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For BJP, they are an active Gandhis. Kejriwal is the one who is afraid


An Indian Prime Minister has not held a more dominant position in Indira Gandhi than in March 1972. That month, elections were held in 13 states. It was 13-0 for Congress (I). Section Bihari Vajpayee sadly stated that although the Opposition nominated 2,700 individual candidates, Congress was able to nominate the same candidate in all seats in the country – Ms. Gandhi.

Indian politics seemed to be one with a woman. There was no national opposition that deserved that name. Socialists and communists were divided, in a Swatantra hospice, awaiting death, Congress (O) humiliated by the state (O), irrelevant Jan Sangh, in a scenario where Congress and its prime minister were seen as representations of nationalism.

Fifty marches later, after a 4-1 election card, our current prime minister says the same as in 2022, 2024 as well. Many of his opponents agree. TV channels called the election a “semi-final,” which means it only matters in the context of what’s to come.

While many people may think otherwise, the election is about thermometers, not horoscopes. The year after Indira Gandhi’s political supremacy, the Indian economy was hit by the 1973 oil shock. In 1974 the Bihar movement was seen, in 1975 democracy was disrupted. In January 1977, when the election was finally held, he and his son lost their seats. This is not to say that his dominance in 1972 was his enthusiasm. Dominance in politics is temporary, although it usually seems the opposite.

What should concern us, then, is not what these results tell us about our political future, but about our present.

The BJP is no longer the rebel party of 2013-2017, spreading across India as Narendra Modi Hindutva and expanding as a embodied fusion of aspiration. The pride of the campaigns of those years was that Modik would govern all the states himself effectively, and that he would continue to atchhe din. BJP is now the establishment. No voter can see it, or Modik, as something unproven. Tripura is the last election to be replaced by a BJP in early 2018 as an opposition prime minister. Hindutva remains, but the desire has been set aside. The new mix of the BJP is Hindutva, “hypernationalism,” welfare, and — now proven to be more of an establishment than an insurgent — fear of the opposition.

In the days leading up to the results, it has become commonplace to hear the disgruntled opponents of the BJP that our country is now out of hope: that the seductions of arrogance will be above bad government. The voters are to blame. On one level, it is difficult to say that there is no significant electoral section in Hindu society, at least in the Indian-speaking world, which is opposed to anti-Muslim arrogance. Secularism in itself has no scope. But on the other hand, the “choose a new people” argument fails because elections bring opportunities, and no one has the right to trust voters. Re-election of the incumbent may be as easy as a confirmation of the government’s history as a rejection of the challenge. In UP, the BJP faced an opponent whose record, under the father-son of Yadav, did not require much skill to use the weapon. In three other states, they challenged Congress.

Under the de facto leadership of two dilettante siblings, Congress did not come close to removing two of the country’s fewest governments. In Punjab, the siblings decided, not without reason, to remove a sitting prime minister. They also decided to empower Navjot Singh Sidhu on suspicion of failing to join the AAP. As a political strategy, Devak Halahala was the equivalent of all the drinking volunteers, if they didn’t think they would make Asura.

Against the many virtues of the Gandhi brothers, at this time, two indisputable responsibilities can be established. The first is that they are part-time politicians. Rahul made his political debut in 2004 and Priyanka (as a campaign) in 1999. Two decades later, both seem unable to commit to the life of politics. There is nothing wrong with that. If so, the dilemma between life and politics suggests that Gandhi may be too normal for the latter. Politics, at least in India, requires monomania. Politicians who have successfully defeated or retained Modi’s BJP are, without exception, full-time. The second, as the Sidhu passage shows, is their judgment. This is also evident in the selection of their advisers — not garden variety varieties, but rather pendants that weaken their main activity in the revitalization of Congress. If the Gandhi brothers only have the ability to revive the party, some of their advisers seem to be really afraid of reviving it – because it would cost them their job.

Two decades later, the Gandhi brothers do not seem to be able to commit to the life of politics.

In 2004 and 2009, Rahul Gandhi resigned as Minister. The alleged explanation was that he was too busy strengthening the party organization, especially in Uttar Pradesh. By 2022, the turnout in Congress would be 2.3%. However, Congress is sick beyond the boundaries of the Gandhi brothers. Harish Rawat was an example of his culture of giving his daughter a seat win – which he won – and defeating himself. It was a morbid rebirth of the 2018 election of Siddaramaiah in Karnataka. In both cases, the candidate for Prime Minister of Congress, in a close race, put dynastic considerations first. From the top down, Congress now represents the family before the party, before the country, before the individual.

Akhilesh Yadav has also, unfairly, been a part-time politician. But unlike Congress, it can take a lot of the sting out of the election because of the tightness of the SP’s social base, which was essentially impossible to win. In one campaign, the UP has become a bipolar policy for the first time in state history. The biggest criticism of his approach was that he preferred caste engineering to the construction of a broad narrative of unemployment and living standards. But now he has more opportunities than anyone else to shape the future of UP politics in the medium term. That future may now work full-time and can cultivate that more universal narrative.

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Akhilesh Yadav has also, unfairly, been a part-time politician.

On both counts, he – and all opposition parties – can see the AAP’s victory over the Punjab.

Arvind Kejriwal is also disgusted by the fact that some of his followers in Congress are overcoming Modi’s hatred. It does so because it sees the 2011 Anti-Corruption Movement as enabling the rise of Modi, and because its electoral strategy always involves directly addressing the basis of Congress first. It is often referred to as the “RSS B-group” or its variants. But concessions to Hindu nationalism -370. in favor of repealing the article or reciting Hanuman Chalisa in the campaign- Sanghi is not shown a wardrobe, but an instrumental politician. It is not secular or less secular than the son of Rajiv Gandhi who opened the locks of Babri Masjid or his “janeu dhari”.

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Arvind Kejriwal is also disgusted by the fact that some of his followers in Congress are overcoming Modi’s hatred.

However, get out of the royal chamber and pay attention to what the people of the BJP really think, and those who make fun of the AAP would know that the BJP considers the Gandhi brothers active and Arvind Kejriwal as a real threat. Modi or Mamata Banerjee can be paired for ambition and hunger. And, the only one among the opposition leaders, he has built a narrative that can work between states, which is defined assertively, not reactively. In the short term, Kejriwal obstructs the suspicion that other opposition leaders are looking at him – quite understandable. In his ambition, insofar as his party is a cult of identity, they see no reliable partner, but a centrist Modi. But whether they work with him or not, they would do well to absorb his belief that the Opposition is not doomed to defeat, nor the right to victory.

The advantages of the BJP in the 2022 electoral democracy — financial, organizational, structural — do not come close to those of the 1972 or 1985 Congress. These elections were not semi-final; and they, too, have nothing definite.

(Keshava Guha is a literary and political journalism writer and author of ‘Accidental Magic’.)

Note: These are the personal opinions of the author.



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