A united front of backward, dalits and minorities can defeat NDA in 2024

United Opposition is assuming increasing demand from among democratic forces and political parties across the socio-political spectrum of India to defeat BJP led NDA. Secular, Socialist and Democratic India has suffered greatly under BJP rule. ‘Constitution-ality’ in the governance is almost lost its significance as required by the Constitution. There are various institutions created under the Constitution to have their autonomy and independent functioning. Unfortunately every institution in India has lost its autonomy and become dependent on government. Institution of Justice also being undermined and democratic forces fighting undemocratic governance are losing hopes in getting justice.

Secularism has also suffered greatly and socialist values are looked down upon by the communal leadership that are heading the union government. In the social sphere because of party sponsored hate campaign people are labeled as anti-national thereby driving fear into the large segments of population. Legal and extra-legal institutions take law into their hands and resort to unlawful acts against our own Indians. In fact some kind of a fear engulfing across social groups and in this context we find demand for opposition unity.

What is opposition unity?

Opposition unity does not mean coming together of political parties alone. But it should also set an agenda that assures development and security. Mainstreaming the aspirations of the peripheralised should also become centrality in the governance. A conscious community with continuous politicisation in relation to their citizenship should also assume centrality. We should be clear that India is a country of castes and communities. Any attempt to erase their constitutional equality needs to be resisted.

MS Education Academy

In this context Akhilesh Yadav, former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and President of Samajwadi Party, has come up with a novel idea and political strategy of PDA to defeat NDA in the ensuing general elections 2024. Though it sounds rhythmic but clubbing three big social entities like ‘Pichda, Dalit and Alpasankyak will give rise to a big political force constituting almost more than 90% of the population.’

The oneness of these social entities are aptly defined by Akhilesh himself. In his definition “PDA is basically a rising awareness against exploitation, harassment and discrimination of Pichda (BCs), Dalit and Alpasankyak (Minorities/ Muslims) or the name of unity that took birth out of aspiration for equality in which the people of all classes joined together based on humanity against injustice.”

PDA concept has deeper meaning

The PDA concept is much deeper socially and politically and it emanates from the socialist movement in India since pre-independence times. It needs to be read in the context of BJP rule and also historically because the way these communities are excluded from modernisation during post-independence India.

A parallel perhaps could be drawn from Ahinda (Alpasankyak, Backward Classes and Dalits) Movement which gave credibility status to Siddaramaiah, Chief Minister of Karnataka in emerging as the socialist leader acceptable to the above classes.

Since the arrival of BJP in 2014, the Union Government and the party that headed and also its association with RSS and their affiliates have set a new discourse politically. Initially they used development rhetoric to come to power but resorted to communal discourse through its affiliates negating its own promise of sab ka saath sab ka vikas. For some time it appeared as the acts of fringe elements resorting to remote controlling the communal tensions. Later the party itself came with true colours engaging itself in hate campaign against Muslims. They used every opportunity to communalise the so called majority attributing every development is because of the other.

Justice, liberty, equality and fraternity

In fact a different majority existed constitutionally and there have been articulations for justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. And that’s where PDA gets located. It is the exploited social groups which get excluded politically and economically and discriminated in terms of employment. The castes and communities are consciously left aside over the years from mainstreaming and modernisation.

The harassment against Muslims has been unleashed through hate campaign. Poverty, illiteracy and unemployment have become their social capital. Simultaneously the Backwards and Dalits are neglected as the government refused to provide employment and entrepreneurship. The negative policies of selling PSUs scuttled the employment through reservations. The constitutional values of Equality and Representation are done away with their subtle process of privatisation and corporatisation.

The Union government is good at political rhetoric by speaking the language of India becoming ‘Vishwaguru’, ‘World Power’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ etc. and it is very effectively carried forward by the media. In the process some are confused and lost in choosing priorities. The constitutional majority which is expected to speak about social, economic and political justice and also its values of socialism and secularism is getting displaced and carried away by religious majority. In fact it doesn’t exist in the day to day living culture. Perhaps the symptoms are seen in certain ghettoised pockets where it is being nurtured in the interest of the upper castes-classes.

Any act of speaking human, constitutional and democratic rights is viewed as threat to the pampered majority political discourse. And it’s being dealt with as unlawful and anti-national.

In view of the above we need to reinvent ourselves in facing the anti-people state policies. Perhaps by setting an agenda based PDA might take our politics closed to the aggrieved people. Let’s be clear that criminalisation of political discourse makes us to be extra cautious to ward off violent approaches  and give way to nonviolent humanist approach by realising constitutional equality and fraternity.
I take this opportunity to bring David Harvey a renowned intellectual who spoke about a similar situation at the time of Donald Trump, President, United States of America.

Crimes of Capitalism

When I looked at the politics of BJP in India and more so in the context of the state of Uttar Pradesh I am reminded of David Harvey’s argument in relation to ‘crimes of Capitalism’. He argues that there is a need to change the course of alternate politics as every articulation was getting criminalised by the State.
The analysis is more apt in the context of BJP as they indulge in distorting every democratic initiative and criminalising it. Be it the initiative of political parties or the civil societal groups, it will be painted as anti-national and they needed to be seen as unlawful and therefore there is a need to take action and assign to pursue it by the police. Often the non-State actors remotely control the processes and they get justified by the PM (Paid Media) Pracharaks. I think this is an ample clue to redraw our strategies. While doing away the old forms of demonstrations and contestations confronting the State we need to restrategise our politics with nonviolent softer approaches in accordance with the Constitution.

Communicating people to use electoral politics with vision and strategic political action without getting carried away by emotions and political rhetoric as often political players engage with people.

Prof S Simhadri, is the president of Samajwadi Party in Telangana. He can be reached on phone 9490568899 and email profsimhadri@gmail.com

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