The Political Economy of Hindu Rashtra is a mix of manic use of State power to line the pockets of the upper castes combined with abject subjection of the State to the globalisation of finance. By this means since 2014 BJP may have achieved its aim of establishing Hindu Rashtra in India and communalising the political discourse for the sheer fun of it.
But the majority of Indians are cultivators and agricultural labourers and such manual labourers judge an outgoing Government seeking re-election by the extent it kept its promises. It was possible for Narendra Modi, the puppet of the RSS and the G20, to put a complicated pseudo-scientific gloss on demonetisation, GST, sky-high public sector bank interest rates and even urban environmental pollution, and draw the wool over the eyes of people with ten plus two education and beyond in cities. Maybe the BJP has some answers that INC didn’t, they reason. But agriculturalists were made monetary promises: five lakhs in personal bank accounts, minimum prices above input costs for agricultural produce, and continuation of the world’s best public employment programme, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. None of the three promises were kept. Not only that. Agriculturalists who did not take out loans from public sector banks are not covered by the crop insurance scheme. Claims do not seem to be getting paid out. And there is absolutely no planning to minimise future exposure to weather risks.
Politics is religion shorn of its wishful thinking. The political parties and the television watching public working in offices may have fallen for the BJP and Sangh Parivar ploy of destroying socialism in Indian political discourse for the sake of political power.
But the majority of voters will go for anti incumbency in 2019 because it is already clear on the only matter that matters to the majority, namely the prices that agricultural products fetch in the market, the income of agriculturalists, and the protection of agriculturalists from the market in times of adversity. On that front the BJP has failed.
What matters now is only what the opposition parties are saying about agriculture, and how they organise themselves to minimise splitting the opposition vote. If the parties are smart they will strictly go for seat sharing and each party will give Pasmanda Muslims, Schedule Castes, OBCs and in suitable places Adivasis the ticket – provided they are are agricultural workers seen to have been active spokespersons for the agriculturalist.
Political economy is only as complicated as you want to make it. In India theory and practice must be aligned at the level of the interests of the agriculturalists: not because of any ideology, but because they are the majority voters and their interests are the interests of India. In his eagerness to establish the rule of Hindu nation, Narendra Modi and his Yogis missed this important bit of the truth about their country and will pay the price in the next Parliamentary elections. In the end they will have done their bit towards reaffirming that secularism is not an ideology but a matter of reason. And reason is not an ideology but a process of examining the truth. You examine the Prime Minister, and judge him by his deeds, and then you find him wanting. No amount of communal violence and hyperbole can argue with facts.
Anandi Sharan was born in Switzerland, lives in Bangalore and last year worked in Araria District Bihar, India. She works on trying to find the best money system to help people adapt to climate change especially in India.