The Supreme Court of India ruled on Monday that the reading down of Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu & Kashmir within the Union of India, was valid.
Earlier, Mayawati, chief of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), who has reserved her place in Indian history as the four-time first woman and first Dalit Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, announced her nephew Akash Anand as her successor.
Dear reader of SWAT analysis, are you mystified at the conflation drawn by your columnist? Allow me to explain. Mayawati today cannot even be called a pale shadow of what she once was. Diminished politically and isolated personally, she lives in her fortress, coming forth to issue occasional fiats.
In her autobiography, “Mere Sangarshmaye Jeevan ka Sufferna,” she had written that she did not know who her successor would be but knew for sure that he or she would not be a family member. Picking her nephew as her heir not only showcases how she has moved away from publicly stated ideals but also that she’s all out of political ideas.
Curious case of Mayawati
Derided as the official “B” team of the BJP, Mayawati has not even been asked by the opposition to join the ramshackle INDIA alliance. Mayawati set up candidates in all the recent assembly elections and substantially hurt the Congress’s electoral prospects.
From ruling UP with an imaginative Brahmin-Dalit alliance, Mayawati has been reduced to what is quintessentially called a “vote katua” (vote cutter) in Indian politics.
Mayawati has no time for her party leaders and workers as she spends her days closeted with her battery of lawyers and chartered accountants figuring out a defence for her disproportionate assets case, which has been investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Mayawati expelled a party Rajya Sabha MP, Danish Ali, for supporting Mahua Moitra against her expulsion from Parliament.
Mayawati is all out of political ideas and has lost her voters, which brings us to Article 370. The BJP had promised the repeal of Article 370 in the original manifesto when it was formed as a political party of the Sangh Parivar.
BJP's ideological advantage
In the same document, it had also promised the construction of a Ram Mandir in Ayodhya and a common civil code. Now you may like the BJP or dislike it, but you can’t say it doesn’t stand for an ideology, a wholly different idea of India than what has governed us so far.
Article 370 was always a “temporary” provision, but no other party and government tried to do away with it. For better or for worse, it was only the BJP.
With general elections barely six months away and with Modi in line for a historic third term, the Supreme Court stamp on the repeal of Article 370 will add to the BJP’s political capital and swagger across India.
Earlier, the BJP was mocked by some opposition leaders, saying “tareekh nahi batayegey par mandir wahi banaeyge” (we won’t tell you the date, but we will construct a temple in Ayodhya).
The temple, after another Supreme Court judgement, will be inaugurated in Ayodhya in January, just in time to kick off the BJP’s election campaign in grand style.
Modi all the way
The actual reason the fragmented opposition can’t take on Modi nationally is that they have no ideology to showcase.
You can’t simply tell the voter that your entire opposition construct is a dislike for Modi. She expects you to sell her your ideas of how differently you would govern India.
Why would you buy a dupe if you could get a Hermes Birken bag at the same price? In states, the opposition falls back on regionalism to take on the BJP ideologically.
Nationally, the Congress, like Mayawati in UP, is all out of ideas. The Congress is persistent about Rahul Gandhi, former president, who has lost two general elections on the trot. To take on Hindutva, it goes pale saffron. The voter isn’t fooled.
Make no mistake; the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya and now J&K without any special status are what Modi will highlight as his wins and the Sangh’s ideological success. They are election winners.
In UP with its 80 seats, there will virtually be no opposition to the BJP romping home. Now that’s quite a connection.