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BJP back to communal politics

Amidst campaign within the party to project Narendra Modi as its PM candidate during the next Lok Sabha elections, BJP is giving indications that it is going back with all force to its basic Hindutva agenda of the construction of the Ram Temple on a disputed plot in Ayodhya. Since the demolition of Babri Mosque, BJP had tried many times to raise this issue, but it could not succeed to incite Hindus of even Uttar Pradesh.

The best performance of BJP in UP was before its demolition, when it got absolute majority in the 1991 UP Assembly Elections. It is true that in Lok Sabha Elections, BJP continued to perform better till 1999, but it was because of the personality of Atal Behari Vajpayee, who was used to be projected as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the Party, before the elections. Even Atal Behari Vajpayee failed to enthuse the voters in 2004 Lok Sabha election. In the Assembly Elections, the slide of BJP continued, despite its attempt to arouse the communal sentiments by some means or the other. VHP tried many times to launch agitation over the issue, but it failed to mobilise the people.

Now BJP is again back with the same agenda, which it had abandoned ostensibly for the NDA alliance, though it always tried to use it before elections, at least in UP. After 1991, BJP never got a majority in UP Assembly elections, although, it used to emerge as the single largest party of the state. In 2002 Assembly Elections, it lost heavily and was placed in the third position after SP and BSP. At that time, BJP was led by Rajnath Singh, who was the Chief Minister of the state before and during the election and the NDA government was at the centre. Strangely, in 2002 there was the Godhra carnage in Sabarmati Express, which was carrying the Ram Temple supporters who were returning from Ayodhya.

The temple movement did not work in UP, what was working for it was the leadership of Atal Behari Vajpayee during the Lok Sabha elections till 1999. It should be mentioned that the Lok Sabha elections in the period had taken place in 1996, 1998 and 1999 and BJP fared well in all these elections getting over 55 to 60 seats in Uttar Pradesh. And in the Assembly elections, it never got majority during the same period. It was forced to make Mayawati the Chief Minister of the state three times to join the government and each time; it had a bitter experience with the BSP leader.

It would have been better for BJP to depend on the charisma of a leader rather than moving back towards its old agenda of Hindutva, which no longer energises its cadres. Obviously, one is wondering over its strategy shift. One explanation can be the desire of RSS to control the BJP with the help of the Hindutva agenda. The experience of the RSS with the BJP, when it was in power was not very good. Atal Behari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani as Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister were persons of independent thinking and often didn’t oblige the RSS. This is the reason that RSS does not want to see strong people at the power seat, if the BJP is in government at Delhi. Lal Krishna Advani might have crossed 85 years, but he is quite fit physically, mentally and psychologically to lead the party and the government.

But the RSS does not like him, because he won’t be dictated by it. Same is true for Narendra Modi. That is why RSS does not like Modi. This is the reason, why RSS was hell bent on renominating Nitin Gadkari as the BJP president, though it would have meant a suicide for the party, because at this juncture, a tainted president could have only benefitted the Congress, which is facing serious problems on the issue of corruption.

Meanwhile, some BJP leaders are vigorously campaigning for declaring Narendra Modi as the next Prime Ministerial candidate even at the cost of losing JD (U) as a partner. They are insisting that the loss of JD(U) will be a gain of BJP, because the Modi factor will compensate for the loss of the Nitish factor and the party will sweep Bihar even without JD(U). It seems RSS leaders have discovered Hindutva as the possible energising factor during the next elections. They may want to keep the question of PM candidate open before the elections and after the result it would be easy for them to choose the candidate of their choice, in case BJP is in power. That is the reason, they are trying to communalise the political atmosphere before the elections. (IPA)
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