lives and injuring around 70, has diverted the whole debate and added further ammunition in the communal arsenal of the BJP to polarise the masses on communal lines. Just after the serial blasts, which have been criticised by all the political parties, the RSS-VHP propaganda machines were quick in painting the whole Muslim community as terrorists because the investigation agencies found clues about involvement of Indian Mujahiddin in this inhuman act. Though pushing quite divergent agendas, terrorist outfits like the Indian Mujahiddin and organisations like the RSS, Bajrang Dal and VHP do have something in common --- they all are working overtime to bury the secular character of the Indian state and make it something like a clone of Pakistan.
The Bihar government has rightly been criticised for not taking extra precaution for securing the law and order situation in the highly charged political atmosphere. After their bitter divorce on the eve of the 2014 parliamentary elections, the BJP has now found a new stick to beat Nitish Kumar with. The billowing smoke at the blast sites in different localities of Patna has spread enough poison of hatred and this poses a great challenge to all the Left and secular forces that they must take the communal bull by its horns and see that such forces never reach the seat of power.
The much hyped Hoonkar rally and its live broadcast by almost all the corporate controlled TV channels has firmly established how Modi is assiduously being projected as one who would assume the reins of power at the centre and finish the unfinished neo-liberal agenda ushered in by the Narsingha Rao and Manmohan Singh led Congress regimes.
The BJP and RSS have particularly targeted UP and Bihar to maximise their parliamentary seats in order to reach within the sight of power --- to a point where they may cobble together an opportunist coalition so as to form a government at the centre.
Since the break-up of the BJP-JD(U) alliance, the BJP’s aim was to prove its organisational might by organising this Hoonkar rally. They poured crores of rupees to ferry people from the remotest corners of Bihar by booking eleven trains as well as hundreds of buses, cars, SUVs etc. They painted entire Patna in bhagva colour and put up giant size posters, banners, buntings in every nook and corner of the town. Thus a crassest display of money power and high-tech extravaganza marked the Hoonkar rally. Thus they were able to mobilise thousands of people but this also proved that the BJP enjoys the support of a vast chunk of feudal forces that still possess considerable influence in the vast hinterland of Bihar.
Nitish Kumar has to answer one disturbing question: Why he kept his eyes closed when the BJP and RSS were striving to spread their tentacles in different part of Bihar by fomenting communal tension? If only he had been alive to the situation, he would have implemented the in-themselves-modest recommendations of the Bandyopadhyay Commission on land reforms and moved Bihar on a different trajectory of development, thus weakening the feudal hold in rural Bihar. But it was not to be. Can he take on the feudal forces who are lining up behind the BJP? Going through his past seven and a half years of rule, he has sought to portray himself as a good boy in the eyes of the ruling classes of this country but certainly he cannot beat Narendra Modi in this race.
Coming back to the Hoonkar rally, one can only say that one hour and 15 minutes long speech of the BJP’s projected prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had nothing new to offer to the common people of Bihar or the country at large. Political rhetoric and doublespeak with caste appeal were the sum and substance of his speech. His history started with invoking Sita Maiya and Hanuman and came to an end with the end of the Hindu empires. He mentioned the glorious past of Bihar’s Maurya empire, Ashoka the great, Chanakya, Chandragupta, Mahavira, the ancient republic of Vaishali, and the universities of Nalanda and Taxila. So much for his knowledge of history of Bihar: it is Vikarmshila in Bihar and not Taxila which is located in Pakistan! In a passing reference, he briefly touched upon the contribution of Mahatma Gandhi and J P Narayan as well. But he kept totally silent on the great sacrifices of common people against British imperialism, cutting across the caste-communal divide, to make India free and make it a secular republic. His silence was not unexpected. As the chosen prime ministerial candidate of the RSS, he knows that the RSS did not play any role in the national movement; rather since its very inception it embarked on the path of divisive politics and thus facilitated the divisive Muslim politics to grow, leading to the division of this great land. This prime ministerial candidate of the BJP has neither a sense of history nor a vision for the future. His appeal to the Yaduvanshis (Yadav community) by invoking Lord Krishna, that they must cast their lot with the BJP, was the crudest form of casteism and vote bank politics.
Modi came down heavily on Nitish Kumar whom he portrayed as a great betrayer to his bid to assume power at the centre. He said Nitish betraying the BJP was not surprising as he had betrayed JP too and was now hobnobbing with the Congress party. This one liner aptly described his frustration, accusing Nitish Kumar and his ilk of taking opportunist positions in the recent past.
Modi also sold his poverty, took pot shots at the Congress but did not present a critique of the neo-liberal policies being pursued by the Congress party at the centre as it would have unmasked his own party. No wonder all the corporate houses have ganged up behind him.
The profile of the gathering in Gandhi Maidan in Patna clearly showed that feudal forces are the most vocal supporters of BJP today. They want to regain their upper hand in Bihar politics by espousing the BJP’s communal politics.
One may, however, be sure that Bihar, with its long history of fighting the communal politics, will checkmate this menace and that the anti-feudal and secular masses would rise up in the months to come.