Analysis: Legislative blitzkrieg, a pointer to govt. determination to grapple with ideological priorities

Such changes with long-term security and political implications, it was felt, were possibly better off taken during the early honeymoon period of any government

Updated - December 16, 2019 05:10 pm IST

Published - December 16, 2019 04:42 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Changes with long-term security and political implications, it was felt, were possibly better off taken during the early honeymoon period of any government.

Changes with long-term security and political implications, it was felt, were possibly better off taken during the early honeymoon period of any government.

The Union government kept to its blitzkrieg of big legislative overtures carried over from its very first session of Parliament after the new Modi government got elected, in its second session too. The passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), following the legislations that nullified Article 370 which accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act which made J&K and Ladakh as Union Territories , all within six months of being re-elected is a pointer to the government’s determination to grapple with its ideological priorities at the beginning of its tenure.

The Modi government got re-elected with an even bigger margin than the 2014 one , a fact that seems to have weighed with Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah while pushing through these big changes. Changes such as these with long-term security and political implications, it was felt, were possibly better off taken during the early honeymoon period of any government. The speed can be explained by the fact that the implementation and dealing with the consequences of these actions will take much of Mr. Modi’s second tenure, along with how he handles the economy.

There are other considerations too. At the BJP’s National Council meet in New Delhi in January, just before the general elections were announced, Mr. Shah, then BJP president, likened the polls to the third battle of Panipat . He was addressing party workers who appeared less than enthusiastic after the drubbing of the three-State loss in the Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh in December 2018.

Mr. Shah referenced Panipat where the Marathas came up against Afghan Ahmad Shah Abdali, which the Marathas, then the pre-eminent power in India on the heels of an enfeebled Mughal empire, had lost due to various reasons. That, according to many in the Sangh Parivar, ushered in (after a period of disintegration of the Mughal power) the British colonialism for the next two centuries.

Panipat reference crucial to understand two things

The reference is crucial to understand two things: the big shadow that late Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s loss in 2004 cast over the Sangh Parivar, some say due to internal issues in the ideological family, and the 10 years in opposition to the UPA that saw the RSS and the BJP battling charges of “Hindu terror” et al, and the second, the need for a good second term for establishing the hegemony of the RSS-BJP ideology.

Vajpayee’s loss led to less than ideal consequences for the RSS and Mr. Shah’s exhortation to workers and any disgruntled elements in the party was that such consequences could occur again if Mr. Modi was not re-elected. Like colonialism that followed Panipat.

Also, Vajpayee’s six-year term at the helm, hobbled by powerful allies in the NDA, impaired his ability to move forward with any ideological programme. A second, full majority to Mr. Modi, would be devoted to taking the ideological programme forward. The modern Indian version of the “what if” had the Marathas prevailed in Panipat.

There is no surprise therefore that these Bills have been pushed, and such an early stage of the government’s tenure. The unfolding events however are to be watched.

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