The political scenario of India is going through a rapid change. There are countless instances which prove that the old guards have thrown down their agendas. For instance, Shiv Sena, the stalwarts in Maharashtra and the poster boys of regional politics have started growing softer on their Marathi Manoosh pitch. For years the Marathi Manoosh politics took precedence over every other agenda, but the Shiv Sena has managed to make a u-turn and remodel itself in the state. One could say that the current leader of Maharashtra does not possess the charisma of the late Balasaheb Thackeray, but to say that the ‘Hindu Hridaya Samrat’ himself wouldn’t have done the same, had he been alive today, would be too far a stretch. On the opposite end of the development spectrum we have a state like Bihar. For decades, Lalu Yadav and his RJD ruled the state with nothing but caste driven pitches, prior and post every election season. RJD is still a force to reckon with in Bihar, it has the might to challenge the ruling BJP-JDU coalition, but the caste agenda no longer works. Tejaswi and Tej Pratap do not and they simply cannot carry on like their father did in the state. The people have grown, their scope of vision has widened, and they are not willing to solely rely on the caste pitch. This might not hold true for panchayat and other small district level elections but the general elections of 2014 and the subsequent state elections have proven that the public now wants a more inclusive politics.
The marginalization of regional parties is not restricted to Maharashtra and Bihar alone. The regional political parties are fast ditching their singular identities. Regional parties are grabbing up Hindutva, development and the new sentiments which have found a connection with the Indians. Regionality, caste and other pitches still exist but they are being pushed downwards, they no longer occupy the number one position in any regional party’s manifesto. Credit must be given when it’s due, and for this phenomenon BJP deserves credit. Jharkhand has Raghubar Das as its CM, the first non-tribal the state has had since its separation from Bihar in 2000. Uttar Pradesh has Yogi Adityanath, a monk and who wasn’t even born in UP in the first place. It would have been unthinkable for the Congress to have done something like this, more so because Congress believed in the same policy which the Britishers used to colonize and maintain hold over India, divide and rule. Pitching the majority caste leader as a candidate has been Congress’ strategy and it did work for long 60 years.
Not satisfied with this, the Congress had further ventured into pitting communities against each other to reap maximum political mileage. There is a reason why the Congress leaders seem so apart from each other, because they come from areas where their community is the strongest. The diversity which India was and is proud of, was used as a political tool to segregate the masses. A leader from Congress could be bad mouthing his fellow Congress leader’s community in another region or state, because that’s exactly what Congress leadership at the center demanded. Muslim candidate in areas dominated by Muslims, Rajputs in the place where the Kshatriyas hold sway and more such instances happened even inside the state. On the national political front, the situation was even more ghastly, sworn enemies would be sitting side by side, roadblocking the other one’s progress from the inside. India and the Indians, suffered because of this for a good 60+ years. This phenomenon could have gone on unchecked had there not been a social media boom in India.
There’s a reason why Congress blames social media for the resurgence of BJP in 2014, it was social media which made people in say Bihar or Bengal find a connection with a Gujarati CM. It was the social media which made the despicable actions of Congress leaders from one region known to people of the other and that is when Congress’ tipping point was reached.
Rahul Gandhi isn’t the only Congress leader who had habitually shied away from visiting temples and Hindu places of worship. His predecessors have not fared exceptionally well in this matter either, take the example of his father or his grandmother and you will see a pattern. The Congress knew pitting Hindus from one caste against the other was more than enough, it was the Muslims and Christians whom they needed to connect with. What better way for it than to hold lavish Iftar parties and appear with a skullcap or with folded hands at a Church. The same precedent was followed by parties like the Communist Party of India and others in states like Kerala and Bengal where they held sway. The unrestricted access of Bengal to illegal Bangladeshi immigrants had been a really clever move by the CPM. In Kerala, the relentless attack on Hindus and RSS had been ongoing for years by the CPM, organized with the help of radical Islamist organizations and Church backed outfits.
Leaders from the Congress party, the founder of minority appeasement politics in India, have now started showing their bond with the Sanatan Dharma. Five years back it would have been impossible to see Rahul Gandhi praying or even in the vicinity of a Hindu temple. Cut to 2018, he is on a never ending trip to the most well known temples and what not. In a moment of clarity, Rahul Gandhi discovered his ‘janeudhari Brahmin’ identity and his gotra as well. It’s great news for India, but what we need to remember at this time is that these moves are nothing more than ploys to keep one fooled. Mamata Banerjee giving grants to Durga Puja committees in Bengal is not because she had a change of heart, it is because the results of the recent Panchayat elections have made them rethink their political strategy. The fast approaching 2019 Lok Sabha elections will not only decide the fate of Congress in India but it can also seal the fate of regional parties which have won over in the past through caste and religion.