Time to reflect and rethink

The fallout of BJP’s comprehensive win in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand elections is still unfolding on India’s political scene.  The elevation of the radical Hindu leader Yogi Adityanath as the new UP Chief Minister has so far been the clearest signal that Hindutva politics has decided to drop the last pretence of inclusivity.  For the first time since 1947, India looks set to move away from Nehruvian secularism. This is the vision of “new India”  Prime Minister Narendra Modi  is fond of repeating in his speeches. But the unfolding of this  “new India” has become a cause for a deep anxiety for the country’s  liberal Hindus and the minorities, more so Muslims.

In fact, just two days into his swearing-in, the CM Yogi has ordered slaughter houses shut in the state. A mob also set three mutton shops on fire in Hathras areas of the state on Tuesday night. Yogi has also directed the police to put complete ban on cow smuggling. So all Hindutva politics has come to revolve around the victimization of Muslims. As the landslide win in UP must have made it clear to BJP, the very presence of Muslims polarizes the electoral landscape in favour of BJP and against the secular parties. This is already causing sections of Muslim opinion to speak in favour of the community’s withdrawal from the electoral politics so that the majority community votes for reasons other than those communal in nature. As UP has made it clear, the majority community largely chose to not vote for the parties which sought votes of Muslims and even boycotted the parties which Muslims voted for.

This raises existential questions about the place of Muslims in India. How will a Hindurashtra which many have aptly described  as Hindu Reich affect them? This question becomes even more important as BJP is now the only pan-India party and Modi looks set to rule India  at least until 2024. The feckless opposition seems hardly in a position to dislodge him. More so, the Congress under Rahul Gandhi.

However, while lot is being said and written about the fallout of UP and Uttarakhand victory on the country as a whole, there has been little reflection and rethink  in Valley about the approach to the drastically altered political state of affairs in the country. Should a BJP whose ideological gloves are off, cause concern in Kashmir? As Yogi’s anointment makes it clear, nothing seems to deter the party from implementing its longstanding ideological vision for the country. Unlike its last government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee which was hobbled by the compulsions of coalition, an absolute majority government under Modi isn’t restrained by any need for political adjustment.  It is thus willing to go the whole hog and very likely in case of Kashmir too which it has always dreamed of assimilating and integrating into the country.  But this is an issue which hasn’t even remotely touched our political discourse. It is about time it does.

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