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Saturday, June 3, 2023

‘Right’ Scenarios for 2019 Lok Sabha Elections

There is a problem. The so named Right Wing [RW] in Bharat is divided in its assessment of this government. There are at least four clusters of thought currently on the RW:

1) support BJP because they are a more familiar and safer option than the alternative,

2) maintain ideological integrity, and reject BJPs overtures towards minority appeasement,

3) few who are unhappy with BJPs “sarva dharma sama bhava”, but accept it with the bitter after taste since the alternative is infinitely more dangerous, and

4) those that will vote NM (Narendra Modi).

There are not rigid segments, but rather points on a spectrum, and many vacillate between any two given positions [almost always two] depending on the issue at hand. It is important to acknowledge the presence of a subgroup of RW, called the #CoreRight [see here for a summary of #CoreRight issues].

A fractured support base lead to electoral outcome trajectories that are often neither black nor white [win or lose]. Let us consider a few possibilities:

1.) NDA loses 2019: probably the worst case scenario. To state it mildly, this is the stuff nightmares are made of, as far as RW is concerned. Not only will they have an ideological opponent in power, but the opponent will consider their [RW] existence as a thorn in the flesh. The ideological opponents will likely use everything at their disposal to hunt and smother the fledgling RW. Especially since the RW has exposed its own thought leaders since 2014.

Moreover, bringing back UPA3 will certainly bring back sectarian law making with a vengeance. Yes, the Sanatanis have survived worse. While UPA3 is a puppet compared to the likes of Khilji or Aurangzeb, UPA3 will definitely set back the Hindu revival by at least 2 decades, if not more. I am personally afraid that UPA3 will sow the seeds for another partition — much along the lines imagined by the British originally: NE, Pakistan with Kashmir, Hindustan [including Gangetic plains], Nizam of Hyderabad [TRS and AIMIM], and Dravidistan. Another UPA will, in all probabilities, sow all these five seeds simultaneously under the pretext of federalism.

2.) NDA wins, but without RW #CoreRight support. This is a likely scenario with negative fallouts for the #CoreRight. If this happens, #CoreRight loses whatever political influence it carries with NDA today. As useless as NDA has proven itself to be on #CoreRight agenda, it is also true that its leaders lend an ear. However, if BJP wins 2019 despite a #CoreRight negative vote [possible with BJPs overtures towards rural voters and its inroads in NE], it would mean that electorally #CoreRight becomes inconsequential. The best reaction they will elicit from NDA4 [2019–2024] in such a case, will be that of indifference. However, things may go sour since many “RW influencers” are extremely vocal about their disagreement with emerging leaders — and tend to get personal. While they get brownie points for ideological clarity [rigidity], they also alienate the cause [RW agenda] from the means [political party in power]. Either way, if this happens, #CoreRight should put its heads down, and start working on the ground and make itself electorally relevant.

3.) NDA wins because the RW manages to pull together another bout of magic, forgetting their differences. I mean, forget everything and just vote BJP / NDA in the hopes that they will act on Core Right issues. There is no outreach from the #CoreRight leaders to BJP leaders. No promises are made. Only an implicit understanding by the #CoreRight [better called hope] that BJP will act on this agenda. In this scenario, we will see a repeat of 2014–2019 rule. Almost all core agenda will be pushed to the back burner. We will see more sectarian funding — but likely no sectarian law making.

This is the second least damaging option for the RW, but far better than losing 2019. This way, the #CoreRight will get a breathing space to grow its ranks, and establish contact with BJP leaders [and future leaders] and prove its usefulness in an election [we can win you x y z seats]. However, this requires that the #CoreRight double down and start creating its own electoral banks. Identify seats where #CoreRight agenda will win elections and start canvassing for their agenda on the ground. Create awareness. Sensitize people to legal discrimination in the constitution. All of this means that the #CoreRight leadership has to step out of its SM shell and start walking the talk. They need to expose themselves more than they already have.

4.) NDA comes to power because RW consolidates, and promises are extracted: this is a most favorable scenario for the RW and #CoreRight. The #CoreRight has another year to ingratiate themselves to the NDA leadership and make representations about the cause. It is time that we sent missives to all leaders of NDA — at all levels, and tell them that there is a problem. Tell them that we are not yet electorally relevant, but we will become so in the foreseeable future. Propose a plan as to how leaning on #CoreRight will positively affect electoral prospects. If there are genuine electoral concerns from those on the other side, try and go for a middle ground.

In short, go from theory to practice. Get on the ground, get your hands and feet dirty. Lobby as an organization, and not as a bunch of ideologically connected individuals. If there are no results — it is still a win-win because the politicians are assured that they have our support [even with no explicit promises], and we have made our ideological requirements clear [they know what we expect]. This would keep us politically relevant and not shut doors on us in the future. It will show the #CoreRight to be reasonable and realistic. Most importantly, by going with specific recommendations and plans to tackle any negative fallouts, we will project a positive image of #CoreRight as opposed to SM-based internal opposition.

5.) NDA comes back to power, and does #CoreRight on its own accord: well, this is diametrically opposite to scenario [1], and this is what I call Disney World scenario. Because you know, “dreams do come true”. The #CoreRight and RW would do well to not dwell on this scenario at all.

Given these scenarios, the ideological RW and the #CoreRight need to get their action plan ready. There is another year left [at least 9–10 months] for the next general election and #CoreRight can start its overtures towards leaders of their choice. They need not just depend on BJP — even others are fair game [this would put BJP on notice, and force them to think of us seriously]. Two names come to mind: Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Baijayant Panda. We already have Maheish Girri, and we can convince Smriti Irani to support this agenda.

Net-net: instead of just lamenting / cursing on Twitter, it is time for RW and #CoreRight to start acting on its agenda and woo the politicians.

-By @SirBullyMammoth

(This post first appeared on the author’s medium page and is being reproduced with his consent.)

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