Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation

Hollow Claims of Moral Victory & Moral Defeat

The Gujarat election results which has seen a sixth consecutive victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party has been interpreted in an interesting way by the losers and by those who support the losers and side with them in order to try and buttress their pipe dream of leading India in 2019. The Congress, led by its leader who has seen maximum electoral defeats has called the Gujarat verdict a “moral victory” for the Congress, while Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, whose party members have already started drumming up her hopes for Delhi in 2019 has called the verdict a “moral defeat” for the BJP.

All of a sudden, why is so much morality being showered on an electoral victory in which the most “immoral” words and manners were used and expressed against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Moreover, what after all is a moral victory in an electoral battle, where one fights to win and not complain? Rahul Gandhi’s sudden recollection of the Bhagavad Gita’s dictum thus a few hours before the results were misplaced, the Gita certainly teaches dispassionate or non-attached action, but the dictum also makes it clear that such an action needs to be perfect, needs to be focused on the goal and not become an alibi for justifying failure. Aspiring for victory in an electoral battle is must and is natural; it is only losers who speak of moral victory and defeat. One is reminded of Dr Ram Manohar Lohia’s observation on our attitude to power, The Communist parties, which have turned into glorified trumpeters for the Congress and its first family have also jumped into the fray and instead of seriously debating on how to resurrect their sagging fortunes, are now confabulating on how to prop up the Congress. The confabulations will reach no conclusion except that it will create more dialectical divisions within the CPIM itself which is already infested by non-performing leaders, failed ideologues and depleting cadres.

All of sudden an electoral victory and electoral battle was being examined under the lens of morality by a party like the Congress which has, in the past five odd decades, worked to decimate all our democratic institutions and has repeatedly mocked our democratic aspirations.

What moral victory is the Congress celebrating when all its seniors’ leaders lost the elections in Gujarat? What moral victory does the Congress and its drumbeaters speak of when throughout the entire campaign and much before the dates were announced all that the Congress did was to push the caste narrative in the forefront and support such self-styled leaders whose entire politics was based on abuse, subterfuge and false promises?

The Congress’s past record of governance in Gujarat had pushed the state to the brink, those who still recall those years shudder at the thought of that phase returning when curfews and caste conflicts were the order of the day. What the Congress repeatedly displays is arrogance in defeat and refuses to seriously introspect on the fact that despite its attempt to divide Gujarat’s society along caste and religion one saw an overwhelming vote for the BJP, especially from those sections that the Congress projected as being disaffected with the BJP. It has also not been able to explain away the fact that the BJP’s vote share increased and now stands at nearly 50%, a convincing achievement for a party that has been in power for over two decades and has had to face and address various issues and challenges.

What however the Gujarat elections really throw up is what Prime Minister Modi cautioned while addressing workers on the evening of the victory on 18 December. He observed that throughout this phase concerted efforts were made to re-inject the poison of casteism into the veins of Gujarat and to bring back an era of chronic instability and fear. “It has taken a lifetime for workers like us”, he pointed out, “to cleanse the state of that poison”. The Gujarat election results must reinforce, in those who believe in a new Indian narrative, the determination to resist those efforts of re-injecting that divisive poison.

It must strengthen our resolve to display our determination to ceaselessly strive for creation and consolidation of “New India.”

(The writer is a Member, National Executive Committee (NEC), BJP and Chairman of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation. Views expressed are personal)