BJP and the Congress are two peas in a pod

Published: July 14, 2015
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One would have expected Modi to learn from Dr Manmohan Singh’s mistakes but it doesn’t seem so.

In a recent television interview given to India Today’s Karan Thapar, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) patriarch LK Advani mentioned that Indira Gandhi cannot be said to have a ‘mixed legacy’ as she was responsible for clamping down emergency. Thus, she cannot be forgiven.

HoweverThapar was correct in pointing out to Advani that if Indira Gandhi can’t be forgiven for what happened on June 25, 1975 then can Advani be forgiven for what transpired on December 6, 1992?

If the Indian National Congress (INC) carries the burden of murdering democracy on the pretext of the foreign hand theory by imposing the emergency, BJP has to be held responsible for smashing the secular edifice of India by the means of the divisive Ram Janmabhoomi Movement which led to the destruction of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya. During the emergency, Indian citizens were stripped of their fundamental rights and thousands of political workers were put behind bars. Though the emergency was lifted after a period of 21 months in March 1977, it left a permanent scar on INC’s supposed commitment to parliamentary democracy.

When Sangh Parivar-led kar sevaks (volunteer for a religious cause) brought down the Babri Mosque, it not only soured Hindu-Muslim relations in India and led to widespread rioting but it also sparked many revenge attacks on Hindu temples in Bangladesh. One can delve deep into history and sight numerous examples to suggest that Congress and BJP are not very different from each other. In 1984 the Congress government failed to protect the Sikhs as they were hounded out and massacred in large numbers following the assassination of Indira Gandhi. Eighteen years later in 2002, BJP’s state government in Gujarat too turned a blind eye towards the mass killing of Muslims following the controversial burning of a train carrying Hindu kar sevaks.

However, if we evaluate the current political scenario in India we can find one big difference and similarity between the BJP and Congress. The difference is in terms of approach as Prime Minister Narendra Modi appears to be much more ‘adept’ at event management and self-promotion. Modi launched the clean India mission called Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan on Gandhi Jayanti last year and tried to snatch away the political legacy of Bapu from the Congress.

Thereafter, Christmas was rechristened as Good Governance Day and the Bharat Ratna was conferred on BJP’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Banaras Hindu University’s (BHU) founder Madan Mohan Malviya. On June 21st, Modi led the celebration of International Yoga Day across the world by stretching out himself alongside thousands of others at Rajpath. And now it has been reported that the Modi government is planning to celebrate Raksha Bandhan.

Nevertheless, the question to be asked is whether this is entirely symbolism or something more substantial.

The answer unfortunately isn’t very encouraging.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan has so far failed to be anything more than a political gimmick. It provided for many photo-ops involving politicians and Bollywood celebrities but has failed to make much of a difference on the ground. Cleaning of rivers is still a distant dream and open defecation a norm for many across the country. Modi hasn’t done anything worth mentioning for his constituency Varanasi.

Ceremonial gestures like bestowing of Bharat Ratna on BHU’s Madan Mohan Malviya might have made a few locals happy for a while but has it altered the quality and standard of their lives?

Where is good governance?

In fact, there happens to be singular governance with the emergence of Super Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and dismantling of Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) and Group of Ministers (GMO).

While efficient event management and outright centralisation of power is the unique selling proposition of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, the prime minister’s muteness is what makes it similar to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. The controversy around IPL’s tainted architect Lalit Modi has hit two BJP bigwigs, namely, Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. The opposition has demanded the resignation of both the ministers as the media is relentlessly carrying out exposes on a day to day basis implicating Raje and Swaraj of impropriety.

But Modi, much like his predecessor Dr Manmohan Singh, is keeping quiet. Silence on critical issues of corruption earned Dr Singh, the dubious nickname of the silent prime minister.

One would have expected Modi to learn from Dr Singh’s mistakes but it doesn’t seem so.

Prior to this, for a long time, Modi said nothing when BJP leaders like Sakshi Maharaj and Yogi Adityanath were spewing venom against minorities. This even prompted a statement of caution from US President Barack Obama during his visit to India in January earlier this year.

