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Narendra Modi and the Muslim votebank

http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=2376

Narendra Modi and the Muslim votebank

Virendra Parekh

9 July 2012

Before, if ever, Narendra Modi becomes India’s prime minister, he will have to break the stranglehold of the Muslim votebank on Indian politics. His sadbhavna yatras (goodwill missions) to win the confidence of Muslims are good as far as they go. However, even hundreds of such yatras will not take him even an inch closer to the throne of Delhi. Hindus, and Hindus alone, can propel him to power at the Centre, if they choose to.

For BJP’s central leadership, Narendra Modi poses a dilemma: he is viewed as a great asset and also as a great liability. Modi’s popularity crossed the borders of Gujarat long ago. He emerged as a national leader on the back of resolute leadership, efficient administration and a clean image. He enjoys a good deal of support from the RSS, which in BJP is a trump card.

With ears close to the ground, easy accessibility and a sound track record of delivering on promises, Modi has acquired a measure of credibility and charisma which none of the BJP’s central leaders possess. Shivraj Singh Chauhan of Madhya Pradesh and Raman Singh of Chhattisgarh have also earned popularity on similar strengths, but neither appears to be keen, as of now, to play a leading role at the Centre. Modi is a different case. BJP bigwigs cannot ignore him or his ambitions.

However, if Modi is selected to command BJP forces in the forthcoming Lok Sabha election, many BJP leaders will have to forget their ambitions and rein in their lust for power. The pull of such lust should not be underestimated.

These leaders want Modi to campaign for the party, not only in Gujarat, but also in other states where his presence can make a difference, while expecting him to confine his own ambitions to Gujarat. Modi is unwilling to oblige them, unless he could augment his own political capital by campaigning outside Gujarat. He wants to be the commander, not a foot soldier. This subtle tug of war is slowly becoming visible and will emerge out in the open by the time of the Lok Sabha election.

It is equally certain that if BJP selects Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate, it will have to forget not only about the few (if any) Muslim votes it gets, but also about allies who are mortally scared of annoying Muslim votebanks. Therein lies the rub. Barring the Akali Dal and the Shiv Sena, all other parties in the NDA are enamoured of the ‘secular’ label. The hypocrisy of leaders like Nitish Kumar is infuriating. By insisting that the NDA candidate for prime minister must have a ‘secular’ image, he is playing to the green gallery while trying to keep a powerful rival off the field. The ploy is too transparent to be missed, but, unfortunately, it threatens to work.

Muslims are naturally amused to watch the game. In their view, their security (actually, political clout) lies in keeping out of power any party or leader who enjoys any credibility – real or fake – among the Hindus. And if Hindu leaders can articulate that position for them in as many words, so much the better.

This is a decisive moment, not just for the BJP or NDA, but for Hindu society. The modern Hindu intelligentsia has failed to grasp a basic fact: clout, influence, power or authority is central to human relations. Power that is not exercised eventually wears off and vanishes. Hindu intellectuals rarely examine any issue, development or trend in terms of Hindu influence or power. For most of them, such an exercise is weird and anti-secular if not anti-national. They think it is beneath them to indulge in it. Hindu society has paid, and continues to pay, a heavy price for this failure of its intelligentsia.

In the post-independence period, Hindus have never asserted primacy of their civilisational identity at the political level. They have never claimed to be the essential national society, the fulcrum of the polity around which every institution and organization must arrange itself. In contrast, Muslims realize the centrality of power in relations with non-Muslims. They can and do use their votes as an effective political weapon. I do not criticize Muslims for doing so, just as I do not applaud Hindus for neglecting power equations in post-independence India.

Hence it is that Hindus have become political orphans in the only country they can call their own. Hence it is they are still maligned for Gujarat riots ten years after the event, while the original provocation (burning alive of 59 Hindus by a Muslim mob without any provocation) is all but forgotten. Hence it is that heartrending tales of Kashmiri pundits, who have suffered far greater atrocities for much longer, hardly ever evokes any sympathy at all from any political party – not even the BJP. Hence it is that Hindus can speak as Dalits, Adivasis, Jats, Yadavs, Kurmis, Lingayats, Reddys, Vanniars and Nairs, but not as Hindus. Hence it is that 12 per cent Muslims, without uttering a word, can frighten mighty Hindu politicians into rejecting anyone with Hindu credentials…

In the pre-independence period, a con game was played in the name of nationalism. Only that party, that leader was national (and could speak for the whole country) which was not opposed by the Muslim League. In this reckoning, the Congress was an organization of Hindu banias, but the Communist Party of India was a national organization. After independence, the same game is played in the name of secularism. Only that party, that leader, that programme or proposal is secular which is not opposed by Muslims. The name has changed, participants have changed, but the game remains unchanged. And so does its objective: to keep the Hindus on the defensive.

