United Opposition Unsettled BJP

United Opposition, Unsettled BJP

United Opposition Unsettled BJP

If the manifest use of language is a social-psychological indicator of hidden tectonic shifts, civilization and culture, as much as compulsive Freudian slips, then, surely, things don’t seem to be going hunky dory for the muscle-flexing, cash-rich ruling party in the Centre. For one, its two unilateral supremos from Gujarat have not been seen smiling or happy since a long time now – their tense faces a give-away, a repetitive syndrome, especially in the poll rallies.

Obviously, the unprecedented multi-million electoral bond scam of organized extortions linked to raids by central agencies, and lucrative contracts in millions soon after to all kinds of companies, including sleazy business groups, often unknown with a pathetic front of its office (as that of a gaming company plus biggest doner to the BJP), has hit the party hard. It has hit them real hard in the face of a united opposition which held a massive rally in Delhi recently against the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal and Hemant Soren, two elected chief ministers. The crowd was spilling over outside the Ramlila Maidan, almost like the Mumbai finale rally of the Bharat Jodo Yatra Part II.

Besides, this crowd was extremely serious; they were not hired and brought on buses and trucks. They were real people, citizens of India, original dissenters, and they listened to the speeches with intent and concentration. Every top leader of all the parties in the alliance was there, with Derek ‘O Brein, ironically, seated between the two leaders of the two communist parties. And the speeches were first class, especially that of Tejeshwi Yadav and Rahul Gandhi.

The INDIA Bloc statement, significantly read by Priyanka Gandhi, had every sentence etched out in its articulation, and the audience heard her with rapt attention. This kind of audience is more likely to be a ‘change catalyst’ with a rapid multiplier effect, in contrast to those hired or brought in hordes with food and cash by political parties.

In UP, the BJP’s Pandora box of caste and communal politics, the Ram Mandir hyperbole has fizzled out like an artificially bloated balloon suddenly shrunk. Political observers believe that the loss here could be as many as 10 seats, with the quick alliance with RLD boomeranging badly. Recently, a tea party hosted by a BJP leader for RLD leaders and supporters in Western UP was reduced to a street bout with the BJP cadre getting thrashed very badly. Besides, farmers here are really angry with the BJP for all its failed promises, including on MSP.

Civil society groups in the state, as in other states, have started a campaign on EVMs, threatening to enter polling booths demanding proof in paper, of votes cast. A new survey by an unknown research outfit says, surprisingly, that BJP might not cross 170 this time. As if taking a cue, Rahul Gandhi has been talking in conjectures: for instance, he says, if the BJP gets 170, 160, 140, then what? He has also threatened severe action in the post-election scenario in case the BJP loses, saying that you can’t win elections through the terror mechanism of the agencies, by freezing Congress accounts with threats of huge tax arrears, and putting opposition leaders, including chief ministers in jail.

Ground reports point out that in the best case scenario the BJP might not cross 270, and that itself would be a big downer for the ‘great helmsman’, now being caricatured as Mr Paisa Wasool Bond, Mr Crook Bond, Mr 056 Bond (punning on 56 inches), and spoofing on 007 James Bond! If the hired BJP troll army is eternally hyper active, the counter-narrative in terms of videos, memes, caricatures, posters, songs, and spoofs, is also relentless and high-voltage.

Besides, now, clearly, the fight is for the soul of India – a corrupt and arrogant quasi-dictatorship verses the collective urge for democracy, secularism and a society without the terror of jail and raids, with jobs and justice! This kind of mass instinct surfaces and solidifies in rare moments of history, it accumulates through multiple layers of frustrations, angst and anger, and it does take a while. However, indications are that the underpinnings are sharp, a simmering rebellion seems to be brewing, and the South, Bengal, Punjab, and perhaps Bihar and Delhi, will show the way!

ALSO READ: Narendra Modi’s Southern Discomfort

Hence, here comes the use of language as a Freudian slip, if not a sign of obsession with absolute power, while strangely feeling suddenly cornered and pushed to the wall. In a reminder of the post-Pulwama phase before the 2019 polls, the PM raked up Pakistan yet again, and for no rhyme or reason, in what is our nation-state elections. He said in a rally in Jamui, Bihar, flanked by another obsessive power-hungry turn-coat, Nitish Kumar (who disclosed, ironically, that he would not go anywhere now!): “Aaj ka Bharat ghar mein ghus ke maarta hain.”

Now, apart from the routine terrorist activity across the line of control in Kashmir, where the government has botched up very badly, alienating the entire population, including in Jammu and Ladakh, Pakistan has done nothing to be so brazenly threatened by the PM of India, and that too with such crudity. Why beat up anyone, or our neighbours, indeed, in their own home, in the first instance, in an era of subtle and nuanced diplomacy?

Surely, heads of state are expected to speak the language of statesmanship. That is what is expected of them, isn’t it? They are role models for their own country, and the whole world is listening to them!  Besides, if there is only one leader who uses such crass language, he is Benjamin Netanyahu — perhaps, the most hated, condemned and isolated leader in the world in the current circumstances, and in his own country, Israel. Witness the massive protest rallies in Tel Aviv against Bibi!

The slip-of-the-tongue is a prophetic sign that the BJP is slipping, and on slippery ground. Pakistan hits the radar of the party every time it finds itself on a sticky wicket. The ‘China card’ is never used, because the ‘red eyes’ for the enemy turns blink-blink-blank when it comes to Chinese soldiers violating the buffer zone across the LoC in Ladakh. Now, even the Gandhian satyagraha has spread like wildfire in what was a totally sublime and peaceful Buddhist landscape, with women and youngsters joining the Sonam Wangchuk non-violent movement in large numbers. So much so, Leh, as per latest reports, is under a police siege, as the administration is out to foil a long ‘border march’ by the citizens of Ladakh.

Said Wangchuk on Twitter: “Leh is being turned into a war zone with disproportionate force, barricades, smoke grenades. Attempts to arrest peaceful youth leaders, even singers, continue. Seems they want to turn a most peaceful movement violent and then brand Ladakhis as anti-nationals… The government seems worried only about Ladakh’s effects on their votes and on mining lobbies… not the people here nor even national security.”

That tells a dark story of bad faith. On one end of the border, in the north-east, Manipur is still simmering with rage and sorrow. Women stripped in public by a blood-thirsty mob is a nightmare which comes back, like nightmares, like the murderous attacks and burning of villages, the scores of dead across the communities, in the valley and the forests; the unknown bodies, the mothers in mourning, the virtual civil war in a sensitive border state ruled by a partisan and unrepentant BJP chief minister.

Of course, the whole country knows that the PM did not visit Manipur even once, and almost always chose a tacit silence, for reasons only he knows. Language failed him on a ravaged Manipur, and he could not even blame it on Pakistan! Now, Ladakh is becoming restless. They too want justice, and they too are on a sensitive border region, walking a tight-rope, in a delicate situation, with China, literally, breathing down their neck. So, like Manipur and Kashmir, will they botch up Ladakh too, now under a siege? Immerse a pristine heaven of simple and gentle people into the ugly hell-fires of a tragic epic? Quite probably, yes!

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