- The BJP fought the Uttar Pradesh assembly election on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name and then anointed Yogi Adityanath as chief minister
- The BJP refuses to answer who is the real anti-national or the break-up India gang -- the toxic party that fields a terror accused or those who protest this assault on democracy
I am a Hindu and I wonder who this mythical “Hindu voter” that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its political wing, the BJP, are pandering to when they make a terror-accused, Pragya Thakur, their candidate from Bhopal, and an extremist monk Yogi Adityanath, chief minister of India’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh.
The BJP fought the Uttar Pradesh assembly election on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name and then anointed Yogi Adityanath as chief minister.
It was not as if the voters of Uttar Pradesh, one of India’s most backward states, knew they were voting for Adityanath.
Similarly, the voters of Bhopal did not raise an outcry that Pragya Thakur be made their candidate.
Modi and his consigliere Amit Shah foisted the terror-accused in the Malegaon blasts of 2008 as the Bhopal candidate against Digvijaya Singh of the Congress, who the BJP claims is a “Hindu baiter” and who they say coined the term “Hindu terror”.
Singh categorically denies that he coined the term.
Candidate Thakur, has in a bizarre campaign, given serial interviews where she seemed to gloat over the death of martyr and Ashok Chakra winner Hemant Karkare, who died fighting terrorists on 26/11 in Mumbai.
Thakur said she had “cursed” him. Karkare as chief of the anti-terror squad had investigated the Malegoan blasts.
A huge uproar erupted across the country, but both Modi and Shah went out to bat for Thakur, saying her candidature was to punish the Congress for raising the bogey of “Hindu terror”.
Hardcore BJP voters
Ask BJP leaders and they sheepishly explain that the RSS pushed for Thakur as a way to corral the hardcore BJP voter.
They further say since the BJP could not deliver on Ram Mandir this term, Adityanath and Thakur are a reassurance to the base.
On cue, Thakur claimed that she had demolished the Babri Masjid.
This raises the bigger question — who exactly is this bigoted voter, who believes that Hindus, who form 85 per cent of the population, are being persecuted?
And because there was no organic movement from either the voters of Uttar Pradesh or Madhya Pradesh, asking for these extremist leaders.
What the Sangh is doing is mainstreaming those who it earlier pretended were fringe leaders.
There was essentially no difference because the agenda of those who were the “masks” was the same as those who participated in bringing down the Babri Masjid.
The only organic move has been from Advani to Modi and now to Adityanath and Thakur.
The RSS is patient and skilled in ensuring that secular expectations are so lowered that tomorrow Modi, who presided over the 2002 Gujarat riots, seems like a moderate when compared to Thakur.
The anti-national label
The difference between the two is an illusion, but it does matter to those voters, who pretend they vote for the BJP for “vikas” (development).
Modi’s five-year term has ensured that the development mask can now be ripped off and those who don’t agree with the BJP are tarred with strange sounding coinage such as “Tukde tukde (break-up) gang” and “anti-national”.
This is the natural progression from Advani’s hand wringing “pseudo secular” stance, which made secularism, a laudable goal for a nation, a cuss word.
The BJP refuses to answer who is the real anti-national or the break-up India gang — the toxic party that fields a terror accused or those who protest this assault on democracy.
Thakur’s motor mouth has ensured that even those, who had earlier bought the vikas line, are now feeling squeamish. Thakur is currently out on bail because she has cancer.
Yet, she claimed in several interviews that her cancer had been cured by using “gau mutra” (cow urine) a bottle of which is prominently displayed in every TV interview.
Thakur’s lie was called out by the oncologists, who had treated her. They said her lies would fool people looking for cancer cures. Adityanath, who seems to be Thakur’s twin, has also been upping the ante in his dog whistle speeches, which are primarily aimed at minority bashing.
The RSS makes no secret of the fact that it would ideally like to ensure that the Indian Constitution reflects Hindu primacy. What terrible “othering” of minorities this would entail is still unclear. If the Constitution is changed post 2019, it would mean another Partition, if not a physical one, a mental divide.
These are the high stakes the Sangh is playing for — it has played the long game for nearly 70 years. The RSS has been banned thrice, once before independence, but now is at the apex of government.
And yet it still feels persecuted.
The persecution and bigotry are from within the Sangh and those who follow its tenets. No voter wants extremists, whatever those who lay claim to an extremist ideology, say.
The Indian voter is wise and cannot be blamed for Thakur and Adityanath.