The pity is that I actually think our constituency has a good
politician from the BJP. If he ever runs for Parliament, my opinion of
him, by itself, would tempt me to vote for him. Yet I cannot forget he
is from the BJP. Much as I’m also tempted by the logic that we must
sometimes look at the candidate and not the party, I know this like the
back of my hand: I will not vote for this party.
The pity is, too, that any party that presides over the plethora of
scams of the last few years deserves no less than to be flung out of
power. I mean the Congress, of course. And even so, I won’t vote BJP.
They have done too much to turn away too many people like me. Perhaps
they don’t care, but that’s the way it is.
To start, there’s the obsession with building a Ram temple in
Ayodhya. Every time we hear that times have changed and young Indians
aren’t interested in this tired old nag of an issue, somebody in the BJP
will announce that building that temple is on their agenda.
India is afflicted with scams, or still widespread poverty, or poor
primary education—whatever it is, the BJP returns, every time, to that
lazy way to ask for votes: champion the Ram temple. Sure enough, it
appears in their newest manifesto too. If you had to judge solely from
the several decades that the BJP has demanded it—luckily, you don’t—this
temple is this country’s highest priority. It must take singularly
warped minds to hold tight to this warped vision for India for so long.
On from there is the way the BJP and fans label anyone remotely
critical as “anti-Hindu”. A good example is a ‘List of Anti-Hindu
Personalities and Their Intricate Connections’ that has been doing the
rounds for some years now. (Full disclosure: I happen to be on that list.)
I know why these lists are made. “Anti-Hindu” is a surer way to get
people’s bile up, after all, than a mere “anti-BJP”. (Similar are the
labels “Pakistani agent”, “Italian origin” etc.) It’s also a lazy way to
argue, used when bereft of anything more substantial.
On from there…I could go on, with plenty more reasons not to vote
BJP. Among them, the party’s unwillingness to see justice done for
horrific crimes. Above all, though, I believe their politics demeans
I believe we have the people, the talent and the passion in this
country to take on the world. But the BJP chooses instead to
systematically turn Indian against Indian. This applies to the
“anti-Hindu” label it uses freely, it applies to the lies and suspicion
it directs at its critics, it applies to episodes of murderous violence
that have been left to fester. For me, all this is unforgivable.
And when you call them on it, the BJP’s supporters have only this
particularly brainless response: “But the Congress also does crappy
things.” Well yes, it does. In fact, crappiness from the Congress was
the reason this country grew repulsed by that party in the first place.
But when they came to power, the BJP turned out to be no different from
the Congress, and in many ways even worse.
(To my knowledge, not even
the Congress holds on to lists of ‘Anti-Hindu Personalities’.)
great dilemma is that on fundamental counts like these, our two major
political parties have failed us. I won’t shy away from the challenge
this dilemma poses when I head for the voting booth. But it does also
leave me with this certainty: I won’t vote for the BJP.