‘Sick…Sick….Sickularism is back in action, and the Hindu voters in Karnataka may just pull up their sleeves to fight out the ‘monster of Muslim appeasement’.
In electoral politics, the game often changes overnight. This has happened a number of times in the past and, in likelihood, has happened yet again. This time in Karnataka.
Over enthusiastic to play its ‘Sickularism’ and Muslim appeasement card, the Congress party said it wants respect for the law and the Constitution. It put organisations like the Bajrang Dal in brackets with highly controversial bodies like the Popular Front of India (PFI) and said, “We will take decisive action as per law, including imposing a ban on such organisations”.
Remember the Gujarat polls of 2007. Like what is happening in Karnataka today, the ‘sickular’ and English media and, of course, a select group of TV journalists were in a hurry to declare that Narendra Modi and BJP would lose the battle of Gujarat in 2007. Over enthusiastic Sonia Gandhi picked up a line virtually inspired by a Bollywood script writer and used the phrase ‘Maut K Saudagar’ (Merchant of Deaths). And the game had changed.
In Karnataka, too, perhaps the game has changed. One survey by an otherwise pro-Congress media group says an overwhelming 43 per cent of voters said the ‘Bajrang Dal ban’ episode would help the BJP and harm Congress.
Predictably Congress has tried to do some damage control, and now leaders are saying they will also construct temples for God Hanuman. But the Congress leaders will do well to recall what veteran A K Antony had said some years ago that the grand old party is now easily identified as a pro-Muslim and an anti-Hindu party.
In the 2019 polls, Congress played soft Hindutva, and the people of India did not fall into its trap. The attempt to describe Rahul Gandhi as a Shiv Bhakt was only mocked in more ways than one. The past actions count more than what a party says as a mere ‘damage control’ exercise.
Senior BJP leader Eshwarappa called the Congress manifesto a “manifesto of Muslim League,” referring to the political legacy of the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Hindu voters in Karnataka could be more educated than their counterparts in some other States, but the religiosity and the issues of faith and sentiments are also strong enough. Hence the impact in favour of the BJP and the ‘fallout’ against Congress could be huge.
Yet again, the Hindu voters are likely to fall back upon leadership and a political party — that is, Narendra Modi-led BJP. The yearning for a strong Hindu-India has been rekindled. It may be prudent to keep in mind that the rise of Hindutva is seen as an ‘essential’ episode as the Congress and the Sonia Gandhi-Rahul-Manmohan leadership had gone all out to appease Muslims and other minorities. Dr Manmohan Singh had even said that minorities had the first right to national resources.
The rise of Hindutva is seen as a response to the 700-year-old ‘sense of injustice and response’ to that. The Bajrang Dal episode could be a catalyst in that direction. Islamic fundamentalism is seen largely as a threat from a security point of view. Indian voters know that the challenge can be dealt with by security forces and police. But what really irks them most is the ‘fear’ of return of a party at the helms which will try to go soft on Muslim terrorists and even find fault with the ‘sacred’ colour of Hindus — and call it the ‘saffron terror’.
Equating Bajrang Dal with PFI is linked to efforts made by Congress leaders like Digvijaya Singh and Sushilkumar Shine in the past to try to raise the non-existing bogey of ‘saffron terror’. In all probability the voters of Karnataka rising above caste and other differences will rise up to face the ‘monster of Muslim appeasement’.
The people of Karnataka will prefer a party which delivers governance and infrastructure. A Government that will ensure ‘violent-free’ environment by taking on forces like the PFI. The BJP is hence just the right party, according to many, that will provide such an environment in the state and also at the national level.
The top BJP leaders, including PM Modi, have lashed out at the Congress for allegedly insulting the Hindu God, Hanuman. They say the Congress intends to “lock up those who chant ‘Jai Bajrang Bali’.
The Bajrang Dal is the youth wing of the Vishva Hindu Parishad. The Bajrang Bali is another name for God Hanuman. The BJP has rightly taken out a massive programme across the State to chant the Hanuman Chalisa.