A ten-point Hindu agenda for the BJP – R. Jagannathan

Modi & Shah

R. JagannathanDespite being labelled a Hindu party, the BJP does not seem to understand what a Hindu agenda should include beyond periodic assertions about building a Ram temple in Ayodhya. … The BJP cannot hope to become a permanent party in power without consolidating the Hindu vote. – R. Jagannathan

The eruption of Dalit violence on 2 April in protest against what was perceived as a dilution of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act following a Supreme Court judgement showed the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) inherent political weakness whenever the caste cauldron is stirred. Whether the cauldron is stirred by Dalit assertion or Opposition forces, or the two in combination, is immaterial. As a Hindu party, the BJP will feel the tremors as long as caste remains a major fault line in India.

The problem with the BJP is that it has got carried away by its 2014 rhetoric of “sabka saath, sabka vikas”, without creating its own narrative of what it is all about. Vikas (development) is a necessary condition for political success, but never a sufficient one. Vikas needs to be topped up with issues that glue its constituencies together. The Narendra Modi government, and the party under Amit Shah, have not asked themselves a simple question: what is my core constituency, and how can I not only serve it but also expand it through my policies and actions?

The answer is that the BJP is a Hindu party without actually doing much for the cause of Hindus. It does not have to be anti-minorities to be a Hindu party, but it has to be demonstrably Hindu to retain its core constituency. Without this core, it has no bargaining power with the other parties that it may need to form a government at the Centre in 2019.

Just as the United Malays National Organisation cannot lead a coalition in Malaysia without commanding the allegiance of Malay Muslims, or the Congress cannot lead the United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala without the backing of Nairs and Christians, the BJP cannot hope to become a permanent party in power without consolidating the Hindu vote with a positive agenda.

The BJP has managed to transcend its upper caste origins by extending its reach to Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in many states, but it is yet to cross the final emotional barrier with Dalits. This will take years, especially since there are many Dalit parties with a greater claim to their allegiance. The fact that significant sections of the upper castes are still not willing to accept Dalits as equals in many states means the BJP needs to do much more on this front. In the short run, it has no hope of attracting too many Dalit votes. The 2014 elections were an exception.

Logically, the BJP should find success by being a Hindu party for the forward and backward classes first, for, this is the constituency that is closest to emotional integration under a religious identity. The Dalits, who have been forcibly kept out of Hinduism, are unlikely to find the umbrella of Hinduism adequate for their political aspirations right now. For that to happen, the social distance between them and the rest of the Hindus has to narrow down first – and that is a tall order.

If the BJP is slipping badly on the road to 2019 (losing by-elections and allies on the way), it is because it has not kept its core constituency intact. The party lost Lok Sabha by-elections in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh because it foolishly hoped that the caste combo it wove together in 2014 will remain permanently intact. But Indian castes are always chasing better deals. In the two UP by-polls at Phulpur and Gorakhpur, the BJP lost to a coalition of Yadavs, Muslims and Dalits. The emergence of a truly Hindu party depends on how the BJP welds all castes into a politically combined powerhouse. If the BJP does not do this, some other Hindu party will emerge and complete the process.

Unfortunately, despite being labelled a Hindu party—a label owed more to its opponents than itself—the BJP does not seem to understand what a Hindu agenda should include beyond periodic assertions about building a Ram temple in Ayodhya.

This is apparent from how it is trying to gain the Hindu vote in states like West Bengal and Kerala, where the invocations ought to be to Maa Durga, Maa Kali, Mahabali, Ayyappa and Guruvayoor Krishna. While Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanthi have resonance everywhere, it is the stronger local rallying cries that will find you the Hindu vote. Even in UP, consider the potential of the cry “Jai Shri Krishna among the Yadavs compared to “Jai Shri Ram.

In Karnataka, the BJP behaved like a deer caught in the headlights when faced with Congress attempts to divide Hindus by giving Lingayats a separate religious identity. The logical counter to this attempt should have been a simple statement from the BJP that it will amend the Constitution to give all communities the same rights as minorities, whether they actually are one numerically or not.

This confusion comes when you are a Hindu party without being able to figure out what ought to be a Hindu agenda that is not anti-minority or bigoted.

A truly non-bigoted Hindu agenda that will unite most major castes and religious denominations ought to include the following:

#1 – Equal rights to autonomously administer educational and religious institutions, including temples, for all communities, and not just those deemed minorities.

#2 – Abolition of minority commissions along with the strengthening of human rights commissions.

#3 – Abolition of Article 370 along with greater devolution of powers to all states, both economically and politically, making India a real “union of states”.

#4 -Moves towards a uniform civil code, by giving every community the right to its own cultural practices, but with individuals having access to uniform Indian civil and criminal laws.

#5 – A ban on foreign contributions to religious bodies, which makes the funding of churches and mosques easier than temples.

#6 -An explicit commitment to prevent illegal immigration and demographic changes from destabilising India’s current religious mix. Indic religious refugees (Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists) from Pakistan and Bangladesh should be given preference for asylum and citizenship over communities from other religions. Reason: there is only one place in the world with an Indic majority, and this majority is vital for the safety and security of Indic peoples everywhere.

