It's Not About Hindutva: Narendra Modi's victory doesn't show Hindu minds have been rigged. Such critiques are clueless
Many Muslim majority areas voted overwhelmingly for the BJP. Who ‘rigged’ their minds?
- Total Shares
The one problem most human beings suffer from is the inability to accept that they were (or are) wrong. When the mistake stares us in the face, we like to shift the blame. Many failed to read the writing on the wall when it came to their bets on the results of the 2019 General Elections — some, because of a lack of understanding of the ground situation, others, because of a deliberate blinding of logic.
Both groups now are busy ‘blaming’ the voters for the verdict.
They have gone as far as saying that the verdict reflects a ‘rigging of the Hindu mind’. This, of course, came after they put the onus of the loss on ‘rigging of EVMs’.
In order to understand why Narendra Modi’s mandate is a vote for development and not entirely for Hindutva, we need to go back to the 2014 Lok Sabha election results.
The BJP single-handedly won 272 seats back then.
Many saw the verdict as the result of Modi’s voters trying to usher in Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s idea of a Hindu Rashtra. Five years of that rule did not see the BJP take any significant step for the construction of the Ram Temple or bringing in the Uniform Civil Code. On both issues, Modi did not even attempt to start a consensus.
Clueless: Those saying India has voted for Hindutva have no real idea about Indians. (Source: Reuters)
When it came to 2019, there were talks that Modi had ditched his ‘Hindu voters’. That inference was drawn from the fact that there was a ‘Hindu voter’ voting against minority communities, in favour of the Ram Temple, in favour of the Uniform Civil Code and in favour of an India that was less pluralistic and more majoritarian in its ethos and outlook.
While in power, BJP president Amit Shah himself ruled out a nationwide beef ban. In the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha campaign, Modi had said he feared a ‘pink revolution’ leading to speculation that if the BJP came to power, it would go for a crackdown on the beef industry in the country.
Those who call the 2019 verdict a result of the rigging of Hindu minds must therefore explain why Hindus were not miffed with the BJP for not building the Ram Temple, not starting a dialogue on the Uniform Civil Code, or not enforcing a beef ban across the length and breadth of India.
While some may still argue that the BJP has been given this massive mandate because Hindus want the ‘unfinished agenda’ to be taken to its logical conclusion, they may find this shocking:
Adilabad - BJP Won By - 58493 Nizamabad - BJP - 70385 LeadKarimnagar - BJP Won By - 89508 SECUNDERABAD - 62114 LeadMahabubnagar - BJP - 2nd Place - 77829 - TRS WonHYDERABAD - BJP - 2nd Place - 282186 MIM Won— Nistula Hebbar (@nistula) May 23, 2019
Many Muslim majority areas voted overwhelmingly for the BJP.
Who ‘rigged’ their minds?
The problem is that for far too long, politicians thought they could carry on by dividing people on caste and communal lines. By pandering to the basest of human instincts, they denied the poor the most basic rights.
Modi reached out to them with a host of schemes — he reignited the belief that the state was not just exploitative of the poor; it could be a well-organised machine that churns out schemes and plans for the welfare of the people.
The poor have no caste, they have no religion. They are too bogged down by concerns over the next meal to concern themselves with a temple in Ayodhya. This was a mandate for the toilets women got. For those who did not have homes and were given their own dwellings, the vote was for the homes — not the temple.
They voted for the LPG connections they got because even beef needs to be cooked for consumption. Those poor and marginalised people travelled to their home states from metro cities to vote for the BJP because they wanted to ensure he is voted back to power, so that their lives would improve. To say they voted in the name of Hinduism is a grave insult to those who respected democracy by participating in the electoral process.
In the 2018 Assembly elections, welfare schemes won K Chandrashekar Rao a decisive mandate in Telangana. Jayalalithaa won several elections for what she did for the poor. And if you think, Hindutva is a north Indian phenomenon, what explains the BJP getting just two seats in Punjab?
If people had their minds rigged, why did the BJP lose the Hindi heartland states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in 2018?
It is a lesson that the opposition can choose to ignore at its own peril.
India is an aspirational country. Promises of temples no longer ring a bell with people.
Promises of a better, brighter future do. And when you promise that, do not forget to deliver.