Vol. 6 | issue 7 | August 2012
The political landscape is changing, affirms Sanghvi
by Sanu Nair
Vijay Sanghvi presents a thesis in his book, Communal Politics in India: Rise & Decline, that communalism is on the decline because of the rapid transition of the Indian society from an agrarian one to a modern one. He believes that global economic trends and exposure of society due to the spread of education and glut of news channels that pour opinions and information about economic development has affected the modern generation, including those who struggle to eke out their living. He provides enough evidence by quoting authorities and their research work in this regard.
However, the evidence that he provides of its impact on political minds is too thin to be convincing even though some of the incidents provide enough material to make everyone to think again. He claims that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar proved conclusively that Indian politics does not need the communal approach any more to win the minds and votes of the people. Accordingly, he forced the communal baggage of his main ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party, out of his state during the Assembly elections, insisting that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who is viewed as the epitome of communalism, also be kept out. In the process, he delivered the best striking rate for the BJP, convincing even his Muslim voters to elect BJP candidates.
He also cites the victory of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayavati in Uttar Pradesh in this context. Between them, they reduced the two main parties, the BJP and the Congress to third and fourth positions, respectively, in the State Assembly. The two main parties could not grab more than 20 per cent of seats while the two parties that opposed communal politics took away 75 per cent. The two could not have shown such performance if their politics was based only on appeal to castes and sub-castes state. ...........READ MORE