Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut‘s article in his party mouthpiece suggesting withdrawal of Muslim voting rights has caused some steer in the media. Considering the seriousness of the preposterous comment, I hope that stringent actions should be taken against Sanjay Raut.
Personally this has appalled me very much. Being a member of ruling alliance undoubtedly has made him immune from legal actions. This denotes nothing but the mockery of democratic institution where we are told to believe that country run solely on the constitution. That oath taken of bearing true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, has become nothing but a farce on the name of Parliamentary Democracy.
This incident reminds of the milieu in George Orwell’s ‘doublespeak’, torment the weak to protect your vote base. Also, timing of this issue, just after by poll elections of Bandra, proves the point that previously its publication was stalled due to Model code of conduct. It would have caused Shiv Sena their assembly seat as Election Commission could have banned their participation.
After making such atrocious statement, he even went ahead in defending them. He quoted Balasaheb Thackarey, who had made same statement 15 years ago. This issue has made me think about the sociological aspect of these events.
A Classic Harborage
Shiv Sena has always been notorious (or popular !) for making such chauvinist comments. Rise of Shiv Sena in the decade of 1970s can be mainly attributed to these traits of its leaders. Balasaheb Thackarey, son of Prabodhankar Thackarey who is still revered in Maharashtra for his reformist views, has used the most lethal weapon in politics, identity. He had fallen back to the classic way of fueling identity by demonizing certain community.
Balasaheb’s constantly fueled animosity against Muslims, Dalit and even non-Maharashtrians. He used such language and tone in his speeches, which we use only privately. This “style” of his was even popularized by his followers. He was actively involved in the Bombay riots of 1993. This has been proven by the reports of Justice Shrikrishna Commission’s, which named him along with Lalkrishna Advani. His speeches on Dr. Ambedkar were also very demeaning.
Shiv Sena has time and again reminded us of its narrow, parochial ideology of considering themselves a first class citizens and superior to all other. This is what keeps its political survival viable as it has buttressed vote base which thinks only in terms of issues told to them by its leader. They will never come out of that safe-zone for obvious reason, as it would make their politics irrelevant. It is a time to revamp their political strategies else they will lose grounds, even their seized one.
After committing these heinous acts, Balasaheb never went to jail. This only underlines the incompetency of other ruling parties, which failed to bring them to the pedestal of justice. I believe that these series of events created a conducive environment for recent electoral victory of AIMIM in Assembly elections.
You can keep a group segregated only until they find a safe passage. AIMIM is that safe passage, as Muslims thinks. Due to absence of strong political force of Dalit’s in politics of Maharashtra and AIMIM leaders constant persuasion regarding their support has started showing its effects now.
There are ample evidences that not only Muslims but also Dalits have voted for AIMIM in recent elections. Dalits have rejected Safron+Blue in favor of Green+blue. This is what is alarming for Shivsena as even after being anti-Dalit they have significant number of Dalit supporters. This direct attack on their vote base has what made Shivsena uncomfortable.
Rise of new political bloc
After the stark debacle of Congress and NCP both at state and Centre level has created a vacuum at the central leftist plank in political arena. Aam Admi Party is bidding to take that stage at central level while AIMIM has a brilliant opportunity to fill the gap in Maharashtra. Series of media interviews of AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi has already shown his pragmatic and exceptional ideological base.
His stand on various issues ranging from Modi’s foreign policy, Muslim rights, Hindu-Muslim relations has certainly driven zing among many. Although starting off as very averse to Hindus due to Akbaruddin Owaisi’s speech, he has managed to showcase his statesmanship.
Even though often convoluted picture shown to us, as MIM being a Muslim party, slowly but steadily has been on its way to garner support from diverse voters. It has made every rational and informed individual think about its prospects, which is certainly a big step.
It becomes morally obligatory for BJP now to take this matter seriously. But frankly speaking, I don’t find any prospects of this materializing. Several blasphemous statements have been made by BJP’s own party members but no action has been taken at all till now. There are fair chances that BJP synchronizes with the views propagated by Shiv Sena.
As mentioned above the point of model code of conduct, it should be noted that annulment of the same doesn’t mean that it gives you liberty to transgression. Hence, proper law should be enforced. If this needs abrogation of publishing rights of Saamna, then be it, it should be done. Law enforcement on individual level shouldn’t become an excuse for exoneration at organization level as Saamna is organizational newspaper. It doesn’t showcase only individual standpoints.
This incident should also compel everyone to check their allegiance to the right side. Jingoistic fallacy should stand devastated after this.
By Dhammapal Avhad
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