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The most polarised election: the element of Hindutva, the fight for India



By Rajesh Sinha

It was the most vicious campaign for the most bitterly fought elections I have seen in over 30 years of my life as a journalist drew to a close on Friday. It is also the most crucial India has had since independence: for the first time, it is about putting India on the path to a new socio-politico-cultural path, and there may lie the reason for the bitter fight.

The heat of anger and passion usually dulls reason and fudges facts. Angry comments are made and strong reactions follow. In the process, falsehoods are peddled, statements distorted, wrong meanings derived – and many fall for them, many others lap it up and hungrily look for more.

Here is an attempt to clear a few points about this election. If this appears one-sided to some, so be it. It can’t be helped: as someone pointed out, being impartial as a journalist does not mean that “If someone says it’s raining, and another person says it’s dry, it’s not your job to quote them both. Your job is to look out the f…..g window and find out which is true.”

Never before was there an element of animus so evident between political rivals – parties as well as leaders. At the same time, the campaign was all centred on one leader – Prime Minister Narendra Modi – and his party.

NDTV founder and co-chairperson Prannoy Roy says the factor that stands out the most is the level of polarisation among Hindu voters that we have rarely seen before. “Voters either love and admire Modi – or dislike Modi intensely.  Virtually, no voter is indifferent,” he said in an interview, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Interestingly, it is Modi’s camp that disagreed with the statement that it is the ‘most polarised’ election. The reference to Modi somehow irked some Modi fans. They interpreted it in terms of ‘Hindu-Muslim’ divide – perhaps because that is the theme being constantly propagated on social media, especially WhatsApp.

Some of these elements also pointed out that “Muslims have always been opposed to BJP and Modi, so what’s new? How does this make this election ‘the most polarised?”

That reaction comes mostly from those whose active interest in politics started with Modi’s arrival on the national scene. It is true that most Muslims have not been voting for BJP or Modi, (but many did, more than Hindus voting for Muslim League!), but when before this election was the choice only between Modi/BJP and others?

What’s new and what makes this the most polarised election are other factors, not just Muslims.

For one, this time the BJP is the most dominant party with the largest spread across the country. Earlier elections were not just about voting for or against BJP – or Modi. There were always other players to choose from.

This election is seen as a referendum on Modi – a statement that pleases Modi followers no end, until one puts it in this context. BJP campaign was also centred on Modi, not on the local candidate. Modi too, referring to himself in third person, always said “you will be voting for Modi” when campaigning for BJP candidates in different states. Hence, with BJP contesting the largest number of seats in the country and making a strong pitch for coming back to power, elections just had to be between Modi and others. Calling it a ‘ganging up’ of political parties and their leaders against Modi as coming together to save their political space is too simplistic, just like Modi claiming that all that the Opposition wants is to grab power from him: what else would Opposition do?

BJP, Modi and his followers also point to the inner contradictions among the parties talking of coming together to check Modi-led BJP. They recall how many of these parties came up in opposition to Congress which they were now seeking to join hands with. Many see this as ‘opportunism’ – with a lot of reason.

However, the point missed here is that the difference between BJP and other parties is fundamentally greater than the differences between rest of the parties. And it is this that explains why the election is so crucial, why it was so bitterly fought and what made it so polarised. Much beyond just forming a government is perceived to be at stake this time. It is a vote for the kind of India one wants, about deciding its future course in a very basic sense.

The BJP and Sangh parivar seek to transform the character of the Indian state, alter the basic features of the Constitution, and usher in a ‘Hindu Rashtra’. The Constitution embodies the best of liberal democratic values, and the BJP-Sangh parivar set of outfits seek to transform India in a very fundamental way.

This is what sets the BJP apart from every other political party in the country: the agenda of the New India promised by the Modi-Amit Shah-led BJP is one of a country based on Hindutva. This is the RSS vision of ‘Hindu Rashtra’ which its chief, sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat has talked about repeatedly. Hindu Rashtra is supposed to be based on Hindutva, and this puts off many people for very clear reasons.

Hindutva is defended by describing it in terms of the liberal, tolerant, all inclusive traditions and culture of Hinduism, and said to include all who live in Hindustan. In practice, one finds attempts to define it in narrow strait-jacketed terms that prescribes food, clothing, social practices, choice of spouse, forms of speech, language, cultural aspects and extends to education, art and entertainment.

