AAP Wins

Observers all over the country of the scene of electoral campaigns on the occasion of the Delhi assembly polls witnessed how the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) used its huge money and muscle power, and was desperate for winning the polls. It combined its campaign with its rabid Hindutva and anti-Pak hysteria, calling everybody who did not fall in line with it anti-national and traitor. This did not pay dividends however, as the results of the polls, leading to an overwhelming victory of the AAP, have shown. The results are, however, more a defeat of the BJP and a slap on the faces of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, than a victory of the AAP. It is clear that a large section of the electorate has refused to be intimidated by wealth—the BJP is by far the wealthiest political party in India at present. The march of aggressive Hindutva for remoulding India's secular fabric has certainly been halted at least to some extent because of successive defeats in some crucial assembly polls, including the all important Delhi assembly election. Perhaps the saffron camp could not have imagined such an inglorious backslide. Anti-NRIC and CAA stir, the barbaric events at the Universities—JNU, Jamia Millia, Aligarh and historic Saheen Bagh sit-in strike as well, have played their due parts in marginalising BJP and their corporate backers.

For one thing Arvind Kejriwal seems to have not made his stand clear on the all the controversial citizenship issues—NRIC, CAA and NPR. Unlike Assam and Bengal those who are not directly affected by Citizenship Law, are reluctant to join the movement whole heartedly. During the pre-poll campaign Modi and his political campaigners highlighted the developmental works done by his government, particularly in respect of education, health and benefits given regarding regular supply of water, electricity and cooking gas. But this policy does not adequately reflect in enhancing electoral fortunes in ballot box.

The point at issue is whether some pro-people works, although important in meeting the immediate needs of the people. This is certainly commendable, because the march of aggressive Hindutva for destroying India's diversity has thereby been halted, at least to some extent. The NRIC and CAA, the barbaric events at the JNU and the Jamia Milia University and Shahinbag, have played their due parts in defeating the BJP and tits corporate patrons. But Arvind Kejriwal has not made his stand clear on these issues. It is also not clear if and how far he is opposed to the combination of corporate-backed neo-liberalism and aggressive Hindutva. During the pre-poll campaign, he and his colleagues highlighted the developmental works done by his government, particularly in respect of education, health and benefits given regarding the supply of water, GAS and electricity. This policy does not adequately reflect the looming danger, although it is not altogether irrelevant as far as the daily lives of the electorate are concerned.

But the point at issue is whether some pro-people works, although important in meeting the immediate needs of the electorate, can be an effective weapon for fighting the pro-corporate and at the same time aggressive ideology of obscurantist Hindutva.

There is nothing in the programme of the AAP to suggest that it wants to build up a comprehensive counter-ideology of its own. It is most probably because of the absence of such an ideology that in the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP wrested all the 7 seats of Delhi. A large section of the electorate came to fall in line with the idea that Narendra Modi was a great man who could save the nation from external threats. The AAP had nothing in its arsenal to combat this false notion effectively.

It is not that the Delhi assembly polls are altogether unimportant. Had the case been so, the BJP would not have employed so much resource in trying to capture power in toothless assembly. No doubt it has failed to attain its objective, having obtained only eight seats, but curiously enough, its share of votes has increased perceptively. This is a real cause for concern and hence, well-meaning people should not be too euphoric over the victory of the AAP.

The BJP is a party that is in favour of the present over centralisation of the polity, because its ties with the corporate houses make it inevitable that it should be so. Its loss of power in several states, the latest being Jharkhand and Delhi, has seemingly thrown up the possibility of stronger assertions for a more federal structure as against this utterly undemocratic over centralisation. For this, a minimum programme that gives all identities their rightful places in the economy and society and political process, and opposes the neo-liberal economic policies of the ruling establishment has to be formulated.

Privatisation is the buzz word in Modi-Shah culture. They are going to privatise every aspect of nationalised economy a la post-Soviet Russia. But also opens up huge possibilities of loot. Looting national assets is their sole pre-occupation and they call it development.

The ideological decline of BJP is so sharp in recent months that they are nowhere near the target. Today they are totally isolated from masses which they refuse to acknowledge. The elephant-headed Ganesha cannot save the situation for them.

BJP has no option but to go on defensive after several poll debacles in a number of states.

How to mobilise masses in their millions is the basic question without which nothing tangible would be achieved despite pause in BJP's workers. Losing elections—or for that matter winning elections creates a situation that could be interchanged or reversed easily.

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Vol. 52, No. 34, Feb 23 - 29, 2020