Ramachandra Guha's brilliant article analyzing the current political situation

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Ramachandra Guha's brilliant article analyzing the current political situation

Post  Guest on Fri May 16, 2014 11:16 am

But as these political enemies squabbled with each other in their karmabhoomi, Uttar Pradesh, the BJP returned to the province with the Gujarat Model and its inventor, Narendra Modi. The BJP is correct when it argues that it has fought this election on the twin mantras of growth and governance. It has. Except that the Gujarat Model has a third unspoken element: the disciplining and corralling of insubordinate Muslims. This isn’t the way it is put: all majoritarian parties phrase their determination to put minorities in their place by using the passive-aggressive idiom of complaint: thus, Muslims are being pandered to, appeased. And this must stop. Given 2002, given the segregation and subordination of Muslims in Gujarat, Narendra Modi seems the right man to stop it.

We’ve seen this idiom at work through this campaign: the BJP’s leaders and candidates have alleged that Muslims prey on the honour of Hindu women, that all terrorists are Muslims, that they are cow-killers abetted by false Hindus, that as opposed to Hindus who are natural citizens of India wherever they might live, Muslims are by default deportable infiltrators.

The reason Modi regrets nothing is that disciplining Muslims is his calling card and it’s electorally useful to let people know that he is India’s Hindu strong man. This is a good time for the politics of Hindu consolidation: in a slowing economy with few jobs and raging inflation, life can seem like a zero-sum game. So the dogwhistling is the tanpura drone around which Modi improvises his Raga Vikasi, the base notes that make his riffs on development resonate. It works.


http://www.telegraphindia.com/1140516/jsp/opinion/story_18344358.jsp#.U3Vda8dVdCY

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Re: Ramachandra Guha's brilliant article analyzing the current political situation

Post  Guest on Fri May 16, 2014 11:17 am

Which is more than can be said for the Congress’s politics. In its heyday, the Congress’s ideological pluralism was underwritten by electoral coalitions of diverse social communities. In the Gangetic plain, it was the storied combination of Brahmins, Dalits and Muslims, while in Gujarat — then a Congress state — it was Kshatriyas, Harijans, Adivasis and Muslims, handily described as KHAM. After the political earthquakes over ‘Mandir’ and ‘Mandal’ these coalitions unravelled. The BJP made off with the upper castes, the SP with the OBCs, the BSP with the Dalits and after the razing of the Babri Masjid on Narasimha Rao’s watch, the Muslims sought other protectors.

Wiped out in the Gangetic plain, the heartland of India’s parliamentary politics, the Congress’s claim to pan-Indian power came to depend on its control of two big states, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, and its role as a contender in several smaller ones: Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Kerala. The votes it received in these states had much to do with its diminished, but still credible, claim to being a pan-Indian party, India’s ‘natural’ party of government.

These exit polls, if accurate, have all but destroyed that credibility. In every state in north and west India in which the Congress confronted the BJP in a two cornered contest, it has been wiped out. The BJP has overtaken the Congress even in states once seen as beyond the BJP’s remit: Odisha, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Seemandhra and Telangana.

Not only is the Congress- inspired division of Andhra Pradesh a case study in political dumbness, it is a textbook example of the contemporary Congress’s inability to understand or accommodate powerful provincial satraps. The YSR Congress, which is basically the Congress in Seemandhra under a new name, follows the Trinamul Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party out of the parent party because of the chronic political deafness of a dynastic high command. It is a deafness that has left the Congress unfit for purpose, constitutionally incapable of running an expansive party of the Centre.

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