Tag: BJP

Gujarat Poll Special-1: BJP begins showing signs of unease as Gujarat’s non-party OBC, Patel, Dalit leaders move “closer” to Congress

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By Rajiv Shah in Ahmedabad

As the Gujarat state assembly elections draw nearer, all eyes are set on whether the BJP, which won 47.9% of votes in the 2012 polls as against the Congress’ 38.9%, would be able to successfully keep intact this huge 9% gap in order to again resoundingly “win” a state for another five years, which is ruled by the party for the last more than two decades.
The stakes are indeed high: The BJP’s only “poster boy” is Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who went on a desperate ribbon-cutting spree across Gujarat during a recent his two-day tour, followed by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s visit, which seemed to have drawn huge crowds in rural and semi-urban areas.
Thanks to the relief to provided by the Election Commission of India, which appears to have decided to postpone imposition of the model code of conduct until at least October 25, not only has the BJP announced more sops, Modi is all set to address a major rally on Monday near Gandhinagar, with targets given to government officials and cops to mobilise around 10 lakh people.
During his last visit, Modi, on whose image the BJP is heavily depending in the wake rising wave of anti-incumbency both in cities and rural areas, had gone in for a laying stone foundation ceremonies at various places – from Okha, the western tip of Saurashtra, to Bhadbhut Barrage over Narmada river in South Gujarat – even as addressing rallies and public meetings at half-a-dozen spots, including his hometown Vadnagar and capital Gandhinagar.
In between, he “inaugurated” the construction of Greenfield airport off to make what he called “aviation affordable” even to those who wear chappals.
Hitting out at the Congress, Modi had gone so far as to criticize former chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki, under whom the party a record number of in Gujarat, 149, for “front page advertisements” ahead of inauguration of a water tank in Jamnagar, immediately inviting criticism from the Congress on how he is fond of seeking publicity with pull page advertisements on every passing day.
Critics say, Modi’s attack on a man who brought together OBCs, Dalits, minorities and tribals under his famous KHAM (Kshtriya, Harijan, Adivasi, Muslim) theory suggested that he was getting increasingly frustrated, as he found the BJP was losing support from sections which had previously backed the BJP, especially OBCs, Dalits and Patels.
BJP chief Amit Shah’s target of crossing 149 seats of Solanki, whose son now is president of Gujarat Congress, seemed to him to have further dimmed.
All this has happened, according to political circles, when the BJP’s efforts to woo other backward class (OBC) leader Alpesh Thakor, who has considerable influence among the numerically strong OBC Thakors of North Gujarat, are coming to a naught.
While Alpesh Thakor has still kept cards close to his chest, the first signs of Alpesh Thakor, who is leader of the OBC-SC-ST Ekta Manch and Thakor Kshatriya Sena, distancing from came when, last month, he declined to participate in the BJP-sponsored OBC at Phagvel village in Kheda district, even as deciding have his own rally.
Subsequently, while his efforts to strike a deal with the BJP further flopped, political around him confirmed, he has begun negotiating with the Congress.
That Thakor has distanced himself from the BJP seemed further clear when Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani dared him to contest elections to get the “real measure of their popularity.” Rupani threw a similar challenge to the other two youth non-party leaders with considerable influence among their respective communities, Patidar quota leader Hardik Patel and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani.
Patel and Mevani, even while keeping a distance from the Congress, have been going around telling people wherever they go that the only aim their respective communities should keep in mind is to “defeat the BJP come what may.”
Being seen as a victim of state repression – he has had to face long jail terms and court cases for certain utterances in public rally which the authorities termed “seditious” – Hardik Patel spontaneously attracts huge crowds wherever he goes in Gujarat.
Meanwhile, his supporters leave no stone unturned in disrupting BJP rallies. On October 2, it was a major embarrassment for the BJP, when Amit Shah flagged off his Gujarat gaurav yatra at Karamsad, the birthplace of Sardar Patel, when he heard loud slogans, “General Dyer go back.”
Even as Mevani, on his part, has going around in villages and towns, taking pledges from Dalits not to vote for the BJP, the state’s Dalits are becoming increasingly restive following the murder of a 21-year old Dalit youth in Bhadraniya village in Anand district for sitting at a distance and watching Dussehra garba.
The incident came amidst uproar among Dalits, as two youths of Limbodara village of Gandhinagar district were attacked on two separate days for sporting mustaches similar to those of upper caste Rajputs.
Sounding caution over the incidents, Martin Macwan, one of the senior-most Dalit activists of Gujarat, says, these developments are taking place at a time when such tactics like the BJP leaders directly asking Rahul Gandhi to declare whether he is a Hindu or a Christian are not working, because Gandhi, for a change, this time has been visiting temples and seeking blessings of the priests.
Further, the past animosity between Dalits, Patidars and OBCs, who represent 7%, 12% and 50% of Gujarat’s population respectively, is fast fading. Macwan notes, after so many years, one witnessed a new development in village Bhadraniya, where the young boy was killed for watching garba. The OBC Thakor community was part of the burial procession, and it also helped cremate and prepare the funeral pyre.
Source: Counterview

NDTV is anti-India, anti-Hindu & anti-BJP: Sambit Patra

Dr. Sambit Patra addressing OFBJP function in Melbourne. Photo: SAT

By SAT correspondent

Melbourne, 17 June: The national spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Dr. Sambit Patra today came down heavily on the NDTV describing it as “anti-India, anti-Hindu & anti-BJP. Dr.Patra who is touring Australian cities to celebrate the Modi-led NDA government’s three years in power was answering to Melbourne-based SAT (South Asia Times) question about the NDTV episode where he alleged NDTV ‘agenda’ and was asked to leave the live discussion by the anchor.

