Four full years after he last set foot in Uttar Pradesh, Narendra Modi arrives in dusty Kanpur on October 19 to kickstart the the BJP’s 2014 poll campaign for the state. He won’t be just the party’s PM candidate or the much-touted ‘vikas purush’. Instead, over the weekend in UP, Modi will also revert to ‘Hindu hriday samrat’—a construct his party and strategists hope to wield with profit in a state communally charged after a longish hiatus.
After all, freshly scarred by the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, as BJP masterminds have always seen it, is fertile ground for the strategy of severe polarisation that the party believes will help them wrest at least 40 out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state. For the BJP, Uttar Pradesh matters. Not just because of the number of Lok Sabha seats, but also because it is the only state where, as party leaders concede, “some kind of polarisation is possible, given the simmering anger amongst young Hindus over appeasement of Muslims by successive governments and the presence of Muslim sympathisers like the Samajwadi Party”. The September riots in the Jat belt of Muzaffarnagar have strengthened their faith in this theory.
BJP leaders in Lucknow confirm this. “The Jats have traditionally backed Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal. The Samajwadi Party’s failure at dousing the recent riots exposed their duplicity. It also made the Jats realise that Ajit Singh, a Union minister in the UPA, was not going to protect them, especially since his ally at the Centre, the Congress, was going to be busy protecting Muslims. The riots have forced the Jats and other upper castes in UP to think and wonder which party would serve their interests,” says a leader. The simmering cleft between communities and castes is too evident to be missed. UP’s BJP leaders believe and argue that the slide in the party’s fortunes here can solely be attributed to its “deviation from its core agenda of Hindutva”.
It wasn’t without reason then that BJP general secretary in charge of UP, Amit Shah, raised the emotive Ram mandir issue from Ayodhya on July 6, when he visited the makeshift Ram temple at the disputed site. Although Modi had turned down an invitation from Mahant Nritya Gopal Das to visit the temple in June, his trusted aide was allowed to reintroduce mandir into the discourse. Soon after, the party announced its support for the Vishwa Hindu Parishad when the latter’s members were stopped from undertaking the 84-kosi yatra, from Mathura to Ayodhya, with senior leaders lending voice to the VHP’s anger in New Delhi.
It is fraternal outfits like the VHP, which takes orders from the RSS, that are now being used to whip up passion against minorities in Uttar Pradesh. With polls just six months away, meeting after meeting lays emphasis on emotionally charged communal issues. A party strategist for Uttar Pradesh explains, “If UP has to be won, it can only be done through the politics of polarisation. The RSS has been taken into confidence and it has okayed roping in Sangh outfits to do the needful. The VHP will play a big role in the state in 2014.”
The RSS, convinced of a 2014 poll victory under Narendra Modi, “is sparing no efforts in connecting the intellectuals in the country with emotive issues”. “The RSS and its sympathisers will ensure that the youth and intellectuals are aware of the dangers we face from Pakistan. Regular updates on the Talibanisation of Pakistan and opinions on the issue are being sent to citizens through our internet database. People must know what Pakistan is up to and how the Congress-led UPA can do nothing to change our status of a soft state,” explain sources in the RSS.
It is this “soft-state” argument against the UPA that Modi is poised to play up in his UP campaign, say party leaders. Given that Modi has pitched himself anew as a pro-development man of late, any communal rhetoric from him would be poison for his carefully nurtured aura that’s needed to counter the stigma of the 2002 Gujarat riots. But that’s for the rest of the country. In UP’s Hindu heartland, the calculation goes, Modi needs to invoke his image of a Hindutva mascot that his rural audience will connect with. Strategists have therefore found him a safe passage. Sources say that even as Modi will steer clear of the temple issue, he will fire salvo after salvo against Pakistan and the UPA’s failure at controlling cross-border terror. A senior leader confirmed that the idea is to “multiply the anger against Pakistan, turn it into a concentrated campaign against the UPA and use that to produce an anti-Muslim rhetoric.”
Hindu chauvinism may work for the BJP. Especially in UP, where it is working hard to tap hordes of kar sevaks it once collected for the Ramjanmabhoomi movement. These leaderless, often unemployed men, say sources, have long nursed an anger against Muslim appeasement. Forced to cool their passions with the BJP’s electoral nosedive in Uttar Pradesh in the last decade, they are now being wooed for the final coming of the messiah. The promise on offer is simple: if not in Ram, then faith in a messianic Narendrabhai is the safest bet for deliverance.
You remember the case of 2 khalistani terrorists who took police to roadside Dhaba for tandoori chicken and escaped? :)
If you are in a mood for comedy, read on. This is the way bjp is going to fight terrorists:
Why Khandwa Jailbreak Story Doesn’t Add Up
A jailbreak by six terror accused has left the Madhya Pradesh government red-faced. What is worse, the official story just doesn’t add up
And how did the prisoners negotiate the prison’s 16-foot-high outer wall? “By climbing on top of each other,” deadpans an officer probing the case. Such was the hurry to push this theory that the state’s Director-General of Prisons, Surendra Singh, who visited that day from Bhopal, the capital, marched seven men to the wall for the simulation. “We chose men of the same built as the escapees,” says an official. “They did it in 40 seconds.”
"Just because, they [BJP] might not be able to go full-on Nazis does not mean they are not going to cause problems for the minorities and sickulars." Hitesh
I have similar concerns.
Just because the Congress party might not be able to slaughter Sikhs by the thousands like they did with impunity in 1984 does not mean that they won't cause problems for Sikhs. Look at the contempt with which they treat Manmohan Singh.
Just because the SP and Congress might not be able to allow Jat girls to be kidnapped and forcibly converted in UP like they are in Pakistan does not mean that they won't order the police to stand by and do nothing if they are only molested, causing problems for Jats.
Just because Congress might not be able to loot the entire country does not mean they won't try to loot 0.25 of the country and cause problems for mango people.
Just because Mamata might not be able to provide first-class air travel to Mecca to all imams and mullahs in Bengal does not mean that she will not try to give them free economy class travel, causing problems for all non-Bongs who subsidize that useless state.
I like this game. Let's all play it.
>> Just because, they might not be able to go full-on Nazis does not mean they are not going to cause problems for the minorities and sickulars.
I hope they do cause problems for sickulars. Don't think they will though. They're too meek for it.
>>BJP has now become the most preferred destination
What is their usual length of stay? this election cycle they may go with BJP (sensing the political winds), but that is much less an endorsement of BJP than a rejection of Congress.
Despite all its (Indian Judiciary and politicias) faults, BJP won't be able to force Egypt-style constitutional crisis but they will certainly test the boundaries.
Just because, they might not be able to go full-on Nazis does not mean they are not going to cause problems for the minorities and sickulars.
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