The RSS/BJP campaign pitch reminds us of the popular Hindi song with which my generation grew up — ‘Kahin pe nigahein, kahin pe nishana’ (looking in one direction, while the target is another). Its public campaign is ostensibly pitched on the issues of development and prosperity. The real target, however, remains advancing the RSS’ vision of a rabidly intolerant fascistic ‘Hindu Rashtra’ agenda by sharpening communal polarisation.
Such duplicity is in evidence all around. The first day of the current Parliament session saw the BJP successfully stall the introduction of the prevention of the communal violence Bill on the grounds that it violates federalism — a basic feature of our Constitution. The Left parties always advocated the need for such a legislation to prevent communal violence, ensuring speedy compensation and rehabilitation for the victims, along with delivery of justice by acting firmly against the perpetrators.
At the same time, it was legitimately argued that the rights of the state governments and, hence the constitutional federal structure, cannot be compromised. The BJP’s opposition to such a legislation is well-known given its hardcore Hindutva agenda. Its championing of our federal structure today, however, is a camouflage given the RSS’ fundamental positions on the Constitution.
The RSS/BJP’s self-declared Guruji, MS Golwalkar, who provided both the ideological construct of the ‘Hindu Rashtra’ (We, Or Our Nationhood Defined, 1939) and the organisational structure of the Sangh parivar to achieve this objective, had decades ago spoken of the need “to bury deep for good, all talk of a federal structure of our country’s Constitution, to sweep away the existence of all ‘autonomous’ or ‘semi-autonomous states’ with one State, viz.,
Bharat and proclaim ‘one country, one State, one legislature, one executive’... Let the Constitution be re-examined and re-drafted, so as to establish this unitary form of government...” (Bunch of Thoughts, Third Edition, 1966, Page 227)
On the one hand, the BJP claims credit for the creation of the states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Uttarakhand, while on the other, they engage in double-speak over the Telangana issue. Unlike the CPI(M), which unequivocally favours the non-division of linguistic states, the RSS/BJP continue to speak of ‘one country, one people, one nation’. Yet, given its political expediency to capture the reins of the central government, it indulges in crass opportunism.
Similar is their subterfuge regarding their campaign focussing on development and the ‘Gujarat model’. The Planning Commission’s data substantiates that in terms of Net State Domestic Product and FDI inflows, Gujarat ranks behind backward industrial states like Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
In terms of per capita income, it remains sixth among major Indian states, fifth in terms of poverty levels and eighth in terms of life expectancy. With regard to human development indices, it has a dismal record of ranking tenth among all major Indian states.
In terms of the health index and education index, it ranks sixth. Over 80% of its children and 55% of women suffer from anaemia. This is its ‘growth model’. Notwithstanding this reality, the ‘Gujarat growth story’ is seducing sections of India Inc into applause.
A recent cover story (The Caravan) on Aseemanand, one of the protagonists of the alleged Hindutva terror network, now in custody as the main accused in the Samjhauta Express train blast (February 2007), Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blasts (May 2007) and at the Ajmer dargah blast (October 2007), also named but not yet charged in two other terrorist attacks in Malegaon, Maharashtra (September 2006, 2008) says, “his terrorist attacks were sanctioned at the highest levels of the RSS — all the way up to Mohan Bhagwat, the current chief of the RSS, who was the organisation’s general secretary at that time”.
The latter, in turn, is alleged to have told Aseemanand that, “it is very important that it be done. But you should not link it with the Sangh”.
This exposé goes on to detail that Aseemanand’s accomplice, RSS’ Sunil Joshi, “who was allegedly the connecting thread between several different parts of the conspiracy — including those who assembled and those who planted the bombs — was killed in mysterious circumstances in December 2007”.
The RSS/BJP is now working overtime to claim a judicial ‘clean chit’ for the Gujarat CM over his role in leading the state administration during the 2002 post-Godhra communal carnage. A closure report filed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in February 2012 is cited as evidence. This is far from the truth.
The SIT has held that while there is evidence in many of the allegations made in the Zakia Jafri complaint of June 2006 regarding the attacks at Gulbarg society, Ahmedabad during the riots are true and correct, but in its (SITs) own assessment, this evidence is not prosecutable.
Further, the amicus curaie’s report to the Supreme Court clearly stated that the Gujarat CM should stand trial for offences under Sections 153(a), 153(b) and 166 of the Indian Penal Code. As far as the final verdict on the 2002 communal pogrom is concerned, literally ‘the jury is out’, with review petitions pending in the higher courts. There is, thus, no ‘clean chit’.
All these apart, we are now being told to forget 2002 and move ahead towards a prosperous future under the BJP. The same yardstick, however, does not seem to apply to them regarding the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. To our secular, democratic, Republic and our people, justice continues to be denied since 1984, cancerously festering the wound.
The year 2002, being closer in memory, is worse. Our Republic can be cleansed and strengthened only when justice is delivered in both cases and in all others, where justice continues to be delayed, hence denied. What the country needs in 2014 is an alternative political dispensation which is committed to delivering justice and, thus, strengthening our Republic.
Sitaram Yechury is CPI(M) Politburo member and Rajya Sabha MP
The views expressed by the author are personal