The RSS continues to believe that Hindutva politics is necessary if the saffron brigade has to deliver in the next major election. The RSS leadership, which met top BJP and VHP leaders in a big meeting in New Delhi on Thursday, believes while Narendra Modi can be projected as the poster boy for the pro-development BJP, Hindutva should not be dumped if the party aims for a better result in the Hindi heartland. The RSS wants to reignite the Ram Mandir issue and propagate it in the remotest parts of the heartland.
The Sangh wants to take quick towards the goal. It wants to utilise occasions like the ongoing Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad or the VHP meet due to be held later this month, also in the same venue. The VHP wants to begin campaigning on the temple issue and believes the Sangh Parivar's cause will be facilitated if the apex court gives its verdict on Ram Mandir ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections. The Sangh Parivar also wants the BJP to make a political issue out of Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's recent remark on 'Hindu terror'. According to the Parivar, such course of action will unite the saffron outfits and enable the BJP to inch closer towards recapturing power after a decade.
RSS making it tougher for the BJP
But the RSS is actually making the situation tougher for the BJP. It is virtually impossible for the Parivar to project both development and Hindutva as trump-cards in the next election and the BJP is more than aware about that. The party, which has gone away from the Hindutva brand of politics which had catapulted it to the national stage once, will know revisiting the past can do it more harm than good. The party is already suffering from ideological, leadership and organisational problems and if now there is an effort to impose Hindutva from above by the RSS, the situation can go beyond repair ahead of the crucial polls.
Reigniting Hindutva will harm BJP's chances in two ways. First, it will not be able to rouse popular sentiments like the way it had done in the 1980s and 1990s for times have changed. The BJP had more to win than lose then and communal politics helped it in a big way to corner a crumbling Congress. But as we have seen in 2004, the BJP had a lot to lose which they eventually did. Even the powerful leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee could not save the party to ward off the evils of 2002.
And this brings us to the second reason why Hindutva is not desirable today. If the BJP is determined to capitalise on Narendra Modi's leadership before it goes to the polls, the RSS must get rid of its obsession with Hindutva. Modi had to do a lot of hard work to get an image makeover since 2002 and now if his party decides to go back to Hindutva, the man from Gujarat will be left at a great disadvantage. When the leadership is getting dynamic, there is no wisdom in holding on to a rigid ideology. It will ultimately put the organisation at peril.
Communal card will put the NDA in more chaos
Returning to Hindutva will intensify the chaos within the NDA as well. The BJP is still playing a waiting game as far as announcing the prime ministerial candidate is concerned for taking Modi's is likely to endanger the alliance. The JD(U) and Shiv Sena have expressed different opinions on the matter and the BJP is extremely worried that the shrinking alliance may suffer more blows. The dream of winning power will be shattered if the party now doubles the crisis by raising a pro-Hindutva slogan. The BJP can not afford to sacrifice its political ambition for the sake of the Sangh's ideological obsession. Or it might suffer the consequences of Leftism in this country.
Announce Modi as the PM candidate at once
So what should the BJP do? Frankly, the party should dump Hindutva whether the RSS likes it or not and declare Modi as its PM candidate at the moment. The exit of Nitin Gadkari was the first good thing to have happened for the BJP. And now it should make the next move by declaring Modi as its candidate for the Lok Sabha elections. Again, it should not wait for what the JD(U) or Sena felt.
The leadership has already taken a lot of time in this matter and will have to face the challenge at some point of time. It should rather not defer the matter till the last minute and then fail to manage the situation due to lack of time and patience of the naysayers. "Narendra Modi is our PM candidate and we will work under his pro-development leadership," this is what the BJP should say.
The RSS is said to be witnessing a rift, which was pointed out after the exit of Gadkari, a man close to its chief Mohan Bhagwat. If indeed this is the case, the BJP should not let go the opportunity to assert it authority, at least in the political sphere and make a realistic strategy for the national election.
Hindutva will be a boomerang today
Stressing Hindutva to regain ground in the Hindi belt will prove to be a boomerang for the BJP as it will give an advantage to the so-called secular parties. Twenty years after the Babri demolition, secularism is a more saleable commodity than communalism in Indian politics, the BJP must understand. And since it can not change its 'communal' tag overnight, thanks to the country's 'liberal' media which keeps on reminding the commoners that BJP means 'minority's plight', the only way forward for the BJP is development and Modi has mastered the art beyond competition over the last decade.
The Parivar is giving a wrong advice. But can the BJP take the right decision?