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Leaders Seek to Exploit Polarisation (Indian Election)

Posted by on Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 10:33
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In the last phase of the election campaign in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (UP), all parties are seeking polarisation and the speeches of Congress’s Imran Masood, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Amit Shah and various religious leaders – entering the fray – have spiced up the state politics.

Indian Election

Indian Election

Inflammatory words, hate-speech, Hindu-Muslim rift and other communal tactics are being excessively applied to mobilise voters. However, no political party is talking about the core issues like inflation, unemployment and stalled development.

Bhartiya Janata Party’s relapse

The Narendra Modi-led BJP which has been quiet on Hindutva issues and for most of the part has harped on development has changed the gears in UP.

Earlier, they had reached out to appease Muslims through MJ Akbar, Sabir Ali, Zafar Sareshwalas but later they realised that Muslim polarisation was too strong to be reversed in this elections – especially when the opposition has painted the BJP with a saffron colour.

In this scenario, Modi’s lieutenant Amit Shah rose to the occasion and played communal chords by delivering a thunderous hate speech against Muslims aftermath of the Muzaffarnagar riots.

He has been booked both by the Election Commission and the local police. And the BJP also brought back the Ram Mandir issue in its election manifesto, which was released very late.

Now Shah has sent a clear message if polarisation will happen, the party will ensure a reverse polarisation to prevent a negative result.

Samajwadi Party’s renewed efforts

Samajwadi Party always had a strong Muslim base in UP – firstly, because of many influential Muslim leaders’ (like Azam Khan’s) association with it and secondly, because of the party’s role in stopping attacks on Babri Masjid in the early 90s, which gave its leader Mulayam Singh Yadav the name of Maulana Mulayam.

However, Mulayam’s pact with Kalyan Singh resulted in Muslims dumping him in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections while communal riots during Mulayam’s son Akhilesh Yadav’s government have alienated the Muslim community from the political force.

But the party is leaving no stone unturned to bring back the votes and remind the Muslims that the SP is the only one close to them.

Other desperate players

Parties like Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Aam Aadmi Party and Congress too have gone on the same lines, branding the BJP as communal and the SP as betrayers.

The statement by Congress’s Imran Masood against the 12002 Gujarat riots alleged mastermind – Narendra Modi in Saharanpur have already polarised the town.

Their aim is simple to buy Muslim votes at any cost. And there is clear anti-Modi consolidation in the Muslim vote in UP. This stand is intended primarily to harvest Muslim votes, which constitutes for about 18% of the states’ electorate.

UP is one of the most important states in Indian politics as it sends the greatest number of members (80) to Lok Sabha. It has sent a various number of ministers to a high political mileage, often some of them turning out to be Indian prime ministers too. They say if you can win in UP, you can win the nation.

Even after 65 years of independence, caste- and religion-based politics vividly exists in India, where people are divided along various fault lines.

UP has borne the burden of this communal divide, which is used by politicians, and faced consequences every time in form of still being one of the worst performing state in terms of development. Probably it is time for the people to look beyond the horizon of communal politics towards development.

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