Ashish Tripathi
06 February 2014, 01:23 AM IST


In the 2012 UP assembly elections, the Gujarat chief minister and now BJP‘s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, campaigned only in Ayodhya, where he addressed a public meeting and talked about development alone. However, the party lost in Ayodhya, which had been its bastion since 1989 following the Ram temple movement, which made BJP a national player. Election results were declared on March 6, 2012. BJP won 47 seats, down from 51 in 2007. However, almost two years later, all poll surveys are predicting a BJP wave in UP. So, what made things swing in BJP’s favour? Read the following timeline.

March 15, 2012: SP forms government and Akhilesh Yadav becomes the chief minister of UP. A new era of lawlessness starts in UP. The SP government also starts implementing its promises for Muslims, including the withdrawal of cases against terror-accused. Simultaneously, the Sangh Pariwar (RSS, BJP, VHP, Bajrang Dal and others) starts a campaign to instigate Hindus against Muslim appeasement. It also launches propaganda on cow slaughter and ‘love jihad’, accusing Muslims of working against Hindus. A petition is filed by lawyers associated with VHP in Lucknow claiming the right of Hindus on a ‘disputed place’ where a mosque was constructed during the medieval period. Right-wing activists come out with more such claims in other parts of the state. There is also a surge in religious procession and pandals on festivals across the state leading to rise in cases of communal tension. Even minor disputes are given a communal colour in which social media plays a major role. The result: In 2012, there are 118 incidents of communal tension, which claim 29 lives and leave over 500 injured. In October 2012, during riots in Faizabad, rioters raise the slogan “UP bhi Gujarat banega, Faizabad shuruat karega (UP too will become Gujarat, beginning with Faizabad)”. In 2013, around 250 incidents of communal tension are reported in UP, in which 95 people die and over 300 injured. Muzaffarnagar riots in September 2013 extensively reported but a large number of incidents across the state go unreported. These incidents create a sharp communal divide. SP’s Muslim appeasement and Sangh Parivar‘s Hindu appeasement responsible for over 90% of incidents of communal tension. SP and BJP are accused of playing a fixed match to polarize votes.

May 19, 2013: Modi’s close confidant and BJP general secretary Amit Shah made party general secretary and in charge of UP. Sangh Parivar intensifies its ‘save cow’ campaign and ‘love jihad’ propaganda.

June 9, 2013: Narendra Modi anointed chairman of BJP election campaign.

June 12, 2013: VHP announces statewide campaign in UP for Ram temple.

June 18, 2013: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat says in Meerut that Hindutva is the only solution for India.

July 6, 2013: Amit Shah visits Ayodhya, vows to build Ram temple.

July 16, 2013: RSS chief formally approves Ram temple as an election issue.

August 2, 2013: VHP chief Ashok Singhal says: “Modi is a divine creation who rose after Ram bhaktas were burnt down in 2002 and the developments in the 72 hours that followed. He is the gift of Lord Ram. The media, Sonia Gandhi, western powers have all attacked him. But he is invincible. Modi will stop the process of de-Hinduization that is taking place, and address unheard issues. Modi has protected religion, culture, and values and developed his state on the basis of that. Development and religion go together. Hindus got India freedom, and only the Hindu force can develop India into the number one country.”

August 17, 2013: A VHP delegation led by Ashok Singhal meets SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav seeking the state government’s support for the 84-kosi yatra to mobilize people for the construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. Singhal also asks Mulayam to persuade Muslim leaders, clerics and ulema to pave the way for the construction of the temple. Later, Sighal praises Mulayam for his positive approach. The VHP leader says, “Mulayam is no longer the ‘Mulla Mulayam’ who in 1990 had ordered police firing on the karsevaks in Ayodhya. Mulayam and his son Akhilesh touched our feet and sought our blessings”. Although Mulayam does not react to the VHP’s claim, after two days, SP government bans the yatra citing a Supreme Court order.

August 25, 2013: Despite the ban, VHP goes ahead with its 84-kosi yatra. Many Hindu organizations also oppose the yatra because appropriate time for it is April-May. Though BJP officially stays away from the yatra, several leaders participate in it. There are allegations of a fixed match between the SP government and the Sangh Parivar to communalize and polarize the atmosphere in UP for electoral gains.

September 7, 2013: A sustained communal campaign by the Sangh Parivar and the appeasement policy of the SP government result in large-scale violence in Muzaffarnagar and one of  worst communal riots in UP takes place, resulting in the death of 65 persons and displacing over 60,000.

September 13, 2013: Modi made BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. The Sangh Parivar launches a campaign in UP (also across the country) that India is all set to have an OBC (other backward castes) prime minister.

September 22, 2013: Despite communal tension in the state following riots in Muzaffarnagar, VHP takes out another yatra to mobilize public support for the construction of Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.

