Senior BJP leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha's opinion that secularism-communalism shouldn't be the priority and the focus should be more on real issues like economic downturn doesn't demand a debate.
But there is no reason to believe that Narendra Modi, the Gujarat chief minister who is being attacked by his adversaries over the insignificant issue, is the one who is running the campaign of polarisation.
We live in a world where structuralism rules the roost. No one individual can be held responsible for whatever is happening all around. By structuralism, we mean a situation which is shaped by external factors which compel one to react on the lines of expectation. We can not say Adolf Hitler was bad or Jawaharlal Nehru was good just because of their contradictory political ideologies. It is the given conditions that had helped them emerge into leaders the world know themselves today.
The same thing is happening in Indian politics at this moment. Since Modi was the chief minister of a state where a riot had taken place 11 years ago and that because he comes from a party that speaks about cultural nationalism, the so-called secular forces invariably make it a point to provoke him everyday after rising from the bed.
What is even strange is that some of the best media personalities in the country also try hard to extract an apology from Modi over the 2002 riots even today. There is no doubt that they all compete to publish that much-sought after apology first to get the maximum mileage.
But never do they bother to do the same from leaders from other parts of the country which witness serious violence against the disadvantages classes. No alarm is raised when Dalits are targetted in northern Indian states, Muslims in West Bengal or Christians in southern India. The entire secular brigade is after one man, but is secular/communal debate only related to the status of the Muslims of the nation? Why don't we stop discussing riots at this very point or do we need another riot in a BJP-ruled state to shift our focus from Modi?
Modi has little option but to retaliate if the Congress constantly attacks him
Modi uttered the 'burqa of secularism' thing only after his secular opponents, including a section in the media, made a mountain out of a mole hill over an interview. His main opponent party's strategy is simple. Carry on with the hate campaign against Modi and create more controversy. The party has made a plan of deploying its leaders to target the Gujarat chief minister and they are taking him on in a calculated manner.
Be it Manish Tewari, Digvijay Singh, Shashi Tharoor, Ajay Maken or anybody else, the Congress brigade is playing to a point. They are meeting fire with fire over any issues and questions on facts raised by Modi. This is quite unprecedented.
This is also helping the Congress to divert the focus from key areas of governance to make the liability of anti-incumbency lighter. Senior leader Singh has rightly cautioned that it is urgent to bring the debate back on more substantive issues on which the health of the country depends. The leader said the Congress should not be allowed to force a debate on its own and the real issues must be debated upon.
The BJP has been reduced to a one-man army today with no strong leadership at the top
The BJP's lacking a strong national leadership has allowed the Congress to manoeuvre. The situation might change post-2014 in case Modi enters the Parliament as its member and force counter-moves. He is yet to make a complete mark on the national stage and as long as the Congress carries on its relentless attack against him, it requires the BJP's top leadership to back the Gujarat leader. But where is that leadership?
It is surprising that none of the national leaders of the party have used the opportunity to back Modi and show a solidarity. Where is L K Advani? Has he also forgotten the communal-secular debate?
The BJP today stands a party with a big vacuum at its top while a regional leader emerges fast to fill it up. This is quite a unique example in India's party politics. This transition phase is stopping it from outwitting the Congress while the latter is happily creating a fog of confusion all around to cover its failure.
The likes of Nitish Kumar and secular media are adding more to that confusion. But the Congress and other secular parties should remember that the game of ultra-polarisation will ultimately help Modi's party.