By fielding Pragya Thakur Singh as its Lok Sabha candidate from Bhopal the BJP has let it be known it won’t be constrained by any notion of common decency or sensitivity in pursuit of its ideology. More so when it comes to fighting for retaining the power. Thakur is currently facing trial under stringent sections of The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in a Mumbai court, and is out on bail. This is first such instance where a major political party in India has fielded a terrorism accused as its candidate. Ironically, the BJP flaunts a toughest stand against terror. But as it turns out this stand is inherently selective and is geared to crush the violence coming from one community only. And the violence from another community is denied even if the rigorous government investigations have produced a proof of its existence.
Thakur’s candidature also shows that the BJP is staking everything to win the general election. And it is taking a predominantly ideological route to make it happen. The reason for this could be the non-performance of the BJP-led government on several development indices. And the party has thus fallen back on its core ideological issues to drum up the support.
But even by this yardstick, the fielding of Thakur is a shocker. By doing this the party has pushed its ideological envelope. By doing this the party is rehabilitating the militant Hindutva. The developments like this are profoundly disturbing. A crude majoritarianism seems astride over India. And the current ruling political establishment seems not only at ease with it but also sees the political and the institutional targeting of the minorities as the path to survival.
The discourse has degenerated into a vicious and polarizing rhetoric geared to play to the basest instincts of the people. The BJP has made it clear that it will leave no political trick untried to get back to power. Unlike 2014, when the Prime minister Narendra Modi kept the campaign firmly focussed on a development agenda modelled on Gujarat model, this time the party seems determined to put its ideology upfront. And there’s a reason for it. If the BJP’s electoral performance over the past four years is anything to go by, the party has grown from strength to strength on the back of its ideological agenda.
What India needs urgently now is to chalk a return path to secularism and inclusiveness. The opposition parties whose campaign is focussed on the development issues need to confront the BJP ideologically too. Hindutva needs an alternative and it’s time that the Congress and others come up with one.
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