Political pundits hate BJP but hate the opposition more for not saving them

Does chronic lament that ‘weak’ Opp is allowing BJP to get away with destroying economy etc. reveal helplessness of commentators, who cannot muster courage to criticise BJP, RSS, Modi and Shah?

Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: IANS)
Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: IANS)

Ranjona Banerji

Can I successfully turn one of the stupidest ideas running around India on its head? The one that goes thus: India’s Opposition is to blame for the myriad failures of the Narendra Modi government.

And in close relation to that thought is this one: if the Nehru/Gandhi family was no longer in charge of the Congress Party it would magically transform into a formidable force.

Let’s get the howls of outrage out of the way first. Yes, obviously the Opposition whether as one group or as little factions is vital to Democracy. Yes, obviously, they are the main counter to the ruling regime. Yes, obviously everyone has the freedom to come up with any crackpot theory they want to. Before there are even more howls of outrage, I magnanimously include myself in the freedom to create crackpot theories.

Instead of getting angry with Opposition-blamers who then give a free pass to Modi, the RSS and the BJP, why don’t we break down what they’re really saying. What I mean is: can you feel the love? They don’t usually have the courage to criticize the BJP, the RSS and Modi. They occasionally show elliptical, minor, mild dissatisfaction with one of the three but very rarely all three at the same time.

  • For instance: it is not good to lynch Muslims and Dalits. But these things also happened under Congress rule.
  • Or, love jihad is very bad of course, but one must understand the anger of Hindus because of the appeasement of Muslims by the Congress, the Left, the Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress and so on.
  • Caste and casteism is not good but you see it had its reasons.

Earlier, “fringe elements” within the RSS or at the outskirts of the Hindutva movement were blamed for all the hatred but ever since one of the fringe elements became chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, this argument has lost its weight.

This is about the extent to which they can go when it comes to taking on right wing bigotry.

Modi and his lieutenant Amit Shah are rarely targeted. Because they are cleverer at politics than anyone else in history. If they ever, very occasionally at that, make a misstep, someone else in history made the exact same misstep usually from another political party. This instantly absolves Modi-Shah of all culpability.

Having built up this image, the argument ingeniously flips. Maybe Modi and Shah may not have been intrinsically clever. They have only succeeded because of the Opposition.

This is a neat device. For one, this “Opposition” as a singular entity is largely non-existent in India. Some parties group together or not at different points in time. Many of these parties are inimical to each other. Therefore, this constant haranguing of the “Opposition” only leads me to believe that these critics actually love the Opposition.

It’s an “if only” love. If only, someone could save us from captivity from those we have to pretend to love because we are craven cowards: the BJP, the RSS, and Modi. And when the saviour does not arrive, they turn on the Opposition. After every election the BJP wins, sometimes doesn’t win but steals, the rage against the Opposition begins. If the Congress Party had done this, if the RJD had not said that, the Artful Dodgers would not have won. This they argue even as they overflow with praise for the BJP, RSS and Modi-Shah.

The same brain circuitry is involved in both love and hate. If you didn’t know that by now, you just need to watch our commentators to understand how it works. That’s love, folks!

Maybe that is why they go on about Modi “masterstrokes”. They’re trapped. Like Sisyphus, the boulder keeps falling back on them. Like Tantalus, the water and the fruit are always beyond reach.

Because who in the right minds can really love Modi, the BJP and RSS for the destruction they’ve wrought on India?

As for the rest of us, we might also be trapped in this morass of BJP-RSS- created hatred and Modi-created incompetence but carry on the fight bit by bit. We know it’s not about love and knights in shining armour. It’s about survival.

Do you?

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