Lost Love Always Hurts
By Dr Pravin Togadia
Myth 1: We lost because of Hindutva identity. Muslims voted against us due to this.
Truth: Muslim was never a core constituency. It was Hindu. Everyone accepts and understands electoral growth. But if this growth is at the cost of the core or even anti-core, then it is called cannibalisation.
If a party cannot satisfy its own core constituency and limits itself to power gain by projecting individuals or issues that do not appeal or matter to its core constituency, then it is a love lost. And lost love always hurts. Both ways it hurts. It has hurt the Hindu core constituency that it was taken for granted.
If the Muslim League tomorrow says, it wants to grow in vote share and therefore it would start a majority morcha and gives tickets to Hindu sadhus (That Hindu sadhus would not take its tickets is a different issue), it would hurt Muslim League’s core constituency and it would lose even its sure seats.
When Mamata Banerjee fought against Tata Motors for grabbing farmers’ land for Nano, many so-called intellectuals declared that Mamata was finished and that she would never be able to come up in politics ever again. Communist parties, which usually speak only about themselves or against US, also tried to paint Mamata as anti-development and therefore, ‘useless’ for the today’s changed world. The then PM of Congress Dr Manmohan Singh too went to West Bengal to see if Mamata could be pacified and Tatas continue holding farmers’ land for Nano, as at that time the Congress was with the Left. Mamata sat on fast for the poor farmers for over two weeks, got her kidney ruined, Nano left the Left from West Bengal—and rest is history. Those so-called intellectuals, who had so confidently declared Mamata as permanently lost, were in for a huge shock in the Parliament elections. Mamata won with a thumping success. Not that credit of this doesn’t go to her tie-up with Congress, but even Congress tied-up with her knowing well the boiling sentiments of West Bengal poor and farmers. There it is! West Bengal’s poor and farmers. This was a core constituency of the Left. In the bargain of showing itself progressive, Communists hurt their core constituency by giving their land to Tata. Result? The core constituency was hurt. Hurt so much, that it left the Left.
This is what happens. For years a political party grows and shines with the votes of a particular core constituency—with its votes and with blood/sweat of the workers who come up from the same core constituency. It takes years to nurture faith and confidence of any core constituency. When this core constituency starts trusting a particular party for a particular stand and type of thinking, then the party grows fast and goes places. It takes years of unconditional commitment and sincerity from the party side to convince any core constituency that yes, truly this party has our well-being in its heart. Then this core constituency watches the behaviour and actions of that party and its people including its workers who deal with the core constituency daily and its top leaders. As the promises given to the core constituency get translated into real actions, the core constituency votes for that party and this way loyalties are built just like a brand loyalty. It does not happen overnight; it is a result of many above things as explained.
But the moment core constituency realises that the party in which it had faith and confidence over many years now has started compromising with core constituency’s interests for getting into the power, the core constituency loses faith in that party. This happens faster than building up faith, i.e. the moment Bengal farmers realised that the Communists have compromised on land protection of the poor farmers, the poor farmers felt cheated and they left the Left. It may sound crude but the truth is always crude and rude. It is not as simplistic as it may sound.
Now when it comes to yet another core constituency of Hindus, this was never a core constituency in the beginning when India got Independence. Yes, there were emotive issues like creation of Pakistan and attacks on Hindus during the Partition. But the Hindu was never perceived or nurtured by any party as a core constituency at the time of India’s Independence. There were organisations like the Sangh and the Hindu Mahasabha, which had the Hindu well-being in their hearts and actions, but for them, the Hindu was not a core constituency for votes. Indian National Congress grew during the Independence movement and Indians had only two groups to choose from: The British and the Indian National Congress. Obviously, Indians chose anything that was non-British (or so to say—anti-British). Congress ruled for many decades and that was the time for basic infrastructure development like roads, railways, electricity, water, schools, colleges, post offices. Indians got these to certain extent. But then came the need for holistic development of Hindus as a majority in India. That’s where Hindus felt that parties like Jana Sangh and Hindu Mahasabha had the Hindu interest in their hearts. Such parties even promised Hindus many things like removing Article 370, Common Civil Code, protection of Hindu religious monuments, etc. It took over 30 years for building up and nurturing the Hindu core constituency.
