ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Back to Basics

Now that "development" has delivered the votes, the BJP is back to hard-line Hindutva.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is supposed to have won the recent general elections on the basis of its campaign on “development”. Vikas is supposed to have been the strong pitch for transforming India – accomplishing in 60 months what the Congress and other governments could not do in 60 years – into a developed country that created the electoral tsunami which carried the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, the “vikas purush”, to power.

While it may well be true that some voters were swayed by this massive public relations exercise, a look at the electoral evidence also suggests that vicious communal divisions played a significant role in giving the BJP an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha. The sweep in Uttar Pradesh would have been impossible without the execution of the well-planned Muzaffarnagar riots where Muslim communities in the rural areas were systematically targeted and an atmosphere of communal tension and suspicion was created in the entire state. A spillover of this was also the electoral bounty in Haryana. The showing in Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, etc, also cannot be accounted for without the killings, general violence and displacement of Muslims, for instance, in Assam’s Bodo-dominated areas. Other states like Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, etc, also saw openly aggressive campaigns on communal issues accomplished by the BJP and other Hindutva organisations. Given the reach of the BJP’s high voltage “360 degree” media campaign, these communal pitches did not remain local but had a national effect.

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