Beginning of End

The decline has begun and it has started, somewhat ironically in Punjab that now attracts international attention because of continuing conflict between the Modi government and peasants.

The almost complete rout of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the municipal polls in Punjab has nailed the propaganda of Narendra Modi and his brigade that only a small fraction of farmers was against the farm laws. It has also shown that the nefarious game of branding farmers as Khalistanis, i.e. of equating Sikhs with Khalistanis, has got few takers. These are only municipal polls involving urban voters, who are not farmers in general. Yet there can be no questioning over the fact that the farmers' movement and the attitude of the government towards it have made their impact on the civic polls. It will have its own dynamism to galvanise popular movements elsewhere. The on-going peasant agitation has already been drawing global support, even from the USA where Narendra Modi had gone to campaign for the racialist Donald Trump in his own brazen manner. The statement by the external affairs ministry in early February, asking US citizens not to comment on this contentious issue - farmers' movement has clearly failed to achieve its purpose and voices are growing among the US citizens about the erosion of democracy in Modi's India. The impact of the farmers' movement in Western UP is clearly visible. What is remarkable is that the Jat community, which participated in anti-Muslim riots in Mujaffarnagar at the instigation of the BJP-- this led to a communal polarisation and gave rich dividends to the instigators-has now begun to break away from the clutches of the ruling party, leaving aside their anti-Muslim attitude. This has visibly worried the Chanakya of Indian politics, and he has decided to launch an aggressive all out propaganda campaign in support of the farm laws. It is unlikely that this will deliver the goods, because the arguments against these farm laws and the revision of the Essential Commodities Act are too strong to be obliterated by the arguments drafted by the followers of Modi. The Jat community has seemingly realised that their former anti-Muslim patrons are no friends of them.

In West Bengal, there are regular reports of Trinamul Congress functionaries joining the BJP. But the statements of these turncoats in favour of ratting amply reveal that almost all of them have deserted their mother party for personal reasons. They, as their statements show, are after power, position and money; the BJP, being the richest political party of the country, is likely to provide them with a platform that can be used for furthering their self-interests. The apparent success in luring away TMC men has, again, created a rift between the old BJP workers and new entrants inside the BJP. The same thing happened in Trinamul Congress when it came to power as dozens of 'dissenters' from different parties joined Trinamul. A clash between old-timers and new-timers was the logical outcome! The old ones are clearly aggrieved over the possibility that turncoats from the Trinamul Congress may get priority over them. The misrule of the TMC and its inability to satisfy the aspirations of the new middle classes, who are striving for a share of power, helped the BJP win many seats in West Bengal in the last Lok Sabha polls. But the TMC now seems to have achieved some success in controlling the damage. Besides, the strength of the Congress-Left Front combine cannot be altogether ignored, and it is not likely that votes controlled by the 'left' will go to the BJP, which they did in the 2019 polls in reaction to the authoritarian and despotic behaviour of the TMC government. So, the boastful claim of the BJP leaders that they will win at the coming assembly polls is very much unlikely to be turned into reality. In truth, having failed to make any headway in southern states they have targeted Bengal with their storm troopers as all their top ranking leaders are camping here at the moment.

Narendra Modi returned to power for the second time with 37% of the votes polled from the people, but it was stupidly propagated that he had got a huge mandate. Since then, what he has been doing has alienated many of his former supporters. But he is unrelenting. In this way, he is proceeding towards his own inevitable doom.


Back to Home Page

Vol. 53, No. 36, Mar 7 - 13, 2021