The election results in Kairana bye elections comes as a welcome development. The ideological investment made into the constituency to create a myth of the Hindu exodus due to criminal Muslim activities did not pay the electoral dividends. This is despite the Modi, Adityanath and Amit Shah Combine at the helm of campaigning and all out efforts to polarise. Neither the polarising formula nor the publicising tactics represented through the road shows could create an impact.
While the opposition represented by Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) tried to bring in the issue of Sugarcane farmers, who had suffered in recent years, BJP attempted at bringing in the issue of Hindu exodus. It was declared as a fight between Gannah (Sugarcane) and Jinnah. Mobilization happened around concerns of sugarcane farmers represented by RLD and articulation of a non-issue of Jinnah for giving fresh lease of life to Hindu Muslim polarisation by BJP. This was further building from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) issue.
Contrary to the belief that polarisation would benefit the BJP – the strategy of having a united opposition candidate as well as the counter issue of concerns of the farmers benefitted the opposition. The defeat of polarising forces gives fresh hope and belief that 2019 elections are worth to watch. It will be a fight to get back to pre-2014 India from those who had promised to create a ‘New India’, but were in reality taking it back to the past. The series of statements glorifying India’s past based on fantasies rather than evidence was further proof of that.
In the run up to the 2019 elections, the smaller victories should come as a boost to the opposition. The unsurmountable nature of Modi and BJP has got a big jolting. So too the so called Chanakyan strategies of Amit Shah. The hopes of ‘Ache din’ among the electorates is giving way to severe unrest. The victory of the RLD candidate, a Muslim women comes as a big slap on the face of the BJP.
The victory also saw a display of Hindu-Muslim unity where Jats, Muslims and Dalits came together uniting to vote against the BJP. Instances were reported where exceptional solidarity was displayed where Hindu voters gave way to Muslim voters to go for early voting taking into account they were on fasting period due to Ramzan.
The success should be celebrated for three reasons. Firstly, that the polarising politics of BJP did not work and that it was rejected. Secondly, the display of Hindu-Muslim harmony when attempts were made in creating differences along communal lines. Thirdly, the more genuine issues related to farmers attracted the attention of the political parties and voters. Kairana was an experimental site for BJP which was used to sharpen their old skills in polarising. But it did not work. The results should be hailed as a victory of Hindu-Muslim unity against the divisive forces.
This comes as one more positive development after BJPs failure to form a Government in Karnataka, where its efforts in forming government through horse trading MLAs failed. It is a long way to go for 2019 elections, but for now these smaller victories need to be hailed as efforts in stopping the fascist forces.
T Navin is a Researcher and works with an NGO.