Tag Archives: BJP

Humanise First

There is dismay in some sections that the FIR lodged by the driver of the ill-fated Gyaneshwari Express does not name Maoists as the suspect perpetrators. Within hours of the derailment and death of the passengers, newspapers were already lamenting that the centre did not have guts to take on Maoists. Suggestions have been made that this is an extraordinary situation and vacuous talk of human rights should not be heeded. There is a familiar taunt being hurled at the UPA government for its unmanly response to the biggest threat to the internal security of the country. The principal opposition party, which otherwise very zealously guards the rights of the state and resents any interference by the centre in matters which fall under the state list, even in one of the most extra-ordinary moments of recent history , I am referring to the state sponsored massacre of Muslims in Gujarat , now feels that the nuanced division of the rights and duties of the state and centre is not something which should keep the centre from treating the Maoist threat as a national issue and going for an all out armed intervention against the enemy of the nation.

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Saffron Blunderland – Can the Saffrons bounce back?

The BJP would bounce back in the near future much on the lines of a Shav (dead body) metamorphosing into Lord Shiva.
Mohan Bhagwat, RSS Supremo talking to media in Delhi

There are rare moments in the trajectory of a modern democracy where one is witness to the apparent implosion, albeit in a slow motion, of a political party. Today, the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the principal opposition party in India, which was yearning to reach the citadels of power just a few months back, presents such a spectacle. With two consecutive defeats, in the 2004 and 2009 parliamentary elections, followed by the factional bloodletting which is now reaching its pinnacle, the ‘Party With a Difference’, as it used to describe itself,  presents a pale shadow of its earlier self. It is a sign of the tremendous crisis faced by the party that for the first time in its 29-year old history, the top leadership of its parent organisation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), recently had to intervene to put the house in order. Apart from newly-appointed RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat, a number of other senior leaders literally landed in the capital to hold consultations with the top brass of the BJP to find a solution to its seemingly intractable problems. The latest news is that BJP President Rajnath Singh and leader of the opposition L K Advani have been ‘persuaded’ to relinquish their posts. A search is on for possible successors.

Continue reading Saffron Blunderland – Can the Saffrons bounce back?

To RSS with Love: The Real Story of 2009 Elections

If news reports are to be believed, the RSS has come out with the most classic analysis of the 2009 election verdict: Advani did not enthuse the Hindus. [Read carefully: He could but he did not. A small boy, kal ka chhokra, Varun Gandhi had to lead the way!] Only a shade better than the West Bengal CPM claiming that they lost because Karat and the central leadership withdrew support to the UPA…as if they themselves – or Nandigram had nothing to do with it! Or the Kerala CPM claiming that it was due to chief minister Achuthanandan that they lost – Achuthanandan the agent of the bourgeoisie who ‘roared with laughter’ when the party was losing the elections! Or Sitaram Yechury claiming that UPA won because they claimed the credit for NREGA and Forest Rights Act which ‘we had forced them to enact’ – but ‘we’ lost! Amazing stuff, these elections and even more amazing, the post-election antics. But today’s topic is not the CPM. For, the real story is the RSS and BJP love story that is once again on the rocks.

RSS spokesperson MG Vaidya was forthright: “The BJP must reflect Hindu nationalism or else it is free to remain as any other party not associated with the Sangh… What’s wrong if people have gathered the impression that the BJP uses the Ram temple issue only for political gains?… The mainstream in this country is Hindu and the RSS is engaged in unifying Hindus. The BJP or any other owing allegiance to the Sangh must reflect this philosophy in its deeds.”

Continue reading To RSS with Love: The Real Story of 2009 Elections

Fighter for a Great Yesterday

Brand Advani: Perils of Rebranding

[It is for the first time in his nearly five year old tenure as PM that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a stinging attack on L. K. Advani – PM in waiting as far as the Sangh Parivar is concerned. Prime Minister was candid enough to remind about the “prominent role” played by Mr Advani in the Babri Masjid demolition, or how he presided over Gujarat riots and failed to prevent terror attacks on Parliament and Red Fort as Home Minister.]

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L.K. Advani, the ‘Swayamsevak’ from across the border, the hawk of the nineties or the rediscoverer of Jinnah wants to do a makeover. Not a day passes when we are presented with a new look of the old man who has already crossed eighties. Sudheendra Kulkarni, his speechwriter shared the understanding behind LKA’s rebranding mission. ‘Man of Eighties, Vision of Twenties’. If one day he is presented as an emotional patriarch who has no qualms in shading tears after seeing a movie the next day he is packaged as the man in his energetic twenties and shown raising dumbells at a gymnasium or the next day he is with a family in hospital which tried to committ suicide because of financial problems. Continue reading Fighter for a Great Yesterday

“There is no such thing as the caste system anymore”

In April last year, Avinash Dutt and I had interviewed the political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot. We walked around Lodhi Gardens, tape recorder in hand, and I ended up transcribing more than five thousand words that night. Tehelka had published a shorter, edited version. Here’s the full thing.

I was reminded of this interview after encountering the argument here that there should be, and is, a Dalit-Brahmin alliance against the already much-demonised OBCs. I thought that this way of seeing the BSP’s victory in the Uttar Pradesh elections was not only incorrect, but also seemed to be in need of the argument that Jaffrelot makes in this interview: that seeing caste as a ‘system’ is outmoded, at least as far as electoral politics is concerned.

1- Shivam: Which is more important for the average Indian, religion or caste?

It is sometimes not only those two but much more. Continue reading “There is no such thing as the caste system anymore”