After UP win

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BJP’s landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh continues to be analysed across Indian media and the international press. The victory is being looked at in two ways: One is the attempt to understand reasons behind the BJP’s stunning win in India’s all important battleground state. Almost all analysts and commentators give credit to the brand Modi followed by a nod to the BJP president Amit Shah’s organizational acumen. For example, the party has held over 900 rallies, enlisted the services of 67000 workers and 10,000 Whatsapp groups in its election campaign in UP. And to top it, Modi as the charismatic populist leader was at the front and square driving the momentum.   

Other way of looking at it is the fallout of this victory. The win truly has profound implications for India and its idea as conceived by its founders. Already, under Modi, India has started moving away from the Nehruvian secularism towards Hindutva, the new reigning creed. Though already in process, the UP win will only further push India in this direction. The country’s secular opposition is in tatters and fighting over scraps.  There is no major pan-India leader to  take on the overarching persona of Modi. While Rahul Gandhi and many others look like  minions, the likes of Nitish Kumar, Arvind Kejriwal and Mamta Banerjee who once showed signs of shaping up into credible rivals have too paled into significance. The caste based Uttar Pradesh parties who were only hope to stop Modi’s juggernaut have bitten the dust. And they are unlikely to recover in  the two years that 2019 parliament polls are scheduled to take place.  It looks now almost certain that the still potent Modi wave will win BJP the next Lok Sabha election. There is no dislodging  Modi yet. That is, if no credible political rival emerges from the shadows in the near future, a prospect which looks bleak.

So, the new direction that India is taking is unlikely to be halted.  This has raised some legitimate questions about the place of minorities in the country. More so, that of Muslims. There is already some introspection setting in among the community about how to deal with the new state of affairs. The myth of the vaunted Muslim vote bank has been torn to shreds now.  Let alone help put a party in power, Muslims are now a liability for the secular outfits. The moment these parties seek their votes, it aligns Hindus against them and starts the consolidation of the majority community in favour of BJP. And this is what happened in UP. The SP-Congress, BSP wooing of the Muslims played into the BJP’s subtle communal strategy. In the end, even the core casteist support for SP and BSP among their traditional constituencies slipped out of their hands and into the lap of BJP, giving the saffron party its unprecedented victory in the state.

 Now that the idea of India is set for a drastic ideological makeover, there is some amount of consternation in Kashmir too. BJP’s absolute control over India empowers the party to execute its longstanding ideological agenda in Kashmir, one of them the abrogation of Article 370.  Shall the party now take steps in this direction? Nobody can tell with any certainty. And should this happen, all bets will be off as to the direction the situation in Kashmir will take.  Here’s hoping that the PM will use the empowered mandate to politically address the longstanding turmoil in J&K and concede rather than further take away the already eroded autonomy of the state.

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