Congress ideas in BJP discourse
Indore, February 18, 2010
The Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) national executive meeting that
started on Wednesday hardly threw up any new ideas.
The saffron leadership was reduced to merely responding to issues
taken up by the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.
Whether it was BJP president Nitin Gadkari's imitation of Rahul
Gandhi's sleepovers at Dalit homes by sitting cross-legged in
councillor Priti Karotia's kitchen to have dinner, comparing B.R.
Ambedkar to Martin Luther King or launching a shrill attack on
Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh for demanding a fair trial
for slain 'terrorists' in the Batla House encounter, the BJP strategy
seemed to be shaped in response to the agenda set by the Congress.
In view was a rather sad attempt - for a young party that used to
conjure up ever new ideas to market the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's
(RSS) Hindutva agenda in the first 30 years of its inception - to
repackage Hindutva in a contemporary jargon.
Issues such as the Ramjanmabhoomi, abrogation of Article 370 and the
Uniform Civil Code were replaced by a shrill rhetoric against
"minority appeasement". It was alleged that pacification was visible
during Digvijay's recent visit to the " terrorist village" of
Sanjarpur in Azamgarh, home to the Batla House dead - and a return to
the RSS-brand of austerity. An attempt to display this asceticism was
seen in the arrangement of accommodation - tents pitched on the
outskirts of Indore.
On the same lines, the theme of antyodaya i.e. 'serving the last man
in the queue', a concept promoted by BJP ideologue Deen Dayal
Upadhyaya, was drummed up. Accordingly, the afternoon session of the
national executive was largely devoted to discussing price rise and
its repercussions on the aam admi. The future social agenda was
reflected in the symbolism of Gadkari's dinner at the Dalit
councillor's home, a visit to Ambedkar's birthplace and his comparison
to the US civil rights icon. "Ambedkar was the Martin Luther King of
India. In his quest for a just and egalitarian society, he accorded
justice to the less privileged. We in the BJP remain wedded to
Ambedkar's dream of a casteless and just society," Gadkari told the
delegates in his inaugural speech.
The strongest message of the day was delivered by a strident attack on
the Congress's handling of terror, especially the ruling party's stand
on the Batla House encounter in which 'terrorists' from Sanjarpur were
killed in a encounter with the Delhi Police.
Gadkari said: "Some leaders in the Congress have turned a terrorists'
village into a tourist destination. This is appeasement politics at
its worstâ€¦ The war against terror should not be sacrificed at the
altar of vote-bank politics. The whole country should rise above
partisan politics. We in the BJP will take our fight against
terrorism, extremism and price rise to the streets." Human rights
activists, teachers of the Jamia Millia Islamia near which Batla House
is located, and the families of the dead termed the encounter as
"cold-blooded murders" and have been demanding a judicial inquiry into
The Congress and Digvijay, in particular, have maintained that there
should be a fair trial so that no doubts remain about the veracity of
the police's version of the incident.
Singh even recently visited the Uttar Pradesh village to convince the
people that justice would be done to the bereaved families.
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