1. Communalism: India is a proudly secular country. Various Congress governments have been involved in a record number of communal riots and they go out of their way to appease minorities. Yet they are considered secular simply because they call themselves secular.
Parties like the BSP and SP are casteist, but they call themselves secular. Parties like the DMK and ADMK have been formed on the basis of a “Dravidian non-Dravidian divide” but they call themselves secular.
The only odd man out is the BJP which isn’t a hypocrite and branded an outright communal party to gain the ire of one and all.2. The RSS:
For some reason a good chunk of India take an instant dislike to the RSS. They dislike the khaki knickers. They dislike the concept of a non-government organization wearing a uniform like that. They dislike the lathis and the coordinated mass activities.
To most, all this organized activity smacks of fascism and authoritarianism and contrary to the principles of democracy. It may be an incorrect perception, but it is a strong perception all the same.
The VHP is also much more hardline than the BJP and hated.3. Leftist ideology:
India has been traditionally a Left-leaning nation. The CPM rule in West Bengal has seen unprecedented violence, but it’s OK since it’s the Left. If there’s a whiff of scandal in certain NGOs, it’s OK because they are Left leaning.
Everything that is “Right” has to be attacked. Politically, you can’t get more right than the BJP, RSS and VHP.4. Civil Society:
Civil society has always hated the Sangh Parivar in all its forms. There is a severe clash of ideologies and they are the worst PR for the BJP. Civil society always attacks saffron at all forums.
Towards the end of the NDA rule in 2004, there were rumours that the government would clamp down on NGOs and get foreign aid reduced for them. Such incidents have only increased the hatred.5. Mainstream media:
The MSM in India has also been traditionally Left-leaning and pro-Congress. They only go after the Congress only when there are great scams of the magnitude of Bofors and 2G.
For the BJP, the standards are totally different. Every BJP achievement is played down and every small error is played up. While the newspapers and magazines were bad enough, TV news channels have taken this hatred to unprecedented levels.
MSM is the key in moulding public opinion and most go along with it.
The only place where the BJP has been able to strike back somewhat has been in cyberspace.6. Anti-Congressism to Anti-BJPism:
Till 2004, all the Opposition parties used to have anti-Congressism as their mantra. That’s how you have seen the strange sight of the Janata Dal, CPM and BJP all holding hands in 1989. That finally culminated in the NDA coming to power.
However, the 1998-2004 BJP-led government at the Centre has totally scared most political parties. In the last couple of years, the CPM, Trinamool, the DMK, the RJD etc have all had major fallouts with the Congress, but tolerated them because their new mantra is anti-BJPism.7. Narendra Modi:
When AB Vajpayee headed the NDA coalition, he was seen as an old and harmless man and became an acceptable face. LK Advani had also mellowed down a great deal by 2009 and hence was acceptable too.
Indians love a hardliner who goes soft.
That is not the case with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi who is at the top of his game. He is hated for Godhra. He is hated because he is perceived as a dictator. He is hated for being a hardliner.
A lot of people hate the BJP because of Modi.8. It’s a Congress nation:
All the Opposition parties we have had since Independence have gone kaput. Now a lot of people are thinking the same will happen to the BJP, should it lose in 2014.
Most of India plays safe. They know that the only reality of Indian politics is that the Congress and the Nehru-Dynasty will be around forever. Whichever is the Opposition can be safely hated for they will ultimately perish.
The Grand Old Party of India is also an excellent manager of everything from the bureaucracy to civil society to the media. The BJP is not and always ends up at the receiving end.
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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger.