After June 4, 2024: A Few Probable Scenarios

Election Vote

The 2024 election is not just another usual election for us. It may change the very nature of our polity, the course of our politics, and the futures of 140 million people of the subcontinent. The Indian polity thus far has been suffering from a type of ‘Ernst Thalman Syndrome.’ When Hitler was rising, Germany was in deep slumber. Ernst Thalman was the epitome of that ignorance and indifference. Thalman told the KPD [Communist Party of Germany] Central Committee in February 1932 “that nothing would be more disastrous than an opportunistic overestimation of Hitler-fascism” (Michael Burleigh, The Third Reich: A New History). Ironically, Thalman was arrested barely a year after that, held in captivity for eleven years, and killed in the Buchenwald concentration camp in August 1944.

Having suffered from alternate bouts of religious nationalism, financial nationalism, battlefield nationalism, and Hitler-type legislations such as the Citizenship Amendment Act, Uniform Civil Code, and so on, we are finally coming out of the ‘Ernst Thalman Syndrome’ that had afflicted us for the past ten years.

Narendra Modi spent the first five years of his rule on a well-planned international PR work for the BJP, the RSS, and the Gang of Four. The planned kick-start of the Hindutva juggernaut during the next five years could not happen because of the coronavirus pandemic and the resultant developments and hence the ruling party had to defer their plans to the third five-year term. The moment of Truth, the 18th Lok Sabha elections, has arrived now. Accordingly, the BJP and Modi keep harping on about winning 400 seats, the two-thirds-majority they need to push their political plans in the Parliament.

The counting of votes will happen on June 4, 2024. What will happen then? We can think of a few probable scenarios.

Scenario [1]:

The BJP wins their desired 400+ seats and things happen according to their ambitious plan:

  • The 100th Anniversary of the RSS celebrated grandly in 2025,
  • ‘Hindu Rashtra’ declared,
  • The Citizenship Amendment Act implemented,
  • Uniform Civil Code pronounced,
  • Hindi imposed nationally; ‘Hindi, Hindu, Hindustan’ program adopted,
  • Constitution abrogated,
  • A new constitution implemented along with Manusmruti codes,
  • Presidential form of government implemented,
  • The national capital shifted to Varanasi,
  • Linguistic states disbanded and ‘Jan Baghs’ announced,
  • Many socioeconomic-political “reforms” implemented,
  • Symbolic projects such as the ‘Gyanvapi,’ ‘Shahi Idgha/Krishnajanmasthan’ and ‘Tejo Mahalaya/Taj Mahal’ taken up; retrieval and reconstruction of 3,000 Hindu temples implemented,
  • Political tensions and civil unrest ensue.

    Scenario [2]:

    The BJP falls short of the 272 mark by a few seats. There happens a severe and shameless horse-trading of opposition MPs. With their long and cherished experience in buying MLAs, and procuring political parties across the country, the BJP excels in the art of buying MPs and instituting their rule for another five years.

    Scenario [3]:

    The BJP falls short of the 272 mark by many seats, and the INDIA alliance wins a comfortable majority. The BJP tries to do one of many things, and that continuum ranges from the most extreme situation of ‘declaring a national emergency’ to the less severe re-enactment of Bolsonaro-Trump-type adventurisms.

    When the right-wing Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro lost power in late 2022, he neither acknowledged defeat in the election nor congratulated the opponent, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Instead, he saluted his protesting supporters including truck drivers who blocked roads in over a dozen Brazilian states, and the road to São Paulo’s international airport causing severe disruptions. Those truckers benefitted from Bolsonaro’s policies such as reduced diesel costs etc. Bolsonaro called the protests a “popular movement” resulting from “indignation and a sense of injustice” over the election, and he even asked the Brazilian military to annul the election results and keep him in power. Finally, just two days before his term ended, he left the country thwarting peaceful transfer of power, and retaining presidential immunity for all his wrong-doings.

    Similarly, thousands of the outgoing American president Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. They had amassed in Washington, D.C. to reject the results of the November 3, 2020 presidential election. President Trump himself addressed the crowd and urged them to protest against the alleged “rigged election.” Coinciding with the US Congress’ certification of the Electoral College votes, the protests tried to pressure the Republican lawmakers to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

    Scenario [4]:

    Narendra Modi steps down and a smooth transfer of power takes place in Delhi. All the ambitious national netas and regional satraps who had been vying for the post of prime minister are tackled successfully and the INDIA alliance forms the government. Just as the newly-formed Janata Party did in 1977! Alas, having thought only about themselves and their 3-P’s (paisa, power, and prominence) and never about the people of the country or their interests, the INDIA coalition leaders end up re-enacting a 1979-type drama when the Janata Party disintegrated and their government fell.

    The loose coalition of INDIA does not have a firm grip on power and fails to hold on to its majority in the Lok Sabha because of its internal contradictions, power struggles, and petty squabbles. The resulting political instability works in favor of the BJP and easily convinces the Indian voters with a promise of a strong and functioning government.

    In fact, the fissures have already started showing. Rahul Gandhi and Pinarayi Vijayan have been engaged in caustic exchanges recently. Revanth Reddy, the chief minister of Telangana, has called for the arrest of Udayanidhi Stalin for the latter’s opinion on Sanatana Dharma. Many more will jump into the fray eventually with or without malafide intentions.

    Scenario [5]:

    The INDIA coalition government collapses and in the fresh general elections, Modi (or someone else) of the BJP stages a spectacular comeback just as Indira Gandhi did in 1980. The Hindutva bandwagon resumes its briefly interrupted journey with full vigor and speed. With absolutely no need for any more political inhibitions, the Hindutva brigade takes the country for a ride:

  • A new and daring social engineering project may be implemented,
  • Upper Caste domination in socioeconomic-political affairs will deepen,
  • Caste oppression may get worse with enhanced untouchability, unseeability, etc.,
  • Gender discrimination may increase with severe subordination of women and girls,
  • Religious minorities may face a precarious second-class citizenship kind of situation,
  • Cow vigilantes and moral police may be there everywhere,
  • A new violent Indian history will be evoked and violence will be glorified,
  • There may not be any Nazi-type physical genocide,
  • Structural genocidal projects such as mob lynching, UP-type encounters, demolitions, and NRC-type imprisonments may happen all over the country.

    When all is said and done, none of the above scenarios is desirable for India and Indians. We need a strong, responsible, and functioning INDIA government that lasts for a full five years and undoes the things that the Modi regime has done. More importantly, the new government must indulge in a sweeping detoxification program that will do away with the Othering project marked by bigotry, anger, resentment, divisions, surveillance, intimidation and so forth. Even as the State mechanism is being put back on track with equality, liberty, fraternity, secularism, and social justice, civil society, for its part, should form Citizens Committees at the national level, state levels, and district levels to monitor the governance of the country and the overall socioeconomic-political overhaul.

    S. P. Udayakumaran is an anti-nuclear and Green political activist from Kanyakumari.

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