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Rediff.com  » News » 'UCC May Be Kept On Backburner'

'UCC May Be Kept On Backburner'

By ARCHANA MASIH
June 13, 2024 09:59 IST
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'Modi 3.0 will have more balanced policies like one saw in Modi's first term.'

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra D Modi signs his first file authorising the release of the 17th instalment of the PM Kisan Nidhi after assuming charge for the third successive term, June 10, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

"The Constitutional changes that the BJP might have envisaged whatever that might be like renaming India to Bharat -- that may be kept aside. The One Nation One Election agenda might not take shape in this term. Removing Muslims communities that are included in the OBC list might not be possible now," says Dr Shilp Shikha Singh, assistant professor at the Giri Institute of Development Studies in Lucknow.

Dr Singh's areas of interest include politics of marginalities and governance, changing electoral dynamics among marginalised communities in UP and Indian government and politics.

In a detailed interview to Rediff.com's Archana Masih she explains the reasons behind the decline of the BSP, the BJP's continued hold oN the upper caste vote and how the NDA government will be different from Modi's second term.

The concluding segment of a two-part interview:

 

IMAGE: Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav being felicitated by Balyogi Shri Ramdas and SP General Secretary Shivpal Singh Yadav during the celebrations for the party's victory in the Lok Sabha elections in Lucknow, June 7, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

The Samjawadi Party has emerged as the third largest party in India. How do you view its resurgence and what course is it likely to take?

The SP and Congress will continue their coalition. They have been recharged which will have a bearing on the state assembly election three years later.

If Modi's charisma has broken, so has Yogi's. Unless they change the way they run the government, I think the tempo would continue and we will see a different result in the state.

In UP, once again caste alliances came to the forefront, sidelining both communal and national politics. Caste coalition at the local level decided the election and that is why candidates became more important than the party. This was managed very well by SP.

What about the future of the BSP which has not won a single seat and has also lost vote share?

The biggest mistake by the BSP was not joining either of the alliances. BSP is a defunct party. Dalits are in search of a new Dalit leader.

Mayawati will continue to cede ground if she fails to revives her politics -- for which we don't see any immediate indication. The BSP is being shortsighted in putting the blame on Muslims for the election debacle without realising that Mayawati's own core vote is also crumbling.

IMAGE: Azad Samaj Party (Kanshi Ram) chief Chandrashekhar Azad campaigns in the Dumariyaganj Lok Sabha constituency. Photograph: Kind courtesy Chandrashekhar Azad/X

What about Azad Samaj Party Chief Chandra Shekhar Azad who has won his first Lok Sabha election?
Can he fill in the gap and attract the Dalits since Mayawati and BSP have receded?

Azad is the new hope for Dalit youth and a poster boy in UP. A section of the youth admires his aggressiveness, but he is organisationally weak.

He does not have a platform among any established Dalit or mainstream parties. He is a potential Dalit leader, but it is a long road for him, but his winning the election will make a difference. He will raise his voice in Parliament and will certainly expand his constituency.

The BSP vote share has come down, but that does not mean that Dalits will desert the party completely, the desertion will be gradual. Their vote percentage has come down by about 2% and if the party continues in the same manner and does not take up social issues and respond to the concerns of its people, it will continue to decline.

Mayawati has shown no vision on how to move her party forward. She has destroyed an excellent movement because of lack of vision.

IMAGE: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra flanked by Kishori Lal, right, and Rahul Gandhi, left, the winning Congress candidates in Amethi and Raebareli respectively, June 11, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

Although the Congress has just won 6 of the 17 seats it contested, can the party expect a revival in UP?

It is the beginning of the revival, but it will be a slow process. The SP and Congress will remain in a coalition. The SP is very strong and the two will continue to complement each other. The increase in Congress vote share will be a gradual process.

SP is a much stronger player. I don't think the Congress will risk sabotaging the SP now or in the near future.

One must not lose sight of the fact that the core vote base of the BJP is intact. The OBCs, Dalits and Muslims have gone to the other side, but the upper castes are still with the BJP. Some sections of the Dalits like Valmikis and some OBC groups are also with the BJP.

The BJP needs to look at other strategies to keep its core voters intact. Relying only on communal politics won't work. Their entire campaign after the second phase of polling was on the Hindu-Muslim issue. The BJP cannot garner more votes based on that any more.

IMAGE: Modi with N Chandrababu Naidu at the swearing in of the Andhra Pradesh government, June 12, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

Will there be a toning down of the Hindu-Muslim rhetoric?

If the BJP wants to regain lost ground, then it will. If it doesn't, there will be a UP kind of debacle in other states as well.

What change will the verdict bring in national politics?

The One Nation One Election agenda might not take shape in this term.

The Uniform Civil Code may be kept on the backburner.

The Constitutional changes that the BJP might have envisaged whatever that might be like renaming India to Bharat -- that may be kept aside.

Removing Muslims communities that are included in the OBC list might not be possible now.

Modi 3.0 will have more balanced policies like one saw in Modi's first term.

There might be a toning down of centralised decision making in government because the BJP has to deal with seasoned coalition partners. Giving them notional representation will not work.

The streak of centralisation will have to be reversed as regional parties have become significant once again. It is the return of the coalition era.

IMAGE: Sonia Gandhi and party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra campaign for Rahul Gandhi in Raebareli. Photograph: ANI Photo

There is speculation that Rahul Gandhi will give up his Wayanad Lok Sabha seat. Which seat is likely to vacate?

Wayanad.

Raebareli has been handed to him by his mother and has a longer history. Probably Priyanka will contest from Wayanad.

What is the larger message emanating from this election result?

Politics should never be static. Every party must realise that no party or government is invincible.

It is the people's victory, not any party's victory.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com

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ARCHANA MASIH / Rediff.com