The secular parties of Maharashtra are missing the logic of alliances at this critical stage in Indian history.
Lalu Prasad of the RJD, Sharad Yadav and Nitish Kumar of the JD(U) and the Congress could stop the march of the forces of Hindutva in Bihar when they unitedly fought the by-elections in August and won six of the 10 assembly seats.
The Bihar experiment has proved that the BJP is stoppable only if the secularists stand together against it.
Is the Bihar model of a united front replicable in the whole country? Do the scattered secular forces realise this? Mulayam Singh Yadav could trounce the BJP in the September by-elections because Mayawati opted out of the contest.
It has also been mentioned that the federal political system acts as a roadblock in the way of any ideological hegemonising of Indian society because the states enjoy relative autonomy.
This is only one part of the story. It is under the protective umbrella provided by the Modi government that the Sangh parivar has been boldly carrying forward its agenda of protecting the Hindus from “conversion” to Islam by Muslim boys who are “enticing girls to marry them”. Thus, it needs to be remembered that the BJP is posing a challenge to every leader and in this all-India contest, the regionalists are unequal to the task and efforts to float a third front of opposition regional parties to unitedly fight elections.
Has this reality changed? The answer is a big no.
Mamata Banerjee has appealed to the communist parties to form a united front to fight against the rising influence of the BJP in West Bengal. Naveen Patnaik should have learnt his lessons from his own past that all branches of the Sangh parivar actively get involved in communalisation by targeting Christians and tribals in his state.
The inter-related logic of the above narrative is based on an empirical reality of India that neither the fragmented secular, political forces nor just the federal-regional reality of the country’s politics can succeed in preventing the march of the monolithic, ideological Sangh parivar.
The writing on the wall is quite clear. The Sangh parivar has a clear goal of capturing the levers of power in the whole of India and thus communalising society. The spread of this dangerous politics can only be stopped by united democratic forces.
CP Bhambhri taught politics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
The views expressed by the author are personal