Not Responding to Yogi’s 80-20 Rhetoric May Make Sense
Less than 48 hours after the announcement of the State Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, the Chief State Minister, Yogi Adityanath, claimed that the electoral competition would be “80 percent to 20 percent. percent ”. This statement was made during a live broadcast event following the entry into force of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
According to the 2011 census, the Hindu population of the UP is 79.73% and that of Muslims 19.26%. Although Adityanath did not take the name of any religious community, the hissing of the dogs is clear. Retired civil servant Sanjeev Gupta, former secretary of the Interstate Council, highlighted it on Twitter: “Brazen! The very first point of @ECISVEEP’s Model Code of Conduct is flagrantly flouted. I have faced quite a few MCC violations in my career, but this one is appalling beyond words. I am also shocked by equally strange responses. https://eci.gov.in/mcc/. “The first guideline of the model code of conduct says:” No party or candidate should include in any activity which could aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tensions between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic. “
Yet surprisingly, neither of the opposition parties took Adityanath to the Indian Election Commission (ECI) or reacted aggressively to his statements. As Congress leader Digvijaya Singh urged the ECI to “wake up and show some spine,” Priyanka Gandhi called on UP youth to ignore Adityanath’s “80 to 20” remark, which she said was a fraudulent way to distract from the issues. like youth unemployment and education. The Samajwadi Party (SP), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Aam Adami Party (AAP) also remained silent on Adityanath’s statement.
What does this say about the campaign of non-BJP parties? One catch would be that the non-BJP parties have gone slowly in opposing communitarianism. They also did not oppose the stereotype of Muslims as criminals on election posters released by the BJP, where rioters were pictured wearing the kafiyeh plaid headscarf considered synonymous with Islamic identity. No mainstream party has criticized the lynching of a man accused of “sacrilege” by a crowd of Sikh worshipers in the Punjab.
The Ram temple in Ayodhya has become somewhat of a test to authenticate his Hindu beliefs. Akhilesh Yadav of SP visited the shrine claiming that “Ram belongs to SP as much as anyone else” and pointed out that it was his party government that planted Parijat (night jasmine) trees on the along the Ayodhya Parikrama. AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal built a replica of the temple for his government’s Diwali celebrations in Delhi, then visited Ayodhya and added it to the itinerary of the chief minister’s free pilgrimage program. Delhi. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi of Congress also greeted Lord Ram in their tweets on the day of the temple dedication ceremony. Rahul Gandhi’s sermons on Hindu versus Hindutva also claim Hinduism.
However, it may simply be that, like the coronavirus, Hindutva has mutated and is on the way to becoming endemic in Indian political discourse. If this has happened, then in the medium to long term, the community benefit of BJP could erode.
However, right now Yogi Adityanath seeking re-election to the UP needs community rhetoric to dominate campaign discourse. UP has been ranked as the most poorly governed large Indian state on several indexes. Although Adityanath’s campaign projects UP as Uttam Pradesh, the Public Affairs Index ranked it the worst great state in terms of equity and ranks its performance near the bottom in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on gender equality, good health and well-being. , and reduce inequalities. The state ranks last in terms of dowry-related deaths, ten times the national average (2,410 in UP compared to the national average of 240 for 10 lakh inhabitants in 2019), the crime rate against castes and listed tribes is 63.6%, infant mortality is 64 percent, stunting in children is 46.3 percent, wasting in children is 17.9 percent and nearly 40 percent of children under five are underweight. Additionally, UP is in the top 10 states most dangerous for women, with rape cases doubling in the state from 2009 to 2019 based on official statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau. Reinforcing the appalling images of the second wave of the Covid pandemic, Niti Aayog’s health index confirms that UP is the worst performing state in India.
The community campaign, however, highlights other ‘achievements’ such as the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, the inauguration of the Kashi Temple Corridor, the bulldozing of (mostly) Muslim Mafioso properties and the record of the state police in the murder of criminals (mainly from the minority community) in ‘encounters’.
Opposition parties would gain little from complaining to the ECI, which, according to its record, is unlikely to bring them any relief. They seem to have realized that there is no easy way to campaign against communitarianism per se. Perhaps they decided to tactically circumvent community propaganda and refuse to campaign on BJP terms. Ignoring communal rhetoric can deprive the BJP of the edge it seeks to hijack the election campaign. Perhaps this is what Priyanka Gandhi wants to do by urging young people to focus on public issues like employment and education instead of community division. It could be a smart way to run UP elections.
(The writer is a Delhi-based journalist)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of DH.
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