संघ परिवार का सहानुभूति मंत्र


यतिन नरेंद्रभाई ओझा, अहमदाबाद-वरिष्ठ अधिवक्ता और प्रधान मंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी के पूर्व सहयोगी, व्यक्तिगत और संगठनात्मक स्तरों पर मोदी के राजनीतिक, विशेष रूप से चुनावी, पैंतरेबाज़ी कौशल में अपनी काफी अंतर्दृष्टि के साथ बार-बार सामने आए हैं। ओझा की सबसे बोधगम्य टिप्पणियों में से एक कथित तौर पर 2001 के अंतिम महीनों में कांग्रेस अध्यक्ष सोनिया गांधी को दी गई थी, जब मोदी ने केशुभाई पटेल से गुजरात के अंतरिम मुख्यमंत्री के रूप में पदभार संभाला था। भ्रष्टाचार और प्रशासनिक अक्षमता के आरोपों के बीच केशुभाई पटेल के नेतृत्व वाली भारतीय जनता पार्टी (भाजपा) सरकार के खिलाफ व्यापक सत्ता-विरोधी मूड के कारण प्रतिस्थापन की आवश्यकता थी, विशेष रूप से भुज क्षेत्र में भूकंप के बाद को संबोधित करने में।

कांग्रेस, जिसने कई उपचुनाव जीते थे, को 2002 के विधानसभा चुनाव में भाजपा को हराने की उम्मीद थी। लेकिन ओझा ने कथित तौर पर सोनिया गांधी को चेतावनी दी कि “मोदी का अनुमान उसी पैमानों से न लगाएं जो कांग्रेस पटेल या किसी अन्य भाजपा के लिए इस्तेमाल कर रही थी। नेता के रूप में वे एक पूरी तरह से अलग तरह के राजनेता के साथ एक पैकेज के साथ काम कर रहे थे जो कई सिलेंडरों पर फायर करता है, बिना किसी बाधा के रुकता है और राजनीतिक सत्ता पर कब्जा करने और बनाए रखने के लिए कुछ भी करने के लिए किसी भी निर्मम लंबाई तक जाएगा ”। जाहिर है, कांग्रेस नेतृत्व ने ओझा की चेतावनी को गंभीरता से नहीं लिया। फिर, राज्य में मुस्लिम विरोधी नरसंहार हुआ, जिसने राजनीतिक आख्यान को सत्ता-विरोधी कारक से प्रेरित एक से बदलकर एक पूरी तरह से सांप्रदायिक ध्रुवीकरण पर निर्भर कर दिया। बाकी इतिहास है।