#7 – The Pandits who fled the Kashmir Valley must be resettled within reasonable time, with or without the consent of Kashmiri Muslims. Jammu and Ladakh need to be separated from Kashmir and given autonomy, either within the current Jammu and Kashmir Constitution, or as Union territories. Indians anywhere should be freely allowed to settle and buy properties in J&K.

#8 – Illegal immigrants from Bangladesh must be disenfranchised, but they can be given work permits so that their livelihoods are not disrupted.

#9 – The Right To Education (RTE) Act, which targets only majority institutions, must be made optional, with subsidies being offered to all institutions to take on students from the economically weaker sections. RTE should be incentive-based, not a compulsion.

#10 – The resultant Hindu party should offer power sharing deals with those who represent Dalits and Muslims. This is the road to permanent power for the BJP. Pretending it is all things to all people will not work. – Swarajya, 1 September 2018

» R. Jagannathan is the editorial director of Swarajya Magazine.

Gods are awaiting 2019


 

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7 Responses

  1. Can you please explain point #5

  2. [ We do believe that ……. but what is the definition of secularism ? For me, my secularism is, India first, I say, the philosophy of party is “justice to all. Appeasement to none. “This is our secularism” (NAMO) ]
    Did he kept his promise, the answer is NO, NO – some special benefits announced during his period only for Minorities :-
    1.Scholarships, fellowships etc., Besides minority-centric schemes like ” Nai Manzil “( Training Madrassa students for government jobs), “Shadi Shagun” (Rs.51,000/- paid on marriage of minority women) etc., minority students are being given pre-metric and post-metric scholarships, and integrated five years fellowships as financial assistance for higher studies such as M.Phil and Ph.D courses
    2. “Padho Pardesh” – This scheme offers interest free bank loans of up to Rs.20 lakhs to a minority student for pursuing Post-Graduate Diploma, Masters, M.Phil. or Ph.D. course in a foreign university and interest on such loans is paid by government as subsidy.
    3. “Naya Savera” – This scheme provides free special coaching etc., to minority candidate/students in selected institutions for admission for technical and professional courses and for recruitment to government and public sector jobs.
    For Civil Service Examination, every candidate is given scholarship of Rs.one lakh and also free boarding and lodging.
    And for preparation of Medical/Engineering entrance examinations, financial support is up to Rs.one lakh per student per academic year.
    4. “Nai Udaan” – This scheme gives financial support to Minority students for preparation of main examination conducted by Union Public Service Commission, staff selection commission and state public service commissions

    5. “Multi-sectoral Development Plan – BJP Government has expanded this scheme for minorities in 308 districts naming it as “Pradhan Mandtri Jan Vikas Karyakram”
    Being discriminatory and dividing the nation into majority/minority, such schemes violate the principles of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity enshrined in the Preamble of India Constitution.
    Since it requires just a Cabinet decision to abolish the Ministry of Minority Affairs and its policies, the Government must dismantle Minority Affairs Ministry and help all deserving people irrespective of their religion. (Ref:Hindu Voice)

  3. I just share with you the tangentially-related issue of the pending general elections of 2019 since its outcome will be the greatest event since the defeat of the Maratha Confederacy by the British, exactly 200 years ago, in 1818. It will be the mother of all calamities for Bharat, not just Hindus as such.

    In the 2014 elections several factors were at play that only partially obtain now and therefore constitute a serious predicament for the Modi victory we fervently desire.

    1) Hindus were fed up and felt they had been written out of the script. Today they’re demoralised by the absence of minimal action on issues of interest to them, viz, RTE, temples and revision of education curriculum, forget about Art. 370 and UCC, neither of which I judge immediately feasible. But I am now convinced nothing will happen on the Ram Mandir front and politicians have only been toying with it to make monkeys out of Hindus. CJI, Gogoi will delay it, at the very least, anyway, as Congress earnestly desires!

    2) Voters wanted a change in 2014 from the ennui and paralysis of MMS even though the scale of the plunder was then unknown. This is not relevant now and Congress has done an effective job deepening and arousing every extant and dormant social and regional fissure in Indian society. The Sangh and BJP are constantly on the back foot on the issue, its unrehearsed spokespeople responding insipidly and far, far from convincing. Very bad news.

    3) The employment situation is worse than government assertions to the contrary assert. The apparent growth in formal employment is significantly due to informal jobs being recorded within formal sector statistics and inflating employment growth artificially. We really don’t know enough about substantial informal employment levels but anecdotal evidence suggests it has been negatively impacted by demonetisation and the botched GST implementation by bureaucrats, who are clearly unfamiliar with conditions on the ground. During the period ending in May 2004, employment growth had been healthy and NDA still lost, the electorate, extraordinarily, preferring an illiterate waitress to our hugely commendable Atal-ji.

    3) The RSS is organised to mobilise voters massively across the country and that’s a huge plus, but if demoralised Hindus stay at home we’re headed for catastrophe. The Congress vote share will be low but stable but for the BJP anything less than a two-thirds turnout spells doom.

