There is a huge jubilation prevailing in the otherwise gloomy opposition camp since the BJP was defeated in two Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh during the bypolls. The Samajwadi Party, supported by the BSP and the Congress, managed to win the Phulpur and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seats for which elections were held on 11 March. Phulpur Lok Sabha seat was won by the BJP for the first time in 2014, however, Gorakhpur remained a saffron bastion and the BJP consecutively won the seat since 1991. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Hindutva rabble-rouser Yogi Adityanath had been an MP from the seat for five consecutive terms. The overconfident opposition and their extremely jubilant supporters are already counting the days of the Modi government as they are overtly discussing a plan to bring down the government by building a united rainbow opposition like the Janata movement knitted by Jayaprakash Narayan during the dark period of emergency. This dream of bringing an end to the BJP rule though looks quite aspiring, but it’s actually, nonetheless, a daydream.
Phulpur was a first-time victory for the BJP, from where its now Deputy Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and former party chief and OBC face Keshav Prasad Maurya won the 2014 Lok Sabha election. The Phulpur seat remained with the Samajwadi Party ever since the 1990s, except for a lull in the 2009 general election when the Bahujan Samaj Party won the seat. Now, when Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel, another OBC leader of the Patel community that held the seat from 1984 until 1999, wrested the seat back, it wasn’t much of a magic, rather a “ghar wapsi” of the Phulpur seat. But the political optics of a Lok Sabha seat held by the deputy chief minister and a former party chief of Uttar Pradesh going to the opposition and followed by the seat of Gorakhpur Lok Sabha constituency, which the BJP dearly held to itself all along these years since 1991, which belongs to the incumbent Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath who is roaming around India and inciting communal temperament to polarise voters in favour of Hindutva, is going to help the BJP to whitewash the image of the biased Election Commission that’s helping the party sweep one after another election through manipulations and will also help the ruling classes to reinforce the view that the BJP can be undone through elections only.
There are times in politics when losing insignificant elections are necessary to win larger battles, like battles of legitimacy and moral supremacy. The BJP and the RSS are quite expert in undermining the languishing democratic ethos and processes that exist in India to their own benefit and use the public institutions to expand their nefarious communal agenda that gets a huge support base among the judiciary and the executive of the country. The pro-government polarisation of all wings and machines of the state is actually done with more precision by Narendra Modi than what Indira Gandhi could do 43 years ago and the RSS is all set to change the Constitution and the laws of the country once it gets a majority in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha by 2022. The entire ruling class, who are the 1 per cent that owns 73 per cent of Indian wealth and the 10 per cent that extends support to this 1 per cent, are desperately waiting for that day in 2022, when India will be officially turned into their colony and a fascist monarchy, with the hegemony of the upper-caste Hindus in every sphere of life, will be formally established in New Delhi.
If the BJP has lost these two crucial seats of the politically important Uttar Pradesh, then the opposition must remember that it’s four years now that the Modi government is in power and the next Lok Sabha poll will take place in a year, the victory of the opposition in these two seats doesn’t count much for the Hindutva camp, whose members are quite confident about winning these two seats when the time comes. Though the political optics of the loss of the BJP can be shown as a lack of support for the saffron camp and its vitriol-driven Hindutva campaign, the opposition forgets quite soon that the BJP is quite capable of turning all hostile tides of anti-incumbency waves in its favour, as was visible at the end of the high-decibel Gujarat assembly election or those in Meghalaya and Nagaland. Where the party can’t win itself, it manages to form a government by buying MLAs. With the number of careerists making politics their sole source of bread and butter, the lucrative baits thrown by the BJP will always be a good motivation for such opportunist politicians to put their “secular” values and ethos into the mortuary drawer for a cold rest and tail the emperor.
The sudden turnarounds done by Chandrababu Naidu, a man despised by the poor of Andhra Pradesh for unleashing the most ruthless state repression upon the people and for his Islamophobic antecedents and credentials, is now considered as a victory of secularism by those very elements who recently converted to liberalism after being in the “left” quarters for some time. The war cry to “liberate India from Modi” coming from an ardent fascist Hindutva hate monger – Raj Thackeray, who wants to carry forward the policy of Muslim genocide envisioned by his fascist uncle Bal Thackeray in Maharashtra, is enough of a honeytrap in which many so-called “left” and the liberal democrats are falling in large numbers. When the BJP will be able to mobilise the entire bureaucracy, judiciary and all other apparatuses of the state machinery to secure a majority in the 2019 general election, then the opposition, who are now hooting the mere loss of two seats for one year, will have no scope to nail the BJP through the system, which will officially gloat of being saffron by this year-end.
It’s imperative that the genuine anti-fascist forces that are fighting against the Hindutva fascist BJP government headed by Narendra Modi, don’t lose their sight of focus by getting overwhelmed with such deceptive baits of sham victories in bypolls. The BJP and the Hindutva fascist empire that it heads can’t be undone merely by pressing EVM buttons and choosing a lesser evil than the worst. The fight is for democracy and freedom, which can be won only by intensifying the struggle against the Hindutva fascist forces and all the institutions that they have saffronised using their clout. The struggle for democracy isn’t a cakewalk in the period of fascist rule and the people will have to fight bigger, bitter and protracted political battles than the simple electoral ones scripted by the system itself, to ensure that the dawn of democracy and freedom ushers soon.