यह भी पढ़ें: एक वैचारिक राज्य का भूत

से बात कर रहे हैं सीमावर्ती उत्तर प्रदेश, पंजाब, उत्तराखंड, गोवा और मणिपुर में आगामी विधानसभा चुनावों के संदर्भ में, ओझा ने एक बार फिर “विशेष मोदी ब्रांड पैकेज” का उल्लेख किया, जो राजनीतिक पैंतरेबाज़ी में खेल में आता है, विशेष रूप से चुनावी खेल योजनाओं में। “राजनीतिक रणनीतिकार बात करते रहते हैं” साम दाम दंड भेद [the four-pronged ancient Indian strategy of trying to influence a targeted section starting with peaceful advice, followed by material inducements, moving on to punishments and finally creating discord], लेकिन बहुत से लोगों के पास तानाशाही को लागू करने के प्रभावी तरीके नहीं हैं। समग्र रूप से संघ परिवार वास्तव में हिंदुत्व की विविधता के विभिन्न राजनीतिक हथकंडों के साथ चुनावी परिदृश्य को खराब करके इस पर आधारित साजिशों को आगे बढ़ाने में अन्य राजनीतिक ताकतों की तुलना में अधिक प्रभावी है। लेकिन संघ परिवार में भी मोदी ब्रांड के पैकेज में ऐड-ऑन स्कीमें और भी हैं. ये ऐड-ऑन विभिन्न रंगों और बारीकियों को प्राप्त करते हैं। इनमें से कई 2022 के विधानसभा चुनावों के लिए पहले से ही प्रदर्शित हैं। हमेशा की तरह संघ परिवार और सरकार में कई आवाजें इसमें अपनी भूमिका निभा रही हैं। इन भूमिकाओं में मुसलमानों और ईसाइयों जैसे अल्पसंख्यक समुदायों के खून के लिए धर्म संसद जैसे दंगा भड़काने वाले हिंदुत्व सांप्रदायिक सम्मेलनों का आयोजन, धर्मनिरपेक्ष धर्मार्थ संगठनों पर सरकारी प्रतिबंध लगाकर इन कदमों का पूरक, विशेष रूप से अल्पसंख्यक समुदाय प्रबंधन द्वारा संचालित, एक सांप्रदायिक निर्माण करना शामिल है। इस तरह के प्रतिबंधों पर अभियान और केंद्र और राज्यों में भाजपा सरकारों की सांप्रदायिक रूप से पक्षपातपूर्ण विकास योजनाओं को उजागर करना। [Apart from all this, Modi has placed himself individually at the centre of one of the components of the package on the basis of the security breach involving his convoy at Punjab’s Ferozepur, which left him stranded on a flyover for 15-20 minutes on January 6. I would term this addition sympathy-mongering. So, if it was hate-mongering that drove the election campaign two decades ago in Gujarat, sympathy-mongering is emerging as an important component of the current campaigns in 2022.”

However, Oza is not too sure if the current package with its sympathy-mongering campaign would be as effective as the hate-mongering propaganda of 2002. He said: “The very manner in which this sympathy factor has been unravelled and pushed underscores a sense of desperation. Indeed, the larger public may never really know what really happened on the Ferozepur flyover, where the security breach apparently happened, especially with two divergent probes managed by the BJP-run Central government and the Congress-run State government in Punjab, but the political circumstances in which the breach narrative has come up is significant. Modi was visiting Punjab for one of his first election-related forays and all available information points to the fact that his proposed rally was turning out to be a big flop. Reports say that there was hardly 10 per cent of the projected numbers at the venue. Coming as it does in the wake of the embarrassing withdrawal of the controversial farm laws (after Modi’s announcement to the nation on November 19, 2021), clearly exposing the sense of apprehension in the ranks of the government and the Sangh Parivar about the electoral prospects in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, my own sense is that the sympathy-mongering will not take the BJP forward.”

Battle for Uttar Pradesh

This view has many takers among political observers based in the national capital and in election-bound Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. By any yardstick, the battle in Uttar Pradesh is the most important for the BJP and its associates in the Sangh Parivar. Under the chief ministership of Adityanath, the State was projected as the ultimate Hindutva laboratory, closely following the model that Modi himself had created in Gujarat since the early 2000s. Sangh Parivar insiders point out that while Gujarat is the initiator of the communal polarisation tactic, the advancement of the project in Uttar Pradesh is even more important because of several factors, including its geographical position in the Hindi heartland and demographic dimension as India’s most populous State. Caste and communal equations as reflected in the last Assembly elections of 2017 as well as the two Lok Sabha elections of 2014 and 2019 had pointed to a consolidation of the Hindutva social-political identity in the State. The leadership of the BJP and other outfits of the Sangh Parivar were quite excited and hopeful that 2022 would further strengthen this trend. However, the devastating impact of COVID-19 in the first and second waves of the pandemic in 2020-21 and the failure of the Adityanath government in tackling it properly, followed by the year-long farmers’ agitations against the controversial farm laws of the Central government made it clear to the Sangh Parivar leadership and the BJP that the force and reach of the Hindutva narrative was lessening.

