By Mayank Jain:
BJP always manages to spark controversy regarding something or the other no matter how smoothly their election campaign is going on, especially with anti-incumbency sentiments all around the country. Their manifesto, which was ironically released on the day polling went underway in the country i.e. 7th April, 2014 has yet again created a row with its reference to ‘Ram Mandir’ on page 41.
The party’s manifesto promises work towards developing a Ram temple in Ayodhya. It should be noted that this is the same disputed site at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh which has been in the news since 6th December, 1992 – when VHP and its associates like BJP destroyed the Babri Mosque built by Emperor Babur.Â The controversy that started around 21 years back has still not calmed down and continues to be a part of the party’s focus for the next 5 years if it comes to power.
Interestingly, the party has used the words “within the constitutional framework” to describe its process of looking for options on development of the temple. To quote directly from the manifesto, the party says:Â “BJP reiterates its stand to explore all possibilities within the framework of the Constitution to facilitate the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.”
Though development is fine and we all want it, promising a temple reconstruction that has been long disputed with multiple SC interventions in the same, sounds a little fishy to the regular observer of political scenario. The “Sangh Parivar” which includes RSS, VHP and other sister organizations must feel delighted for the party to have taken such a pro Hindutva stand since the majority of our population is Hindus. But, it doesn’t give license to any entity to seek to play on the religious sentiments of people and seek to build a country with emphasis on the ideals of any religion, no matter how big is the majority. We all know what happens in riots and Amit Shah’s alleged ‘hate speech’ in his rallies is the latest example of sparking communal violence.
Such emphasis on issues of Hindus and pacifying them against every ill of the party by promising that temple is very opportunist and manipulative to say the least. If it can be the reason enough for people to vote for the party, remains to be seen but for now, it seems that BJP has played its hindutva card well and it is right on track to gain in the coming elections but Indian elections have definitely taken a hit because of the excessive politicization of religions, caste and class which take the attention away from crucial questions of ‘how’ the party wants to achieve what it promises in the manifesto and how the Gujarat model of development, if any, will work to improve the nation’s state.