The victory of the Congress Party by narrow margins in the Madhya Pradesh assembly election is seen by many as the fall of the Hindutva fascist empire in one of the big states of India lying in the cow-belt. However, a deep analysis into the Congress’ modus operandi in Madhya Pradesh, its ideological standpoint and its class and caste equation will prove the contrary, the BJP may have lagged behind but the Congress won Madhya Pradesh riding on the Hindutva chariot.
During the Madhya Pradesh assembly election campaign, the Congress took no interest in speaking about the plight of the minority Muslims lynched with utmost impunity by the Gau Rakshak terrorists of the Sangh Parivar throughout India. Rather, the Congress walked the soft-Hindutva path and blamed the BJP for not doing enough for the cows and Hindus in the state. Throughout Madhya Pradesh, the Congress promised to build more cow shelters and take care of the animal, which has a ‘spiritual significance’ in the lives of the majority Hindu community. Never did the Congress talk about ending the Gau Rakshak violence during the campaigning.
When the Congress released its election manifesto for Madhya Pradesh, it ensured to mention Ram, Gau Mutra (cow urine) and the Narmada in it. The party promised to set up a spiritual ministry for the Hindus and develop the route that the Hindu mythological figure Ram took during his 14-year-long exile. Apart from this, the Congress proposed to commercially produce cow urine (which is considered a holy drink by many Hindus) and kandas (cakes made of cow dung used as a hazardous fuel).
The Congress took an underground route to reach the Muslim constituencies, without much fanfare, to ensure that its Hindu image is not tarnished by an overtly ebullient Sangh Parivar and the BJP. Congress leaders were self-confident that the Muslim votes will go nowhere else due to the lack of alternatives and hence, they all focused on wooing the Hindu voters, especially the upper-caste Hindus.
Nowhere during its campaigning, the Congress or its temple trotting leaders assure the Muslims and Christians safety and security under its rule from Hindutva fascist aggression. The Congress didn’t take up the issue of rapidly growing RSS’ schools and militant training camps of the Bajrang Dal in the state. The Congress didn’t promise anything to these oppressed minority communities in terms of social upliftment or economic opportunities fearing a backlash from the upper-caste lobby.
When the Dalits agitated against the Supreme Court’s ruling over the SC/ST Act on 2 April, the Rajput Thakurs, the upper-caste Hindus with feudal landlord roots, launched a barbarous attack on the Dalits at many places in Madhya Pradesh. Many Dalits were killed and injured as the Thakurs, the clan of the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, launched an attack on them with utmost impunity armed with the audacious overt support of the policemen and the BJP leadership.
A notorious upper-caste feudal landlord-turned-criminal, Raja Chauhan was found openly firing at and killing Dalits under the watch of the police. This man showed the audacity to confess his crime and stay aloof from the law with the support of Narendra Singh Tomar, the BJP MP and Narendra Modi’s cabinet member. The terrorist attack by the Rajput mob on the agitating Dalits has caused a serious unrest among the ostracised and oppressed community members, which no political party dared to address during the election campaign.
Showing utmost disregard towards the Dalits, who have no choice but to vote for the Congress due to their caste obligations, as they can’t vote the BJP because it happens to be the unapologetic representative of the upper-caste Hindus and despise social-justice officially. Considering this compulsion of the Dalits, the Congress leadership grossly overlooked them and approached the upper-caste Hindu elites, feudal landlords and usurers for support.
Though the Congress spoke about the plight of the farmers of Madhya Pradesh, the state where agriculture sector grew during the nationwide contraction, it didn’t utter a single word about the overwhelming majority of the landless peasants and poor farmers who are suffering due to the feudal landholding pattern. There was no promise to implement any land reform programme, rather, the major agrarian promises of the Congress were made to the feudal landlords and rich farmers.
Remaining mum over the issue of landless peasants in a state where five of them were killed brutally by the BJP’s police at Mandsaur in 2017, during a farmers’ protest against the BJP government’s notorious policies that harm the interests of the farmers, the Congress reaffirmed its obeisance towards the feudal landlord class and thus, the peasants will remain in the same realm of utmost exploitation irrespective of the change of ruler in the state.
Throughout the campaign trail, the Congress has proved that it’s not at all different than the BJP in terms of policies, its approach towards the menace of communalism and caste oppression and in its unapologetic pursuance of corporate appeasement, rather, most of the time, it exceeds the level set by the BJP. From becoming a cow worshipping entity like the BJP to remaining indifferent towards the plight of the Muslims, Christians, Dalits, tribal people, backward castes, the workers and the majority of farmers and rural poor, the Congress left no stone unturned to make itself acceptable to the constituency of the BJP.
Even after doing all these, the Congress managed to only reach the tally of 114 seats, two short of the magic figure of 116, with the BJP breathing at its neck with 109 seats. Though the Congress is trying to project this lead in the number of seats as a victory, following the parliamentary rulebook, in reality, it got 40.09 per cent of the total votes in its favour while the BJP managed to get 41.00 per cent votes in its favour. In numbers, the Congress, through its all Hindutva overtures, could get 15,595,153 (15.59 million) votes, while the BJP surpassed that number with 15,642,980 votes (15.64 million). Technically, there are 47,827 more voters with the BJP, despite it lagging five seats behind the Congress.
Indeed the Congress has won the battle, or apparently it appears like that, however, the whole ideology of secularism, democracy and equality that the Congress claims to uphold and the liberal democrats vouch, didn’t win in the Madhya Pradesh assembly election 2018. The victor is evidently the Hindutva forces, with a new flag and a new leader.
For the people of Madhya Pradesh, especially the working class, the peasantry, the toiled masses, the people of marginalised and oppressed communities, the Congress’ ascension to power, in case Rahul Gandhi and his generals are able to outsmart the league of Amit Shah and his moneybag wielding crony capitalist bosses to form a government in the state, will not bring any qualitative change in their socio-economic condition and the class-caste equation they are living in. The Congress will merely prove to the people, that alike its bete noire, it’s a representative of the enemies of the people.
The rule of the Congress in Madhya Pradesh can only benefit those whom the rule of the BJP would benefit. It’s the duty of the democratic, progressive and anti-fascist powers to reveal this truth before the overwhelming majority of the poor people so that they can understand that they can’t free themselves from the vicious cycle of poverty and socio-economic exploitation unless they can smash the very system, based on the exploitation of the labour of many by few, and establish a just, equal and free society through a protracted struggle. Their own rule, rather than the rule of another variant of the ruling class’ representatives, will allow the broad rank of masses to unleash their potential and transform the society. The real defeat of the Hindutva fascist camp lies in the building of such a democratic, secular, equal, just and free India, which the people alone can build through their revolutionary genius.