New Delhi: With the perception gaining ground that Congress succeeded in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan because it adopted a “soft Hindutva” line, there is a rethinking in the Bharatiya Janata Party that it’s time for the party to revert to its core Hindutva-related issues such as construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya. From temple hopping to donning the sacred-thread to claiming a Brahmin lineage, Congress president Rahul Gandhi did everything possible to prove that he was trying to pay the BJP back in its own coin, i.e. Hindutva plank, this time.
Now, there is a fear in the BJP camp that tasting blood, Congress may try to hijack the plank and toe a full-fledged Hindutva line, sugar-coating it with modern, liberal sophistry in its attempt to win the general elections early next year. So the run-up to the upcoming elections may see a flash of “competitive Hindutva” between the two main contenders, if not by other probable allies of Congress.
People are apparently quite disenchanted with the BJP-led NDA government for failing to make any headway in building a grand temple in Ayodhya in its four-and-a-half years of reign. The man on the street is hardly aware of the dirty games being played by the lobby backed by the Left-Congress combine to stall the case in the court of law.
They are rather viewing with suspicion the government’s dependence on the judiciary to resolve the dispute as an alibi for escaping from taking up the responsibility of building the temple. They just want the government of the day to do whatever is needed, even go to any extent if required, to pave the way for the temple to come up at the site which they believe is Lord Ram’s birthplace.
In another major development, the sadhu community, which has been lending its unconditional support for the cause since the last three decades, is getting restive and is up in arms now. The sadhus, who once played an effective role in inspiring people to fight for the cause which helped BJP come to power in a big way, are now a divided lot. A section of the community is so incensed with the Narendra Modi government that they have started speaking publicly against it. One of them, known as “Computer Baba”, who was a minister in the outgoing Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government in Madhya Pradesh, went to the extent of congratulating the people for defeating the government once he was a part of.
Judging the gravity of the situation, BJP is exploring a number of options, but not one seems to be working to its advantage. As far as enacting a law to overcome the legal hurdles is concerned, it cannot do so because it is basically a title suit where the dispute is over the ownership of the piece of land on which the temple is to come up. Now, a government is not supposed to decide on a land dispute through legislation. So the ruling party is not able to take this route despite much clamour.
With its own ally Shiv Sena generating a lot of heat on the issue inside and outside Parliament, the party is mulling to bring a Private Member’s Bill in one of the Houses through one of its MPs. But that too has to pass the numbers’ test on the floors of Parliament if a division of votes is pressed for, and the party does not have the required numbers in the Rajya Sabha.
However, that is the only option left for the Modi government, wherein it will be in an advantageous position whatever may be the outcome. BJP will certainly reap rich dividends if it manages to get the Bill passed in both Houses. But even if the Bill gets through only in Lok Sabha, where the party has a majority and fails in Rajya Sabha, BJP would still be able to drive the point home that it did attempt something drastic in the matter and discredit the Opposition for not supporting the cause.
The general elections are most probably going to be held in the months of March and April and, in that case, the code of conduct will become effective in February itself. So the polls are practically just two months away. Sensing that time is running out fast, many BJP MPs are coming up with statements that they are going to move the said Private Bill in the current session of Parliament.
First to do so was Rakesh Sinha, who was recently nominated to the Rajya Sabha, while the party’s Dharwad MP, Prahlad Joshi was the next to make the claim and its Delhi MP Manoj Tiwari is the latest to join the bandwagon. However, whoever moves the Bill, it will be interesting to see that who would “dare to oppose” it, given the high public sentiment prevailing across the country in favour of it.