It’s once again secularism vs communalism

Congress leaders are not getting tired of making tall claims of completing their full five-year term at the Centre. Perhaps that’s the only achievement of the UPA government: that it can tom-tom in the coming polls. The public facing the brunt of skyrocketing prices are unlikely to buy any other achievement that the government would want to project.

Narendra Modi has already counted the days left for the general election – 220 days, of which 180 days of rule are by and large at the mercy of the Election Commission. If given the freedom, the EC can hold elections anytime during the last six months of the government’s tenure.

Nonetheless, the country is not heading for mid-term polls. The best could be early polls, though even that seems to be a remote possibility, even after the UPA government’s multi-million food security gamble.

Though the government for sure must have put the systems in place to execute their much-touted programme for the poor, scepticism still prevails on whether the advantage would reach the beneficiaries by the time they go to the polling booths to cast their vote. The pleasure lies in eating the cake, rather than having it.

What worries many like us, who belong to the middle class, is the price that the country is going to pay for this political stability. Political stability is important but only when it comes with progress and prosperity for the polity. Public memory may be ephemeral – they may forget the scams that tumbled out of the UPA 2 cupboards – but not the disturbing inflation that’s pinching their pockets and eroding their savings.

But the question that bothers me most is that by the time the country will go to polls, development agenda would take a backseat, though for all ostensible reasons the parties will talk only about that.

Comments like ‘The Congress hiding in a bunker wearing burqa of secularism’ followed by the rebuttal, ‘Burqa of secularism is better than nakedness of communalism’ are provoking debates in public forums like never before. The country has again started debating secularism vs communalism and this is precisely what the political parties want.

After all, both the Congress and the BJP are going to gain from a communal general election. Ideologically, they may be poles apart but they share the same agenda of decimating the regional forces.

Watch out the days ahead?

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