I just returned from an EML on the 'Dilemma of the Indian Nationhood' by Prabhu Chawla of India Today. He was lamenting about the politicians playing the communal card. But the key question is why are the playing it?
Well, in my view it is simply because a large segment of the Indian population is more bothered about a Ram Temple in Ayodhya than about their children going to schools. And what about the rest - the affluent middle classes? We dont bother to vote!
Polling day is looked upon as a public holiday - sitting at home contently watching the progress of polling on TV rather than actually taking the trouble to walk down (yes, in theory in most cities and towns one can walk) to the booth and vote.
Unless and until we bother to vote, can we expect the politicians to take cognisance of us? Why would the politician want to invest in a segment of people who only take and give nothing in return?
The BJP realised this very painfully at the end of the last general elections (2005). During their years in power, they had shifted loyalties towards the affluent middle class. India was supposedly shining and the economy booming. But, on the day of the big election, the affluent middle class sat at home watching Prannoy Roy on NDTV, while another huge segment of the population took the trouble to make their voice loud and clear - India Shining or Not, Where is the Ram Temple?
So as long as the 'secular' crowd continues to sit comfortably in the comforts of their drawing rooms, the politicians will continue to play the communal card!