THE Bihar state of the Indian Union has just witnessed the most serious post-election reversal of its people’s electoral will. In its last assembly elections, citizens of Bihar delivered a direct reversal of the electoral mandate of Lok Sabha 2014 that has enabled the Bharatiya Janata Party to do a near-sweep of Bihar’s Lok Sabha seats. It is quite likely that this was no reversal at all. It was the 2014 Lok Sabha results that were a fluke of sorts, the results of a forward caste-centric formation winning when the backward groups are divided. In fact, in 2014, the RJD and the JD(U), fighting separately, won many more votes than the BJP even at the height of the ‘Modi wave’ if the RJD and the JD(U) votes were tallied together.
This assembly was elected through a direct fight between the lower caste-centric anti-communal forces of the RJD-JD(U)-led combine versus the upper caste-centric communal forces led by the BJP. The shameful somersault by Nitish Kumar of the JD(U) and the speed with which the BJP extended support to Nitish Kumar after his resignation drama shows how well planned this charade was. That this is some kind of posturing against ‘corruption’ is laughable. Most ministers of the JD(U)-BJP government that Nitish Kumar has been able to cobble together have cases pending against them. There will be no ‘inner voice’ now. That the BJP engineered a reversal of such a massive mandate against them should send alarm bells throughout the system and to other nations who might have harbour certain convenient illusions of democracy in the Indian Union under the BJP.
During the assembly election campaign in Bihar, union prime minister Narendra Modi promised a huge ‘Bihar package’. One would assume that this is some sort of a real decision and not some blackmail on the citizens of Bihar through which votes are sought after in lieu of ‘central’ cash. And when people did not vote the way the BJP wanted, this ‘central’ cash vanished. Not a single upper-caste Hindi-speaking BJP loud-mouth ever talked about those thousands of crores any more. And even such pronouncements of money for Hindi states are a shame. Whose money is this? It is the money collected from non-Hindi states in revenue. Most of it. And why must such packages happen? Is the role of the union government to make non-Hindi states pay money for the privilege of being part of the union. And what privilege? To subsidise other people when people of your own state are still poor and your language and identity are being daily marginalised by Delhi forces that are directly paid for by you! The carrot like dangling of Bihar special package was obscene. I am glad that Narendra Modi did not keep his promise, for that is most money Bihar never produced. Such ‘special packages’ are infrequent things. The transfer of money, assets, resources, and jobs from non-Hindi states to Hindi states and the enpeopling of non-Hindi states by Hindi people from Hindi states — this is a daily crime that does not cease. But we were talking about Bihar.
The BJP showed in Bihar and then in Gujarat and then in Karnataka how they plan to abuse the powers of the governor and that of central police/military/investigation/intelligence agencies to directly destroy politics in opposition parties and even in opposition ruled states. That is an emergency situation and the world must take notice because we are talking about a union government that has centralised so much power that structurally this sort of criminal goondaism underwritten by ideologies of hate and loot needs to be taken notice of by humanity because this organism rules over nearly a sixth of humanity. It is everybody’s problem. If white people’s micro-problems deserve ‘global’ attention, this one does too. Nitish Kumar resigned from the chief minister’s post. What should the governor have done? Called the largest party. That is the RJD. Or call the largest pre-poll opposition, which was RJD-JD(U)-Congress, which does still exist as RJD-Congress. The governor used his discretion to carry out the BJP’s master plan. Nitish Kumar was called again. This time with the BJP support. This well-orchestrated drama was a shame and the governor of Bihar is a party to it. This is a very dangerous moment. Post-1977, after the rise of state-based pro-federalism forces, in non-AFSPA states of the Indian Union, the fully dictatorial discretionary powers of an unelected Delhi agent like the governor had reduced. Now that discretionary powers beast is on a rebound mode, the BJP is reconquering territory that Congress had lost for Delhi — its dictatorial powers over the actual representatives of any state.
In Gujarat, the BJP has been trying to simply eat up the elected opposition legislators to the Gujarat state assembly by various threats and enticement, commonly both. The Congress needed to physically fly them out and that shows the nature of democratic political space that exists in Gujarat. Clearly, the nature is quite horrendous. And it is a gang from here that at present rules over the rest via their capture of the union government’s key posts. The Congress kept the Gujarat Congress MLAs in Karntaka at the resort of a Karnataka Congress leader. And now the union government has launched financial crime-related investigations of the Karnataka Congress leader’s businesses and property. Whether he is Mr Clean or not is immaterial. One has to see how agencies are being used to destroy opposition. This is the Indian state coming into its real own with a Hindi-Hindu core. They know they have ascended the throne and the system allows them to rule indefinitely even as they progressively tighten the grip on all hues of opposition, especially the non-Hindi and the non-Hindu. But there are differences. In Tamil Nadu or West Bengal, the BJP could not have done what they did in Bihar or Karnataka. People would take to the streets against this usurper controlled from outside. Its not as if the BJP does not try — they have the present ruling party AIADMK on its knees and eating from its hand in Tamil Nadu. In West Bengal, it has unleashed all the powers that Delhi could manage to destroy the society of West Bengal and its political representation. They have failed. The CBI or Enforcement Directorate could not deliver. West Bengal is not a walk-over. It shall flight.
Garga Chatterjee, an Indian brain scientist at MIT, writes columns from Kolkata for newspapers in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
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