Gomata versus Gopalan: The fierce Left-right conflict in India with none to balance

There is a similarity in ways politics unfolds its story-be it international or national. The Cold War that started between the US and the erstwhile Soviet Union after the Second World War intensified with time and one of the major reason for this was the gradual weakening of a centrist power like the UK, which had till that point of time, played the role of a balancer in world politics.

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The current scenario in Indian politics also speaks about something similar happening. The ongoing fiasco at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, the arrest of students, an attempt to vandalise the CPI(M) headquarters and alleged threat to CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on the one hand and the rigid stand taken by the authorities on the other hand suggest that the political landscape in india has been polarised like never before.



BJP's focus seems more on governance than social democracy

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi hasn't made any remark on the JNU issue so far, two of his important ministers have brushed the incident with colours of nationalism---negative and positive, which makes it evident that the BJP-led goevrnment at the Centre has little remorse over the arrest of Kthe university's students' union president Kanhaiya Kumar.

The PM, who reportedly sat with BJP president Amit Shah and top ministers like Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj on this issue suggests that the BJP top leadership is more concerned with the fiasco's likely fallout in the Budget session of Parliament and not smoothly diffusing the tension in the campus.

Discarding political multiculturalism, too

That the top BJP leaders and right-wing bodies like the RSS and VHP favour action against the protesting students explain that they are not ready to abide by the Nehruvian idea of embracing multiculturalism.

If the fatal attack on Mohammad Akhlaq in Dadri for allegedly consuming beef last year was the right-wing camp's open disapproval of social pluralism, the JNU melee is an example of the intolerance towards political pluralism. For a diversity that is India, this is nothing sort of a will to commit suicide.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee's dependence on coalition politics had prevented the right-wings to unleash their energy fully in the early 2000s. But now with the BJP having its single majority in Parliament, the license for free run has been grabbed by the right-wing activists with both hands. And politically, weakened forces like the Left have become an easy target. That the basis of the ideology of the right-thinking brigade is cultural nationalism has been reiterated by their taking on the students of a Left-leaning institution on charges of anti-national sloganeering.

The collapse of Congress has made the right vs Left fight more fierce

What has made the extreme polarisation between the Left and the right look all the more menacing is the fall of the Congress in Indian politics. Like the UK in international politics, the Congress had served as a centrist and balancing force in our national politics. Even after its fall from the top after the loss of Rajiv Gandhi in 1989, the Congress's secondary presence had a significant contribution towards maintaining a balance between every other ideological force in India.

But after its decimation at the Centre and several other states in the last half-a-decade, the right-wing has found itself pitted directly against opposing forces, whether religious or political. The JNU fiasco was the culmination of the growing tension between the Left and the right in this country, which is more direct now.

As far as the numbers are concerned, the right has all the strength now but democracy isn't just a number-crunching game. If the BJP's top leadership doesn't make an effort for a soft solution to this fierce ideological clash, then the consequences will not be good for our national health.

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