If the sky falls we shall catch larks
The commanding political outfit leading the ruling coalition at the Centre – the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is adept at making poll promises. It is also adept at putting these lofty promises in cold storage, all the while keeping the hopes of their fulfillment alive in the minds and hearts of people.
This blow-hot-blow-cold attitude of the party is time tested and has reaped rewards in the past. The saffron party has been playing like this with its core issues over the years without facing any backlash from the general public over its lax attitude on poll promises and core issues.
The BJP is presently concentrating on publicising the achievements of its government during the first year in office under the leadership of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. No doubt, it is an occasion to celebrate for the party. The party has been organising press conferences, exhibitions, public meetings and other mega events across the country. BJP president, Amit Shah, while addressing a rally during the party’s publicity blitz asserted that they party need 370 seats in the lower house of Parliament to confidently address core issues like abrogation of article 370, formulation of a uniform civil code, construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya. This is probably the easiest way to put the core issues aside and express the limitations imposed due to the lack of required numbers in both houses in the Parliament.
Shah is well aware of the fact that an even two-thirds majority in the lower house is not going to suffice for getting constitutional amendments done as the party seemingly will not be in the majority any time soon. It is perhaps next to impossible for the saffron party to accomplish mission 370 in times to come as it has already demonstrated its best performance in the 2014 General Elections. This is because the popularity and acceptability of the party are going to depend on the performance of the government and credibility of the party leaders including the PM and others. Needless to say, Modi’s approval ratings are not particularly high.
The party might witness a new situation, wherein the contest between BJP and all on-BJP forces may result in significant losses to the party. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is also singing the same tune as Shah. Political commentators say that this might be a calculated approach to keeping the hopes of the party cadres alive on core issues. It is like asking a magician to hide the rabbit and then present it as per the whims and fancies of the party. The present priority of the government is development and not the Ram Temple, Singh has emphatically stated. In other words, the Ram temple can wait. The party is also very flexible in handling the core issues while forming coalition governments at the Centre and states. This game of smokes and mirrors reminds one of a proverb—if the sky falls we shall catch larks, this is nothing but an attempt to entice people. The sky will never fall, hence the core issues will also remain in limbo for all times to come.
It is time to remind top party leaders of the core issues, about their earnest commitments and slogans coined from time to time to garner public support just before the elections. The aim is to remind them that this is not to embarrass the leaders but to make people aware of the tactics being used by the politicians. The slogans used during Mandir Andolan were—”<g data-gr-id="57">Bachha</g> bacha Ram ka -Janmbhoomi <g data-gr-id="58">ke</g> Kam ka” and “Jai Shri Ram”, among others. The slogans coined for Kashmir included – “Ek <g data-gr-id="62">desh</g> do <g data-gr-id="63">samvidhan</g>- Ek <g data-gr-id="64">desh</g> do Pradhan- <g data-gr-id="65">nahin</g> <g data-gr-id="66">chalega</g> <g data-gr-id="67">nahin</g> <g data-gr-id="68">chalega</g>” and “Shyama Prasad ka <g data-gr-id="69">balidan</g>- <g data-gr-id="70">nahin</g> <g data-gr-id="71">sahega</g> Hindustan”, among others.
Similarly, slogans were also coined to oppose Cow slaughter and during the Hindi <g data-gr-id="49">andolan</g>. These were “Hindi, Hindu, <g data-gr-id="50">Hindusatan</g>”, and “Gau <g data-gr-id="51">ke</g> <g data-gr-id="52">hatyaron</g> ko – vote <g data-gr-id="53">dena</g> pap hai”. Political analysts are not surprised since they believe a party which can forget the contribution and stature of a patriarch like Advani, may easily erase its commitments and slogans. The BJP while weaving a coalition in J&K went on to forget the great sacrifice of its founder <g data-gr-id="54">Syama</g> Prasad Mukherjee. The party has left the issues of Hindu Rashtra, Kashmir, Article 370, and common civil code in the lurch. Since Mission 370 will be impossible to achieve, these core issues will remain alive till the party exists.