Mumbai: After twenty-five years of Babri masjid demolition in Ayodhya, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has become the single most powerful party in the country. It has not only grabbed power at the centre and 18 states in the country. Compared to them, Shiv Sena, the party that took responsibility of the demolition and pushed forth the agenda of Hindutva slamming, BJP for shying away from it, has become a weaker brother in Maharashtra. The founder of Sena the late Bal Thackeray had taken on the BJP saying he was proud his sainiks had pulled down a masjid.
This legacy has been carried forward by his son and president of Sena, Uddhav Thackeray. ‘Hindutva’ is still the agenda for Sena, whereas BJP claims people have always deterred voting on the issue of Hindutva and on religious grounds. Madhav Bhandri BJP spokesperson speaking to Free Press Journal said, “Our voters prefer development over Hindutva, which is the reason BJP has become number one party in India.”
Babri was demolished on December 6, 1992 and as Sundersingh Bhandari, national vice president of BJP denied to take responsibility of demolition, Thackeray, as Sena chief had taken responsibility and had said he will be proud if the people who demolished masjid would be Shiv Sainiks.
“Sena politically benefited up to a limit after Babri demolition and the communal riots. They brought the issue of Hinduva on their agenda, but it did not last. It did no even benefit us in the 1995 state assembly poll,” Bhandari. Bhandari agreed Hindutva was not on the agenda of BJP though the party alliance with Sena was on Hindutva agrenda.
“After 1977 and 1990, either corruption or development have remained the main agenda which have been influential in the elections,” Bhandari said. “Babri issue helped to polarised the Hindu society which come together against the ‘imaginary enemy,’ Muslims. It may have helped BJP to win the elections, but image of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) maligned,” said Dr Vivek Nilgirkar, RSS functionary who was witness of Babri demolition.
“Shiv Sena’s stand remains with building of Ram temple and our party chief Uddhav Thackeray had always criticised BJP for not constructing the temple,” said Dr Nilam Gorhe, Sena spokesperson. However, she denied to elaborate over the issue saying, ‘it is subjudiced.’
Congress leader who did not wished to name, agreed that Muslim which remained assured vote bank, rejected Congress and went in camp of Samajwadi Party (SP). “All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen emerged and grabbed the votes of Muslim. This has badly affect on Congress’s political future and the Congress is sandwiched between BJP and the MIM, the leader agreed.