Earlier, Dr. Patra gave a half-hour speech on the achievements of the three years of Modi government in a program organized by the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) Australia at the Thornbury Theatre here.

Dr. Patra addressing the gathering on the ‘ABCD of achievements’ described the demonetization step as one that touched every section of Indian society in its aim to weed out unaccounted money in the country. He then detailed other Modi government programs of rural electrification, girl’s education, ease of doing business, infrastructure development among others.

The BJP leader said India has now arrived on the global scene and it is the Indian civilization based on the Vedic culture that was engulfing the world.

The gathering was also addressed by the OFBJP leaders and political leaders including Gevin Jennings (ALP) Indian Counsel in Melbourne Manika Jain and Inga Peulich (Liberal). A Q-A session scheduled after Dr. Patra’s speech was canceled.

VIEWPOINT: Be careful what you hope for with politics in India


By John Dayal

New Delhi: The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, the Hindu nationalist group often accused of fomenting violence against Muslims and Christians in India, has seen remarkable growth this year, especially after Narendra Modi launched his victorious campaign to wrest political power from the Congress party, which has ruled India for long stretches since independence in 1947.

Political scientists and media observers have noted that with more shakhas (local units), online recruits and the patronage of the federal government, the Sangh – the ideological parent of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – is upbeat.

In July 2012, the Sangh had 34,761 units; this number increased to 37,125 last year and swelled to 39,396 two months after Modi assumed the prime minister’s office. Sangh officials say they are targeting a high of 43,000 units and are recruiting aggressively among college students and technology professionals.

The 2014 election campaign saw Sangh cadres visit individual homes, hold meetings in residential areas and woo local and national print and television news media as never before. Among the topics discussed on Sangh-promoted programs were the place of Muslims in India, and included a new invention, “Love Jihad,” which cautioned young Hindu women against marrying Muslim men. This campaign has already led to violence in several Indian states.

The Sangh is now trying to break through in those parts of India where they have had little support in the past, such as seven northeast states, and the southern Tamil Nadu and Kerala states. Three northeast states, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram, have a Christian majority, though the populations of these provinces are small in a nation of 1.25 billion people. It has been the argument of the Sangh that the presence of Christianity in these three states poses a threat to the unity and integrity of the political nation-state of India. Slogans such as “Nagaland for Christ” are picked up as illustrations of what the Sangh calls the traitorous and anti-national sentiments that Christianity has introduced to the people of the northeast states.

Observers in this region say the BJP and the Sangh have been devising strategies to make an entry into the northeast. A functionary told the media recently, “Our presence in the northeast is not new. The Sangh has been active in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur for a long time … Expanding our work in these areas is part of the Sangh’s overall strengthening plan. It is not linked to the BJP’s victory.”

At the top of their agenda is what they call instilling a “nationalist pride” in the people. Sangh leader Mohan Bhagwat has said the group’s education wing, which operates two schools in Nagaland, will carry forward this work in the northeast.

Bhagwat recently inaugurated a school and disclosed, “Five years ago, we started a Vidyabharti school in Nagaland. Today, the children are speaking in Hindi and we are glad that we have been able to spread the spirit of nationalism there. Tomorrow, they will be fearless and defend every inch of this country. Our vision is not restricted to just these areas. The tribal society is an integral part of the Hindu civilization. The tribals are devotees of Hindu gods and they are equal to any other Hindu. They are very straightforward and simple and many people are taking advantage of their lack of knowledge.”

The people of the northeast, other than the Meities of Manipur who were converted a few centuries ago to the Hindu sect of Vaishnavism, converted to Christianity through the work of US Christian missionaries more than a century ago. They have no cultural connection to the Hindu religion.

The Sangh helped the BJP win half of the 14 lower house of Parliament seats in Assam, where it achieved its biggest success. Modi’s outburst against illegal immigration from Bangladesh boosted the BJP’s popularity among locals. The party also brought community leaders to its fold, making the party acceptable among tea tribes and others. BJP’s national security cell convener P Chandrasekhar Rao said Modi’s statement that after May 16 illegal immigrants will have to leave India created a sense of security among the Assamese people. This is a region that has seen much violence, with Bengali-speaking Muslims targeted for allegedly infiltrating from Bangladesh to change the demographic balance in border districts.

The situation is fraught, and it is anybody’s guess what could happen if the Sangh continues its tried and proven strategy of polarizing the people along religious lines.

John Dayal is the general secretary of the All India Christian Council, a member of the Indian government’s National Integration Council and a former Editor of Mid Day (Delhi).

- UCANEWS, October 3, 2014
- SAT News Service