Slowly, this core constituency got consolidated and the Jana Sangh grew. In 1967, even before the Emergency, due to great sacrifice by lakhs of swayamsevaks of the Sangh, the party that grew was the Jana Sangh, which could form state governments in MP and UP with other parties. This party later transformed into BJP. In 1980 same people suddenly left ideology of Hindu core constituency’s well-being and adopted Gandhian Socialism. The party that was reduced to two core constituencies was hurt, its love had cheated it immensely.
Then the party slowly returned to the Hindu core constituency. Ram Mandir movement was a peak of it. After returning to Hindu core constituency with the Hindutva ideology, the party went up to power in many states and at the centre. This core constituency had human beings in it who had emotions, intellect and aspirations.
Any core constituency consists of human beings. Their emotions, intellect and aspirations if fulfilled, then and then only that party grows. If their sentiments, intellect and aspirations are ignored or thrown down the drain or taken for granted, then the core constituency feels cheated and hurt. If one loves someone from the bottom of one’s heart and that someone does not keep promises given in love but breaks the promises for gains which may be hurting the core of that love, it hurts more. The Hindu core constituency got hurt this way post-1998 resulting into 2004 debacle. Excuse given was power to be retained with allies at the cost of core constituency’s interests and thereby alienating the core constituency. The Hindu does not react fast. He waits, gives more time for improvement and watches the behaviour and actions. The Hindu core constituency again waited even after 2004. What the Hindu core constituency saw after that was more appalling and hurting the core. Love was not only lost; love which was showcased all the time was false! There was no love! The Hindu core constituency was not only hurt; it was angry. It did not abstain from voting. It voted decisively. It locked its Hindu sentiments, intellect and aspirations within its heart and voted for any other party that at least took care of some local issues. This does not mean that this Hindu core constituency would not spring up again together. It would. But for a truly caring party.
To distract the attention of those who nurtured this Hindu core constituency, some myths are now being floated as if this Hindu core constituency is full of fools and has only sentiments but no intellect and aspirations.
Myth 2: 40 per cent population is youth. Three crore youth voters are added. Youth have great aspirations. Youth do not like Hindutva.
Truth: It’s not that many of us, as a part of a large organisation, do not travel all India—both urban and rural. We travel extensively, more than 5,00,000 km per year, meet at least 10,00,000 people from various professions and of various age groups every year. Many of us did it this year too. That youth does not like Hindutva may be a part of a wish-list of a few power-mongers, but it is not a fact. From Varanasi to Bengaluru and from Indore to Lucknow, is there no youth? If they disliked Hindutva then in these places they would not have voted for some people who cared for the Hindu core constituency. Wasn’t there youth in India in 1990-98 when the same Hindu core constituency voted this party to the power based on the Hindutva identity? Were there only children and old people then? It is also a pseudo-intellectual air-conditioned thinking that today’s youth has different aspirations. Yes, the local and temporary issues change, but the ideological, emotional, intellectual and aspirational issues closer to core constituency’s heart do not change.
Myth 3: People want development and governance. People do not want Hindutva.
Truth: Core constituency, as said, is made of human beings who share the same ideology, has the same emotions, intellect and aspirations. Responsibility of any party that grows because of core constituency is not limited only to arouse these human beings’ emotions but also to give them all benefits of development and governance that come out of power. Has this party provided the benefits of its so-called development and governance to all people in its core constituency totally? If not, then on what basis, such a party went ahead and started saying that it needs to give development and governance to those who are anti-this core constituency while its own core constituency was without such development and governance. Hindus voted this party to power at the centre once and in a few states repeatedly. Has every Hindu irrespective of caste and gender got a job? Has every Hindu family enough food so that the family does not have to sleep with an empty stomach? Does every Hindu boy and girl have a school to study? There are many such questions.
