Tuesday, July 23, 2024

BJP & Social Change


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The BJP might, or might not, be engaged in social engineering with a view to promoting the interests of the under-privileged. It has named a long-time legislator Mohan Charan Mhjhi, a leader from the tribal community as the chief minister of Odisha. When the BJP got a chance in Madhya Pradesh, some time ago, it installed a leader from the Dalit community, Mohan Yadav, as the chief minister there. The BJP also installed, in Rashtrapati Bhavan, Droupadi Murmu from the tribal Santhal community in Odisha, and previously Ram Nath Kovind, from a Dalit stock in Uttar Pradesh. All these are an extension of the supposedly pro-backward class stand taken by the BJP and the RSS through the installations of Kalyan Singh in Uttar Pradesh and Uma Bharti in Madhya Pradesh as chief ministers, which culminated in the installation of Narendra Modi, a convert from the Forward Class to Backward Class through law, as the Prime Minister. Without doubt, all these paid rich dividends to the growth and sustenance of the BJP as a major political establishment after it struggled with less than five seats in Parliament in the 1980s. A question to ask is, how much does these help in the emancipation of the under-privileged in this country?
Fact of the matter is that the BJP, more than the Congress, represents the elite segments of the society, with a pronounced Brahminical ethos, which it inherited from the RSS. At the same time, there are fewer Brahmins in the Modi government – and large numbers from the backward classes as ministers. The BJP has, much more than during the Congress era, appointed backward classes as governors. It even appointed a Muslim as the governor of Andhra Pradesh and it was the Vajpayee government that made APJ Abdul Kalam the president of India. All these are positive steps in symbolically empowering the disadvantaged communities. In reality, there perhaps is no empowerment. These are essentially tricks to fool the masses and fill the ballot boxes with favourable votes. The Dalit chief minister in Madhya Pradesh, unlike Shivraj Singh Chouhan who enjoyed clout, and the Odisha chief minister are as of now namesakes. They could be used as puppets and may have to act as per dictations from the party leadership and its think tanks. They cannot move a finger on their own. The plight of the tribals or the Dalits has not improved in the last two terms of the BJP-led NDA government. This is because there are “limits” to what can be expected from the Sangh Parivar in terms of social change. The poor people have no mind of their own. They are carried away by symbolisms. India’s economic growth will be incomplete as long as these segments of the society are not empowered and given their due.


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