The Political Experiment Named Dadri


The Political Experiment Named Dadri

Illustration: Akshita Monga


he last time Rajnath Singh had paid attention to Dadri was in October 2015, when 50-year-old Mohd Akhlaq was lynched by a mob that suspected his family was eating beef. Back then, Singh had termed the whole affair “an unfortunate incident” and had chastised the media that “it is not proper to give a communal colour to it.” A few months later, during a Lok Sabha debate on intolerance, he had made a few leaps in logic, when he suggested that the “BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are the biggest victims of intolerance”. And then in classic BJP fashion had smoothly turned the focus to Congress by saying, “Partition, Emergency, and the 1984 Sikh riots are the biggest examples of intolerance.”

Last week, Singh made an actual trip to Dadri’s Bisara village to address an election rally. Prior to 2015, Dadri would hardly have registered on the BJP’s campaign map. Dadri is just a tiny village on the outskirts of the capital, even though it belongs to the state that also has the Prime Minister’s constituency. In 2015, though, this dusty village became a flashpoint at the intersection of two of BJP’s core agendas: cow and communalism.