THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 1 FEBRUARY, 2018
Congress Wins All 3 ByPolls In Rajasthan: Alwar, the Centre of Cow Mob Violence Rejects BJP
Trinamool Congress retains both seats in West Bengal, BJP Closest Rival
NEW DELHI/JAIPUR: Rajasthan that seemed to have become a laboratory for communal polarisation at the hands of the Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and the RSS has dealt the BJP a massive defeat in two Parliamentary and one Assembly by polls, the counting for which was held today.
This has been the first time in 40 years that the ruling party in a state and centre has been defeated in the Lok Sabha by polls. As Congress leader Sachin Pilot, told The Citizen, the results of such bypolls always go in favour of the party in power. But this time the voters brought in the Congress in both Alwar---the seat of cow mobs---and Ajmer with a decisive margin. The BJP had won all the 25 Lok Sabha seats in Rajasthan in 2015.
Pilot said that the Congress victory was a defeat for the politics of communalism. And a rejection for all the gau rakshak violence, as such communalism impacted on the lives of all communities, not just the Muslims. He said that the people had, through this vote, made it clear that they were not enamoured of the politics of divisiveness, and wanted development and equal opportunities. He said that the youth in particular had come out for the Congress.
Pilot said that the BJP had tried to pull the Congress into the trap of communalism, “but we kept out of this, we stayed away and kept focusing on the economy instead. We reached out to the people of all castes and communities, without falling into the trap of polarisation, and that worked.” Happy with the success, Pilot is now looking forward to re-capturing Rajasthan from the virulent BJP rule in the Assembly polls due later this year.
Alwar had become the citadel of right wing communalism, with cow mobs being given protection by the police. As The Citizen reported, at leasd 12 gau raksha police stations had come up in Alwar district alone, where our reporter was told by the local administration that the force assigned to these was in place to protect cows, and ensure that the related laws were implemented and executed.
Pehlu Khan was brutally murdered, as was Umar Muhammad who was shot dead by clearly armed gau rakshaks who have had the run of this district since. Reports of cow mobs extracting money from farmers carrying dairy cattle are well known in the district, with the small Muslim population fearful of their lives. The cow mobs action was supported by silence from the CM, at times endorsement from senior BJP leaders, action by the police that equated the victims with the assailants, and no movement forward on FIRs registered by the families of those attacked and killed.
However, the vote for the Congress clearly shows that the voters have rejected the politics of hate with the epicentre of communal cow mob action moving decisively out of teh BJP grip. This after Gujarat, is a major shift in voters preferences and a blow for communalism that does not seem to be cutting into economic livelihood woes, at least not outside the bimaru states so far. The BJP, despite its preoccupation with the politics of hate and divisiveness, has had to struggle to win Gujarat, and now in Rajasthan where the anti- BJP/Vasundhara Raje sentiment seems to have risen to new levels. And which has not been dented by the lynchings that the right wing industry was working on to diffuse the real issues of livelihood, rights and justice.
Rajasthan was also home to one of the biggest kisan movements in September last year with Sikar being the centre for the mobilisation. The CPI(M)’s All India Kisan Sabha and others who organised the farmers resistance, found the entire demonstration turning on its own volition almost, into a peoples movement with activists, students, workers and others joining in to ensure its success. Volunteers manned the roads and prevented traffic other than the farmers from moving, in a display of solidarity that astounded the organisers as well. This was the first indication---ignored completely by the mainstream media---of the change that was beginning in Rajasthan.
A senior legislator in Jaipur told The Citizen that the anti-incumbency was huge, and the Congress had to do little to re-direct the vote traffic to itself. So huge, that it has not been blunted by communal polarisation of the worst kind? Yes, he replied. As people are fed up of this politics of hate, and want an end to the corruption, and want to see development. The farmers stir is a case in point, where castes and religion played no part, and instead agrarian distress drove them to the roads in protest.
In Bengal, significantly, the Trinamool Congress has won the Noapara and Uluberia Lok Sabha seats. Although its nearest rival in both these constituencies is the BJP, and not the CPI(M) and the Congress that slumped to third and fourth positions. Although it is early yet to analyse the results, there is more than a hint of communal polarisation here, in Uluberia particularly that has elected Muslim legislators for the past four decades. This accounts thus, for the growth of the BJP as well as the fact that all the other parties fielded Muslim candidates from this seat. However, the Trinamool Congress margin is over double the votes secured by the BJP in both Ulueberia and Noapara. The results of the latter have been announced with TMC candidate Sunil Singh winning by over 63,000 votes. The results read: TMC wins- 111729, Second position BJP - 38711, CPI(M)fairly close behind- 35497 and Congress barely registering a presence- 10527.