18 June, 2021

The Perils Of Polarity

No matter how perverted the issue on which they pitched their nationalist tent, in the end it was Gujarati pride vs the rest of India.

illustration by Sandeep Adhwaryu
The Perils Of Polarity
Now that the Gujarat elections are over, the question in everyone's minds is, "What does it portend for the future of India?" It would be futile to pretend that this was simply an election no different from the state assembly elections that took place in Uttar Pradesh or West Bengal two years ago. Narendra Modi's decision to deliberately polarise the vote on communal lines against the wishes of the prime minister and deputy prime minister turned it into an election with not only national but existential significance for the country and its future. To put it bluntly, were the attempt to polarise the vote throughout India on communal lines to succeed even part-way, it would start a chain reaction of violence that would end by destroying the country. That is the Pandora's box Gujarat has opened. Can it be shut? Will it be shut?

The sheer size and manner of the BJP victory makes it a certainty that the 'Gujarat strategy' will be tried in Himachal, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh next winter. Its key feature was that it succeeded in polarising the vote around a...
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