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Mainstream, VOL LVII No 19 New Delhi April 27, 2019

BJP’s ‘Nationalism’ Sounds Hollow Slogan-shouting

Monday 29 April 2019

by Samit Kar

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and several of its frontal organisations like the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM), RSS, Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) have always tried to play the Hindu card while projecting the age-old slogan of ‘Garb se kaho ham Hindu hain’. By the word ‘Hindu’, the BJP and its allies have projected them as true patriots unlike other political parties whom they describe as ‘traitors’. Without discussing the role of other political parties, the concept of Nationalism as vouched by the BJP and its allies needs a threadbare discussion. Had the outfit been serious about the upholding and preservation of Indian Nationalism, they might have restrained themselves from the butchery of the public sector companies holding commanding heights in the Indian economy.

During the tenure of Atal Behari Vajpayee (1998-2004) and Narendra Modi (2014-2019) the butchery of the public sector companies was able to experience the worst beating. Arun Shourie, who has now become a BJP-dissident, was the Public Sector Disinvestment Minister during the days of the Vajpayee Government. He was instrumental in downsizing the large public sector units causing huge detriment to our national economy. How can the BJP leaders befool our countrymen with the hollow slogan of Indian Nationalism when they are known to be the worst culprits of ruining our public sector?

Jio, the house owned by Mukesh Ambani, is now India’s biggest and fastest growing telecom company. The annual net profit of the company is fabulous. On the other hand, the government-owned India’s national telecom company BSNL is on the brink of closure. The BJP’s poll pundits who had been using the slogan of ‘nationalism’ are unable to convince the people of our country that the fabulous profit of Jio would not be able to contribute to the development of the country. Whereas the profit of the BSNL, a state-owned company, could have done so. Thus, the BJP leaders have being intentionally duping the people with the growth figures of our country without mentioning the per capita income of our countrymen.

Over the years, about 25 lakh posts are remaining vacant in different government offices. Had the BJP leaders been really serious about the national interest of our country, they could have filled up these posts to allay the gigantic problem of unemployment gagging our country. What does nationalism mean in a country submerged under deep poverty and deprivation? The BJP’s action regarding demon-etisation is now put to serious question. Even the RBI cannot provide the exact volume of currency retrieved through different banking outlets. The impact of demonetisation on our national economy has been questioned by everybody. Even Arun Jaitley, who came to know of the announcement of Narendra Modi only later, reacted promptly: Oh my goodness! This shows that the NDA Government was unable to work democratically. There was too much centralisation of power in the hands of Narendra Modi.

In the last few months when the Lok Sabha poll was in the offing, the Narendra Modi Government had little to project to win the minds of our countrymen. The age-old war-strife between India and Pakistan proved to be a handy weapon to them to stir up the people’s mind. The bogey of cross-border terrorism and the fanning up of a war hysteria against Pakistan has now become too old to make a serious mark on the voters’ minds. Moreover, the revolutionary developments in the world of information systems have given an unbridled privilege to the people to know what is what. That the much doubted air strikes along the Indo-Pak border is a complete hoax has now become clear. Even the Defence Ministry has stopped back-patting understanding that the people were able to know everything by this time.

The downfall of the BJP might be certainly ensured by the present think-tanks of the party. The way the BJP has eliminated the veteran and respected leaders from the party’s organisational fold has made the powerful coterie of the party to dig its own grave. The bitter animosity of the party’s legendary leader, L.K. Advani, with the present leadership is well known. But the fielding of the BJP’s National President, Amit Shah, from the prestigious Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency, long represented by Advani is bound to prove to be a huge blunder. Amit Shah has proved time and again whenever and wherever he had been over-zealous in campaigning, that he was a one-member demolition squad of the BJP. The debacle started in Bihar and continued in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh where the party lost the Assembly polls despite holding advantage initially. The BJP appears to be a rudderless ship without having the stewardship of a wise and far-sighted captain.

The slogan-shouting of the BJP in the name of nationalism to tame Pakistan might not be able to hold enough water in the long run. Their propaganda in favour of ‘Nationalism’ is fast appearing shady and lacks substance. How can the BJP—a party that upholds the dignity of nationalism at least in words—hobnob with industrialists and businessmen while putting the public sector units in absolute doldrums? Does the party suffer from a terrible intellectual bankruptcy or the party leaders take the Indian voters as a bunch of idiots? Narendra Modi has never explained why the crisis of unemploy-ment in our country has taken the form of a monster. Strangely enough, only five years ago, this was his pet subject during his election campaign and he assured the army of Indian youth that the country would soon be able to come across as a ‘modi+fied’ India with Modi at the helm.

The BJP’s central think-tank with Modi and Shah at the top should make a serious introspection while taking out some leaves from the charters that they had made public to the Indian electorate prior to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. After destroying India’s nationally-owned giant companies and playing with the life and livelihood of crores of Indians, they should have a look at their audicious face in the mirror—the mirror being the minds of the Indian electorate. The golden days of Air India, Coal India, SAIL, Indian Oil, ONGC, BSNL and many other leading giant Navaratna central public sector units are facing the worst crisis since their inception. The BJP should understand, the bogey of Indian Nationalism by stirring up war fanaticism against Pakistan would not be able to prove that they are serious in protecting Indian Nationalism. Had they been really serious, they would have protected and conserved the nationally owned companies that had always been holding the commanding heights of the Indian economy since the days of our national independence.

The author was in the Sociology faculty of Presidency College, Kolkata.

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