Pandemic fallout

Political observer Sheetal P. Singh summed up the situation: “The social and economic hardships caused by the COVID pandemic on the one side and the adverse impact of the controversial farm laws impelled large sections of society in Uttar Pradesh to look at their lives more in terms of parameters related to livelihood concerns as opposed to the Hindutva narrative based on religious and communal identities. While this social trend was visible even during the first wave of the pandemic, it became more and more palpable during the second wave and during the intense stages of the farmers’ agitation since mid 2021.” Singh also pointed out that this context created a growing realisation within the BJP and Sangh Parivar outfits that there had to be new efforts to aggravate the community and caste equations in the country’s most populous State in order to regain a clear upper hand in the run-up to the elections.

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Sheeta Singh pointed out: “But, the atmosphere was not conducive to generating outright communal riots as was done effectively by Amit Shah in western Uttar Pradesh in 2013 during the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. One stream of the farmers’ movement in the State, especially in western Uttar Pradesh, one of the epicentres of the movement, repeatedly warned people against the sectarian and divisive moves of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar, reminding the nation repeatedly of the 2013-14 situation. Moreover, the minority Muslim community was very careful not to fall for the provocations engineered by Sangh Parivar constituents at the level of the local populace in different parts of the State. It was in this context that the moves to aggravate the communal situation came up in other States such as Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, all having areas contiguous with Uttar Pradesh. A clear example of this new, nuanced game is the Dharam Sansads.”

Sangh Parivar insiders admit, however, that even after the Dharam Sansads and the accompanying propaganda by BJP leaders including Adityanath equating members of the Muslim minority with mafiosi and goons along with claims about suppressing them, the targeted level of communal polarisation has not been achieved. According to them, the ideal climate was one that existed in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha election and the 2017 Assembly elections. The current situation is nowhere close to it, but efforts are on, the insiders assert, to create such a climate. As part of this effort, the so-called breach of security in the Prime Minister’s convoy is also being made use of to advance campaigns focussing on Modi’s well-being and national security concerns, all with a high dose of Hindu symbolism.

Thus, the day after the security breach happened, Modi held a 30-minute meeting with President Ram Nath Kovind, even as Union Ministers, BJP Chief Ministers and other leaders of the party were holding prayers and reciting mantras to invoke celestial beings for the long life of the Prime Minister. The President, too, expressed concern over the incident, wanting to know what exactly happened and noting that it was not an ordinary security lapse or breach. Simultaneously, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan prayed for the long life of the Prime Minister and chanted the mahamrityunjaya mantra at Bhopal’s Gufa (cave) temple. The mantra was also chanted at the Mahakaleshwar and Omkareshwar temples and other important temples in the State for the Prime Minister’s safety. Biplab Kumar Deb, the Chief Minister of Tripura also chanted the Mahamrityunjaya mantra for the long life of the Prime Minister. “Visited Meher Kalibari temple today, offered prayers to Maa Kali and performed Shiva Linga Abhishek. May Maa Kali and Bholenath bless the son of Maa Bharati, our beloved Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi Ji with longevity,” he tweeted. Among those who chanted the mantra and tweeted about their prayers were Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, Piyush Goyal and Jyotiraditya Scindia.

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The debate on the security breach is continuing apace even as the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the Punjab government formed separate committees to probe the security lapse. The Home Ministry committee is headed by Sudhir Kumar Saxena, Secretary (Security) in the Cabinet Secretariat, and has Intelligence Bureau (IB) Joint Director Balbir Singh and SPG IG S. Suresh as its members. Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi has repeatedly held that there was no threat to Modi’s security, but he has said the incident is being probed by the State government and the anyone found responsible for it will be punished. The two-member probe committee of the State government comprises retired Punjab and Haryana High Court judge Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Home Secretary Anurag Verma.

Clearly, the political jousting on this issue is bound to continue between the BJP and the Congress through the election campaign in the run-up to Assembly elections.

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