Grammar Of Anarchy: Shaheen Bagh To Lakhimpur, Opposition Playbook Remains The Same

by R Jagannathan - Oct 6, 2021 05:51 AM
Grammar Of Anarchy: Shaheen Bagh To Lakhimpur, Opposition Playbook Remains The Same(Representative image)
  • This is the grammar of anarchy that Dr B R Ambedkar warned us about. Unfortunately, the opposition is repeatedly stoking the fire.

    At some point, it is not the BJP, but the country that will suffer.

The tragic deaths of some farmers and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers at Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh two days ago exposes – once again – the strategy being used to oust Yogi Adityanath and Narendra Modi from power in 2022 and 2024 respectively.

The idea is to use passive aggressive protests in public spaces, coupled with violence, to defeat two democratically elected leaders. The deaths of some farmers happened because an automobile convoy linked to a BJP Minister of State ran them over (the minister himself was not part of the convoy), and the lynchings of BJP workers and a journalist are reported to be the result of mob fury after the automobile tragedy.

The playbook from Shaheen Bagh to the farmer protests has been the same. First, squat endlessly on public spaces and get a pliant media to say that this is a peaceful protest.

Next, make provocative speeches or even aggressive moves to invite police action (we saw this on 26 January’s Delhi tractor rally). And if, God forbid, some injuries happen or someone gets killed, use the resultant outrage to spark further anarchy and violence. At some point, the hope is that ordinary citizens, instead of blaming the law-breakers and perpetrators of violence, will throw in the towel and vote the BJP governments out, for they want to get on with their lives.

The BJP has largely handled these protests with patience and fortitude, but this has only made the protesters up the ante.

When the government did not act against the Shaheen Bagh protesters, protests were started in other places. But violence inevitably followed – against the BJP. The protesters and their opposition backers went about preventing the BJP from making its own case to the people. In short, “peaceful protests” apparently are about shutting up the BJP’s right to a response politically.

This is what probably happened at Lakhimpur Kheri, though we will know the full story only after a judicial enquiry is conducted. The kisan unions have made it clear that they will block BJP leaders from speaking to their constituency, and will physically block them from coming wherever they hold their protests. In short, the farmers will get to hear only one side of the story – theirs. How peaceful and democratic!

It is difficult to believe that any convoy associated with a BJP minister will happily plough through a crowd of farmers during a tense standoff with kisan unions. The chances are the driver or the occupants of the cars panicked when the protesters made aggressive moves or refused to move away from the vehicles, and this may have led the drivers to run over people. The fact that some BJP workers and even a journalist were lynched shows what dangers the convoy may have faced before things went out of control.

It is also interesting to note how the anti-Modi, anti-Yogi media has reacted. There is outrage over the deaths of farmers, but not over the lynchings. Consider what would have been the case if this had been a minority community member being lynched. Then, of course, it would all be about violent Hindutva. But now, it is only about farmers being killed by a BJP minister’s convoy through sheer malevolence. The minister himself was not part of the convoy but it is claimed that his son was.

Consider also how many opposition leaders want to rush to commiserate with farmers, when none did the same after the massive post-poll violence in West Bengal which forces many people to seek refuge across the border in Assam.

Apparently, when it comes to violence, there is good violence and bad violence. Good violence is the one perpetrated by those opposed to Modi; bad violence is that which is perpetrated by those creating mayhem on the streets against the BJP or its leaders.

This is the grammar of anarchy that Dr B R Ambedkar warned us about. Unfortunately, the opposition is repeatedly stoking the fire. At some point, it is not the BJP, but the country that will suffer.

Farmers will be the worst losers if they believe that forcing governments to offer unsustainable subsidies will somehow give them a better economic deal. We are in a lose-lose-lose situation and the opposition knows it. They talk about hate politics, and this is a perfect demonstration of it. The farmers are being led up the garden path and, unfortunately, they have fallen for it.

Jagannathan is Editorial Director, Swarajya. He tweets at @TheJaggi.
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