Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Among the many theories doing the rounds to explain the unexpectedly good performance of the Congress in the recent Lok Sabha elections, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, is a conspiracy theory, according to which Pakistan's ISI played a significant role in ensuring the victory of the Congress and the defeat of the BJP. This theory is based on the following conjectures and assumptions that are likely have motivated the ISI :
  • A BJP government is likely to react militarily if there is another Mumbai 26/11 type of attack. After the terror attack on Parliament in 2001, the then BJP government had given the go-ahead for launching a military offensive that was called off only at the very last minute, thanks to the intervention of the US. Next time, a BJP government is more likely to not give in to US pressure. The Congress, on the other hand, made a lot of noise but did little after Mumbai 26/11. In future too it will try its best to avoid precipitating a crisis, no matter how grave the provocation, with an eye on Muslim votes.
  • A BJP government will strengthen various anti-terror measures and mechanisms, including approving the anti-terror laws for Rajasthan and Gujarat that have been pending with the President for years, and make it relatively difficult for terrorists and Islamic radicals sympathetic to them to have a free, conviction-free run for another five years.
  • Both the SP and BSP, and other regional parties, no matter what they say, are all capable of joining or supporting a BJP government if it comes to a crunch; it is only the Congress that will never be on the side of the BJP. The latter, therefore, can be defeated only of the Muslim vote goes to the Congress.
  • The Congress has lost its core dalit vote in UP to Mayawati and Yadav vote to Mulayam Yadav. It also no longer has any core vote among remaining Hindus, who are vulnerable to advances of the BJP. Due to this fundamental weakness, it needs Muslim votes to survive and win. A Congress government will, therefore, be very soft towards the activities of the SIMI and the Indian Mujahideen, giving them much needed time and space to expand their influence and multiply their hit capability, to be activated at the right time. This will help in furthering ISI's long term strategy of bleeding India to death through a thousand cuts.
  • The Congress will also turn a blind eye to the radicalisation of Indian Muslims that is vital to the creation and growth of a separate Islamic sub-state within the secular Indian state till the avowed objective of the SIMI and Pakistan to turn India into an Islamic state is achieved at an appropriate time.
In support of this theory, the following "facts" are being cited:
  • There has not been a single terror attack, big or small, since Mumbai 26/11. This is because the ISI ordered all such attacks to be put on hold at least till the elections to ensure that no votes get diverted to the BJP.
  • Compared to 2004, the Congress has gained around 6% vote share in UP and some other states. But in UP, where the Muslim population is large, the party has gained a huge 10% compared to the Assembly elections in 2007, when it got just 8.56% of the votes. The fact that the only other party to gain vote share in the state since 2007 is the BJP, although by only 0.57%, while the both the SP and BSP have lost around 2% and 3% respectively, is conclusive evidence that it is mostly the Muslims who have shifted to the Congress in huge numbers. Mayawati has, in fact, already blamed Muslims for her party's poor show.
  • This tectonic shift in the Muslim vote to the Congress in UP that has helped it increase its seat tally to 21 from a paltry nine, has taken place virtually unnoticed. This could not have happened on its own. There was obviously a concerted effort by influential and powerful extremist elements and possibly some fundamentalist religious leaders to keep this development under the wraps, as it were, to prevent any polarisation of the the Hindu vote in favour of the BJP and away from the Congress, as a reaction, because had that happened, this shift of the Muslim vote would have been negated.
  • The decision of the Congress to dump the SP and go solo in UP was possibly influenced by confidential inputs received by the party from various sources that a very large number of Muslims had been convinced to quietly vote for the party, and that if it fought alone, it would win many seats where Muslim population was significant enough to make the vital difference.
Yes, there seems to have been a huge shift in the Muslim vote towards the Congress, particularly in UP. At this point one does not know whether that pattern has been repeated in varying degrees in Bihar, MP, Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Delhi, Haryana, West Bengal etc. Only a detailed analysis will reveal that, and for that data is not readily available.

Be that as it may, I do not believe that it is the ISI or outfits promoted and supported by it in India, or its sleeper cells, that have surreptitiously influenced Indian Muslims to come out and vote for the Congress in such large numbers. I think there is genuine concern among Indian Muslims about the BJP coming to power at the Centre, and they have democratically and rightfully done their bit to successfully ensure that it does not.
Readers may also read:
1. India and Pakistan are not victims of the same terror
2. Congress begins battle for revival in UP
2. The Manmohan victory: time we got a President
3. Rahul: from dud to genius in two hours!