Flag Bearers of ‘Ram Rajya’ in Secular India

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Due to the ill health of the former Prime Minister of India and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Bharatiya Janata Party declared another senior leader Lal Krishna Advani as its Prime Ministerial candidate.

Advani was not undisputedly declared the Prime Ministerial candidate of the party. Even though no differences were aired publicly during the election campaign, questions raised by Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, another senior party leader, regarding Advani’s candidature, just before the announcement of elections, can’t be ignored.

This is just a small example of internal differences in the party. As far as the alliance partners of the BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) are concerned, most of them are secular which as a result of direct opposition from the Congress in their respective states, are in alliance with the BJP. Whether they would remain with the BJP after elections and help in making Mr. Advani the Prime Minister, remains to be seen. Hopefully they would clear their stand after 16th May and it would also be clear after election whether a hardcore rightwing politician like Advani is accepted by the secular democracy or not.

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister meterial of Bhartiya Janta Party

Polls for the fifteenth general elections are not yet complete, but talks for the Prime Ministerial candidate for the sixteenth general elections are already nder discussion by the BJP. Party strategists are talking about the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi. While the BJP is projecting Narendra Modi as an eligible, dexterous and progressive leader, Modi’s critics regard this BJP action as very unfortunate for the country.

What the opposition parties and the critics are saying regarding the candidature of Modi as Prime Minister in future is a different issue. The description by the Supreme Court regarding the controversial image of Modi is enough to understand the truth. It was the alleged complicity of Modi and his partial attitude in the Gujarat genocide of 2002 which compelled the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to say that “what face would he show to the world?” These words by the Prime Minister are sufficient to understand the eligibility and capability of Narendra Modi. At least, Vajpayee was not compelled by the Congress or the left parties to pass these comments about the Gujarat genocide and Modi. The Supreme Court of India has also criticised Narendra Modi and his Government many times in this regard.

As far as the international image of Narendra Modi is concerned, the US has banned his entry to the USA and the EU has also censored him.

In this era of globalization, if a controversial, notorious, communal and divisive person like Narendra Modi becomes the Prime Minister of India and is denied a visa to the US, nothing could be more unfortunate for our country. BJP leaders and Modi supporters give the logic that the people of India, and not the White House, decide the Prime Minister of India. But the same people look very happy when some Industrialists see in Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister. Then these party leaders don’t say that the Prime Minister of India would be decided by the electorate of India, and not by these industrialists.

Undoubtedly the mandate of the people is final in the democracy of India. But the fact is that here most of the voters can be influenced by the emotional issues. The whole nation knows that how the corpses of the 58 karsevaks (volunteers) were moved along with the resentful mob in different parts of Gujarat and in this way the atmosphere for the communal violence was prepared in the whole Gujarat. It is alleged that Narendra Modi, his government and even the state police became impotent during the carnage of a particular community. Even if we assume it as just propaganda against Modi, then doesn’t not being able to control the communal violence raise a question mark on the “dexterous” image of Modi? What was the reason the Supreme Court of India compared Modi with ‘Nero of Rome’?

In fact there is a reason that Gujarat is called the laboratory of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS). It is a part of the long term strategy of the RSS that the votes of the Muslim minority are totally ignored by the BJP.

In fact in Gujarat there are attempts at social boycott of Muslim minorities. Not even a single Muslim is a candidate for the BJP either for the parliamentary or state Assembly elections. The BJP doen’t even use its Muslim mascots in Gujarat. Some BJP leaders may through media try to convey that the Muslims of Gujarat are with the BJP or Narendra Modi but the ground reality is that the BJP people don’t ask for votes from Muslims there. Instead, they want to polarize the votes in which they seem successful until now.

Narendra Modi’s acceptability at the international level is clear by the denial of a visa by the US. His internal acceptability is clear from the action of the Chief Minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar. Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) party is an ally of the BJP, and he witheld his consent for Narendra Modi to campaign in Bihar.

As a result, during the elections, Narendra Modi was not able to enter Bihar. It is said that Modi destroyed the social and secular fabric of Gujarat, the land of Mahatma Gandhi, and it is noted that he was not able to enter Bihar, the land of Buddha, due to his firebrand style. God forbid, if he should become the Prime Minister of India, the country of Unity in Diversity, then what harm would it do to the secular image of this country for which it is well known in the world.

I hope that this country of patriots like Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam would forever remain secular and the Prime Minister of India, would always follow this tradition.

Tanveer Jafri is an award-winning journalist and peace activist, based in India, covering communal harmony and social activities.