For the first time in independent India’s history, the BJP occupies all four top constitutional posts in the country with M Venkaiah Naidu elected as vice president, the other three being Ram Nath Kovind as President, Narendra Modi as Prime Minister, Sumitra Mahajan as Lok Sabha Speaker.
Ahead of the Vice-Presidential elections Prime Minister Narendra Modi drew a parallel between 1942-47 and 2017-22. He said that the next five years will see a similar transformation in the country as people drawn from the same “family and traditions” will occupy the two top posts.
Addressing MPs of the NDA and other parties backing the ruling bloc’s vice presidential candidate Venkaiah Naidu, Modi noted that top posts like those of president and vice president will be held for the next five years by people from a identical ideology, a reference to their BJP background.
“This is the first time that such an opportunity has arisen since Independence. There is strong possibility that we will be able to give a lot to the country in the next five years,” he said.
Apart from all top constitutional posts in the country, the NDA has governments in 18 states.
This is a defining moment for the BJP-RSS fraternity and marks a decisive change not only in the national polity but also the society which it seeks to transform to fit into its Hindutva framework.
An indication of this came when a section of BJP MPs shouted “Jai Shri Ram” after Ram Nath Kovind was sworn in as India’s 14th President in a ceremony in Parliament’s Central Hall.
Kovind, who was Bihar Governor before becoming President, has been a long time active worker of the BJP and RSS. So have been Naidu and Sumitra Mahajan. Narendra Modi’s past and career is well known to all.
The other major political formation, Congress, is limited to 45 seats in Lok Sabha (after winning Jhabua by-election in 2015), its lowest ever tally, when for the first time it shrank to double-digits. The only truly national party till just a few years ago, it is now confined to a mere half-a-dozen states. Its politics is reduced to piecemeal, sporadic support to this social or economic group or the other, which rises in protest against the establishment. There is no plan, program for the society or the polity and no idea of direction in which to go.
The BJP, under PM Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah, is pursuing an aggressive agenda of not just “Congress-mukt Bharat” (an India without Congress) but an India without any party or formation to oppose BJP or stand in its way. It goes beyond capturing governments and constitutional posts. It seeks to wipe out the legacy of the past and replace it with its own: own heroes, own symbols, own values and own history. Renaming places and institutions after their own leaders is one way – as seen in naming Mughalsarai station after Deendayal Upadhayaya, among many others; dropping leaders Jawaharlal Nehru from text books or relegating them to insignificance is another. Rewriting history is an essential component of this campaign, as is equating any opposition to Hindutva as anti-national.
India is at a turning point in history.