The ongoing polls in Bihar are of profound significance not only for the future of the state but also for India as a whole. And they are important too for Jammu and Kashmir. In Bihar, the election is high stakes contest between a resurgent BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Grand Alliance of the Janata Dal (United), the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. At stake is not only the mundane question of who rules Bihar over next five years but where the India is headed as a country. A win for the Grand Alliance will arrest the disarray among secular forces and give them confidence to stand up to Modi in the upcoming state elections. One such being the all important polls in West Bengal in 2016. But a victory for BJP will reinforce the political invincibility of Modi. Such a prospect, however, has a pernicious dimension. A Modi victory will be an emphatic endorsement of the his one year in government. It will be an approval of the hardcore strain of Hindutva, Sangh Parivar has unleashed over the country. It will also be a public sanction to the intolerance and hate being propagated against the minorities. And it will be a support to PMs dubious silence on anti-minority violence or at best a weak rejection of it in delayed, ambivalent statements.
After winning India in a landslide victory in 2014 general election, the BJPs battle to usurp the idea of India has come down to state after state. BJP and its hydra-headed parivar wants a complete sway over India. State victories will give the Hindutva party the necessary majority in the upper house, which it seeks to harness to push through its pan-India agenda. And which is to remould India as a Hindurashtra, or a Nation of Hindus, where other communities will have to subsume their respective identities under an overarching, uniform identity that of Hindutva.
So Bihar elections matter a lot. So do the next years Bengal polls. And for us in Kashmir too. Bolstered by its standing as a ruling party at the centre, BJP as an alliance partner in J&K Government has got an overriding say in how this state is run. Will a loss in Bihar on the pattern of New Delhi loosen this stranglehold? Well, while it may not loosen it, the loss will certainty help slacken the tight grip. One could also expect the PDP to become a little assertive and expect some more accommodation of its concerns by a vulnerable Modi. A loss in Bihar, follow as it will consecutively after the resounding defeat in New Delhi early this year, will force a serious rethink in BJP about plying minority hate as a handy tool for political mobilization. A Bihar defeat will be a rejection of the attempt to violently interfere with the idea of India, Kashmir had acceded to in 1947 albeit in very contested circumstances.
If anything, Modis rise as a leader reveals a new India torn loose from its already diluted Nehruvian moorings, an India where implicit hate for its largest minority courses unapologetically through the veins of its body-politic. It is an India we all should have a reason to fear. And it is an India we should reject.
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