Delhi Rejects Hate Politics: Shaheen Bagh ‘Shocks’ The BJP

Delhi Rejects Hate Politics: Shaheen Bagh ‘Shocks’ The BJP

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Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma

Video Producer: Aparna Singh

Yeh jo India hai na, its voter can differentiate milk from milk and water from water or in other words, yahan ke voter ko doodh ka doodh aur paani ka paani karna aata hai.

Briefly, when counting for Delhi elections started, some 'godi media' channels were saying that compared to the 2015 Assembly elections the BJP has improved. But, eight seats in an Assembly of 70 seats simply cannot be given a positive spin.

It is a wipe out and this must be contrasted not with the 2015 Assembly elections, but with the 2019 Lok Sabha elections where, just months ago, the BJP won all seven seats winning in 65 out of the 70 assembly segments. From that, is has tumbled back down to less than 10, and it is what the BJP must now do ‘chintan’ on.

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The word that the BJP must be hating the most right now ironically, is the word hate and its religious twin bigotry religious hatred.

Yeh jo India hai na… yeh ab bhi secular hai. That’s what Delhi’s voters have said, rejecting the BJP’s bigotry and hate politics which has now become their main political plank while fighting elections.

There was no shortage of top BJP leaders delivering speech after speech playing the hate card.

Yogi Adityanath spoke of ‘police ki goli’ he spoke of Kejriwal feeding biryani to the protesters of Shaheen Bagh, Anurag Thakur went further, with his ‘goli maaro gaddaron ko’ slogan. BJP candidate Kapil Mishra called Shaheen Bagh a ‘mini Pakistan’, Parvesh Verma, BJP MP from West Delhi, suggested that the Shaheen Bagh protesters were ‘rapists and murderers’.

And Amit Shah himself was heard saying, “press the button for BJP so hard that Shaheen Bagh protesters feel the direct current”. 

This was hate speech taken to an unprecedented level. Totally undisguised targeting of Muslims – ‘Shoot them, electrocute them’. Naked hatred is being directed by some of India’s senior-most politicians at close to 15% of their own fellow citizens and is being used as a strategy to win an election. But the Indian voters – their answer to such hate politics was a clear and complete no!

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Okay, let's talk about nationalism. The BJP made the mistake of assuming that ‘nationalist’ also implies ‘muslim-hating’ but, since when?

After the Pulwama attack, came the Balakot strikes against terror camps, which went a long way in taking the BJP to 303 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections but, does every voter, who cheers Modi for Balakot also share his party’s anti-Muslim feeling?

The answer is no and, let's also talk about Hinduism. The BJP has also started making the mistake of assuming that a good Hindu would also be a Muslim-hating, BJP-voting person.

Again, I ask – since when? Who voted out the BJP in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in 2018? Predominantly Hindu voters. Who voted out the BJP in Jharkhand in 2019? Predominantly Hindu voters. In Telangana, Andhra, Tamil Nadu, Bengal, Maharashtra, there are non-BJP governments all democratically elected in a mainly Hindu India.

And what does that tell us? That there are a lot of Hindus who don’t accept the BJP’s right-wing polarising Muslim-hating politics. But does the BJP’s top leadership get it? Not so sure. Just like those who criticise the elite of Lutyens Delhi of being a saffron-bashing echo-chamber. It can actually be argued that the BJP’s top leadership may also be living in an echo-chamber of its own.

A prominent member of that saffron echo-chamber is BJP Rajya Sabha MP and political commentator Swapan Dasgupta. At a news channel TV studio, I heard him talk about ‘copycat Shaheen Baghs’ springing up in ‘similar’ areas across India. Two things struck me about that comment – first, was the continued trivialisation of the anti-CAA protests despite the fact that these continued protests have led to the roll-back of the NRC, and now has arguably even cost the BJP a state election.

The second aspect. Dasgupta seemed to suggest that since a lot of anti-CAA protests were taking place in ‘similar’ – meaning – ‘Muslim areas’ they were not to be taken seriously.

Of course, that’s not even true because the protests are all-India and there’s plenty of evidence of that. But my point is, even if it were just Muslims protesting why would that make the protests matter less? Close to 15% of your population is in fear about your intentions and all you can do is target them, abuse them and belittle their protests sorry sir… yeh jo India hai na, here there is zero tolerance for such politics, no room for bigotry and leaders who spread hate.

Yes, the voters did press the ballot button lekin current laga kisko? That’s what the ‘Nation Wants to Know’.

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