Thursday, January 15, 2009



[prohindu] Seers unhappy with BJP

Naresh Khanna Wed, Jan 14, 2009 at 3:10 PM
To: Rana Kumar

Seers unhappy with BJP


Advani: Under sadhu fire

New Delhi, Jan. 12: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has conveyed to the BJP that Hindu seers are not happy with its leadership.

Sangh sources say the seers feel the BJP is diluting Hindutva to appear moderate and that its sole purpose is to win power, not to protect the religious interests of the majority community.

The sources say the top Sangh leadership has expressed inability to stop the seers from turning against the BJP at a time parliamentary polls are near.

The sadhus feel that Hindus are being insulted by the so-called secular forces, which have created an impression that pampering religious minorities is a legitimate socio-political exercise, Sangh leaders have told the BJP.

BJP leaders have tried to explain their compulsions in a coalition era but have convinced neither the Sangh nor the larger community of Hindu seers, who help mobilise public opinion in favour of the party during elections.

The dilemma on an ideological issue has created confusion within the BJP too: some leaders fear the "moderate project" will end up reducing the party to a Congress copycat.

These leaders rubbish the argument of coalition compulsions and recall that the BJP had managed to draw allies and form its first government at the Centre because of the Ram temple movement. They cite the example of Gujarat, where Narendra Modi established himself as the Hindutva mascot before moving on to the development plank.

The Hindutva protagonists are disturbed to see this dilution under L.K. Advani, who earlier represented hard-core Hindutva against Atal Bihari Vajpayee's moderate agenda.

Advani's team now has far more advocates of the moderate agenda than Vajpayee's had. The agenda was forcefully defended by Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu at a recent meeting with Sangh leaders.

Advani's team is mostly made up of English-speaking moderates like Sudheendra Kulkarni, Chandan Mitra and Balbir Punj.

Barring the Amarnath issue, Advani himself has exercised caution in his speeches and taken care to sound more like a centrist Congress leader than a Sangh ideologue.

He has carefully avoided the company of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders, preferring gurus like Baba Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to parivar rabble-rousers like Praveen Togadia and Sadhvi Rithambara.

The sadhus also do not identify with BJP president Rajnath Singh. BJP insiders say the Thakur from Uttar Pradesh has never styled himself a Hindutva icon and his attempts to cultivate a saffron hue is just strategic positioning.

The BJP, however, is not perturbed by the sense of dismay among hard-core Hindutva protagonists, including the seers, primarily because it thinks they have no political alternative to choose from.

There is no denying that the BJP is the only national-level option for Hindutva forces.

The Sangh, however, is worried by its foot soldiers' lack of interest about the BJP's prospects. They may not oppose the BJP, but their apathy will surely hurt the party, the Sangh fears.

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