By Dr Murlidhar H. Pahoja
AN attempt is being made by the BJP leadership to find scapegoats instead of making an objective analysis. The election was fought by projecting the personality of Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee. The Hindu was angry with NDA. The following is a record of the government which suffered defeat.
1. Ram temple movement:
The BJP was elected to power in 1998 and again in 1999 on the issue of Ram temple. On this issue, the Hindu saints campaigned for and blessed the BJP, and it was this campaign that catapulted BJP to power. But after the elections, the BJP made a volte face and started saying that the Ram temple was not on its agenda.
2. Excesses on Ram Sevaks:
In February 2002, the VHP planned to offer pooja at the undisputed site which belonged to the VHP but which had been taken over. The Centre could have acted on the 1994 judgement of the Apex Court and handed over this land to the VHP, but instead, Vajpayee decided to act tough. The army was deployed to prevent the performing of the pooja. Ayodhya was cut off from the rest of the country. Train and bus routes were closed. The Hindus were denied the fundamental right to assemble peacefully and offer prayers. They were humiliated by the very government that they had helped to install.
3. Godhra and Gujarat riots:
It was in this hightened and surcharged atmosphere that Godhra was enacted. The government´s high-handedness towards the Hindus encouraged the anti-Hindu elements to enact the Godhra incident. This was on the 27th of February. The next day, when some members of the Lok Sabha raised the Godhra inferno case, they were silenced on the pretext of passing the budget. This was rubbing salt into their wounds. The result was the encourage-ment to the Gujarat riots.
4. Excesses in Ayodhya again:
In 2003, when the VHP planned a darshan of Ram Lalla, the Mulayam Singh and the Vajpayee governments got together once again to deploy the police and armed forces to block any meeting in Ayodhya of VHP activists. These governments, which swore by the Constitution, had no qualms about denying the Hindus their fundamental right to assemble peacefully and offer prayers at the Ram temple; further, to this end, not only did they use force but also discontinued the train and bus services to Ayodhya, thus denying the citizens their fundamental right to travel to any part of the country. Those Ram Sevaks who, in spite of all the bandobast, were able to reach Ayodhya and assemble in the VHP´s own private grounds, were greeted with lathis and teargas shells. The whole country watched on TV the manner in which the octogenarian VHP leader, Shri Ashok Singhal, was treated by the police.
5. Collusion with forces of Christianity and Islam:
The government forgot its commitment to nationalists, and made no attempt to check the cash flow, pouring in from the Euro-Americans and from the oil-rich nations of West Asia, meant for conversion and subversion. The government granted permission for the Pope´s visit, and that too when the nation was celebrating Deepavali. The Pope did not mince words while calling for conversion of Hindus in the new millennium. Even a small country like Sri Lanka withstood all the pressures and refused permission for the Pope to visit that country.
6. Betrayal of swadeshi movement:
Another issue that was responsible for electing the BJP to power was the issue of swadeshi. Not only the BJP, but also its major ally, the Samata Party campaigned on this issue. But both parties feigned forgetfulness when the time came for action. The Vajpayee government instead, followed the dictat of the World Bank and the IMF in deciding its economic policies. Consequently, there arose fears of the economy slipping into foreign hands. There was an attempt to create a false feeling that FDI was a must for the economy. The results were for all to see?suicide deaths of small farmers and traders, growing unemployment and unrest among workers and youth.
7. Unrealistic interest policies:
The Vajpayee government forced the pace of reduction in interest rates. The black market interest rates continued at levels as high as 24 per cent, even though the official rates were at half that level or even lower. Indian people, by culture and by instinct, have a tendency to save for their rainy day. The lower interest rates however, went against that natural instinct. The worst sufferers were the retired and the aged who survive mainly on bank interests.
8. Indian languages pushed to the background:
All economic activity was required to be carried out only in English. This was equivalent to forcing English in, and Indian languages out. The Vajpayee government´s policy on language was placed on record in the Parliament which stated that English could have been replaced with Indian languages soon after Independence, but now, it was not possible, and that English would need to continue, which amounts to saying that the government would continue to speak in English, irrespective of whether the people of this coutnry understood it or not; and of course, the Government of India would continue to proclaim that India was a democracy, i.e. government of the people, by the people and for the people. Is this democracy in reality or is it hypocrisy?