This is made more strident by attaching nationalism to it and condemning all else as anti-India and pro-Pakistan. There have been countless calls of sending various persons – artists, activists and leaders – to Pakistan.

It is also seen in moves to change educational system and what is taught in schools, colleges and institutes and what is debated and discussed. It extends to art, culture and cinema to promote Hindutva to the exclusion of everything else.

It is also evident in brazen attempts to manipulate cases to protect all those accused in cases related to ‘Hindutva’ cases. While leaders of other parties may be accused of trying to save themselves and, sometimes, their accomplices, it does not extend to protect every ideological co-traveller.

Institutions have suffered. CBI vs CBI, CVC vs CBI, Election Commission’s credibility being called into question on very strong grounds, drawing armed forces into politics – all are unprecedented events and tendencies.

That is the true face of Hindutva on the ground.

It is most clearly seen in BJP choosing terror-accused Pragya Thakur, as it Lok Sabha candidate from Bhopal. Thakur hammered it home with her statement praising Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse as a patriot. While BJP hastily condemned it, it has been for years projecting VD Savarkar, who was accused of involvement in the plot to assassinate Mahatma Gandhi, as a national hero.

BJP’s feelings were also seen in the sharp reactions to actor-politician Kamal Haasan terming Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse as free India’s first terrorist and pointing out that he was a Hindu. BJP leaders protested that he could ‘at most’ be called a ‘murderer’ but not a terrorist. A murder is an individual’s criminal act out of personal greed or passion. Terrorism is unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims, usually backed or sponsored by an organisation. What was Godse, what was that organisation has been written about extensively.

Before Haasan’s statement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said at an election rally in Wardha “Is there a single instance in history when a Hindu committed an act of terror”. When Haasan pointed it out, all of Hindutva brigade came down upon him like a ton of bricks.

Some others also took it to mean that Haasan was talking about ‘Hindu terrorism’ and said a whole community could not be branded thus due to the action of one man – though Haasan had done no such thing.

Among these were many who do not hesitate to brand Muslims as terrorists due to the acts of a few and never realise how completely wrong this notion is. To put it in perspective, they need to be reminded of the days of Sikh terrorism. Incidentally, then also a community’s name was used and is still used for terrorism.

The crucial point to remember is that only a very small percentage of the Sikhs, who themselves are merely just about 2.5% of India’s population, had taken to violence but had wreaked havoc.

Muslims constitute over 14% of India’s population. If a similar percentage of them take to terrorism, one can imagine what India would be like.

Some find it disturbing, others blind to all this only want Modi back.

India News

Happy Birthday Manmohan Singh: PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi, Stalin, Kharge greet ex PM Manmohan Singh on his 91st birthday

Rahul Gandhi posted on X former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh Ji’s economic upliftment of the masses, unwavering commitment to nation building and integrity will always remain an inspiration for him. He wished him happiness and good health on his birthday.



Happy Birthday Manmohan Singh: PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi, Stalin, Kharge greet ex PM Manmohan Singh on his 91st birthday

PM Narendra Modi, Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge greeted ex PM Manmohan Singh on his 91 st birthday. PM Modi took to X (Formerly twitter) and wrote birthday wishes to former PM Dr Manmohan Singh Ji. He prayed for his good health and long life. Kharge wrote on X (formerly twitter) he extended his best wishes to former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh ji. He is a rare example of grace, dignity and grace in politics. Kharge said the nation is grateful for his tremendous contribution to the nation.

Rahul Gandhi posted on X former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh Ji’s economic upliftment of the masses, unwavering commitment to nation building and integrity will always remain an inspiration for him. He wished him happiness and good health on his birthday.

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra greeted Singh on his birthday. She wished Manmohan Singh Ji a very very Happy Birthday. She said as a leader he showed her the value of humility and patience in politics. She added as a Prime Minister his wisdom, vision, courage and his honesty made the way for the country to move ahead in the 21st century with pride and self assurance. She said she always had deep respect for him.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin greeted Manmohan Singh on his birthday. He wrote on X (formerly twitter) birthday greetings to former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh! As PM his leadership during the global financial crises and his commitment to inclusive policies reshaped India’s future. He said his humble, intellectual and composed approach serves as an example and provides valuable lessons for leadership in every era. His legacy of stability and progress endures. Dr Manmohan Singh was the two time Prime Minister during the 2004 to 2014. He attended the Parliament’s Special Session on a wheel chair.

