Opposition’s Sacred Dilemma

As the Ram Mandir consecration draws closer by day and the BJP prepares for the grandiose consummation of what started as a resurgence of religious identity as a basis of demographic mobilization, the opposition Alliance denominated as I.N.D.I.A is ostensibly clueless as to its collective reasoning for eschewing or acceding to the occasion of Lord Ram’s homecoming.

The stakes here are quite contradictory as to its means as much as they are coincidental as to its ends: which is and in a not so utopian world would actuate the behavior of any political outfit: i.e. electoral gains.

For the Bhartiya Janata Party that owes its conception as a redoubtable political force, post the late 1980’s to the Ran Janmbhoomi Movement and the Rath Yatra that eventually culminated with the infamous Babri Masjid Demolition, it is yet another pillaring moment wherein it accentuates its conformity to its formative ideological convictions, with electoral precision.

But this time it’s not just that the BJP is counting on. The mass appeal of religious revivalism and the Hindutva ethos that interweave the majority faith cutting across gradations of caste and social hierarchy, have been further sanctified by the Ayodhya judgement that reestablished the right of the majority to reclaim what was always theirs and usurped through brute force of imperialist oppression.

Near about the 2019 General Elections the BJP had relegated the Ayodhya vow, to the background, reaffirming that the opportune time and correct course of justice would resolve reasonably in their favor and justice would be utilitarian to the majority community that holds Lord Ram as the incontrovertible embodiment of the most revered ideals of virtue.

The results of PM Modi’s ubiquitous appeal as a Hindu Nationalist along with sure and certain institutional conduit of direct transfer of Welfare measures proved instrumental in BJP incrementing its tally and cementing itself as an insuperable force in 2019.

And despite the inertia remaining with the BJP, courtesy the irrefragable Modi Magic that has galvanized support for them election after election, the Ram Mandir resurgence as a cultural and political renaissance is expeditiously timed with the Lok Sabha Elections just around the corner. A cherry on top of the already mobilized BJP election machinery that knows how to strike a resonance with the basic needs of the masses spanning food and shelter, along with its robust nationalistic outlook on variable issues, reigniting the Hindutva factor as quotient of positive identity serves an all-encompassing merit.

The trio of assertive nationalism, welfarism infused policies and collective auspices of the Hindutva pitch, the incumbent party has vindicated how meticulously it chooses its narrative and how efficaciously it actualizes them into reality of the grassroots.

The reality of how BJP has poised and tweaked its strategy election after election, from eliminating the menaces of the Congress to “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas” to now “Modi Ki Guarantee” remains an innovative evolution to outlive the inertia of incumbency, and efficaciously so. But on a more ulterior scale, the way the saffron party has structured its ideological inclinations, temporizing and acclimatizing, if need be so, to the contingencies of time, priority of their narrative is nothing short of pure marvel.

Now when the party had retouched all bases and the election results in three Hindi Heartland states, testifying to the saffron wave eclipsing any hope of a Congress revival, an ideological recourse to Lord Ram’s homecoming connotes BJP’s unequivocal pitch of legitimate succession to the Ram Janmbhoomi movement and accession to its kernel of right-wing Hindutva ideals.

While the saffron party embarks on multitude of narratives, bestriding the political narratives of the day unencumbered by any consolidated reprisal from the I.N.D.I.A-bloc, the Congress party as its de facto leader has much to answer for.

In this case, one can inexorably blame the congress for its failings on more counts than one, that denies the I.N.D.I.A bloc any realistic chance of overcoming the well-set BJP’s third consecutive stake at power.

The Grand Old party’s reactionary stance on most of the contemporary discourses and its overemphasis on its elaborate legacy and ideological passivism seems no more than antiquated, and lacking in resonance with the majority electorate, that seems more inclined to looking assertively towards the future than theoretically reminiscing the past.

The political discourse in the tech driven times of today, is more briskly paced both in its emergence and its dissolution, than it was until a few decades ago and is far greatly interpreted and reinterpreted until the voter discerns correctly. On the Ayodhya issue too, Congress has been conspicuous with its rigid passivity and left-leaning moderation, vindicating the hypothesis that party would rather choose its own decline than evolve itself to accommodate the majority sentiments.

What back then could be admissible as a legitimate omission to partake any discredit in the Babri Masjid Demolition, and understandably so, considering the congress’s adherence to its centrist origin and touted secular credentials, is now often regarded by many as an extremely left leaning, minority appeasing politics.

The shift from center to slightly left and now, as some would say, extremely left, even after the sentiments of the majority been accorded their due and sanctified by the Ayodhya Judgement is not only inexpeditious but loosely tantamount to a political suicide.

As if its silence and virtual non-chalance on the Ram temple issue wasn’t enough said and done, the party’s blatant decision to distance itself from the Ram Temple Consecration ceremony, leaves little scope for guessing, and can indelibly be construed by many as another step in antagonizing the majority. Furthermore, blasphemous loose-canon statements against the Sanatan that have recently fashioned itself into the mainstream norm and are subtly condoned by the leadership, corroborate further what the BJP always alleged of the congress.

You cannot win a majority without taking the majority into confidence, and if recent assembly elections are any proof, wherein BJP and Congress will lock horns bipolarly for almost 220 odd seats in the Hindi heartland states, the prospects of opposition are in serious jeopardy if Congress continues on the path of Hindutva bashing. Everyone knows the BJP win is scripted in the Hindi Heartland and to deny the BJP its formidable strike rate wouldn’t come if the vernacular sentiments are taken for a toss.

Even despite the practical hindrances of seat sharing and virtually irreconcilable vested interests concerning regional hegemony, the opposition must aim for a salvation to stand any cogent chance of competing with the unfazed Modi magic. Fighting for relevance within the Bloc wouldn’t aid their cause, rather, the bare minimum that the voter looks up to is a consonant yet crystallized ideological narrative, that promises more than it discards and obviously, isn’t an anathema to the majority.

Individualized photo-ops and lower cadre’s attempt to capitalize on Lord Ram’s appeal must not be discouraged as such, if they can’t compulsorily be reiterated by the high command. Caste census couldn’t save the opposition electorally, and segregation along any such lines can be misconstrued as the repugnance to the Hindu identity that has witnessed a historic crest under PM Modi.

On the other end, BJP knows that with Lord Ram on their side, and the impregnable Modi factor, the battle for 2024 is practically poised for a perfect climax to be etched in the annals of history.