RAM PUNIYANI | 19 MARCH, 2018
BJP’s Forays in The N-E With an Anti-Minority Agenda
Unity the need of the hour
In the last couple of decades one is coming across pamphlets, leaflets and other material containing the propaganda that Christian missionaries are converting people at a rapid pace; the examples have been mostly from the North Eastern states of India.
This propaganda has been extensively used at a pan India level, particularly before elections in states. It is this propaganda which formed the base of hate against Christians and led to the ghastly murder of Pastor Graham Stewart Stains, the horrific Kandhmal violence, and low intensity anti Christian violence and attacks on Churches in different parts of the country.
So how come BJP, the party flaunting its Ram Temple, Mother cow and Hindu nationalism agenda could make inroads into a region with a sizeable Christian population, and where beef eating is part of the peoples dietary habits? And where different tribes with diverse and clashing political interests articulate their aspirations by forming organisations demanding separate states for themselves.
While the situation in each state is different, there is a pattern characterising BJP strategy, which is winning states through a flexibile approach towards government formation, supplemented by massive resources, a near perfect election machinery, and the support of its parent organisation’s swayamsevaks.
In Assam the BJP focused mainly on the Bangladeshi immigrants, the Muslims “swamping” the state and using this to worry Hindus that they will be reduced to a minority.The party did not hestiate to ally with separatist organizations. In Tripura, the Left government despite its clean record was unable to tackle the aspirations of the tribals. And failed in creating employment opportunities for the youth with the BJP moving in with the grand promise of employment and development.
BJP in the N-E has focused on two major factors. One the promise of development. By now its claims of development all over the country stand exposed as mere vote catching slogans, but in the North East there was space to sell Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a development man. In Tripura, the BJP harped on ‘Hindu are refugees, Muslims infiltrators’ to influence the Bengali majority views. In tribal areas, RSS swayamsevaks worked consistently, organizing religious functions, opening schools and made inroads into a constitutency that the Manik Sarkar had not addressed.
In the matter of beef , the BJP openly took a hypocritical line that their ban on cow slaughter and eating beef, which is being imposed in different parts of country will not be enforced in the North East. And of course confirmed that the cow for it was a political tool to divide society and garner votes, and where required---as also in Goa and Kerala---it could drop the holy cow slogan completely.
PM Modi talked of rescuing 46 nurses in ISIS captivity in Iraq and Father Alex Premkumar from Taliban captivity. This was a direct message for the Christians. What can one say on these issues? Were they rescued as they were Indians or were they rescued because they belong to a particular religion?
In Meghalaya, the situation is different. Though the Congress did emerge as the single largest party and logically should have been given the chance to form the Government, the Governor thought otherwise. And the BJP moved in with its clout and money.
The emotive politics unleashed by the BJP RSS is visible again in the form of attacking Lenin’s statue and attacks on CPI(M) workers. What is in store for the future of the region if democratic forces don’t rise to the occasion is anybody’s guess!