(‘Communal riot’ – the phrase suggests a spontaneous clash. But what is unfolding in Uttar Pradesh and various other states is the systematic political attempt by the BJP and Sangh Parivar to manipulate every single incident – however trivial or serious – to instigate hatred and violence against the minority community. The pattern must be recognized, and efforts made to keep people alert to such machinations, so that they do not fall prey to such efforts.
In this feature, we take a close look at various aspects of the BJP’s strategy of garnering political support by fomenting communal tension and violence. – Ed/-)
Communal Politics and the BJP’s ‘Social Engineering’
The BJP’s National Council meeting, held recently, sending clear signals about the agenda and ambitions of the BJP and the Modi Government.
The new BJP President Amit Shah outlined the plan to repeat the BJP’s spectacular UP success story, ensure BJP victories all over the country, and achieve dominance and hegemony for the BJP’s ideology. Enumerating the reasons for the BJP’s UP success, Shah cited the BJP’s “right approach in social engineering.” Meanwhile, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, breaking a two month long silence with his speech at the BJP National Council meet, referred to concerns about communal polarization in UP, as “vote bank politics.” The obvious question here, of course, is this: in what way is what Amit Shah hails as “social engineering,” different from what Modi calls “vote bank politics’?
The exact nature of the BJP’s “social engineering” can be gauged by the investigative reports by an English daily about communal conflicts in UP. The paper found that there have been more than 600 plus instances of communal tension in UP since the Lok Sabha polls, mostly around the 12 constituencies where by-elections are shortly due. The paper documented how loudspeakers, kids’ bicycles, dhaba bills and runaway lovers have all become pretexts for flaring up of communal polarisation and potential riots. The paper reported that a vast number of these ‘engineered’ conflicts have been between Dalits and Muslims. The BJP’s ‘social engineering’ has involved the deliberate efforts to sow the seeds of hatred among Dalits against Muslims, in order to reap a harvest of votes later.