Will Temple Vs Rafale become main poll issue in 2019

By Brij Bhardwaj. Dated: 11/6/2018 12:10:26 AM

"RSS push for Ram Temple if necessary by launching a movement like one in 1992 and daily leaks about purchase of fighter planes may emerge as election issues as poll dates came close. The question to be asked is will they shift attention from basic issues like development, employment and crises in agriculture attempt."

As the poll dates come closer, both the camps are showing signs of anxiety and making frantic efforts to fill the gaps. The ruling BJP is keen to make up the promises left unfulfilled like slow industrial growth, lack of employment opportunities by improving credit facilities for the small and medium industries, The opposition parties on the other hand are burning midnight oil to bring about an understanding between the opposition groups to get united to give a direct fight to BJP without division of votes.
There is growing realisation on the part of BJP that State Chief Ministers of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh are facing anti-incumbency and Center has also lost lot of its appeal because of its inability to fulfill promises made regarding employment generation and industrial growth. This has led to efforts by the Government to provide better liquidity in the market and allowing more credit for small and medium sector of industries. This move is being resisted by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which is concerned about fears leading to growth of inflation and poor health of banks particularly in public sector where eleven banks are on sickliest.
More so the Government has very little time less than a year to work which is very short for bringing about a change. This is difficult as impact of demonetisation and GST are yet to be overcome and slowdown of world economy. This leaves them with only one weapon that is religious polarisation on the issue of building a temple at Ayodhya. This has become difficult as Supreme Court has put the temple issue in cold storage by postponing the case hearing to next year which makes it very difficult to start construction of temple in time to get any mileage out of it for poll.
This has made the task of BJP difficult but they have at their disposal overall appeal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who remains ahead of any other leader as national choice for post of Prime Minister. In addition BJP has ample resources and a human resource in terms of RSS cadre. These two should enable BJP to give a fight to whatever opposition parties deploy in polls.
The opposition parties on the other hand are yet to reach any understanding to bring about an alliance. The efforts are still continuing and latest to enter the field is Chief Minister of Andhra Chandra Babu Naidu. The task is not easy given the mighty egos and ambitions that many leaders in opposition nurse and ambition to occupy office of Prime Minister. As such the contest at present looks interesting with no groups poised to have a clear win. Much will depend on how economy performs during the remaining period. The revival of industry and reducing farmers' distress would impact election outcome to a large extent.
On the other hand opposition parties face formidable challenges in coming to an understanding to prevent a division of votes. In its absence BJP can get a majority of seats with minority vote as was the case in 2014 when BJP got a majority in Lok Sabha on its own with 31 percent of votes. It is not something new as Congress Party in the past also has been winning majority in the Lok Sabha with minority vote.
The new weapons in the hand of opposition are attacks on institutions like CBI, Judiciary and others by BJP plus alleged irregularities in purchase of Rafale aircraft. The issue being raised are high price paid for them and offset contract allotted to company owned by Mr Anil Ambani which had no past experience in the field in preference to Hindustan Aeronautics, a public sector unit.
The aircraft issue is expected to haunt BJP Government for a long time as was the case of Bofors gun in which an appeal was filled in Supreme Court after a gap of 13 years but rejected. The case of aircraft purchase has become controversial as the Government has refused to disclose the final price paid on the plea of a secrecy clause in the agreement.
RSS push for Ram Temple if necessary by launching a movement like one in 1992 and daily leaks about purchase of fighter planes may emerge as election issues as poll dates came close. The question to be asked is will they shift attention from basic issues like development, employment and crises in agriculture attempt.
(Brij Bhardwaj is a veteran journalist and commentator)
[IFS]

 

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