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Ideological Reset


As the NCP-Shiv Sena-Congress alliance is forged in Maharashtra, it has been reported that the primary demand of a Shiv Sena Chief Minister has been agreed upon. Does this imply that the NCP and Congress are now the latest adherents to ‘Hindutva’, or that the Shiv Sena has compromised on its core ideology? Either way, the voters must be feeling quite flummoxed at the turn of events. It will be a bitter lesson for them – politicians just want power and ideologies are dispensable. All the talk of justice for one or the other community or caste that often leads to even riots and long drawn protests is just hollow. Looked at from a deeper perspective, it is clear that while the talk continues, ‘majoritarianism’ is catching on, and cobbled majorities as in Maharashtra are proof of that. The ‘Hindu’ vote has finally begun to count and while appeasement of various kinds will continue to be practiced, politicians will not be in a position to take the general population for granted. All those hoping to build their political careers on this basis will have to reset their ideologies. Voters too will have to reconsider the ways they choose to exercise their franchise. Possibly, the choice will become more transactional, on what individual candidates have to offer – right down to the liquor bottle on voting day! The situation is also indicative of the changing roles, with the BJP becoming even more the institutionalised party in power that everybody must contest against in almost all states in one form or another. Does that mean it will be around in this role for a long time? It would seem so if parties like the Congress, which have thus far claimed to be the ‘national’ alternative, continue making fundamental compromises on their supposedly ‘core’ ideologies. With these mainstream parties scooching into the Hindutva space, it is the radical Left that will attempt to present as the ideological alternative. It will be eager to do so as the ‘minority’ vote will be looking for alternatives. This alignment is already visible on social media and may take shape in certain constituencies and states. With an increasingly skeptical voter, it will be a hard task, requiring ratcheting up of extreme agendas. What shape it will take cannot be predicted, nor the impact it will have on mainstream politics. It will be interesting to note how this evolving situation will reflect during the coming winter session of Parliament – there are going to be many red faces around!