Senior BJP leader Uma Bharati's statement made on Sunday that only right-wing Hindutva leaders can be the saviour of Muslims and guarantee their security reveals a new synthesis in Indian politics, and that is between the right-wing political style and minorityism. And Narendra Modi's model of development in Gujarat acts as a bridge which makes this otherwise impossible synthesis possible.
Bharati's statement has unearthed an irony of Indian politics and that is: the self-proclaimed secularists of this country have let the minorities down and now the latter have to look forward to the Hindutva forces for their betterment. Bharati's confident call that only she and those who belong to her political colour "can instill confidence and erode fear from the Muslim psyche" opens a new horizon for those who seriously study Indian politics.
The secularists in this country have traditionally let down both the majority and minority groups, if we can categorise it simply. The centrist and left-of-the-centrist forces in this country have used the minority card exclusively for electoral success and they continue to do so. It is disappointing to see that these political forces have not succeeded to raise their level from brazen minority appeasement and do something really constructive for the betterment of an undivided society.
The Congress party is mainly responsible for carrying on this tradition in the name of Nehru's secularist legacy while other regional parties have mastered the art of projecting themselves as the messiah for the minority sections in later years. Never have they pursued an agenda for the betterment of the minorities but only used their name whenever a poll approached. This hypocrisy has helped the minorities little.
The BJP is the only major Indian party which has never relied on minority appeasement to make a mark on national politics. It succeeded to tap the political space, which was left open by the secular and leftist forces, in the 1980s and 1990s and got the taste of forming a government at the Centre within 15 years of its formation. Before it turned 24, the BJP had already led a government which had served its full tenure. The rise of the saffron party in Indian political scenario, thus, has been enviable.
The party, however, has not been able to keep the flames burning in the later years and had to synthesise Hindutva with development mantra to ensure a bigger sustainability in politics.
If L K Advani remained a man ambitious about his Hindutva project, the tendency was well-camouflaged by the pro-governance credentials of Atal Behari Vajpayee. The party, backed by an organisational strength, proved itself to be a party with a difference for it did not believe in appeasing the minority to come to power but yet lead a secular republic. The trust was there.
It is essential that BJP regains this trust to reap electoral dividends in the next big elections. To regain the trust, it is essential for the party to reach great heights in terms of governance and none else but Modi is the man who can take the party forward in this regard at the moment. It may sound ironical but Modi's hard work in the last 11 years have made this irony a possibility.
It can not be denied that the leader had to fight all opposition to scale the heights of administrative ability, something which even the 'protectors of minorities' in this country have not been able to do despite having all advantages.
The hardliner sanyasin's mellowing down is also pointer to the fact that only majoritarianism no longer can serve the saffron brigade's interest. The country's character has changed and so has its demands. The secularists' tokenism instead of affecting a change in the ground has given the Hindutva forces a fresh opportunity again, and this time to capitalise on the majority-minority divide in terms of development and not religion. Moditva has shown how development can be made an inclusive agenda. Can the others grab the opportunity?