How history repeats itself! Congress is now saying about BJP whatever Jinnah used to say about Congress in 1940s: that it is a party of Hindu banias, that Muslims can never expect justice from it, that if it ever came to power then Muslims will have to fear for their lives and so on. Again the object is the same: to use Muslims as political pawns to delegitimize and checkmate nationalist sentiments.

Narendra Modi has the power to break this game. Without a single Muslim vote, without making any special or specific gesture to Muslims, he has swept assembly elections, not once, but twice, in Gujarat. He has demonstrated that if Hindus stand solidly behind any leader, he does not have to flatter Muslims. This is why he is regarded as a mortal enemy by most Muslims, all brokers of Muslim votes, and all parties hankering after the Muslim votebank.

If Modi can replicate at the national level what he has done in Gujarat, it will decisively break the stranglehold of Muslim votebanks on Indian politics, breathe a new self-confidence in Hindu society and force a rethink among Hindu politicians in non-BJP parties. Muslims will become just one of the many groups in Indian politics and thus join the national mainstream.

Whether Modi is interested in attempting this feat, whether BJP will give him an opportunity to make such an attempt is, of course, another matter. His sadbhavna yatras have aroused speculation that he, too, may be craving acceptability among circles that want BJP to shed every trace of Hinduness. As to BJP, it does not deserve a single Hindu vote as of now as a party of Hindu nationalism. But that does not affect the position outlined in the earlier passages.

If the BJP really regards itself as a party of Indian nationalism, it should distance itself from those hankering after the 12 per cent votebank and announce Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate for 2014 Lok Sabha election.

The author is Executive Editor, Corporate India, and lives in Mumbai

Sandeep Pandey, Founder of Asha for Education, shows true colors

Sandeep Pandy has always been a suspect leftist. His outright denunciation of the nation-state and his discomfort at Jammu-Kashmir being part of Bharat put him squarely in the company of other traitors like Prashant Bhushan. We must be beware of Asha for Education, Sandeep Pandey’s creation that will eventually create thousands of zombies like Sandeep.

http://www.samachar.com/Activist-lambasts-Anna-Hazare-for-calling-JK-integral-part-of-India-lkriK9jdiji.html

Noted social activist and Magsaysay award winner Sandeep Pandey on Sunday lambasted Anna Hazare for calling Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of India.

“Anna has been in military. If you serve in government and especially the armed forces obviously it will be difficult to overcome the feeling of nationalism”, Pandey said when asked about Anna’s statement.

“People like us who believe in Gandhian philosophy feel nationalism, caste, region or religion has divided people. Entire problem is about the concept of nation state. We have to get rid of this concept and have a world where there are no national boundaries”.

Medha Patkar, however, echoed view of Anna calling J&K as integral part of India.

Response to comments on: Kasab’s Birthday Gift

In response to my write up: Kasab’s Birthday Gift to US- Mumbai Blasts,  in a discussion group which also appeared on this blog on July 14,  one Mr. Chauhan, supposedly a Major General representing <Sainik Sangh> made several incidery remarks. Here I reproduce his comments with my responses. (His comments are in bold. My response start with >>>. are in italics and in navy blue color.)

Gaurang G. Vaishnav

Those who think BJP is the salvation are nothing but bania brahmin caucus in another demoniac form

 >>> Who said anything about BJP? Your prejudice starts with your fist sentence. Can you prove with figures that BJP= Bania+Brahmin? Are Advani, Bangaru Laxman, V. Naidu, Modi, Rajnath Singh, etc., Bania/Brahmin? How would you define demonic?

What does Modi know about running a modern State  He may have delivered for the fat profiteers and Hindu Jews which doesn’t make a State 

>>> You must be living in la-la land to make such a stupendous statement. Of course, you have not lived in Gujarat so your ignorance can be forgiven. What fits your definition of modern state? Bihar, UP, Orissa? 

