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Maturity Required


Immediately after announcement of elections, the poll pitch of UP’s Yogi Adityanath Government was focused on law and order, social welfare and development. However, the Samajwadi Party’s mobilisation around caste and community has caused the BJP to respond in an equally polarised manner. It is unfortunate that political parties have such little faith in the public’s response to ‘good governance’ and have to fall back on divisive agendas. While the Akhilesh Yadav led Samajwadi Party has abandoned all attempts to disguise its appeasement of the most radical amongst the minority sections, sundry faith leaders have raised the demand for declaring India a Hindu rashtra and all that it entails. As such, a victory for either side will be interpreted as one for the extreme elements.

There is still time for the BJP, at least, to correct its narrative, as it has the luxury of being ahead in the game. The national level leaders campaigning in the state should remind people of the very real difference the party’s policies have made to their lives. It is far better to continue with the kind of reaching out that Amit Shah did towards the Jats of West UP than make it a one-agenda election. This will require considerable more effort but will provide far greater long term benefits.

The Muslims, too, as a community should try and get out of the old trap that is laid for them at election time. The manner in which Akhilesh Yadav is handing out party tickets to some of the worst elements in society in the belief that it would establish his ‘secular’ credentials is casting the community in a bad light. Rather than be provoked by the radicals on the other side of the spectrum, the effort should be made to disassociate with those within their own ranks. A more nuanced approach needs to be adopted while casting votes rather than being obsessed with the concept of a Muslim ‘veto’ on politics. People should judge constituency and candidate wise what has been good specifically for them, rather than behave like mindless automatons. In fact, this is exactly the kind of exploitation that Asaduddin Owaisi of the AIMIM is attempting to wean the community away from, while demanding a real, rather than a token, share in power.

Thankfully, Uttarakhand has much less of this politics and demands more from governance than just a false sense of dominance over the ‘other’.