Will Rajasthan’s Lynchings Be Vasundhara Raje’s Undoing?


Will Rajasthan’s Lynchings Be Vasundhara Raje’s Undoing?

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty


ecular” might have become a bad word today, but there’s no denying that it’s a prominent part of the Preamble to the Indian Constitution, which should be regarded as scripture by politicians. Yet in Rajasthan, the government has repeatedly displayed reluctance to uphold this core principle of democracy, which counts as a black mark against its tenure in general. For that alone, the Rajasthani voter, should stick to the trend it has set in the last 20 years – alternating the government every election.

And if the pre-poll surveys are to be believed, things will not be very different this year either. Vasundhara Raje’s BJP is expected to be knocked out and Rahul Gandhi’s smile is expected to become wider.

I, for one, hope that the pre-poll surveys do not disappoint. After all the Raje government has failed to generate enough employment, has given in to goons who were ready to chop off Deepika Padukone’s nose for a fictional character from a 16th-Century poem, and done little about the agrarian crisis in the state. But more than that, the government had made “secularism” as irrelevant as Lal Krishna Advani is to the BJP today. Since 2017, how the government machinery in Rajasthan has dealt with widely condemned and well-documented crimes committed against minorities is an example of how a toxic ideology can infiltrate into institutions meant to safeguard public lives.

It all started on April 1, 2017 when Pehlu Khan, a 55-year-old dairy farmer from Haryana, was beaten by self-proclaimed gau rakshaks on a busy highway in Alwar district on suspicion of smuggling cows. He succumbed to his injuries two days later.