The coming to power of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with full majority in the Lok Sabha under Narendra Modi has begun to have the very effects that many of us had been dreading. The Sangh Parivar’s self-definitive agenda — to create a “Hindu rashtra” out of secular India — has suddenly gained enormous traction, within and outside the government. Religious minorities have been feeling more and more vulnerable and threatened over the last few months that the BJP has been in power. Within the government, central ministers, Members of Parliament (MPs), state ministers as well as members of state legislative assemblies, have all openly begun airing explicitly communal sentiments, with barely a check or remonstration. Outside the government, leaders of political parties, religious heads, and members of the Sangh Parivar’s various outfits have gone even further, in spewing venomously communal hate-speech, and inciting and machinating several incidents of communal violence.
The most recent instance of such brazen disregard for constitutionally guaranteed rights and protections came, in fact, in the form of an open undermining of the Constitution itself: the government’s own publicity campaigns deleted the words “secular” and “socialist” in their representations of the Preamble of the Constitution. The unprecedented manner in which their communal agenda is being pressed is evidently a consequence of the BJP having full majority in the Lok Sabha — it no longer fears being checked by its coalition partners. This is a major difference from the earlier National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime, when the BJP had to negotiate coalition partners who could bring down the government if they were unhappy with it.
This story first appeared on epw.in