With the kind of mandate BJP and its allies have got this time, it is obvious that all the pitches of Congress President Rahul Gandhi against the government, from Rafale to farm distress, have fallen flat. Nevertheless, it is interesting to see whether one particular negative narrative that Rahul Gandhi floated about the Dalits and Adivasis facing a grave threat from BJP, has borne any fruit. While campaigning for the election, Rahul Gandhi even went to the extent of claiming that BJP had brought a new law to shoot Adivasi people. This claim that was aimed at fear-mongering was busted in our article Rahul’s Lie: Just Violative of MCC or Dangerously Creating Social Disharmony?. Mr Gandhi is the same person who had peddled a lie that BJP scrapped the Prevention of Atrocities Act against SC/ST.
But the results show that all these scare-mongering tactics of Rahul Gandhi have failed to earn anything for his party, while the BJP has strengthened its tally among reserved constituencies.
BJP Among SC/ST
As this report in The Times of India points out, here are some interesting facts about BJPs performance in the reserved seats, which in many ways conclusively bust the false narrative that says Dalits and Adivasis have turned against BJP.
- Nearly half of its additional members (10 of 21) have come from reserved (SC/ST) constituencies.
- Out of the 84 SC seats, BJP has won 46 seats in this election. Congress, DMK, and TMC are in the next place with 5 seats each. The gap between BJP and others starkly tells that story.
- Out of 47 ST seats, BJP has won 31 seats whereas Congress has secured only 4 seats.
- In 2014, BJP’s total tally in the reserved seats was 67 which has increased to 77 now. On the other hand, Congress’s tally in these reserved seats has shrunk from 12 in 2014 to 9 in 2019.
- In Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Gujarat, BJP has won all the SC/ST seats this time.
Egg on Their Faces?
It is not just Rahul Gandhi, but many political opponents including a section of media, who have played this narrative saying that BJP is losing ground among SC/STs. In January 2019, Jignesh Mewani also had tried this fear-mongering claiming “It has been a long-pending agenda of the RSS-BJP to discard the Constitution and end reservation based on caste system.” In Gujarat, where he is an independent MLA, BJP has swept all the reserved constituencies. A piece published in The New India Express on March 20, 2019 had said, “It will be difficult for BJP to repeat 2014 performance as move to amend SC/ST Act, SC ruling on tribals will weigh in”. A special feature titled, ‘ARE SILENT, RESTLESS TRIBALS THIS ELECTION’S X-FACTOR’ on the News 18 website had also depicted that BJP had been facing huge displeasure from the tribals.
All such apprehensions have been answered by the electorate now. We have to wait to see whether Rahul Gandhi learns his lessons and stops his scare-mongering and spreading of fake news, at least on the issue of SC/STs in this country.