If this party does not want to be answerable to the core constituency’s ideological questions related to Ram Mandir, Article 370 or Common Civil Code, then fine. But the Hindu core constituency has never got answers to their questions about their development and governance. So, leave the core constituency half attended, take them for granted thinking that where else can they go anyway and only for votes or for allies cater to the development of those who are all out to kill this core constituency. This is not development or governance at number 1; this is an immature hurry to get power at any cost. Hindu core constituency realised this and left this party. The very efforts of a few of painting Hindutva as anti-development and governance were a logical fallacy and the Hindu core constituency is wise enough to see through this.
Myth 4: If any party has to come to power, it has to compromise on its ideology and tone it down to accommodate the allies.
Truth: We are not worried about any or every party here. If the party that grows on a specific ideology and due to a specific core constituency, tries to hurt the very essence of that core constituency only to gain power, then the core constituency not only feels neglected but also feels cheated. Adding Muslims and Christians was not a problem for Congress. They were always a part of that party from the beginning. If Hindutva core constituency party tries to add such elements, then it becomes B-Congress. Then why would anyone vote for B-Congress (duplicate) when the A-Congress (original) is available? This apart, the party was nurtured by the Hindu core constituency as an anti-thesis to Congress. The Hindu core constituency is intelligent enough to see the faux pas in this ‘aim power’ logic. The core constituency may be just 10 per cent of the total voters but if even five per cent of it sees through the betrayal to the core, then this vote share makes or breaks the chances of winning. It is a paradox! The very reason to leave the core constituency was to gain power. And the same reason has become the etymological blunder for many parties in this election like the communist parties whose core constituency—the poor and the farmers—felt this loss of love. They were hurt. And so were Hindus. For different reasons and by different parties. When this happens, the networks of the workers who were attached to the party due to the core constituency and the organisations that were instrumental in nurturing the core constituency feel hurt. It shows in the real life, in voting patterns and in loss of percentage of votes. It also shows in the end of the state of inertia in some states like Rajasthan where there are fatal losses of sure seats.
Myth 5: It worked in the American elections, it must work in India too.
Truth: Although India has seen many kings and dynasties, India and Hindu core constituency follow their own cultural and intellectual ethos and now have their own democratic system, which is a parliamentary democracy and not a presidential one. Just because Obama projected himself in America as a change agent and won, it does not mean the same will happen in India. India and Hindu core constituency do not get enamoured by an individual for long and especially if an individual is projected, the Hindu core constituency still examines his/her behaviour and actions on the parameters of core constituency’s core interests. Consistency is not a weakness or not an anti-thesis of being progressive. Consistency gives credibility. For any brand to be successful, it needs credibility that appeals to its own core customer, not just to the media or the internet or the world.
If a party cannot satisfy its own core constituency and limits itself to power gain by projecting individuals or issues that do not appeal or matter to its core constituency, then it is a love lost. And lost love always hurts. Both ways it hurts. It has hurt the Hindu core constituency that it was taken for granted and then was betrayed again and again of late. It has also hurt senior and junior—millions of workers of the party who nurtured the party through the Hindu core constituency for so long. And it hurts party’s vote share too. For any party to come to power in a democracy, the support of the majority is a must; but for any majority, supporting a particular political party is not must.
And now, if people and organisations, which are associated with such a party that has hurt its core constituency, continue with it for long, the Hindu core heart, intellect and aspirations will go off at a tangent. Looking at the current scene, there is surely a scope for any party that is willing to truly address and fulfill the emotions, intellect and aspirations of the Hindu core constituency. If the old party does not want to follow it and disown this constituency, then it is that party’s own choice. But the Hindu core constituency has already been decisive and if not addressed with the same old love and care then surely there is a vacuum for any new or other party to grow. What is more important is the ideology and only ideological consistency can give any party a credibility for longer survival and symbiotic growth—whether it is a communist ideology (which we may not agree with) or the Hindutva ideology. Until there is some concrete care for the Hindus now, lost love always hurts and will keep on hurting.
(The writer is a cancer surgeon and secretary general of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and can be contacted at email@example.com)
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