The real success of a political party is not in what a party does itself, but what it is able to do to its opponents. In other words, the real success lies in how a political party is able to change the conversation, in how it is able to change the language of its opponents and change the terms of engagement.
I have written about this recently with Communists, discussing how their real success lies in the fact that ordinary people and even right wing parties do not complain or even notice when extreme left wing radical terrorists like Che Guevara are glorified in popular culture.
If you want another example, look at what AAP did after the 2013 elections in Delhi. The BJP had 32 seats in the 70 member assembly and under “normal” circumstances, the BJP would have thought nothing of “managing” an extra 4 seats to hit the majority mark. But so aggressive was the AAP’s moral posturing that the BJP was immobilized, it wouldn’t even stake claim to power! It is quite another thing that since then, Kejriwal’s only aim in life has been to shed the baggage of moral posturing adopted by his party 🙂
And finally, the Congress. Folks, I am really struggling here to come up with some kind of ideology I could associate to the Congress. Corruption does come to mind. Feudalism is another strong candidate. But, I think some kind of povertarian-socialist rhetoric is probably the best description of Congress ideology. And the Congress’ runaway success of ruling 55+ years shows in the imprint it has left on the language of every other political party. The povertarian rhetoric shows even in Modi’s speeches. In fact, if there is one ghost that has been chasing Modi around, it is the ghost of 2004 and Modi is determined not to sound “pro-rich”. Prosperity as an election slogan has found some recent traction, but the rhetoric of poverty is a gift that has been giving generously for 66 years. And counting…
By the same token, the real success of BJP will be in pulling the Congress (and its satellites) towards the Hindu right. What I am saying is that Rahul Gandhi’s capers in Ayodhya yesterday should be a cause for celebration:
And earlier, the evil Queen had also gone to Varanasi for Ganga aarti. What happened to the earlier stance of solidarity with Naxals of JNU?
Remember the heady days when the balloon of “saffron terror” was launched? That Abrahamic arrogance has long receded. The bold, expansionist mode has been abandoned for a new desire to be seen as good Hindus. It is important to celebrate good things when they happen.
Let me quickly close an avenue of doubt here. You would be totally right in pointing out that the Gandhis are actually insincere in their newfound interest in Hinduism. But don’t worry about it. This might sound cynical, but when has a politician ever sincerely believed anything? It is all a game of posturing. For the people of India, for our civilization, only the contours of the discourse matter. For that matter, I am sure the Gandhis are just as insincere in their devotion to povertarian socialism. That does not stop their socialist rhetoric from hurting us. So, the insincerity of their devotion to Hindu culture won’t stop it from being a net gain for our civilization.
Now I think the modern electorate is too clever to be fooled by Rahul Gandhi in Uttar Pradesh polls. But so what if it does help Rahul Gandhi? If the Congress makes some electoral gains as a result of pro-Hindu posturing, it will only initiate a virtuous cycle of other political parties jumping on the pro-Hindu bandwagon. Ultimately, for India to truly embrace its Hindu roots, we cannot have one “Hindu” party, with everyone else batting for the Abrahamic side. There will always be a struggle to determine our national identity, but the key is to move the center point to the right. Because the vast majority of people, by their very nature, prefer to cluster somewhere around the center.
It is not about one political party, my friends. It is about a certain culture that is our heritage. A culture that deserves to be preserved and revered in the world. And unless we manage to pull the other side to the right, that dream will never be fulfilled.