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Vajpayee turns swayamsevak in the US
By Syed Ubaidur Rahman

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has stirred hornets nest by saying that he is a ‘swayamsevak’ (RSS worker) and will remain so forever, in a programme organized by Vishwa Hindu Parishad in Staten Island in the US. People have criticized prime minister’s attending the conference and then going all out to project him not as Indian prime minister who cares for everyone but as one who loves more to be called a swayamsevak. His statement at a time when the BJP is desperately seeking to attract minorities and backward castes is quite amazing. 

Prime minister who was on a 12-day state visit of the United States let down millions of Indians living in the country and outside by making a small statement. He was supposed to erase the misunderstanding of the world leaders about the country. The prime minister who went on to participate in the Millennium Summit of the United Nations was also supposed to be meeting scores of business tycoons to attract them to invest in the country. He was also supposed to discuss issues related to world security and peace in the Indian-Subcontinent, and also the proxy war being sponsored by our immediate western neighbour, Pakistan, against our country. He was also supposed to discuss a number of other issues with US leaders regarding security, terrorism, waiving sanctions imposed upon us in the aftermath of the Pokhran nuclear experiments, but he thought it more important to assure his mentors that he is more of a Sanghi than the prime minister of the largest democracy in the world.

What he further told was more alarming. The prime minister, in reply to a question about the delay in the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, said that his party does not enjoy a majority, when it does ‘we will fill colour in our dreams.’

By talking in such a reckless manner the prime minister has let down Indian Diaspora all over the world. He is being taken as moderate in an organization of extremists. He is also revered by a large number of minorities who despise his party and its other offshoots only because they think that he cares for all. It has made them suspicious even to the only presentable face of the Sangh Parivar. People might have not felt so much annoyed, had it been said at a meeting of party cadres. But unfortunately it was said when he was on a state visit to the most important country in the world and in a programme that was attended by people of different religions. In India we have seen a tradition that prime minister, though he is from a political party, but he always keeps him above party affiliations and represents one and all of his country men. We perceive that our prime minister, like the president of the country is above any party affiliations while representing his post. And so everyone also reveres him and does not treat him like others. Even while criticizing Sangh parivar and its offshoots very rarely anyone criticizes the prime minister and stops with LK Advani. 

Vajpayee later denied that he said anything of this sort and that his comments were misquoted by the media. The prime minister had said that, he is swayamsevak first and then prime minister and that whether he remains prime minister or not he will remain a swayamsevak and ‘nobody can snatch this right from him.’ Now he says that he intended by using swayamsevak to project him as the servant of the nation.

It is undoing of all the hoopla in the media over the supposed change of policy by the Bharatiya Janata Party. The newly appointed president of the BJP, Bangaru Laxman had tried to attract backward castes and minorities by spelling a policy unheard so far from any BJP functionary. He has told his party to abandon the ‘no appeasement’ plank, field more Muslim candidates and enroll dynamic and socially respected Muslims to ensure that the party does not hurt its prospects in future elections. He on the same occasion had said similar things about Dalits and other backward castes in a bid to woo these segments of Indian population which has stayed aloof of the BJP so far.

But again it remained confined to mere rhetoric. It was believed that the new president of the BJP is going to appoint several Muslims on party posts. But it never happened. No Muslim as was being believed was appointed as general secretary or deputy president in the new president’s team. It like always remained a promise. Even Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, former MP from Rampur who was hot contender for party’s general secretary’s post was also not elevated. and those who were taken in the new team of the newly elected president were old saffronites, who for so long had denied to work for Muslims benefit. These old saffronites can not allow any perceptible change to take place in the BJP’s policy as long as they remain in the BJP. Even if this generation of the saffronites perishes then too they have brought out a young generation in secular India that deplores secular credentials of their country. They have been fed on the myth that Muslims are anti national and it is their duty to defame Muslims and marginalize them. Shishu Mandirs that have mushroomed in every part of the country are imparting an education that teaches them to hate minority communities and specially Muslims. They wanted to make it sure that the coming generation should follow their footsteps and do in the future what they are doing now.

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