October 19, 2013: Modi’s first rally in UP held in Kanpur. He talks about development but allows other leaders to raise communal issues. Former chief minister of UP Kalyan Singh, referring to Muzaffarnagar riots, says: “There is a reaction to every action. Only dead bodies don’t react.” Singh was chief minister of the BJP government when the Babri mosque was demolished in 1992. However, later he quit BJP and joined hands with Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and won 2009 Lok Sabha election with SP support. Now he is back in BJP. The party has promised to promote his son in politics.

November 8, 2013: Modi, while addressing a rally in Bahraich, accuses SP and Bahujan Samaj Party of inducting criminals. In the same rally, Prateek Singh, son of mafia-turned-politician Brijbhushan Sharan Singh, joins BJP. Though Brijbhushan is SP MP from Kaiserganj, he also announces his support to BJP.

November 21, 2013:  During Modi’s Agra rally, BJP felicitates two of its MLAs — Sangeet Singh Som and Suresh Rana — accused of fanning riots in Muzaffarnagar. They are hailed as protectors of Hindus. Som had contested the 2009 Lok Sabha election on SP ticket from Muzaffarnagar. He was then labelled anti-Hindu. He lost the election and later joined BJP. After riots, he is being projected as “Hindu Hriday Samrat“.

December 20, 2013: Modi addresses rally in Varanasi. BJP leaders liken Modi to Lord Shiva. They modify ‘Har Har Mahadev’, chanted in praise of Lord Shiva, into ‘Har Har Modi’.

January 7, 2014: Amit Shah picks RSS men as poll coordinators in UP. These coordinators are given charge of campaigning and other election-related activities.

January 23, 2014: In Modi’s Gorakhpur rally, BJP leader Vinay Katiyar, who played a key role in the Ram temple movement, greets people with ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and promises a law, if BJP wins and Modi becomes prime minister, to enable the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Later, in Ballia, while addressing party workers, Amit Shah says that Modi belongs to a backward caste and if he became the prime minister of the country, it would be a matter of pride for the section.

January 25, 2014:  BJP workers in Kaushambi district install Modi’s statue in a Shiva temple, worship him as a deity, address him as Swami Narendra Modi, recite Modi chalisa and call the temple ‘NaMo NaMo Mandir’.

January 30, 2014: BJP leaders perform puja before every Modi rally to pray for its success. However, when members of the BJP minority cell offer namaz on the stage before a function in Meerut, they are pulled up by state party chief Laxmikant Bajpai for performing ‘religious activity’ on the party’s platform.

February 2, 2014: Modi shares dais with riot-accused MLA Sangeet Singh Som in his Meerut rally but promises to make UP a riot-free state. Modi does not mention the Muzaffarnagar riots in his speech but talks about threat to ‘maa-beti ki izzat’ (honour of mothers and daughters) in UP. The same slogan was used by the Sangh Parivar to stoke communal passion which resulted in the riots.

The timeline shows …

Modi is playing the development card, but has allowed other leaders of his party and its sister organizations to speak in a highly communal language.

Modi is attacking dynastic politics but has allowed BJP leaders to liken him to God and is promoting children of other BJP leaders.

Modi is criticizing caste politics but has allowed BJP and RSS to project him as a backward leader.

Modi is accusing other parties of patronizing criminals but has allowed the state BJP unit to induct mafia and criminal elements in the party.

Modi is avoiding the ‘Hindutva’ language for which he is known, but through his gestures, vocabulary, actions and symbols at his rallies he has kept his Hindu hardliner image intact.

Modi is promising a riot-free UP, but riot-accused are felicitated in his rally.

Modi is talking about honesty, but is not giving account of Rs 20-25 crore being spent on each rally (he has addressed over 50 such rallies across the country since September) and not removing politicians convicted for corruption from his cabinet.

Modi is accusing SP-BP-Congress of being hand in glove but shares dais with two leaders — Rajnath Singh and Kalyan Singh — who won the 2009 Lok Sabha elections with Mulayam Singh Yadav’s support.

Modi is talking about upholding the Constitution but eulogizes Kalyan Singh, who as UP chief minister failed to discharge his constitutional duty and did not follow the sworn affidavit he gave to the Supreme Court on the Babri mosque issue.

Modi talks about communal amity, but in comparison with other parties in the country, at present BJP has maximum number of elected representatives (19 MPs and MLAs) who are facing criminal charges of provoking communal feelings.

Modi rightly accuses Congress of being run through remote control by the Gandhi parivar but it is also a fact that the Sangh Parivar is running the BJP through remote control. Modi used RSS to control BJP and get himself nominated for the top job. RSS is also running his campaign. Gandhi parivar at least contests elections and is in a way answerable to the people. RSS is trying to impose its agenda on the country through BJP and Modi, but is not answerable to people in any way. Is this Modi’s definition of democracy?


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