Vinod Mubayi and Daya Varma


The possibility that Narendra Modi will lead the BJP (Bhartiya Janata Party) and its appendages in the National Democratic Alliance to victory in the 2014 parliamentary elections is real and needs to be steadfastly opposed by all democratic and progressive sections of the people of India.


With the exception of the Congress and the various communist parties, all other political formations of India, have had a purely pragmatic attitude in terms of making alliances with the BJP; their distance from Narendra Modi is purely tactical insofar as it serves their own ends and is not on the basis of any principle or for the sake of protecting India’s future. They have made alliances with the BJP before when it suited them and broken up when it did not. The Congress party, which leads the current UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government at the center, has been lately hit by severe corruption scandals and problems of governance.


The alliance led by the three communist parties (CPI, CPIM, CPI-MLs) is not a significant factor in current day Indian politics; for various reasons, its influence has been steadily declining over the last few years. Scattered left groups and individuals are vehemently opposed to Modi but they manage to survive by mutual not mass support.


India, in particular its upwardly mobile middle class that plays an outsized role in the media and hence in contributing to the formation of public opinion, is entering a period of cultural decay. In its heedless, opportunistic and hedonistic pursuit of affluence, the middle class appears to have abandoned all social, intellectual, and moral principles that played an important role in Indian polity in the years following independence. The leading Indian capitalists have lined up behind Modi because he allows them unfettered access to resources regardless of environmental or social constraints. This feature gives license to the media to portray Modi as a great leader.  It is quite reminiscent of 1920s and 1930s Europe when fascism emerged; Mussolini was hailed for making “the trains run on time” and Hitler was applauded for being a strong, decisive leader who rescued Germany. Traditional political parties were mocked for being corrupt or indecisive while the left, which was quite strong in Germany, was mired in sectarian conflict. By default, the fascist leaders, hailed by sections of the media at the time, acquired both popularity and acceptability. The disasters they were to cause to their own people and countries as well as all across Europe and the world were less than a decade away but remained unacknowledged by the majority that cheered them into power.  These events are being heedlessly repeated and have their echoes in India today.


The majority of middle-class and upper caste Hindus as well as sections of the ‘creamy layer’ of OBCs (other backward castes) and Dalits are indifferent to Modi’s crimes and appear non-cognizant of the perils of a Hindu Rashtra India under his rule. Although various objective economic indices have exposed the hollowness of Modi’s projection of an economically vibrant Gujarat, the image of Gujarat as a model state in the media remains intact. Hard Hindutva remains in control in Gujarat as evidenced by the ease of Modi’s re-election as Chief Minister, while soft Hindutva has spread to many other states besides those ruled by BJP where police atrocities on minorities and dalits remain unchallenged.


Since the demolition of the Babri mosque in 1992, the belligerency of Hindutva forces has steadily increased. Besides the bomb attacks on mosques in various towns and the Samjhauta Express by Hindutva terrorist groups, very recent events include the killing of anti-superstition campaigner Narendra Dabholkar and hooliganism  at the screening of Anand Patwardhan’s  “Jai Bhim Comrade” on August 22  and several attacks on peasant revolutionaries in Bihar.  It would not be surprising if they use all the muscle power and goonda organizations to influence the outcome of the parliamentary elections.


The current economic slowdown in India under Dr. Manmohan Singh’s government, which is actually part of a worldwide phenomenon affecting global capitalism, gives an easy marketing slogan to the BJP for its election propaganda. The emergence of other opportunistic candidates like Mamata Banerjee of West Bengal and Nitish Kumar of Bihar as other aspirants to the high position of India’s Prime Minister also favors the possibility of deals with the BJP in the event that no alliance has a seat majority in the Lok Sabha, although it is difficult to envisage that as egotistical a person as Modi has shown himself to be will accept anything except the top spot. Despite factors favoring BJP, the choice of Modi as its leader also carries with it a baggage that has been alluded to by many commentators. Vajpayee’s ability to function as a “mukhota” (mask) is something Modi completely lacks and his pugnacious, winner-take-all personality may be more of a liability than an asset in the search for allies. On the grounds of corruption also, the BJP is hardly on a strong wicket as the example of Karnataka has recently shown.


Overall, one can say that a victory of Hindutva forces in the forthcoming parliamentary elections and the crowning of Narendra Modi as the next Prime Minister of India will not be simply a change from one government to another by democratic means. It would the worst possible disaster for India, something that needs to be avoided at all costs. For the foreseeable future, it is only the Congress that, with all its faults and problems, has the ability to do that and left groups should remember that to ensure that their actions do not lead the country from the frying pan to the fire.

Top - Home