Why BJP's Jan Raksha Yatra in Kerala is a success
It is leaving behind an indelible political imprint.
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A few arm chair analysts and propagandists in an advanced stage of superannuation or undertaking their analysis from the acclimatised confines of their study speak of the ongoing Jan Raksha Yatra in Kerala as having started with a bang and ending with a whimper, some others analyse it as Amit Shah’s propaganda machine working in full swing!
Essentially, these analysts themselves work for some propaganda machine and network and hence minimise or denigrate the Yatra, which is on the contrary creating history in the state. Despite the efforts to downplay it, each day the crowds are swelling and people across the board are responding to it enthusiastically. Smiling determinedly, silently waving and nodding, as the marchers pass by, people are registering their solidarity with this mode of protesting against the culture of violence that has been unleashed in the state by the communists and has intensified ever since Pinarayi Vijayan has taken over the reins of power. The momentum, the commitment and the spirit of the Yatra remains undiminished ever since the day BJP president Amit Shah flagged it off earlier this month.
Unlike the arm-chair analysts, on October 13, I joined the Jan Raksha Yatra and walked the near 10kilometre stretch from Kalavoor to Alapuzha. It was a swelling crowd and by the time we reached Alapuzha in the evening, the town was chock-a-block with people awaiting the Yatris. Across the entire stretch, women, children, auto drivers, fish sellers, truck drivers, bus drivers and conductors, passengers, ordinary people, shop keepers, not one did we pass who did not raise their hands and wave in solidarity with the cause of the Yatra.
BJP state president Kummanam Rajashekhar has indeed captured the imagination of the people. With his firm and yet affable ways, with his grassroots activism and down to earth image, Kummanam, it was clearly seen, had touched a chord amongst a cross section of the people, his determined message of the need to end this culture of political violence, his unflinching dedication to this objective has galvanised party workers and people at large.
The state of things cannot be brushed under the carpet anymore. Those champions of human rights, who look the other way and conspire to black out these violent episodes, can continue to look the other way, while people have taken it upon themselves to expose and speak up on these violations of democratic rights. In fact, BJP member of Parliament, Nalin Kateel, was right when he told those gathered at Alapuzha, that this is Yatra is not so much a Jana Raksha Yatra as a Jana Deeksha Yatra – a Yatra to reiterate our commitment to liberate the state from this politics of violence, rid it of the communists and thus pay homage to the memory of those who were victims of communist violence.
Kerala, before long, will witness a political decimation. Photo: PTI
The BJP has seen a number of Yatras being undertaken in the course of its evolution, but the Jan Raksha Yatra, is a first of its kind, in its ideological underpinning, in its democratic spirit, in its mobilisation and momentum. Centred on Kerala, making a political point for the people of the state, it has also succeeded in capturing attention across the country – the issue of communist violence, the communists’ disdain for the democratic space and ways, their habit to resort to third degree methods in dealing with their political opponents – and has added fresh lease to the debate on how, since independence, the communists have, in some form or the other, directly indulged in violence and have always set up a political machinery that is based on violence and death. In Kerala, as in West Bengal, the communist parties and their governments in power have always used anti-socials of various dimensions from the crude to the sophisticated, to deal with those who have opposed their politics and have followed a different ideological line. In Kerala, the communist dispensation has patronised an army of goons that is repeatedly unleashed on the workers of the BJP and on RSS swayamsevaks.
These goons have no ideological affiliation or party loyalty. They are mercenaries nurtured and fed by the communist system, hardened and bought over, these have helped communist cadres in planning and unleashing terror on political and ideological opponents. Ironically both CPI and NSUI cadres are also attacked and face death, but their respective parties and their leaders keep silent on these. Rahul Gandhi has no time for his afflicted cadres while comrades like D Raja look the other way.
While the Karats and Yechuris glibly talk of social justice, of democratic rights, their party leaders and cadres hack away at these by attacking political opponents, preventing them from standing for panchayat elections, and forcing their social boycott. In fact, clichéd though it may sound, “God’s Own Country”, the much famed and fabled heaven on earth, the state with proverbial natural beauty and mesmerising sights of clouds, green fields, quiet backwater all blending into a canvas of ethereal beauty has been turned into a veritable hell by these political and ideological fascists. In a “party gramam” – party village – if you dare to oppose the CPIM and stand as a panchayat candidate for the BJP, the only things that become your lot is bombs and social boycott.
We met braveheart Sethu, a BJP panchayat member, in idyllic Kumarakom, a favourite tourist destination, popular across the world as one of the best spot to savour Kerala’s backwater beauty.
However, for Sethu, his family, his mother and sisters, living in Kumarakom, it is a daily struggle, an uncertain struggle, just because Sethu decided to defy the “party-gramam” dictate and stand for the panchayat elections.
Six attempts were made to bomb Sethu and his family out of existence, while the accused are well ensconced within the system, one of the prime accused, was in fact, seen sitting on the inspectors chair wearing his cap, when workers had gone to register a complaint against the attack, Sethu’s family members live in constant fear of bloody reprisal.
For those who know, West Bengal was replete with such episodes, such violence and brazenness. But as West Bengal saw the eventual decimation of communists, Kerala too, before long, will witness such a political decimation.
Meanwhile, make no mistake, the Jana Raksha Yatra, is not winding down, it marches gathering steam and is leaving behind an indelible political imprint.
(The writer is Director, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, New Delhi & Member, Policy Research Dept of BJP.)