July 12, 2020
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"The BJP Is Not Going To Give Up On Ram Mandir"

The BJP manifesto where the Ram Janmabhoomi issue, Article 370 and a common civil code figure prominently—is proof that the party's "moderate voice" was shortlived. And though the RSS denies it played a role in shaping the "hardline" manifesto, its j

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"The BJP Is Not Going To Give Up On Ram Mandir"
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The BJP manifesto is being dubbed as the RSS manifesto as it brings the Ram mandir issue to the fore.

Says who? How many pages are there in the manifesto? The media projects only one point out of proportion. There are a number of things about the minorities which are never highlighted. As far as the Ram Janmabhoomi is concerned, no one has ever denied that it's on our agenda. The reality is that the BJP is not going to give up its basic agenda to fight an election.

Don't you think that the projection of contentious issues like Ram Janmabhoomi and a common civil code will further alienate Muslims?

How will they be alienated? When did (we) tell Muslims that these issues do not exist? Now, Muslim perception on these issues is changing and Vajpayee hasn't said Ayodhya is not an issue. Misinformation is being spread about the Janmabhoomi. It's not Mecca or Madina but it's the birth place of Ram.

Several criminals figure in the BJP's list of candidates. What does the RSS have to say about it?

The RSS does not go into the specifics and internal things. What we feel is that this is the beginning of parivartan (change) in the country. A beginning is a beginning, so why expect everything to happen right now? Let's cross the bridge when we come to it. But the RSS will definitely expect the government to be clean.

With criminals on its list, do you think the BJP fits into the "moral yardstick" of the RSS?

Instead of talking about this point now let's see what happens.

Why is there a perceptible difference between Vajpayee and Advani, despite the same ideological background?

This is all media projection. Things can be said in two different styles. But it's wrong to say the BJP is anti-Muslim or the RSS is anti-Muslim. We are for justice for all and appeasement of none.

Under pressure of allies, will the BJP have to give up issues like Ram Janmabhoomi and the civil code?

We will see. These are all detailed issues. But after the formation of the Cabinet a common minimum programme will be chalked out. RSS apna dream apne bharose se pura karne ja raha hai, apne prayason se (The RSS is going to accomplish its dream on its own). The state will help us, it is not our enemy after all.

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