In our country, vote-bank politics is generally talked of and specifically used by various political parties in accusing the other one regarding their indulgence in vote bank politics. It is another name for appeasing one or the other section of the society so that they can get their total votes, if possible, or majority of votes of that section of the society. While doing so, generally it is said to be and connected with one or the other religious sect, especially Muslim, Christian or Sikh votes. It is used for getting SC, ST, or OBC votes as well.
Vote-bank policy is also used for some sectarian votes depending upon and connected with certain specific area as well. In India, it is generally used or abused by the so-called secular parties, who profess to be having equal approach for all the different religious sects without any distinction. But in actual practice, ordinarily, wherever some over-doings by a particular community are committed in one or the other part of the country they generally ignore it. Sometimes, they give a specific twist to such incidents to by-pass the same. On the other hand, the organisations having a nationalist view in mind openly criticise the over doing of such particular sections.
They generally stress upon the administration, whether of State or of the Centre, to take action as the law provides. Such nationalist oganisations are generally dubbed as communalist and various types of abuses are hurled upon them. It has generally become a fashion for the so-called secularist parties. The attitude of such secular parties towards the eviction of entire Hindu population from the Kashmir Valley is quite well-known to everyone in the country. Burning of Ram Bhakats in the train at Godhra in Gujarat is another case in sight. Those very persons tried to give a twist to that horrifying incident by having a verdict from another judicial enquiry, which was ultimately nullified by the High Court.
So far as the feasibility of Hindu vote-bank is concerned, it is really a peculiar one. Hindus are not a religious identity, as it is considered by certain political parties, but is general way of life of the Indian people. It has been described as such many times through various judgments delivered by different High Courts and also by the Supreme Court. The democratic approach, which is now prevalent the world over is now ideally considered to be the best way of governance. It is accepted that difference of opinion can be there relating to any issue, which either comes before the State Assembly or the Parliament of the country. This essence of democratic approach has essentially come from the Hindu way of thinking. Prior to two or three hundred years ago, religion had a great bearing on the minds of the general public and many times on the State apparatus also. Whereas many religions in the world, especially Christian and Muslim faiths have only one Prophet to bow their heads before and only one holy book to believe in. Everyone belonging to all such religions has to swear for their respective holy book and to take their only one prophet to remain a part of that religious community.
So far as the Hindu way of thinking is concerned, one can have any way of approach for their spiritual uplift. From this angle, if a section of the Hindu society bow their head before Lord Shiva, the other one before Shri Ram Chandraji. Still another section before Shri Krishanji. Besides this, there are others, who hold Shri Hanumanji in high esteem. There are still others who have their mental satisfaction, while bowing their head before various goddesses. Besides this, there are various sections of the Hindu society, who put their faiths in different religious scriptures only. If one seeks salvation through the Vedas, the other through the Purans and the Upanishads. Still other recite Ramayana, or Bhagwat Geeta. There are certain sections of the Hindu society, like Arya Samajis, who are totally against idol worship, but still put their faith in Vedas. There are such sections also, who are called Dev Samajis. They do not believe in any form of God at all and are generally called as nastiks. Despite all these vast differences they still call themselves as Hindus. There were many respected rishis like Charvak, who only believe in materialism. Their philosophy is in present life alone. They openly proclaim, ?that everything ends with the death of the present body.? Hindu concept of thinking is ?that all religious ways although vastly differing one from the other still reach the one goal of Almighty supreme from their different paths of rituals.? This concept of Hindu way of thinking is now taken to be, and recognised as democratic way the world over.
Even the present political structure of our country, which is divided in many nationally recognised parties like BJP, Congress, NCP, BSP, CPI, CPM and others and many State recognised parties like Akali Dal, DMK, AIADMK, TDP, Trina Mool Congress, etc. Despite vast difference of approach in their state or national policies, barring one or two, almost all the parties are led by Hindus in this country.
This democratic way of thinking has spread from Hindu culture and Hindu way of approach. When difference of opinion is considered to be an essential part of Hindu thoughts, there is hardly any possibility of putting the whole Hindu vote bank in the lap of one or the other party. So, under the situation explained above when Hindu way of thinking is in itself a mother of all democracies, the vote bank feasibility of the Hindus can hardly be described as feasible.
(The author is former president of Punjab BJP and a former Minister of Industries, Health & Local Government, Labour & Employments in Punjab Government. He can be contacted at 1556, Sector 18-D, Chandigarh-160 018.)