Tag Archives: communal

Statement on the Loksabha Elections, 2014: P.A.D.S.

Guest Post : P.A.D.S. (Peoples’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism) Statement on Elections

The Loksabha election results of 2014 surprised everyone. They are beyond the wildest dreams of even the most ardent BJP and Modi supporters, and worse than the worst scenarios imagined by  BJP’s political opponents. Even though these elections results are singularly stunning, phenomena like these have diverse reasons. A comprehensive understanding and meaningful response require that all these reasons be dispassionately explored and evaluated.

First, the votes behind these results. BJP polled 31% of votes. Never before has a party with so few votes won a mjority in national elections. Clearly, the first past the post system has benefited it disproportionately, more than any other ruling party in the past. This electoral system has amplified the BJP victory and made it look so impressive.  However, BJP’s electoral achievements in other domains must not be discounted. For the first time it managed to dislodge the Congress as the main party to represent Assam in the Lok Sabha. Fighting alone, it garnered 17% of votes in West Bengal and made determined bids in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In all states where it fought a straight battle with the Congress, its vote share was above or close to fity percent. It ran the most expensive and well organised campaign. Among all contestants, only it appeared determined to win and left no stone unturned to achieve its objective. It played the communal card astutely in UP and Bihar, with full paraphernalia of communal riots, started more than a year ago, and unabashed use of Hindu religious symbols. At other places it was the ‘development’.  The BJP victory is actually Mr Modi’s victory. For the first time since Mrs Indira Gandhi after  the 1971 and 1980 elections, a single person has come to acquire such a mandate at the national level.  These results show a significant shift of electoral politics to the right and marginalisation of non-communal forces. Continue reading Statement on the Loksabha Elections, 2014: P.A.D.S.

What is ‘communal’? The problem of false equivalence: Sheba Tejani

Guest post by SHEBA TEJANI

Although the BJP has attempted to build a campaign around the issue of “vikas” during this election, the hate filled fumes of “communalism” keep slipping through the cracks. Last week, we heard Ramdas Kadam say that Modi would find a permanent solution for recalcitrant Muslims and ship them off to Pakistan, which he would also incidentally destroy in six months. Giriraj Singh wanted to send everyone who opposed Modi to Pakistan. A video clip showed Praveen Togadia inviting his audience in Bhavnagar to evict Muslims and forcibly occupy their homes, openly encouraging criminal activity. FIRs have been filed against Kadam and Togadia after the Election Commission took note of their speeches while Singh has been barred from campaigning.

But then some would say other candidates and parties are no better and make similarly incendiary remarks: Shazia Ilmi, AAP’s candidate from Ghaziabad recently urged a group of Muslims to be more “communal” and less “secular” in deciding whom to vote for. She urged them to defend their own interests and to vote for one of “their own”, including Arvind Kejriwal in that category. Continue reading What is ‘communal’? The problem of false equivalence: Sheba Tejani