Congress-led UPA government was a minority government. It was a government which was often paralysed due to its coalition partners like Dravinda Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). It was precisely because of the desire to stay in power, dubbed as ‘compulsions of coalition politics’ that Dr Singh didn’t sack telecom minister, A Raja, as the Congress feared that the DMK would withdraw support and the government would fall. Eventually, Raja had to go and so did Dayanidhi Maran and many other Congress leaders including Shashi Tharoor, Pawan Kumar Bansal and Ashwani Kumar. UPA’s ministers did resign but by the time they resigned, the damage had already been done.

Today, the BJP is suffering from the arrogance of numbers.

They have a majority of their own and are brazenly backing Raje and Swaraj. They will most likely continue to do so. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh recently stated that the tainted ministers won’t resign as it’s the NDA and not UPA government.

Although, Modi needs to realise that the people of India didn’t elect them to become arrogant and act like the Congress did. Modi might not act but negative publicity in the media will continue. Pressure wouldn’t ease, courts will pitch in and then Modi would be forced to act on Vasundhara Raje, Sushma Swaraj and Smriti Irani.

But it might get too late by then.

NDA might have become another UPA and the people might not be able to spot the difference between the two.

Saif Ahmad Khan

Saif Ahmad Khan

The writer is pursuing an MA in Convergent Journalism from the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia. He has published several opinion pieces, news reports and letters for various news websites and newspapers. He tweets @SaifAKhan (twitter.com/saifakhan)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Animal Farm

    AdharshLiberal AAPTard spotted!!!!

    To tell the truth,AAP is more like the George Orwell’s novel “Animal Farm”.. They were formed to root out the current injustices in the rule and then now they are doing the same gimmicks done by the parties they criticize…..

    AAP has shown more megalomania,fake degrees ministers,U-turns,tainted ministers,apathy,anarchy in just 6 months…Just imagine how they will be if they are allowed to continue for 5 more years.Recommend

  • Bairooni Haath

    I hope you are considering a move to the fortress of tolerance, civil rights and religious freedom named Pakistan.Recommend

  • Linux Novice

    Comical.Recommend

  • mimi sur

    Mr.Writer, Even if Advani had not demolished babri mosque, we would have demolished it. It is named after an invader . Secondly, If so-called iftar party can be celebrated, why not Deepavali or Rakshi Bandhan. After all these are our indigenous festival unlike outside festivals like eid or christmas . And in Gujurat riot, it was bound to happen to teach these murderers a lesson. So go, relax.Recommend

  • Milind A

    “When Sangh Parivar-led kar sevaks (volunteer
    for a religious cause) brought down the Babri Mosque, it not only
    soured Hindu-Muslim relations in India and led to widespread rioting but
    it also sparked many revenge attacks on Hindu temples in Bangladesh”
    Well if Sangh Parivar led sevaks brought down the Babri Mosque, what prevented the Muslims from exercising restraint and taking legal action rather than ‘souring’ their relations with ALL Hindus? As is a sizeable number of the Hindus opposed the destruction of the mosque and stood by Muslims, in those days. Why did Muslims overlook this and get provoked attacking neighbourhood Hindus not responsible for this act?

    If you’re blaming the destruction of the mosque by Sangh Parivar for the revenge attacks from Muslims (as most of your tribe does), then please exhibit some integrity and accept that burning of Hindu pilgrims by Muslims was responsible for revenge attacks from Hindus in Godhra, as also 9/11 for American invasion in Afghanistan & Iraq.Recommend

  • kartikey mishra

    even U live in india but u don’t know him mr.modiji u r saying he is not saying anything else or keep mum ..but that is his style of governance & we know that he will not say anything about controversies cause when he say it will be a big issue & BJP may be feel trouble so he is very sincere man. but on the other hand INC is keep barking on modi & modi is not interested to even look or respond them he knows that if he responds so it will be a big issue in india because when modi speaks anything the issue get big so he will not say anything … Recommend

