NOTA: Notoriously Obnoxious and Thoroughly Atrocious
NOTA is like draping the ruins of a house with fanciful colour; the inside is rotten and a symbol of degradation while the outside is made glorious to appeal to people.
To ascertain whether NOTA is good or bad for Hindus, we need to ask a very basic question: Who truly stands to lose due to NOTA?
First, let’s understand who advocates NOTA and how. Almost everyone pushing for it is also seen explicitly speaking on Hindu issues and propagating Hindutva. These people aim to target Hindus exclusively and divert them away from the BJP. This pro-NOTA rhetoric is furthered by focusing on a very few issues and harping on them relentlessly to create an air of dissent against the BJP. The ones supporting NOTA mostly do so silently and tacitly for they fear losing support of the common man for their organisation or even on a personal level.
Before going on to answer in detail the question I raised at the beginning, I want to make a few points:
- NOTA is not apolitical: Apolitical is when someone isn’t interested in politics at all, and thereby, isn’t concerned about the functioning of the government. These people simply don’t give a damn of what the government decides or how it acts. Understanding this point isn’t rocket science. If someone backs the idea of NOTA, then they are encouraging people to go to a polling booth and press a button, even if it isn’t in support of any party. This isn’t being apolitical. Those who support NOTA cleverly make it appear as if they’re apolitical but that’s incredibly far from truth.
- Selective highlighting of negatives: A person who is truly unbiased and apolitical will praise the good things – irrespective of how low they are in number – along with criticizing the mistakes and lack lustre efforts of a government. But majority of those who back NOTA only speak of the misses. Does this in any way reflect equality of thoughts? Off course not. How does this rhetoric of people make them any different from the media or opposition parties who 24/7 speak of the faults of the ruling government? The only difference between the supporters of NOTA and the media plus the opposition is that the former has adroitly learnt to be surreptitious about its intentions.
- There is a difference between the state and a government: One argument that supporters of NOTA make is that they’re against the state and not any government. Absurd argument because in India the state and the government aren’t technically the same thing. The state or the civil government of our country acts differently when Congress is in power in comparison to when the BJP is in power. So how can the state be placed on the same pedestal as the government run by different political parties? Because the policies and functioning differ considerably depending on which party is in power one cannot judge them through the same eyes. Take an example – If the state and the government were one and the same then even today we ought to say that the state is incorrigibly corrupt on the basis of the corruption we’ve seen for decades, but that would be untrue because since 2014 scams at the top level have vanished. The change came about due to the change in the party in power. Hence, the state and the government are separate.
Now let’s get down to the core of the matter: Who loses out if more and more people turn to NOTA? The answer is Hindus. As simple as that.
Those who speak of NOTA being the best option target BJP supporters and attempt to dissuade them from voting for the party on the basis of an apparent lack of pro-Hindutva efforts of the ruling government. Now, for every BJP voter who presses NOTA in the next election, who benefits? These people:
- A party who’s leader recently backed his order in 1990 to open fire on According to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, 56 people lost their lives in the firing.
- A party who’s leader had Lal Krishna Advani arrested and stopped the Rath Yatra in Bihar.
- A party who’s leader launched a roadmap exclusively for Muslims before the 2014 polls. The same leader spoke vociferously about Akhlaq but was absolutely quiet when Dr Narang was murdered in the city he governs.
- A leader who allows for bans on Durga puja in various parts of her state and restricts idol immersion. The same party is known for allowing illegal immigrants from Bangladesh to prosper leading to massive change in demography.
- A party who rules a state where BJP and RSS workers are killed for representing a contrary ideology.
- Finally, a party:
- Who’s prime minister infamously said that Muslims have first right on the resources of the country
- Under whom Rohingyas settled deep and safe in the country and who has never talked of sending them back
- Who’s workers slaughtered a calf in public view in Kerala
- Who negated Lord Ram’s existence in an affidavit
- Who’s ex-Prime Minister allowed for the police to shoot at peaceful protestors angry with the government for reneging on her promise to ban cow slaughter in 1966 leading to dozens of deaths
- Who’s leader allowed a free run to unaccountable foreign NGOs and gave access to them to ministries enabling rampant conversion
- Who’s people use the terms ‘saffron terror’ and ‘Hindu taliban’
- Who’s leader blamed the 2008 Mumbai Attacks on the RSS
- Who’s people never support the construction of Ram Mandir
There’s one more incredibly important point left to be made that should most definitely make NOTA supporters rethink their stand and make others question those who support NOTA whether openly or away from public eye.
How many of you know of the draft of the ‘Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill, 2011’? A handful of people, I assume. Following are some eye-opening facts about this stunningly communal draft (matter drawn from an article ‘9 reasons why the Communal Violence Bill is itself communal):
- The draft was created by the NAC headed by Sonia Gandhi whereas the draft of such a sensitive bill should’ve been formed by a democratic body.
- The draft talked of a group who was assumed to be the target of violence. The word ‘group’ was defined as “…a religious or linguistic minority, in any state in the Union of India, or Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST)…”. Basically the draft spoke as if only the minority was subject to violence and harassment while the majority never was at the receiving end of the same.
- The bill’s draft was driven by just one case of communal violence: Godhra 2002.
- The draft bill would’ve destroyed the federal character of the country as the draft called for taking away law and order as a right of the state and shifting it to the center.
- The draft bill would have facilitated intervention of the central government against state governments ruled by opposition parties.
Is this the kind of bill you’d support? And would you, directly or indirectly, support people backing a mechanism that benefits a party that attempts to initiate such a bill?
The BJP may be indifferent to Hindus in the eyes of some people (while the truth remains that the current dispensation has worked for Hindus which needs to be propagated better), but its staying in power is extremely crucial for the survival and revival of Hindutva. No morally aware Hindu will ever support NOTA because you’ll essentially be benefitting those who’ve ushered in a trend of minority appeasement and dividing Hindus to stay in power. Irrespective of what the BJP has done for Hindus, there’s still no denying that voting for any other party is cutting the branch on which you’re sitting. No matter how much one does for Hindus, it will all be overwhelmed and reduced to nothing if NOTA is publicized as a viable option for Hindus, and other parties benefit from it. You may be disappointed with BJP’s work for Hindus, but that’s no reason to vote into power parties who’re the root cause of all problems.
I’d written at the beginning that advocates of NOTA are those who speak on Hindu issues and propagate Hindutva. But the fact remains that NOTA can only do harm to Hindus and yet these people keep speaking of it creating doubt in the minds of the common man as to whether they really want long-term welfare of Hindus or are they just ‘playing safe’ for their own survival in case some other government comes to power in the future. Or is there some other hidden, insidious plan underneath all the rhetoric?