From Israel to chapati politics: The aim is to show Modi as a communal monster

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The 'secular' forces in India are trying to find ways to counter the new regime of the right that came to power at the Centre after a massive mandate on May 16. They are desperately trying to expose the Modi government as a communal one to cement their feet among the minority sections for they have very little space otherwise to counter the majority government of the BJP and its allies.
Two instances can be cited to show the secularists' resolve to regain some of their lost grounds against Modi.

The demand to condemn Israel is nothing but a well thought-out drama aiming Modi

The first is the noise in the Parliament over the ongoing violence in Gaza Strip in which several hundred innocent people are being killed. Opposition parties like the Left Front, Congress and JD(U) have demanded condemnation of Israel in the central legislature. The Left might have an ideological stand on Israel but parties like the JD(U) and Congress have criticized Israel just to settle scores with Modi.

Dots were smartly joined in the chapati case to make Modi look a divisive PM

The JD(U) eyes to win the minority votes in next year's Bihar election but the Congress's stand just shows its hollowness. It was during the Congress rule in the early 1990s when India set up diplomatic relation with Israel for the first time. India has followed a consistency in its Israel policy since then.

The subsequent governments of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh never thought any change of that policy. India is a major recipient of arms from Israel now. Then why the Congress has to create an anti-Israel uproar now?

Why is Congress seeking to condemn Israel? They have followed pro-Israel policy when in power

The grand-old party has nothing but the concern of the minorities in India in mind while making the noise. It has tried to convey to the Indian Muslims that it is against Zionism and hence their natural ally. But it has done so at by negating the stand of its own governments in the past and threatening the nation's objective interests in jeopardy. The Modi government did the right thing by putting its stand on the issue clearly.

Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj gave a clever reply in the Parliament by saying that the Modi government is also pursuing the policy that its predecessors had pursued. This straightaway negates the ‘secularists' hollow sympathy game.

"Ok, eat this since you are fasting": who are we fooling?

The second instance is about forcing a Muslim staffer who is observing Ramzan fasting to eat a piece of chapati by some Shiv Sena leaders. This incident gave the ‘secularists' a readymade opportunity to cash on for all the noise raised on this issue projecting a majority group forcing something on a minority group member was certain to catch all the attention of a media which has also remained hungry for news.

Nobody spoke anything about the rowdy behaviour but only about the religious colour

The stranger part of this controversy which continued to rock Indian politics and media throughout Wednesday is that none criticized the MPs for behaving indecently with the Muslim catering official but remained focus on adding a colour of communalism to it. More than issues like poor standard of the food or an MP's offensive behavior, the focus of the secular media and the parties remained on how a Hindu humiliated a Muslim.

Wouldn't the criticism be equally sharp had the staffer been a Hindu? When members of the right-wing outfits threaten toll plazas in Maharashtra or ransack public property, the same media and politicians never care to see the caste and religion of those at the receiving ends.

Nice opportunity ahead of the prestige battle in Maharashtra

But the incident at Maharashtra Bhavan made it important to do so for it allowed joining of a number of dots (Hindu majoritary group, Muslim, Ramzan, fasting, chapatti) to break a story worth consumption. For the ‘secularists', it was a welcome development for the election in Maharashtra is not far and the forecasts about their performance are not very bright. So why not make full use of the case nicely projected to make an appeal in the mind of the minority sections? And of course, there are the prime time debates to prick the voters' conscience with such issues.

Mission is to reconstruct Narendra Modi's polarising image

These dramatic offensives are aimed at reconstructing the polarizing image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, something which he succeeded in overcoming after the May 16 victory.

The aim is to recreate the secular-communal debate somehow to corner the new government, which so far hasn't given the Opposition and the media any loose ball to play.

These offensives though won't help the Opposition ultimately but they will surely generate more chaos in the public life, which will be well-marketed by the media to run its show-time till the next breaking news is found.

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