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Ram may not bless Narendra Modi

Lucknow: While the Bharatiya Janata Party says it is going to bring a vision document to ameliorate the sufferings of Muslims, Narendra Modi, the party’s campaign in-charge is spitting venom against the community and using a language that even an illiterate street urchin would be ashamed of. Modi’s aide Amit Shah, chargesheeted in killing of Muslims in fake encounters in Gujarat and out on bail after spending six months in jail, is sent to conquer UP for his boss. Shah visits Ayodhya and makes wishes seeking banishment of the Congress and coronation of his party, rather Modi, along with a grand temple at the site where once Babri Masjid stood; the party chief Rajnath Singh, who yearns for a Janata Party-type coalition formed by the late Jaya Prakash Narain in the seventies, says that temple was not on the party’s election agenda.
In its desperation to grab power at Centre by any means, fair or foul, BJP seems to be either in a state of confusion with senior leaders giving contradictory statements or is indulging in doublespeak that has been its character in the past.

Whatever the reason of the BJP’s contradictory behaviour, the nomination of Modi as party’s campaign committee in-charge and prime ministerial aspirant is a clear message of the party’s return to hardcore Hindutva. Modi may or may not be a nationalist but Hindu he certainly is and that too of an extremist kind. Blinded by Muslim hatred, his only trait for being selected to lead his party at RSS behest, Modi naturally thinks that his extremist Hindutva would ensure victory for his party and premiership for him. Amit Shah’s deputation to conquer UP and his prayer at Ayodhya are part of this thinking. BJP chief Rajnath Singh’s assertion that “being a Hindu he had gone for Lord Ram’s blessings and expressed his desire for the temple just as any Christian, Muslim or Sikh would want to have at his place of worship,” does not hold. Even if Rajnath’s logic is accepted, one wonders as to why Shah as a Hindu forgot to pray for Kedarnath temple that was devastated in the Nature’s fury and for the suffering humanity in Uttarakhand? Or being in-charge of UP party affairs, he thought Uttarakhand was beyond his jurisdiction? The fact is that no amount of human sufferings or destruction can move these leaders unless they affect their political fortunes. Kedarnath or a natural calamity in Uttarakhand did not come to Shah’s mind because they are of no use in boosting Modi’s electoral prospects while  Ram temple is. His boss Modi acted in a similar fashion when he visited the hill state at the height of the sufferings of thousands but chose to show concern only for Gujarati pilgrims. Like boss like servant.

Modi’s act prompted BSP chief Mayawati to warn people at her party’s Brahmin rally. She said, “People must think before voting because a person who aspires to become Prime Minister but talks only about saving Gujaratis in a calamity like the one that struck Uttarakhand will not be able to work honestly on a post that requires nationalist and secular credentials.”

Although the BJP chief Rajnath Singh has said that Ram temple was not on the party’s election agenda, Shah’s visit to Ayodhya and later his meeting with the Hindutva hardliners like Yogi Adityanath at the Gorakhnath temple, which in the nineties was the hub of Ram temple movement, seeking blessings of Mahant Avaidyanath, three meetings with Kalyan Singh, one of the architects of Babri Masjid demolition, and inclusion of Varun Gandhi in Team Modi, all hint at Modi’s plan to revive the temple issue once again for electoral gains. In fact, the temple  issue has become synonymous with BJP’s Hindutva in the state although except once in 1991 when they came to power in the state, it never clicked and the party’s fortunes saw a gradual decline. This time too it is unlikely that Ram would grant Shah’s illegal wish.

Shah would soon realise, which his party chief knows only too well, that casteism, not communalism is ruling the roost in the state at present. Congress and BJP, the two national parties, are in a shambles in the state. Fed up with the hypocrisy of the Congress, people had given power to the saffron party to rule only to realise soon the folly of communalism and the party’s game plan in raising communal issues like Ram mandir, cow slaughter and Article 370 shortly before each election.
This erosion of faith in the national parties saw the emergence of regional outfits not only in UP but in other states also. Today Mulayam and Mayawati are the undisputed masters of their own castes and Modi with all his communal might may not be able to penetrate their forts.

The declining Congress graph had provided an opportunity for the BJP to gain the upper hand in 2014 elections. With rising prices, dwindling economy and corruption becoming the way of life during the Congress regime at the Centre, BJP with a little wisdom and a people-friendly development and welfare scheme could have easily dislodged it from power at the Centre. But the party lost initiative by bringing Modi as the party mascot for the polls. The party and its mentor RSS, which silenced all critics to see Modi as campaign committee chief, would soon realise that they had made bet on the wrong horse and that the people of this country are secular and reject religious fanaticism. Even the much hyped development in Modi’s Gujarat is a myth. Goals like social equality, sustainable livelihoods, access to education and health, justice and communal peace have been abandoned in the race for growth in Modi’s state. Thus neither the Gujarat models of communalism nor of development seem to work for BJP in Uttar Pradesh.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 August 2013 on page no. 1

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