Four years after rallying behind the Hindutva Poster Boy Modi, the common Hindu voter is puzzled how has the present government improved the lives of common Hindu voters?
Four years back the surge of Saffron aided by the peak Modi wave, fascinated the imagination of the average Hindu voter. And why he wouldn’t be? After all, almost a decade later, the “Silent” majority of India whose voices were bulldozed by the rampant Minority Appeasement, had found a representation in Modi. The average Hindu who was neglected and let down by the Congress regime decided to crown Modi in 2014 and it did. The Hindu middle class constituted a major chunk of Modi’s voters. The overwhelming majority that the party received was the result of the consolidation of Hindu votes that were scattered across the caste coalitions and alliances. However, the Hindutva push by Modi cobbled them together in the rainbow coalition of all the castes and sects of Hinduism.
Since then, the present BJP government under the Supreme Leadership of Modi did not miss any chance of tapping on the majoritarian approach. The Hindutva pitch was then extended to the states encompassing as much as 22 states under the Saffron cover. The party has established its dominance in both houses of parliament. In Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha as well. Four years later, when the Modi government is nearing the 2019 D-day, it is time to ask What exactly did the Modi government has done for the Hindus that voted for him.
Let us go by the checklist of the promises Modi made to Hindus:
Return of Kashmiri Pandits:
In 2014, the issue of the mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits was one of the wheels that carried Modi’s Hindutva pitch. In an interview before 2014 Lok Sabha election, Modi slammed the Abdulla dynasty for their mishandling of Kashmir. He said, “Kashmir is the only place in this country where Pandits were evicted due to their religion. Kashmir was the land of Sufi traditions and it has been tarred with communal colour by you for selfish interests. Those who have chased Kashmiri Pandits out have no right to preach against communalism.”
The common Hindu voter who was equally pained by the government apathy towards the Kashmiri Pandits hoped that Modi and his Hindutva government will ensure the return of Kashmiri Pandits to their homes. But four years later, the Kashmiri Pandit issue is not even remotely on the radar of BJP government, leave alone rehabilitating them.
Removal of article 35(A) and article 370:
Article 35(A) of Indian constitution accords a special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It does not allow any outsider (even an Indian citizen from other states) to purchase land in the state. Article 35A was incorporated into the Constitution in 1954 by an order of the then President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet. However, the article came under criticism as it was not placed before parliament legislature which is the law-making body in India. The powers of President of introducing amendments and modifying the constitution were also heavily opposed.
The BJP in its 2014 Lok Sabha Manifesto had bated for the complete integration of J&K in India by repealing Article 35(A). However, after the assembly elections in the state, the party joined hands with PDP which was against the repulsion of Article 35(A). However, the issue was dropped from the Vision document quietly.
Ram Mandir Construction:
The 2014 elections campaigning of Modi charged with Hindutva also saw a revival of “Mandir Wahi Banayenge” mantra. But once elected, the issue went on backburner even as the subsequent campaigning for assembly elections saw mentions of the issue. The matter was conveniently put under the wraps with party leaders keeping mum on the issue and only bringing it out during the election period.
Now that 2019 has neared, to woo the Hindu voters Amit Shah has once again sounded the old bugle for construction of Ram Mandir.
While most of the promises BJP made to its core Hindu voters were not fulfilled, it did, however, introduced Beef Ban; but absolutely deceiving. In the run-up to 2014 at a rally, Modi had asked the packed crowd whether they want to support the Pink revolution. The people expected that after coming to power the BJP government will implement the nation-wide beef ban. But the ban was put only in selective states where the ratio of beef consumers was negligible. In the north-eastern states where beef is a part of daily diet, the BJP state leaders, in fact, promised not to introduce the ban.
Did it put a stop on the beef industry? No. On the contrary, a 2017 report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation (OECD) revealed that India is the world’s third-biggest exporter of beef. The only thing the beef ban resulted into was anarchy and indiscriminate lynching by the fringe in the absence of a legal framework for the ban.
The reality of the Modi’s promises to common Hindu voters laced with doublespeak is now for all to see. Even the most prominent right-leaning intellectuals agree that the Modi government not only failed to deliver its promises to Hindu community but also has been fooling them in the name of Hindutva. Four years after rallying behind the Hindutva Poster Boy Modi, the common Hindu voter is puzzled whether the present government is any different from the previous one. How has the life of common Hindu voter has improved? Vis a vis only certain brands like Patanjali of Ramdev Baba have triumphed capitalizing on the Hindu sentiments. For Modi, Hindu sentiments were only a political tool which fixed his path to PM chair and continues to help make inroads in states. Whether the common Hindu voter is satisfied with Modi or not will be decided in the upcoming election. However, the reality remains that the BJP deceived the common Hindu voter who believed the Hindu-first policy of Modi. The mask has now fallen and the symbolic Hinduism adopted by the saffron party is exposed.