  • Muhammad Aamir

    Nice Essay!! 10 marks are given to you out of 50.Recommend

  • anil

    No, He won’t blame burning of Hindu Pilgrims, because ghost of Islam resides in his brain and he only sees the world through muslims and non-muslims . These are rabid fundamentalists and even terrorists . We should behave with these people the way Chinese behave in Ugiurs . Recommend

  • Indian

    Iftar is secular by Nehruvian Intellectuals….. of India…and anything Hindu is too communal..they dont understand what is cultural and what is a religioussymbol !!!!! such is the pea-brained intellect sold out to the NEhruvian Jholawalla brigade !!!Recommend

  • Gullu

    You are one hateful person. A perfect representative of
    Shiv Sena/RSS Hindustan. May all your gods have mercy on you.Recommend

  • Rana Eddy

    Even though I appreciate your write-ups , be it on “Young Ki Awaz” or even on Kafila yesterday, I have some issues with this one above :-

    1) What was wrong in giving Bharat Ratna to Malviya ….was not he as good (or even as bad) as Sir Syed. Do you want to say that BHU was born of a communal movement & AMU of a Secular movement ? I hope not.

    2) Modi celebrates Raksha Bandhan …What is wrong with that exactly when Kejriwal or other Secular parties host Iftar ? Why cannot we see them on same lines , why favour the latter & oppose the former.

    3) When Secular Indian authors write on Tribune, they not just activate the Hindutvadi trolls but also Communal Muslim trolls (Pakistanis here) , who like always will play “victim” & justify Partition by saying that Jinnah Saved us from Hindu fanaticism of Hindu-majority areas. In many cases these ppl (some allegedly Liberals too) would in their fatuously “Vicarious Victimhood” forget that in their Sindh & West Punjab it were Hindus who were at the receiving end , not they (Muslim Majority). The below is an example :http://tribune.com.pk/story/915362/thank-you-mr-modi/

    Would appreciate a reply .Recommend

  • Rana Eddy

    Bhakt on payrollsRecommend

  • mimi sur

    Truth bites. Why should we name a mosque after an invader ? Is it because only religion matches ? Why iftar is considered secular and no question is raised , But this man raises Raksha Bandhan ? Why burning of Pilgrims is ignored and a retaliation is exaggerated .Recommend

  • Gratgy

    The author implied Madam Mohan Malviya is communal due to his connection with Benaras Hindu University but then finds it perfectly ok for himself to be associated with Jamia Milia Islamia.

    For some hypocrites, victimhood just flows in their veinsRecommend

  • Ammar Malik

    more indian news than news from pakistan , why shld i even be here ?Recommend

  • Anjaan Aadmi

    1. It is absolute rubbish to compare the Khangress party with the BJP … they are poles apart … the Khangress party is a pseudo-secular Muslim appeasing vote bank seeking party of the Chors and Thugs, who garnered Muslim vote by instilling the fear of the rise of Hindu nationalism in the minds of the Muslim electorate … where as the BJP of PM Modi, is a nationalist party of the true patriots and proud Hindus, who will take the patriotic Muslim brothers along, in their quest for a prosperous India … !!

    2. it is absolutely ridiculous to compare curbing of fundamental rights of the people by imposing emergency by late Indira Gandhi … to the demolition of Babri Masjid, a symbol of Muslim invasion and domination on Hindu India … Babar was an outsider Muslim invader, and he still is … !! … many more such structures deserve to be demolished in India.

    3. Karan Thapar is popular amongst the Muslims and anti-BJP political segment … this Harvard educated leftist liberal Thug, agent of the western powers, has lost all credibility with the people of India. The comments he received from the public in the past years, and continues to receive as I speak, will confirm that.

