Tuesday, November 08, 2011

It is Ram rajya not Ram mandir for the BJP in UP this time round




The 'svabhiman yatra' former Bharatiya Janata Party president and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister and Kalraj Mishra are leading in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in the run-up to the assembly election in early 2012, BJP, the right-wing Hindutva party, has declared a political war against the corrupt Mayawati government of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and it is promising a corrupt-free Ram rajya -- the idealistic rule of Lord Rama of legend -- for the people of Uttar Pradesh.

More than 20 years after the vicious and frenzied campaign for a Ram temple to be built at the site of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in eastern UP and the demolition of the mob by a Hindu mob in December, 1992, the party leadership seems to have realised that the old animosities cannot be revived and used as useful cannon in electoral battles.

With socialist activist Anna Hazare catching the attention of the country with his anti-corruption agitation and his team's call for the anti-corruption legislation, the Jan Lokpal, the BJP sensed to have sensed the popular mood and it has trimmed its sails accordingly. Of course, BJP leaders can still claim to have kept the communal card simmering because the 'svabhiman yatra'had started from Mathura and Kashi and it is culminating in Ayodhya. The Hindutva fanatics have been claiming that the mosques built in these traditionally Hindu pilgrim centres should be rebuilt again. But surprsingly, the talk about temples seems to have fallen silent. The BJP leaders seems to have realised that at a time when people are fighting the pressures of rising prices and inflation, they will have no patience to hear of some historic wrong done centuries ago.

Rama rajya by definition has to be inclusive and not exclusive. You cannot have a just political, economic and social order if you keep a section of society out. Ram rajya has to include Muslims though the party is not going out of its way to woo the Muslim vote as such. Ram rajya is not secular in name but it is secular in concept, something that fanatical Hindus and fanatical Muslims may miss out on.

It seems that Uma Bharti, who has been re-inducted into the party with much fanfare by BJP president Nitin Gadkari with the declared purpose of leading the party's election campaign in UP seems to have been marginalised. The party is banking on getting its numbers from the upper castes in the state -- Brahmins, Rajputs and Banias -- and also the Most Backward Classes (MBCs) like Lodhs, represented by Uma Bharati, and Kurmis represented by Vinay Katyar.

Party's senior leader L.K.Advani will end his Jan Chetna Yatra at the Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on November 20. His last phase of yatra will be from Rampur to Ramlila Maidan, passing through Moradabad, Hapur, Garh Mukteshwar and Ghaziabad. Advani who did his famous yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya in 1990 and whose political theme song was the building of Ram temple at the site of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya is also talking only about su-raaj or good governance, which is a secular version of Ram rajya.

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