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Latest Politics News

Lok Sabha elections 2024: AIADMK cuts ties with BJP, NDA, to contest alone

AIADMK deputy coordinator K P Munusamy stated that the state leadership of the BJP has been continuously making unnecessary remarks about their former leaders, their general secretary EPS and their cadres for the past one year.



Lok Sabha elections 2024: AIADMK breaks alliance with BJP, NDA

In a major setback to the BJP-led NDA ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the AIADMK on Monday announced that it is breaking the alliance with the BJP. The AIADMK unanimously passed a party resolution in this regard. 

Announcing the decision, AIADMK deputy coordinator K P Munusamy said the BJP state leadership has been continuously making unnecessary remarks about their former leaders, their general secretary Edapaddi Palaniswami and their cadres for the past one year.

The decision to part ways follows months of speculation over the strained relationship between the AIADMK and the BJP. Notably, Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai had repeatedly commented against AIADMK leaders and that did not earn him any wrath as the BJP was seemingly okay with Annamalai’s assault on the AIADMK leadership.

As far as reports are concerned, even though the AIADMK’s relationship with Annamalai had not been smooth  for more than a year, the latter’s observations on DMK founder CN Annadurai, the AIADMK is a breakway from the DMK and founded by MG Ramachandran after Annadurai’s death, for the last couple of weeks had provoked the latest round of spat between the two parties.

AIADMK spokesperson D Jayakumar termed Annamalai a destructive pest for his comments on Annadurai and this back and forth between the two allies clouded their future. The decision was welcomed by AIADMK party workers and they celebrated the announcement by bursting crackers in Chennai.

This break-up was developing in the background when Palaniswami met Amit Shah on September 14. Following that, an AIADMK delegation made a trip to Delhi where they are believed to have discussed the alliance issue with BJP chief JP Nadda and BJP leader Piyush Goyal. 

As per reports, these trips did not come up with any positive results as the BJP national leadership did not intervene in the state-level feud. Meanwhile, the AIADMK is not part of the opposition bloc Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, which is supported by the DMK. The AIADMK affirmed on Monday that it will lead a separate front in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

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India News

Chhattisgarh: Rahul Gandhi says PM Modi also has a remote control but he presses it secretly

The Congress MP said when he questioned PM Modi on Adani in the Lok Sabha and his Lok Sabha membership got cancelled.



Chhattisgarh: Rahul Gandhi says PM Modi also has a remote control but he presses it secretly

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi launched Mukhyamantri Gramin Awas Nyay Yojana in Chhattisgarh through a remote control. He said PM Narendra Modi also has a remote control but he presses it secretly. Rahul Gandhi waved a remote control at the event in Chhattisgarh and said BJPs remote controls are all secret. Gandhi said the Congress party presses the remote control in the open. But the BJP presses secretly and the public sector becomes private and Adaniji gets Mumbai airport.

The Congress MP said when he questioned PM Modi on Adani in the Lok Sabha and his Lok Sabha membership got cancelled. He attacked the BJP government at the Centre after PM Modi addressed a rally in the poll bound Madhya Pradesh and said the Congress party has rusted like iron. PM Modi said Congress would push back Madhya Pradesh in the sick category whereas 1.5 crore people came out of poverty under the BJP rule in the last five years.

According to PM Modi the Congress and its allies have supported the bill out of hesitation and compulsion as they understood the power of Nari Shakti. PM Modi said Modi means the guarantee of fulfilling guarantees. Rahul Gandhi repeated what he had said in the Lok Sabha during his intervention on the women’s reservation bill.

He said there are only 3 OBC bureaucrats working for the government of India. Rahul Gandhi said caste census is the X-ray of Hindustan. The caste census will determine how many Dalits, SC/STs are there. Gandhi said the government is running away from caste census. He promised the congress will do a caste census.

In all Congress ruled states the public is at the centre and the government is not run by Adaniji. Talking to the media on Sunday Rahul Gandhi said he was confident Congress is winning the election in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. In Rajasthan the fight would be close Gandhi predicted.   

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