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Mainstream, VOL LVI No 28, New Delhi June 30, 2018

Diverting Attention, BJP Style

Saturday 30 June 2018, by SC



We have just observed the 43rd anniversary of the Imposition of internal Emergency that constituted a blot on our development as the world’s largest democracy. But one was startled to find petty politics being played by our national leaders on this occasion. On June 26 (the Emergency was proclaimed on that day in 1975) one of the major newspapers in the country had this headline in its second lead on the front page: “Jaitley compares Indira to Hitler, PM backs him”.

One does not wish to contradict both Jaitley and Modi on the historical exactitude of the observation but the fact is that the two events (Indira’s Emergency and Hitler’s dictatorial rule) cannot be equated and there are valid reasons for that. One only wants to point to the undeniable truth that the RSS, to which both the BJP leaders belong, had direct links with Italian dictator Mussolini and German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler and approved their actions. This is testified from the writings of erstwhile Sarsanghchalak Guru Golwalkar. Further, as an Italian scholar (Marzia Casolari) wrote on the RSS’ connections with European fascism:

The existence of direct contacts between the representatives of the [Italian] Fascist regime, including Mussolini, and Hindu nationalists demonstrates that Hindu nationalism had much more than an abstract interest in the ideology and practice of fascism. The interest of Indian Hindu nationalists in fascism and Mussolini must not be considered as dictated by an occasional curiosity, confined to a few individuals; rather, it should be considered as the culminating result of the attention that Hindu nationalists... focused on Italian dictatorship and its leader. To them, fascism appeared to be an example of conservative revolution.

This being the background of the RSS, which is the parent body of the BJP, does it behove Jaitley and Modi to compare Indira to Hitler? Especially when the “dynastic” Congress, which both are pledged to root out from this country’s soil, had all along since the days of Jawaharlal Nehru fought against European fascism without any equivocation?

The ferocious attacks by the BJP leaders, headed by Modi, on the Congress at this juncture brings out the manifold problems that the ruling BJP is facing on the political front. That is why it is trying to divert public attention.

The divisions in the BJP’s traditional vote-banks are becoming increasingly glaring. In Maharashtra the Shiv Sena has declared that it will fight the 2019 elections on its own and not in alliance with the BJP. In Rajasthan a five-time BJP MLA has fallen out with the CM, resigned from the BJP to launch his new party that is expected to cut into the BJP’s traditional upper-caste vote-bank. Besides, Praveen Togadia, the International Working President of the VHP, incurred Modi’s displeasure and was expelled from the organisation; he has now floated his own party, the Antar-Rashtriya Hindu Parishad (AHP). Having a large following, he will cut into the BJP’s vote-bank.

These are definite pointers. True, Opposition unity is facing hurdles in many places, but the BJP is far from being in a comfortable position. Its difficulties are bound to mount in the coming days. This ground reality in today’s India cannot be ignored in any way (despite frantic attempts by sections of the electronic media to distort this reality).

June 28               S.C.

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