(PTI Photo/Kamal Kishore)
(PTI Photo/Kamal Kishore)

Hindutva is the predominant form of Hindu nationalism in India. The term was popularised by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in 1923 and it is championed by the Hindu nationalist volunteer organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Hindu Sena.

In 2014’s general election, the BJP fought the elections on points like Black money, Terrorism, Corruption, Employment. But now in Lok Sabha elections 2019, it is looking like the BJP is bending towards Hindutva Agenda. Five years have passed. And the cycle has come a full circle. As we move towards the 2019 Lok Sabha election results, the BJP’s transit back to an openly majoritarian Hindutva campaign forces deeper questions to come to the surface. Is the BJP’s high command solely after a Hindutva agenda?

The BJP’s high command, consists of only two people namely, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. Most of the decision are taken by the duo. Besides, signs of Ayodhya, Ram Temple and Hindutva snowballing into major political issues are already visible.

Here’s a list of things which shows how the BJP is bending towards Hindutva agenda:

Ayodhya: Modi has consistently replaced the focus on the temple with a wider Hindutva or nationalistic platform. However, the BJP will examine legislative ways to find a solution to the Ayodhya imbroglio to ensure that the Ram temple can be built. This is not an easy exercise because the Place of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 stipulates that the religious character of any place of worship must be maintained as on 15 August 1947. The idols were installed in the disputed shrine in December 1949, it must be recalled.

Yogi Adityanath government is making efforts to showcase the town with grand Deepotsav festivals. For a town that grabs international limelight over the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmanhoomi issue, the dispute hardly finds mention among voters. The opinion is polarised around Mr. Modi.

Hindu Rashtra: For many in the party, Indian culture is quite simply Hindu culture. Given that Hindus make up 80 percent of the country’s population, BJP members believe India is fundamentally a Hindu rashtra (nation). Although there is a great variety of opinion within the party, its core philosophy of Hindutva (Hindu-ness) has often been criticised for being anti-minority in nature.

The party’s current incarnation dates back to 1980, but it was the natural successor to an earlier political party known as the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, which was formed after independence. The Jan Sangh, as it was known, in turn built on an earlier tradition of Hindu revivalist movements, whose roots date back to the British Raj.

Jai Shri Ram: “Jai Shri Ram”, a slogan favoured by the BJP is used in their daily life as a greeting. This chant has became a political slugfest during Lok Sabha elections. PM Modi attacked Mamata Banerjee at a rally saying, “Didi is arresting people who said ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and putting them in jail.” However, no one was arrested for shouting the slogans. Four or five locals were questioned by the police and let off.

Later, Amit Shah said, “If people don’t raise the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan in India, then will they go raise the slogan in Pakistan?” Soon, Mamata Banerjee responded, accusing the BJP of making Ram an “election agent” while the party has not “built even one Ram temple”.

The construction of a ‘Ram Mandir’ in Ram janmabhoomi has been a consistent promise of the BJP. Even in its 2019’s manifesto BJP had said, “We will explore all possibilities within the framework of the Constitution and all necessary efforts to facilitate the expeditious construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.”

Saffron-clad leaders: Saffronisation is not a novel concept to Indians, and has, in fact, seeped into the national conscience. With the current ruling party at Centre, the BJP, having leaders like Yogi Adityanath or Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, are many times seen promoting Hindu ideology. There is a section of politicians in BJP which dons saffron to prove their point of their authority over religion and politics. They are also often referred to as Mahant or Sadhvi. The saffron party is banking on these leaders to gain voters from Hindu community. Leaders in BJP like Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Sakshi Maharaj, Uma Bharti and Swami Sumedhanand Saraswati have proven that the BJP is promoting more saffron-clad leaders who don saffron and prove their authority in politics.

BJP top brasses pushing Hindutva: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has denied the existence of “Hindu terrorism” in India. In an interview to NewsX, Modi said, “In my culture and in my limited knowledge, no Hindu can ever be a terrorist and if he is a terrorist, he can never be a Hindu.” The prime minister’s statement came a day after actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan called Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse independent India’s first terrorist and pointed out that he was a Hindu.

The phrase “Hindu terror” has been among this election campaign’s major topics. The Bharatiya Janata Party has accused the Congress of insulting Hindus by using the term “Hindu terror”. Recently, BJP chief Amit Shah lashed out at the Congress, accusing the grand old party of trying to “defame” Hindus by giving them a terror tag. “Rahul (Gandhi) Baba’s party attempted to link the Hindu community with terrorism. It was a bid to defame Hindus across the world,” Shah said, addressing a rally in Paralakhemund under the Berhampur Lok Sabha constituency.

BJP president Amit Shah had that said his party will implement NRC across the country and throw out every infiltrator if the party is voted back to power. Addressing a rally in Raiganj in West Bengal, Shah also said Bengali refugees in West Bengal have nothing to worry. Later in the day, BJP posted a tweet on its official Twitter handle quoting Shah that apart from Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs, every infiltrator will be removed from the country. “We will ensure implementation of NRC in the entire country. We will remove every single infiltrator from the country, except Buddha, Hindus and Sikhs: Shri @AmitShah #NaMoForNewIndia,” tweeted the BJP, quoting Shah.

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