AA Edit | Talk of a North-South divide is best avoided

The Asian Age.

Opinion, Edit

By sharing content in an apparent bid to denounce regionalism disguising partisan agenda, Modi has declared that he is willing to play ball

After the assembly poll results, posts about the north-south divide spark controversy. (ANI Image)

A dangerous trend has emerged from the Congress’ shock defeat in Assembly elections in the Hindi heartland and the BJP’s simultaneous failure to make or sustain gains in South India. It is the talk of a “North-South divide”.

One of the first references to this appeared on some of the prominent social media handles affiliated to the Congress Party where it gained traction with leaders, including the party’s elected representatives, highlighting this view.  A DMK member in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday even gave it an unfortunate interpretation just to belittle the BJP’s wins.  

The leaders of the Congress and its allies who endorsed the imaginary distinction conveniently forgot that the Congress rules Himachal Pradesh, is part of the ruling alliance in Bihar and Jharkhand, and the main Opposition in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttarkhand, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab. The BJP, on the other hand, indeed built its base in Karnataka and made some inroads into Telangana this time.

The Congress mandarins must realise that India is a product of a national movement of which their party is the flag-bearer. This nation’s formation and its legacy are based on the relentless struggle of the people in every part of this country, irrespective of their regional affiliations, against the foreign ruler. Even the suggestion of a divide is, therefore, egregious. This nation is beset with far too many fault lines, but it has still managed to hold everyone together on the strength of a Constitution that guarantees equality before the law irrespective of the race, language, religion and collective memory of its people. Electoral reversals cannot be a reason to dilute that bond.

It is equally incomprehensible how Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chosen to latch on to this reprehensible campaign. To the innocent onlooker, the Prime Minister may be condemning those who want to find a sinister design in the people’s electoral choices but those who have observed Mr Modi for some time would not lose sight of the message he is aiming to drive home. It was Mr Modi who had publicly ridiculed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s choice of constituency, saying that the Opposition fled to a place where the majority community is in minority. Yet while Mr Modi may have been right about the demographic profile of Wayanad, his underlying suggestion has no place in a secular democratic republic. By sharing content in an apparent bid to denounce regionalism disguising a partisan agenda, the Prime Minister has declared that he is willing to play ball.

The Congress, which is the lead player of a political formation christened INDIA, must immediately withdraw from this campaign that can have undesirable consequences. It must advise its allies, including the DMK, that such divisive politics pays no dividends but brings about misery, violence, death, destruction, tears and bloodshed instead. The democratic way is far more elegant.