• We are Defenders of the Constitution, say Chandrashekhar, Richa Singh and Jignesh Mevani

    Rakshanda Bhat and Bihu Chamadia

    December 6, 2018

    To mark anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid, The Citizen interviewed three young political activists – Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan, Richa Singh, and Jignesh Mevani – to discover where they stand on the destruction of the ASI protected historical monument in 1992.

    Given the studied silence of the political establishment on the issue, how do these younger leaders rate the future of such politics in India?

    The three are united in deferring to the Supreme Court judgment on the Ayodhya title dispute.

    They say they are working to protect Constitutional values, as against what they see as the RSS/ BJP’s engineering of social divisions, purely for electoral gain.

    All three point to the coalescing of a grand alliance of opposition parties against the BJP in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

    CHANDRASHEKHAR AZAD RAVAN
    Co-founder of the Bhim Army

    We are defenders of the Constitution. We won’t let the history of 1992 repeat itself in the upcoming elections. The BJP’s communal division drive won’t last long.

    I believe that any person of a Muslim, Dalit, or any other community should be provided a safe atmosphere. Nobody should be given such freedom that riots occur.

    As far as the Ram Mandir is concerned, all should wait for the verdict of the Supreme Court.

    Back in 2010, the Allahabad High Court accepted the claim of Buddhists too on the land. With Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist claimants, the Supreme Court will have a difficult decision to make, through which people can grow.

    In place of a temple a university can be established, which will bear scholars who will try to move the nation forward.

    From our side, we are fully engaged in trying to make people aware of such moves.

    For example, a few days back Yogi ji went and said in Rajasthan that Hanuman ji was a Dalit. But if we trace history in that sense, then according to many devout Hindus, Hanuman ji is the incarnation of Shiv Shankar. Does this imply that Shiva too belonged to the Dalit community?

    It is the BJP’s sheer attempt to earn political mileage in elections for their personal gain, and now people can also understand it.

    If the same statement had been made by a member of the opposition, there would have been an uproar in the media. But just because it was said by someone in the ruling party, no action has been taken on the statement.

    Just last night, Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh was killed.

    My question is, that what sort of ambience is being created? What sort of government is this? On one hand we compare our nation with the America and on the other, here people are killed and animals protected.

    The BJP’s main focus is religion. People need to understand on humanitarian grounds that the victims of such riots are also humans, someone’s brother, husband, or father. The nation is not benefiting from this.

    We are preparing people to counter this narrative, and to a large extent people are becoming prepared. This government is a self serving government.

    And as far as farmers are concerned – a person comes out onto the road only when all their supports are broken, when their life holds no importance. A poor farmer knows he or she can be crushed under a car.

    Politics shouldn’t be self serving. We will try our best that people don’t come under their spell this time.

    It is the people who make governments, it is the people who give votes.

    No religion teaches people to kill each other – we all are humans and we must not forget that.

    The BJP will try its best to fight. We are the followers of Kanshi Ram. A huge alliance is being formed, a mahagathbandhan, and we will try to accomplish the dream of Babasahib Ambedkar.

    RICHA SINGH
    Samajwadi Party spokesperson

    The BJP is trying to politicise the Babri Masjid incident. They want to fight the upcoming elections on the same basis, while also trying to play with people’s emotions.

    We are all waiting for the verdict of the Supreme Court, and they should also do the same. Apart from that we need to make a swift change in 2019 politics.

    Recently a rally was undertaken by the VHP to Ayodhya where it was claimed that around 2 lakh people would be joining it – but to their dismay only a handful of people turned up.

    This implies that the people have rejected their politics. So I don’t see the BJP/ RSS movement growing. India is a democratic country where everyone abides by the Constitution.

    A lot has happened in the past four and a half years. People are raising questions about the key issues of unemployment, women’s safety, lynching. Even farmers have protested against the present government.

    People won’t be swept away by words (janta jumlon mein nahin behne wali). People now are more focused on issues other than building the Ram temple.

    The opposition parties’ main agenda is to fight for the well being of democracy and the Constitution of India.

    The BJP/ RSS always talk about religion and do not believe in the Constitution or the Supreme Court. For example, Supreme Court judges have been threatened, even the CBI director was put under pressure. The opposition has come together to weave a strong unit.

    It is the duty of the opposition to provide answers to unanswered questions.

    The slogan Jai Kisan, Jai Jawan (Victory to the farmer, victory to the soldier) will return.

    The strength of farmers and the youth will be united.

    The BJP’s central focus is Hindutva politics. They have completely neglected the nation’s development, for instance by offering subsidised rates for farmers’ crops.

    Ever since Uttar Pradesh came under BJP rule, none of the exams have been conducted in an appropriate manner. Just today a woman was burned alive after she complained against some people who were harassing her.

    We want answers from the government. But when they haven’t done any work, what answers will they give?

    The Ram temple is being made into an issue only to mislead people. There wouldn’t have been any discussion on Ram Mandir, if they believed in the Constitution and the Supreme Court.

    These people are protected by the prime minister, Narendra Modi, who has never controlled anything.

    If the government can’t control the issue of mob lynching, how can we expect them to rule in 2019? What hopes do we have?

    JIGNESH MEVANI
    MLA (Independent) from Vadgam, Gujarat

    The RSS has always been keen to turn the demolition of the Babri Masjid into a day of celebration.

    For a long time Dalits played into the hands of the RSS/ BJP, and celebrated the 6th of December, for the RSS was successful in saffronising a class among them.

    But because of the material inequality that globalisation has created Dalits are facing economic problems, which has led to rising consciousness among Dalits and the Ambedkarites. So it will be very difficult for the RSS and the BJP to bring them into their fold this time.

    Incidents like Bhima Koregaon and the Bharat Bandh are testimony to the fact that the BJP is scared about the 2019 elections. It will be difficult for them to make the building of a Ram temple an issue in the upcoming election.

    The Indian population is very sentimental as compared to the people of western countries. Facts and figures fail to make an impact on us. The 2019 Lok Sabha election will be fought between the BJP and a Mahagathbandhan (Grand Coalition) comprised of many parties and components.

    The BJP and the RSS will try to resurrect the Mandir-Masjid issue, but we will have to be wary of that and put forth progressive secular issues which are emotional as well.

    The components of the Mahagathbandhan will be various mainstream electoral parties, which have different stands and party lines – but they will come together.

    First to save their own existence, and second to save the ideals mentioned in the Constitution, and the idea that is India.

    There is pressure on the opposition parties – with the CBI rumoured to be after Mayawati, and Lalu Prasad behind bars.

    So they will come together in spite of the differences. They have a common agenda and understanding – of wiping out the BJP.

    Suicides by farmers and unemployment will be big issues, and the BJP will have a tough time in 2019. The Gujarat election was testimony to that.


     

    First published in The Citizen.

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