Modi at helm, BJP signals return to 'Hindutva'
With Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi taking charge of the BJP’s election campaign, the saffron party could once again return to the “Hindutva” plank in Uttar Pradesh in an attempt to reap electoral dividends in the forthcoming general election.
Modi’s protege and BJP general secretary Amit Shah, who concluded a two-day visit to UP after being appointed in-charge of the state unit, dropped enough hints that the party, besides propagating the Gujarat model and taking up developmental issues, would not hesitate to rake up issues related to the “Hindutva” ideology.
During his visit, Shah made it clear that the Ram temple issue was very much on the agenda of the BJP. “We had never abandoned the Ram temple issue... We are committed to the construction of a grand Ram temple at Ayodhya,” he said.
Shah also said that the BJP could “actively participate” in the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s proposed agitation for Ram temple. “The party will take a call on the issue of taking part in the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) agitation once we receive a proposal from it in this regard,” he said.
The VHP has declared that it would launch a nationwide agitation for the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya from October this year.
The BJP leader also made it clear that the issue of cow slaughter was very much on the agenda of the party, along with the move of the Samajwadi Party government to release people accused of terror attacks in different parts of the state.
Earlier too, BJP president Rajnath Singh had declared that the party could pave the way for the construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya by a legislation if it got a majority on its own in Parliament.
Grand Ram temple
“The BJP has been and will always remain committed to the construction of a grand Ram temple at the Ram Janambhoomi in Ayodhya,” Singh had said while speaking at a VHP meeting at the recently-concluded Mahakumbh at Allahabad.
UP sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha, and would be crucial for Modi if were to nurture his prime ministerial ambition.
The BJP could win only nine seats in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls from UP, while in last year’s Assembly elections, its tally was just 47 out of a total of 403.