Elections and riots
Is saal danga bahut hua (tha),
bahut hui hai khoon ki baarish,
agale saal acchi hogi fasal matdaan ki ….
(This time the riot was massive, horrific.
It rained tears and blood.
Next year there will be a good harvest.
A harvest of votes.)
– Gorakh Pandey
In September 2013 riots were engineered in small town of Muzaffarnagar, Jat dominated area in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
The horrific riots proved prelude to yearlong election campaign for 2014 Lok Sabha elections, which led to rout of the Congress from the Centre. First time in the history of independent India, the Congress party is not even an opposition party.
In Muzaffarnagar riots a number of Muslims were killed and thousands had to flee from native villages and were forced to live in relief camps.
Instead of intervening, the Congress party looked the other way fearing that touching the subject and bringing perpetuators of the riots to justice could prove costly during the elections. Yes the party paid heavily but for its inaction. The fact finding reports published by civil society groups concluded that many leaders of right wing party Bhartiya Janta Party were directly involved in instigating these riots against minority community (Muslims).
This led to complete polarisation of the Western Uttar Pradesh on the communal lines. Not a single accused was arrested or punished. In fact many of the accused were later felicitated by the BJP’s central leadership openly.
If it was not enough the BJP’s incharge of elections in Uttar Pradesh and party’s General Secretary, Mr Amit Shah during his campaign made statements before Jat community that the 2014 elections were an opportunity to take “revenge for the insult” while alluding to violence in Muzaffarnagar.
Since media was overawed by the “Modinomics” and presented Shah’s campaign as part of the development project of the BJP, we could clearly see what is happening on the ground.
In the pretext of development model the communal politics was played out aggressively. The hate speeches by the likes of Giriraj Singh & Praveen Togadia and continuous efforts to polarise the voters was clearly visible on the ground. Now when election results are out we can clearly see it in numbers. BJP’s all India tally rose to 282 seats which was 112 in 2009.
Biggest indicator is the loss of chief of the Rashtriya Lok Dal Party and a Jat leader Ajit Singh from his old bastion constituency, Baghpat in western Uttar Pradesh, a seat he had been winning straight since 1999 and had lost only once before. He lost to a BJP candidate Satypal Singh who had joined the party just few months ago after resigning from the post of Police Commissioner of Mumbai.
Three constituencies of Western Uttar Pradesh Muzaffarnagar, Kairana and Bijnor, which were worst affected by the riots, were swept away by the BJP. This is for the first time in the history of Elections in Independent India that there is not even a single Muslim Member of Parliament from the state of Uttar Pradesh. There will be only 22 Muslim candidates in the 2014 Lok Sabha lowest ever.
Reaping benefits from the riots and demonising minority is not new for BJP leadership. The Prime Ministerial candidate of BJP Mr Narendra Modi was Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2002 when about 2000 Muslims were killed and other few thousands were displaced in the riots. Being Chief of State till date he is nowhere held accountable or responsible for the one sided attack on the minorities in his state. In fact to reap the most benefits from the riots he dissolved the Gujarat Assembly one year earlier from its time and went for elections. Needless to say he won the election by huge margins. Since then he is being winning all 3 elections held in 2002, 2007 & 2012 and became longest serving Chief Minister of the State and later in 2013 anointed as Prime Ministerial candidate of the party.
Similarly Gujarat witnessed number of fake encounters during the tenure of Amit Shah and Modi. Amit Shah is accused in the encounter cases and currently is out on bail. Today after successfully taking the tally of its party in Uttar Pradesh from 10 to 71 and a right hand man of the new Prime Minister he is seen as No. 2 in the party.
In 2013, a two investigative websites Cobrapost and Gulail reported that former Minister of State for Home Affairs in Gujarat Mr Amit Shah on the instructions of his Saheb (Master) used all State machinery to do illegal surveillance of a young girl in Gujarat in 2009.
We are witnessing history after 30 years since 1984 when any party has got majority on its own (272 seats). In December, 1984 Congress won with 404 seats after its leader and Prime Minister of India, Mrs Indira Gandhi’s assassination on October 31,1984 by her Sikh bodyguard that followed with massive riots by Congress workers against Sikh community. As per the recent statement of former Chief Minister of Punjab Mr Amarinder Singh, several BJP-RSS leaders were also involved in the massacre that many states of India are witness to in 1984.
Having brute majority with him, Mr Narendra Modi and Mr Amit Shah would pose a greater challenge to liberals who have been voicing concerns about Muzaffarnagar and Gujarat experiments. The dissent should not go and the liberals like media should not prostrate before the numbers and describe engineered riots as mere minor incidents. And if it does then sad days are ahead.
First Published in thecitizen.in