The fallout of BJPs comprehensive victory in general elections is still unfolding on Indias political scene. That it came after the BJP led an out and out nationalist campaign 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 completely 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 countrys liberal Hindus and the minorities, more so Muslims.
As the landslide win 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. The majority community now votes less and less votes for reasons other than those nationalist in nature. As the election outcome has made it clear, the majority community largely chose not to 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 the BJP 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 new mandate makes it clear, nothing seems to deter the party from implementing its longstanding ideological agenda for the country. Unlike the NDA’s last government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee which was hobbled by the compulsions of coalition, an absolute majority government under Modi isnt 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. More so, when such integration was the centre piece of the party’s election campaign. The party’s leadership from the PM Modi on down to Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley, all have pitched for revocation of the Article 370 and 35A. But this is an issue which hasnt sufficiently touched our political discourse. It is about time it does. Going forward there has to be a collective political and social strategy to deal with a disproportionately empowered BJP.