The advent of Modi
Fascism Staring us in the Face
Ram Gopal Shalwale of the Akhil Bharatiya Jana Sangh defeated the veteran and respected Congress leader Lala Sham Nath in the 1967 general elections when for the first time after independence the Congress suffered huge reverses in several states, including Delhi and the Jana Sangh came to power in the Delhi Metropolitan Council (DMC).
Ram Gopal Shalwale, who took part in the anti- cow slaughter agitation contested against Lala Sham Nath from the Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha constituency. Congress vote bank largely comprised of Muslim minorities and the poorer deprived sections of the society living in the Delhi slums.
Soon as the results were announced Shalwale proceeded to court arrest again against cow slaughter and asked his supporters to garland and fete in a processions through the Delhi streets, Haji Sher Jung Bahadur, the white bearded 80 something man from Jama Masjid area, who had also contested and cut into enough of Muslim votes to ensure Shalwale’s victory. That ended Lala Sham Nath’s bright political career though soon thereafter Shalwale, who probably had a shawl shop in Chandni Chowk was forgotten and what talk of Hajiji. In fact such a political non entity he was that I don’t distinctly remember his full name. I have a hazy vague image of an old man with a flowing white beard. Even this much I remember because briefly my uncle Muzaffar Husain was his tenant and therefore his name often cropped up in our family conversations.
Arvind Kejriwal and his AAP party remind me of the same event close to half a century ago. The Sanghis ought to have taken Kejriwal and company in a procession around Delhi for their unexpectedly spectacular show in Delhi. The entire Congress mass support, minus largely the Muslim constituency shifted to AAP. The AAP managed to fool the poor Backwards, Dalits and other deprived sections of the capital residing in the slums and resettlement colonies through their election symbol the Jhadu (broom). In the whole cacophony it was lost on most of the poor that the fundamental anger articulated from Anna Hazare’s platform of which AAP is just an offshoot, was against reservation. Lalu Yadav was ridiculed and targeted by name by Anna and his cohorts including Arvind Kejriwal, and Lalu’s continued relevance in politics and Parliament, despite all the corruption charges slapped against him was the source of much angst to Anna and AAP. That one Jhadu symbol fooled many a poor people. And why blame the poor when several articulate and aware people, swearing by secularism and social equilibrium Mind you not social justice) enthusiastically went over to Kejriwal on the specious plea that Kejriwal spelt change. For me the choice between Kejriwal and BJP is twiddle do or twiddle de.
No doubt that that alone is not responsible, in my perception, for the rout of the Congress party. The sustained BJP/RSS campaign over two years of a corrupt and inept Congress, which Narendra Modi conveyed most effectively, sold. Inflation which was real, though a lot was artificially created by the wholesale trader, the traditional BJP support base, helped in disenchanting the core anti BJP constituency. I don’t agree that Congress is any the more corrupt today than in the past and definitely not as corrupt as the BJP. Even today in this very Delhi, the state of municipal services is a living evidence of the BJP’s governance model. On the other hand the UPA government took some important measures like RTI, of which Kejriwal was a part and truly created an atmosphere of accountability for the first time.
It is also true that Sheila Dikshit was the best and most competent chief minister Delhi has had ever since I remember and my memory goes back, though a little hazily to 1967 when Vijay Kumar Malhotra became the Chief Executive Councillor of Delhi.The BJP propaganda coupled with Manmohan Singh’s economic policies pushed Congress into a veritable doom.
But the most disconcerting factor that led to the decimation of Congress party was the total lack of leadership. Sonia has retreated into the background. Rahul appears neither able nor inclined to lead from the front. The UPA government was a coalition government but the Congress never really took the coalition era seriously and eventually deserted and witnessed the decimation of one ally after another one by one, to be left alone to fend for itself. And the architect of this policy is Prince Rahul Gandhi, who demolished his mother’s carefully built umbrella. This election forebodes the doom of the Congress party in 2014.
Till 1984, Congress was the A team of the Indian Brahmin establishment. But by 1987-88 it realized that Rajiv Gandhi did not have it in him and started building the BJP which had been totally abandoned by the RSS in 1984. Post Rajiv Gandhi assassination with the emergence of P V Narasimha Rao the Brahmin hedged his bets for a while, but eventually it preferred BJP as it’s A team. If the BJP had failed this time it might have led to its decimation for there is only this much political space left for the Brahmanical forces. Now it’s the Congress turn to face yet another split, before or after 2014.
The tragedy is that the forces of social justice, Lalu, Mulayam and Mayawati are also in a state of disarray. I hope to prove wrong but today I surely see Fascism staring us in the face with Narendra Modi ascending the Prime Minster’s chair sooner than later.