How the BJP has Back Tracked on Article 370 and Uniform Civil Code
I remember reading the BJP manifesto before the 2014 general elections. Among others promises it, delineated that a uniform civil code would be introduced in India and Article 370 which granted special status to Kashmir would be abolished. After reading, I was not too sure that BJP would really carryout these promises. After all Atal Bihari Vajpayee the ex BJP Prime Minister ruled for 6 years and nothing happened. There was not even a semblance of a debate during his time.
However many friends told me that this time it would be different. They opined that now the BJP is headed by a "dynamic" leader Narendra Modi and better, the BJP had an absolute majority in parliament. After all they said the BJP stand had been consistent on these two points for the last 50 years.
It appeared that the BJP will start a debate on these two contentious topics as a beginning. The endeavor to have a uniform civil code is part of the directive principles of the constitution and many felt this should have plain sailing. Article 370 is an addition by Nehru and not compatible with the concept of one India and one expected the BJP to start a discussion on how it was going to be removed.
But the BJP is all fire and smoke and and once the smoke clears, I do not find it better than the Congress party. Instead of asking for a discussion on article 370, the party compromised its principles by joining in a government headed by the PDP( a pro Pakistan party). It tacitly accepted that Article 370 would not be touched and the PDP leader Mehbooba shouted from roof tops that Article 370 is the corner stone of the states accession to India. The BJP and Narendra Modi kept quiet.
The fact is that the BJP is lusting for power, principles be dammed. One year down the line I have seen nothing that the BJP will honor its promise in the manifesto. This is not the only point, but even the battle against corruption is greatly watered down. More on that in another post.
Asa nationalist I am saddened as to where India is heading. When will we have a national leader like Subhash Chandra Bose? The Hindus lost earlier due to their own weakness and one hopes the same scenario is not repeated. There is a powerful China-Pakistan axis being built up and India may well end up second fiddle to them.
By not taking up these two issues mentioned in the manifesto has been a drawback on the part of the BJP and hurt the core community of their supporters. One cannot understand why the BJP and Narendra Modi compromised on article 370 and joined hands with the PDP. Joining the PDP has led to some of the worst anti India sentiments being openly propagated in Kashmir. Let alone abrogating Article 370, the BJP seems powerless to rein in the anti India and pro Pakistan agenda of the PDP. I wonder how Shyam Prasad Mukherjee the stalwart BJP leader must be feeling in death after the BJP jettisoned all talk of Article 370.
Similar is the case of a Uniform Civil Code. In no country of the world ( barring the Muslim Nations) is Islamic personal law allowed or followed. In fact nations like China have also banned fasting during Ramadan. This is an extreme, but surely the BJP can take the first steps to lay the groundwork of a common civil code. I wonder what worries the BJP, for a look at Goa will show that Muslims accept the common civil code. In the Portuguese state of Goa, the uniform civil code is law and the Sharia has a back seat. I wonder what stops the BJP from going ahead in implementing its manifesto. I can understand that it cannot be done in a day, but surely a discussion can commence and slowly the Sharia removed. It will require courage and so far Modi and the BJP do not seem equal to this task.
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