    4) Modi’s personal intervention will still be a major positive factor but will it be enough to overcome some of the negative factors that will be hard to overcome by next year?

    Demonetisation has had some unanticipated positive outcomes, like greater formalisation of the economy, more registrations for tax and a much bigger tax take. But the setbacks should not be overlooked, ie. massive loss of 2% of GDP, substantial loss of non farm incomes in rural india which is entirely in cash (to be expected in a 40% cash economy!).This is a reason for the rural discontent that has prompted the costly (3 lakh crore- 2.4% of GDP) loan waivers. Why wasn’t there an announcement of demonetisation in advance and stringent requirements for declaration of sources of cash beyond a low level? And which genius decided to change the size of the 2000 rupee note that required time-consuming and costly recalibration of all ATMs?!

    I won’t say anything about the necessary GST except that repeated revision of rates and modes of compliance confirmed the IAS, which now runs India as never before, is not fit for purpose!

  4. Let me say this bluntly. I did not vote for Modi because he promised to build toilets, or because he promised to liberate Muslim women.

    The RSS did not unleash its massive machinery in his favour because Modi and his closet RBI board members/ advisers pushed him to demonitise or because someone else pushed Modi to implement GST.

    Intelligent, thinking, political Hindus voted for him because they hoped he would fulfill atleast one huge Hindu aspiration like building the Ram Mandir or freeing Hindu temples from government control or UCC; and achieve at least one huge Hindu nationalist aspiration like ending jihad in J&K, break Pakistan’s knees, trifurcate or better still quadrificate J&K, facilitate the return of Kashmiri Pandits to their homeland, abolish Articles 370 and 35A, integrate the state totally with the Indian union.

    I voted for Modi because I hoped he would do at least two things on this list. He has done nothing.

    Modi declared he is going to invite Trump as chief guest on Republic Day as reward for wiping Iraq off the world map and hastening Syria along the same road as part of Condoleezza Rice’s stated objective to redraw the and reconfigure the middle East.

    Now that Pakistan has mutilated a bdf jawan two days ago and killed 3 more Kashmiri policemen, Modi should invite Imran Khan too together with Trump.

    Modi has dragged this country so deep into the American orbit, there is no national sovereignty except to hold panchayat elections in J&K.

    If you buy America you get Pakistan for free. They are a package deal. So if Modi is going to invite Trump he should ask Minister Sushma Swaraj who said yesterday after the bdf jawan was tortured to death, that she a crots Imran Khan’s invitation for talks and will meet the jihadi state’s foreign minister on the sidelines of the UNGA. She shld personally invite Khan for Republic Day.

    • Dear friends,

      1. I am grateful to all of you for your nationalist sentiments.

      Considering the facts discussed in her mail, it is my humble submission that the points highlighted by Shrimati Radha Rajan Ji deserve careful and dispassionate consideration.

      2. As I have highlighted in my recent article: “BJP must fulfil its core promises to win in 2019”, after getting power in 2014 on nationalist agenda, BJP has done nothing on its perpetual promises of uniform civil code, Article 370, rehabilitation of Kashmiri Hindus in Kashmir etc. etc. But it has continued to implement and expand the Congress-led government’s anti-Hindu, discriminatory, pseudo-secular and minority-appeasing laws and policies like the RTE Act, 2009, Sachar Committee’s recommendations etc. etc. which are destroying Hindu civilization.

      3. And to escape the discrimination which Hindus are subjected to, some Hindu sects proclaim that they are not Hindu. While earlier, Ramakrishna Mission, a prominent Hindu organization, had claimed itself to be a non-Hindu religious minority, now a section of Lingayats in Karnataka is claiming to be a non-Hindu minority.

      4. BJP has forgotten who had brought it into power and for what. BJP government has not repealed or amended any existing law or policy to stop discrimination against Hindus, and to treat Hindus at par with other communities.

      5. In 2014, nationalists toiled to give B.J.P. a historic opportunity to liberate the country from slavery of pseudo-secularism, B.J.P. government has done nothing in this regard so far.

      And if BJP continues its pseudo-secular march even during the remaining period of its tenure, it will not get this opportunity in 2019.

  5. A few decades of urging demands of Hindus to be fullfiled and the points listed are absolutely 100% right. These things are possible only when BJP come back in 2019 with absolute majority, but the indications are not predictable. Before election at least some signal voices to be raised in the BJP circle about these points but pin drop silence is being maintained and hurting Hindus. We should also include the following :-

    (1) Declare India as a Hindu Rashtra or declare Hinduism as a state religion (there are many secular countries in the world has a declared state religion of the majority) As per UN charter of Mauritius declaration the indigenous culture and spiritual practices to be protected and conversions to be banned completely like Japan and China.

    (2) Having revised the cow protection, SC atrocity acts upon court intervention instead of changing it suitably acceptable to all taken a “U” turn which is again election fever compulsion. Also declare cow as national animal.

  6. We can only hope!!

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