Ramachandra Guha has an enviable macro-view of Indian history and politics. Speaking on the Congress and BJP in this interview with Rediff, he nails it in the last para :

Q : Some Congress leaders have mocked Hinduism, sometimes even Hindu civilisation while trying to attract the minorities.

Guha : Lots of people have this view of the Congress. I wish we had a political party to challenge the Congress. That would offer the people of India a wider vision of how this country should be built. But we don’t need polarising issues. Such criticism comes from people who have a polarised vision.

I come from Karnataka. In the last election, the BJP put up 224 candidates but not one Muslim. Almost 15 percent of the population of Karnataka is Muslim. So you are telling 15 percent of Karnataka you don’t count for us. Then how can you blame them for voting for the Congress? The BJP originally, said, ‘appeasement of none, recognition of all.’

But they never followed it. In Karnataka they attacked Christians after the Muslims in Gujarat. They had only one woman in the cabinet and she too has been sacked. So what message are they sending?

Is this the alternative to the Congress? The Congress can be a cynical manipulator. It plays one community against the other, okay, but, what are you offering that is better?

It’s not enough to merely be an alternative to the Congress. Switching loyalties — whether in politics or consumer products — requires a better offering.

Link via Churumuri.