Uniform Civil Code: UCC joins Article 370, Ram Temple as key issues for BJP in 2024 elections


By raking up Uniform Civil Code and blaming his political opponents with creating hurdles in its implementation for vote-bank politics, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ensured that BJP’s core issues- the others being the abrogation of Article 370 and building a Ram temple at Ayodhya- will be in currency in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Since its inception, BJP has kept these issues as its key agenda. In the last few weeks, the ruling party has been chalking out a roadmap for reaching out to the Shias, the elite Sunnis, and the Muslim women and convincing them about the positive aspects of having a Uniform Civil Code. Adoption, inheritance, and a host of women’s rights are among the key issues where UCC, unlike the Personal Laws, can bring parity between the two genders.

BJP had promised to explore the feasibility of implementing UCC in its Assembly election manifestos in Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Karnataka. Now the party has put it on the national stage. It is almost certain that BJP will put it in its manifesto in the forthcoming elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana.

Just as Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir had lost much of its sting and relevance over the years with the Centre diluting or circumventing certain provisions, many archaic sections of the personal laws have also been blunted through court rulings over the years.

BJP leaders believe UCC can be brought in at one sweep the way Article 370 was abrogated on August 5, 2019 in Parliament.

Triple Talaq was banned with the passage of The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 despite some opposition from clerics and Muslim leaders who said the government is interfering with the personal laws.

What the BJP gains from UCC

BJP has been trying to break the hold of “secular” parties over the Muslim votes by weaning away sections from the community. The Shias and Bohras have been wooed by the party with some success over the years.

Ban on triple talaq was aimed at Muslim women who suffered from this draconian practice- already banned decades back in Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Qatar, Jordan, Syria- and BJP hopes to get their support.

Judging from the reactions of different political parties and Muslim rights bodies to the remarks made by Prime Minister Modi on UCC- he alleged that those practicing politics of vote bank and appeasement are opposing implementation of UCC despite Supreme Court backing the idea- shows the polarizing potential of the issue. Since BJP is going to rake it up regularly in the coming weeks, it will divide the voters on communal lines.

UCC is backed by feminists who oppose the patriarchal provisions of the personal laws of various communities. As Prime Minister Modi said, the Muslim women suffered due to triple talaq (and other sections of the Sharia) and UCC is needed as there cannot be two different laws for members of the same family.

The Modi government and the BJP rank and file have also emphasised that the various welfare schemes are being disbursed to all without any discrimination on the basis of caste, religion, region or gender. With women from poor families being the biggest beneficiaries of these schemes, the party is betting on the support of Muslim women on this count.

Pasmanda or backward and Dalit Muslims are also on BJP’s radar. The party has often alleged that they are ignored by the upper class Muslims and their rights are encroached. The significance of reaching out to them has been stated by Modi himself in several BJP conclaves.

The Core Issues and 2024 Elections

There are speculations that the Centre may go for elections in Jammu and Kashmir along with the other four states later this year. Even without going to polls there, the removal of special status and “integration” of Jammu and Kashmir into India will be one of the selling points for the saffron party in 2024.

The grand Ram temple being built at Ayodhya is to be inaugurated in January 2024, a couple of months before the general elections. It will help BJP in consolidating the Hindu votes in Uttar Pradesh and the cow belt.

The Road Ahead

Hindutva and nationalism have been the key planks of BJP. It rose to prominence espousing these two ideologies. Its election campaign to win a third consecutive term in the Lok Sabha is likely to be centered around them. It will pitch its voter reach-out on the issues of abrogation of Article 370, construction of a grand Ram temple where the Babri mosque once stood and attempts (maybe a successful one) to implement the Uniform Civil Code.

Tamed inflation, development, economic growth (the 5th largest economy rhetoric), and attacks on the Opposition on issues of dynasty politics, corruption and being a fragile coalition will form the rest of the discourse.

The race to Raisina Hill for 2024 has become more intriguing. And this is just the beginning.

(Views are personal)


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *