Majoritarianism rules!

It's a shame that the Congress played realpolitik with Muslims

GN Bureau | December 18, 2017


#democracy   #BJP   #Congress   #Muslims   #Gujarat 2017   #assembly elections   #Gujarat   #majoritarianism   #minorities  


Just the facts first. In the Gujarat assembly elections, the BJP did not field a single Muslim candidate. No one expected it to; and its leaders make no bones about ignoring the nine percent Muslims of the state. The Congress, playing realpolitik in a state where the sentiment is well-known, chose tokenism: out of the 176 candidates it fielded, literally a handful were Muslims.

 
It's doubtful if either party fielded a Christian candidate, leave alone candidates from the other minorities like the Jews or Parsis (who have a significant presence though not in numbers). After all, each of these groups constitutes just about half a percent or less of the population. Jains, on the other hand, are so assimilated with the Hindus that they are no longer considered a minority – not even officially. Indeed, chief minister Vijay Rupani is a Jain.
 
Early results showed the two Muslim-dominated constituencies of Ahmedabad – Dariapur and Jamalpur-Khadia – electing Muslim candidates of the Congress. These, by the way, are the constituencies of Ahmedabad the Congress has been winning since 1995. And in Wankaner, in Rajkot district, Mohammed Peerzada of the Congress was leading at the time of writing. These will probably be the only representatives from the religious minorities in the state assembly, reflecting a nationwide trend: crowd out the minorities, act as if they don't matter, drown out their feeble voice in the din that is democracy today. 
 
The BJP goes further. It has had no qualms about consolidating its vote by raising the bogey about Muslims, linking Muslims everywhere to terror and separatism through campaigns of insinuation and plain fear-mongering. That Modi had to mention Pakistan in one of his election speeches in Gujarat speaks for the fact that such tactics work for the BJP.
 
More troublesome, however, is the fact that the Congress, having faced accusations all along of appeasing the minorities, did not go beyond giving them token representation on its list of candidates. This might have had to do with the Gujarat campaign being Rahul Gandhi's solo performance. After the disastrous Uttar Pradesh campaign, the Congress had to somehow salvage its prestige. Gujarat 2017 saw Rahul Gandhi coming into his element, standing up to prime minister Narendra Modi, the tallest leader of now who has national appeal. The trends show the Congress at just 20-22 seats behind the BJP, a creditable show by all means, considering that it was Gujarat.
 
But to make Rahul come out looking good after this prestige test, the Congress has had to take the soft Hindutva tack. Visits to temples and a showing of the sacred thread! The signal going out from the party once accused of cozying up to the minorities and treating them as vote banks is that winnability is what counts – and in that scheme of things, you don't. That is, majoritarianism rules.
 

Comments

 

Other News

How inequality keeps rising amid pandemic – and is killing people

The world’s ten richest men more than doubled their fortunes from $700 billion to $1.5 trillion (at a rate of $15,000 per second or $1.3 billion a day) during the first two years of a pandemic while the incomes of 99 percent of humanity fall and over 160 million more people forced into poverty. A new

Vistadome coaches on Central Railways a hit with passengers

The Vistadome coaches on Central Railways have received an overwhelming response from passengers. Not only have they boosted tourism and registered an occupancy of 20,407 passengers but also clocked revenue of Rs.2.38 crore between October and December 2021.   The CSMT-Madgaon-CSMT Jansh

Omicron on relentless run: India records 2.68 lakh cases

India is once again caught in a spike of Covid-19 cases, with the highly transmittable omicron driving numbers. The total cases in the country continued to increase on Saturday, recording 2.68 lakh cases in 24 hours. India`s active caseload currently stands at 14,17,820 or 3.85%, while the r

Bill Gates, charity and the dilemma of already successful people

Mantra and the meaning of Success By Rajesh Talwar Bridging Borders, 288 pages Rajesh Talwar, who works as Deputy Legal Adviser to the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan, has written 31 books, and on January 15 he is releasing one more. ‘

An inquisitive reader’s guide to Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas

Essence of the Fifth Veda By Gaurang Damani Divine Destination, 234 pages, Rs 350 ‘Veda’ literally means ‘knowledge’.

Humility: Going beyond binaries to deliver justice to tribals

Being Adivasi: Existence, Entitlements, Exclusion [Part of ‘Rethinking India’ series] Edited by Abhay Flavian Xaxa and G.N. Devy Penguin, xxvi+182 pages, Rs 699 ‘Being Adivasi: Existence, Entitlements, Exclusion’ (Penguin India), edited by

Visionary Talk: Farmer`s Agitation, Rakesh Tikait with Kailashnath Adhikari


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter