The exit polls for the five state assembly elections indicate disaster for the BJP. If their prediction proves correct, Rajasthan is a lost case for the BJP. The party may lose Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh too and in Telangana and Mizoram, it may draw a blank. In this eventuality, as I mentioned in my article ”Yogendra Yadav’s La-La Land Gambit ‘ published on Dailyo website, large scale communal riots are likely to follow.
Why do I say this? Let me explain.
Lok Sabha elections are like a war for the Delhi Sultanate and Indian history shows that in such wars, no holds are barred and rivers of blood have flown. A case in example is the War of Succession immediately Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s illness.
So every dirty trick to win will be used by all parties. Congress was in power for half a century, BJP for only about 10 years. Naturally it would not like to lose power, and will use every saam daam dand bhed to retain it. Being in power in the Centre and in many states gives the saffron party a distinct advantage, as it will definitely use the state machinery for its benefit.
The main problem for the BJP is this: its secure vote bank consists of the upper caste Hindus, but these collectively ( Brahmins, Rajputs, Banias, Bhumihars etc) are only about 20% in big states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. To win elections one needs over 30% votes (one does not need 50% as the rest is divided ). So how to get this additional 10% is the main problem for the BJP.
In the 2017 UP Assembly elections, this problem was solved by winning over many non Yadav OBCs, who had the grievance that Samajwadi Party helps only the Yadavas and not other OBCs. (In UP about 40% population is OBC, and about 10% are Yadavas). The party, therefore, gave a lot of tickets to non Yadav OBCs, resulting in a landslide victory for the BJP.
But the non Yadav OBCs are not a reliable BJP vote bank like upper castes. The only alternative left for the BJP is whipping up communal frenzy on a massive scale in an effort to get hold of a section of the non upper caste Hindu votes. It was this gambit (Babri Masjid-Ram Janma Bhumi agitation) that saw an increase in the BJP seats in the Lok Sabha from 2 in 1984 to 182 in 1999.
Some say that the Ram Janma Bhumi agitation has exhausted itself and this ploy will not work any more. I disagree. A move has been made to again whip up passions over the issue and at any event there are other ways to stoke the communal fire.
It must be remembered that secularism is a feature of industrial society, but India is still semi-feudal, as evident from the rampant casteism and communalism prevalent in the Indian society. Our Constitution no doubt says that India is a secular Republic, but the ground reality is quite different. The truth is that, in India, most Hindus are communal, as are most Muslims. Communalism is always latent in our society, only requiring some catalyst to bring it to the surface.
It is not difficult to incite communal passions in India. For instance, a miscreant can slaughter some cows and throw their carcasses in Hindu temples overnight or write on the temple walls Allaho Akbar. This alone will be enough to cause communal riots.
So, one can predict quite accurately that large-scale communal violence will start shortly in India and of course Muslims will be at the receiving end.
Dark days are ahead for the country. As a Chinese adage says “High unpredictable winds and misfortunes are in the sky.”
(Justice Markandey Katju is a former Supreme Court judge and ex-chairman of Press Council of India. Views expressed here are the author’s own.)