What does BJP know about nationalism which is not obscurantism and building temples  ? The masses are in grip of renegade capitalism  which must be replaced by nationlism not Jews .

>>> I do not know why you keep harping on BJP when I have suggested that Congress be thrown out? Capitalism is an economic system, nationalism is not. Capitalism can be replaced with socialism, communism, etc. but not with nationalism. Are you aware that BJP  believes in Integral Humanism as an economic system? Do you even know what it mans and who propounded that concept? Please Google and study it. Suffice is to say that capitalism, socialism, communism, etc. have inherent weaknesses because they are not built around needs of human beings. Integral Humanism aspires to build economic system keeping human beings at the center.

 Does BJP know about nationalism? Who has stood for total integration of Kashmir with Bharat? Who has stood for uniform Civil Code? Who has maintained that there are hundreds of national heroes (who have been ignored by design) of freedom struggle besides Nehrus and Gandhis? Who had the guts to conduct nuclear explosion and stand up against mighty USA?

What a small vision hanging of Afzal Will this deliver the nation from every day shame? Just diversion

>>> Hanging one individual will not solve all problems, but then you can make that argument for any step that the government takes or does not take. Afzal Guru is a convicted terrorist. Terrorism is meant to sap a society of its confidence and lead it into submission. Keeping Afzal and Kasab alive despite court orders is hastening that process of submission. Therefore, it is not a small vision, but an effective prescription for one of or serious national maladies, i.e., the feeling of helplessness against abject terror. 

 In any case, unless you are against the rule of law, or have some personal affinity for Afzal, you would not question hanging of Afzal. 

Afzal is already a martyr with his poeple MANY MORE ARE READY TO FOLLOW HIM.

>>> Osama bin Laden was a hero too to millions of Muslims in Pakistan, Yemen, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, USA, UK, Bharat, etc. Where is he now? He was gunned down like a rabid street dog and is at the bottom of an ocean. Those who are ready to follow him will meet the same fate or worse. It is only a matter of time before present rulers in Bharat are replaced with a government that will not tolerate and mollycoddle terrorists- mind you, I am not saying BJP, it could be any party or combination of parties that will come to power and take the initiative.’ Then so called martyrs will be sent for a meeting with their creator because of the pressure that will build up from the suffering populace. Congress can do the same and win people’s hearts but to do that it has to first purge itself of its entire leadership which is anti-Bharat, anti-Hindu, pro-Muslim and corrupt to the core.

Is Modi ready to field his in retaliation?

>>> Why do you pick on Modi? When I am raising issue of fighting terrorism and asking that guilty be hanged, which is a central government issue, how does Modi figure in the discussion? Mr. Modi has proved his credentials by catching would be terrorists before they could inflict harm on the innocent. Compare Gujarat with Maharashtra and see the difference in number of terrorist attacks. Ishrat Jahan and Soharabuddin would have been garlanded and given ministerial posts, had they been in a Congress ruled state.

 Modi does not have to retaliate because he is proactive. he does not weigh his actions against how a particular community would feel or vote before he takes a step that he feels is in the interest of Gujarat and the nation.

Why cant BJP send out sallies  in return.

>>> Why is it BJP’s burden to send out “sallies” (I do not know what this word means but I assume you mean retaliating force”)?  Who is in power? Congress or BJP? Suppose, BJP were to take up your suggestion, you will be the first one to blame it as a Hindu terrorist party supported by Jews.

The French President  visited Kabul the other day and gloried the role of NATO in foighting terrorism. The next day ficew French soldiers were killed. BJP AND ITS BANIAS  Learn from PASHTUNS! 

>>> I will take your argument and turn it on its head to show its hollowness.. BJP or Congress can take the killing of the French soldiers to man that any action against terrorists would mean killing of Bharatiya soldiers and civilians. So, it would be better not to act.

 Further, we have a history of brave men and women, who have given their lives and fought on the battlefield within the bounds of Dharma. We do not need to learn from Pashtuns or terrorists who are nothing but modern day asuras and  rakshasas.

PEOPLE ARE NOW GETTING WISE AS TO WHO  SIT SNUGLY MAKING MONEY AND FIELD OTHERS TO FIGHT . GERMANS WERE RIGHT ABOUT THE JEWS WE HAVE SO MANY VARIETY OF THESE !