    Recommend

  • https://www.facebook.com/TheViewThroughJagansLookingGlasses?ref=hl Jag Nathan

    Unlike in Pakistan, Indians do not view any of our politicians and/or journalists, citizens as traitors. We understand that just because they have different ideas and opinions does not mean they are traitors. Ultimately BJP and Congress are wedded to the good of India and their loyalties are with Mother India. We do not have the likes of Hamid Gul, Zaid Hamid and Mubashar Lukman branding our politicians, journalists and citizens as traitors and demanding they be hanged. Yes – BJP and Congress are basically cut from the same piece of cloth – the cloth of loyalty to Mother India.Recommend

  • G. Din

    “The writer is pursuing an MA in Convergent Journalism from the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia”
    Convergent Journalism? What is that? I think they refer to Ghulam Kashmir as AJK (Azad(?) Jammu and Kashmir) which means he is already in that fortress which no good sense shall ever pierce.Recommend

  • abhi

    Swachh bharat abhiyan did make a difference, go to Lucknow railway station and you can see the difference. ON the governance part lot has happened and it happened on ground, I got my passport without paying any bribe and that is a big difference from what used to happen earlier. You can always close your eyes and say things are not changing, but it needs an honest and objective observation to see the difference.Recommend

  • Critical

    The likes of Saif will oppose anything Modi does…and now he even has problems with Raksha Bandhan…
    atleast I’m happy that he’s not promoting incest just to show his “freedom of expression” and “right to dissent” against RakshabandanRecommend

  • True Pakistani

    Babar was no less than Bagdadi. destrution of mosk build on temple is certainly a good riddaance.
    This M uslim speratisim was responsible for blitzering of India and again it’s creeping out& getting resonance among Indian Muslim.
    Indeed a very bad omen.Recommend

  • Milind A

    That won’t happen.. Muslims will continue to stay in non-Muslim lands, cursing them, judging the natives, complaining and whining, but refuse to move back to any of the Muslim countries dripping with milk & honey.
    They will tolerate any excesses or bad living conditions, discrimination in Muslim countries and won’t utter any word on the sameRecommend

  • Milind A

    What’s hateful here? Unlike you we don’t glorify invaders… And BTW where is your outrage on Saudi Arabia raising the 1400 yr old house of the Prophet and replacing it with parking lot?
    Hypocrisy is your first & last nameRecommend

  • Gullu

    The Butcher of Gujrat is not a politician. He is a figurehead for the
    Hindutva fanatics. He panders to RSS, Bajrang Dalis, Shiv Sena
    and the worst of the worst dredges of Bharati society, that pass as
    human beings. The Chaiwala, is just that, a chaiwala. He panders
    to all of the above. it’s a long long rocky road for hindus of Hindustan.
    You can ask Jashodaben Chimenlal. She will tell you.Recommend

  • Queen

    India does have journalists like Aakar Patel (who has been accused of being a ‘traitor’, for reference read his articles including his latest article on ET), TV anchor Rajdeep Sardesai (who was manhandled by pro-Modi supporters in Madison Square Garden for being critical of your PM), and Kuldip Nayyar (another journalist who was termed ‘a traitor’ after he issued remarks in in Rajya Sabha on the massacres of Hindus in Kashmir). You have people like journalist Arundhati Roy who has been reviled for having ‘different ideas and opinions’ about Kashmir. The political dynamics of Pakistan and Pakistani media are very much different from that of India and so kindly do not promote this holier than thou attitude.Recommend

  • Lavrov Dostoveski

    You dont know truth what happened during godhra. Why poking nose in some other country’s internal matter. Sanghis are better than mullas. I guess you haven’t studied the Supreme Court judgment who exonerated him. Just dont shout out the propaganda, I know how it feels when you are scared of someone and cant do any thing against him except lying.Recommend

  • Lavrov Dostoveski

    After the advent of Twitter now common man also knows the real face of Congi and AAP plus pseudo seculars. All these will shout out against Modi but we all know the truth hence no effect. Indians now dont listen to these mouth-piece and hence they have to find readers in Pakistan. Writing an article doesn’t mean that you know facts.Recommend

  • Alann

    Please raise voice. Only you can bring about change in your own country. For a start, you can (and should!) ask the dictators at ET to stop writing stupid articles about India all the time and write articles based on things happening in Pakistan instead. Enough of these India-centric articles by unqualified people, published by ET to make money. When will issues pertaining to Pakistan be brought to the forth by these useless money-hungry media houses?Recommend