Electoral contradictions and confusion
May 04 2014
Although in India, while it is political parties that contest elections, for the three major parties this time, it has been a battle of personalities. It started off when BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi went on the offensive six months earlier, triggering a Modi versus Sonia/Rahul battle. Then Sonia passed on the baton to Rahul and it turned into a Modi versus Rahul battle. But then, the Aam Admi Party happened and Arvind Kejriwal threw his hat into the ring and it transformed into a Kejriwal versus Modi versus Rahul battle. Finally, since Rahul never really engaged with Kejriwal, it became brawl between Kejriwal and Modi.
On cue, the day the Election Commission declared the elections, Kejriwal was detained in Gujarat. Some say Modi’s stormtroopers attacked and vandalised his car and Kejriwal was harassed on Modi’s orders. Who knows what happened, but it gave AAP workers an excuse to attack the BJP headquarters in Delhi. There was a free for all contest and if TV reports were to be believed, then AAP workers got a thrashing at the hands of the BJP’s goon squads. This was repeated in Lucknow too; AAP volunteers attacked the BJP office and BJP goons thrashed them mercilessly. The Indian akhada was going to witness a no holds barred brawl.
Them, Rahul Gandhi suddenly dug up the issue of RSS’s involvement in Bapu’s murder. This is an issue, not because the act of murdering the Mahatma has any relevance now, but because the ideology behind the murder, the larger conspiracy to destabilise the fledgling state and the attempt to subvert it with Bapu’s murder being the trigger for the larger conspiracy to unfold was never revealed to the people, and in which there is evidence to show that the RSS was involved. The RSS has been fortunate that it does not have any system of formal membership and so there are no cards or receipts. Parchure, one of the accused in Bapu’s murder admitted that Godse was an RSS pracharak, just like Modi, and that he had only helped him get a gun because he knew that Godse was from the sangha parivaar and was doing a task assigned to him by the organisation. RSS was not convicted in the case since there was a feeling within the administration then that the muslims were already angry with the Congress, and by persecuting the RSS, it could not afford to antagonise the RSS too. And since they had already caught a culprit red-handed, they had an object to take revenge on, so there was no need for an extended witch-hunt.
The Kapoor Commission found a lot of evidence to implicate RSS in Bapu’s murder but it was not tasked to indict RSS. Therefore, it could not put its findings in its report and condemn either RSS or Savarkar directly, but a fine reading of the report suggests that there was enough evidence of the complicity of both. But this is the past and we should move on. However, the agenda of hate and divisive ideology of the RSS continues to thrive and pose a threat to the nation even today. In these circumstances, Rahul is right in reminding the nation of the danger posed by fanatics. Modi poses a similar threat to the nation, which was thwarted by the death of Bapu. Unfortunately, today we don’t have a Bapu to protect the nation and its integrity from Modi. We must not live in the past, but we must not repeat the mistakes of the past too, and if we forget them, we must be reminded about history.
Thus, as the most vicious of all electoral battles draw to a close, they don’t seem to be able to deliver a decisive verdict yet, and who knows, another round of entertainment may be in store of us post the results. A bout of horsetrading to cobble together a patchwork quilt of contradictory political beliefs to form a government could well be in the offing. Whether the lotus blooms, the hand holds out or the broom sweeps clean, it will all depend not on our votes, but on who have deeper pockets. Amongst all this, the real loser is the Indian electorate, whose issues, problems and grievances were never aired or heard.
(The writer is founder president, Mahatma Gandhi Foundation)