>>> Apparently you are a big fan of Hitler. That should preclude you automatically from this discussion because this group is for people who believe in democratic norms and  meaningful discussion.  

 You are right about people getting wise. They now know that it is the Congress and UPA that sit smugly and make billions through Commonwealth Games, 2G, Adarsh Housing Society and multitude of scams. Kalmadis, Rajas, Kanimozhis, Marans, Chidambarams, etc. are the glaring example of this rot and they do not belong to BJP. People are wizened to the fact that while these Congress demons are looting the nation, they feed the common man to the wolves, i.e., terrorists.

Mumbai walas are fools They listen  to perverted politicians such as the Home Minister and  do not demand his dismissal .

>>> In past, Mumbaiwalas have  taken scalps of their Chief Ministers and they will do it again. Have you watched 2008 film, “Wednesday” with Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher in lead roles? There is a telling dialogue where Naseeruddin Shah, the common man says: “we are resilient, not by choice but by force because we have to go out next day and earn our livelihood.”  That is exactly why people go on with their routine even after the bomb blasts. But once this reaches a flash point, all bets will be off.

 The same happened last time and the sam w will happen again!

>>> So, what you as an individual will do about it to change the course? That “same will happen again” is a given, but the end results may not be same. Even a goat gets up on its hind legs when totally cornered or its kids are threatened. Once the patience runs out, events take unpredictable course and no politician or police force would be able to contain them. People in Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, etc. are much more suppressed than people in Bharat. yet, they came to a point where they shed their fears and either brought down, or are in process of doing so, sitting government/dictator.

People get the rulers they deserve .

>>> That is a good dose of opium. You may be OK with the Government that you have gotten, millions of  Bharatiyas and I are not.

HINDU history is replete      

>>> A jaundiced person can see nothing but yellow. Perhaps, you have had no chance to read real history of Bharat. Like many others you might have been taught Macaulayian and Nehruvian history. This is a subject of entirely another discussion.

 Our history is of people who have wished well for the entire humanity, kings who gave away their kingdoms for upholding Dharma, soldiers who obeyed all dharmic rules of warfare even when fighting against those who had no concept of Dharma. Ours is the history of Rama and Krishna, of Arjun and Abhimanyu, of Mahaveer and Buddha, of king Puru and Pruthviraj, of Shankaracharya and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, of Chankaya and Chandragupt, of Mirabai and Narsinh Mehta, Of Kabir and  Thiruvalluvar, of Shivaji and Rana Pratap, of Nanak and Guru Govind Singh, of Maharani Laxmibai and Tatya Tope, of Bhagat Singh and Madan Lal Dhingra, of Khudiram Bose and Jatin Das, of  Shyamji Krishna Varma and madam Cama, of Veer Savarkar and Subhashchandra Bose, of Lala Lajpatrai and Chapekar brothers, of Ramakrishna, Vivekanand and Aurbindo, of Sardar Patel and Gandhiji. This is just a sampling. Remember,  our is not the history of Jawaharlal, Indira, Sanjay, Rajiv, Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka. They are an aberration and a blot on our history.

chauhan, maj general   <gs@sainiksangh.org>

>>> With an organization named Sainik Sangh, last name  Chauhan and a title like Major General, one would expect from you valor, courage, indefatigable  confidence and deep love for motherland. One would expect you to lead from the front and not discourage those who are fighting. One should be excused if he/she is led to believe that the organization as well as your name and title are phony.

 

 Finally, you may not realize but Internet etiquette dictates that all CAPS or all bold text be not used in any correspondence. All bold is akin to shouting. I am sure that you wanted to discuss and not shout.

You seem to have pathological hatred for BJP, Modi and Hindus which is abundantly clear from your writing. Your disdain for Jews is a disease that led to Hitler’s massacre and second world war. You may think in narrow terms of Brahmin and Bania, I believe that we are all Hindus, first and last. I will gladly accept the intelligence of Brahmin, courage of Kshatriya, pragmatism of Vaishya and sense of selfless service from Shudra because, according to Purush Sukta, they are all parts of same body. We are all Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra; our real caste is whatever quality out of these four is predominant in our life at a given time.

 It is the Congress culture to divide the society in the name of caste and religion. Rise above it and join those who have come forward to end the misgovernance rather than standing on the sides and making baseless, derogatory statements.

 Gaurang G. Vaishnav

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