|BJP supporters climb the poles of a makeshift tent to catch a glimpse of Narendra Modi at a rally in Mathura on Monday. (Reuters)
New Delhi, April 21: The Sangh parivar appears to be giving the “final push” for consolidation of majority community votes in favour of the BJP as the general election enters its sixth lap on Thursday.
The RSS is distributing documents in Madhya Pradesh, urging the “majority community” to unite and vote 100 per cent for a “nationalist government”; VHP leader Pravin Togadia has been accused of spitting venom against the Muslims, although he has denied it; Bihar BJP leader Giriraj Singh has warned that after the election, there would not be any place in India for those opposing Narendra Modi.
All these developments are being seen as an effort by the Sangh to exert the final push in favour of the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Modi.
Five rounds of polling are over and in the remaining four rounds the key states for the BJP — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat — vote. The BJP is targeting a sweep in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat and a substantial increase in tally in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
BJP insiders concede the party is worried by reports of Muslim consolidation in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar against the party, necessitating the “final push”. Unlike in western Uttar Pradesh where the Muslim vote looked split, reports say that in the central and eastern regions minority voters are closing ranks against the BJP.
The RSS is distributing documents, appealing for 100 per cent turnout of the “majority community”. The document urges the community to rise above local and state issues and vote for the nation.
“Do you want to make history or want to become history? If the majority community does not use discretion and does not vote 100 per cent, it will soon become history,” the document states and asks the people to vote against “minority appeasement” and “injustice to the tolerant majority”.
While the RSS has distributed such documents in earlier elections too, the urgency this time seems more palpable. The RSS has put its cadres across the country on overdrive and launched a door-to-door campaign in many areas to increase the turnout of Hindus, sources said.
The BJP today came out in support of the RSS campaign. “If the RSS has appealed for 100 per cent polling, what is wrong in it? After all, the Election Commission also wants 100 per cent polling,” party spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said.
However, the party has dissociated itself from Togadia’s reported inflammatory speech, though some leaders appeared privately happy at the prospect of an intensified Hindu consolidation in Gujarat.
Togadia, who was accused of asking supporters to drive out Muslims from Hindu-dominated areas of Bhavnagar in Gujarat, has denied the allegation and threatened to take legal action against those spreading the “misinformation”. The poll panel has sought recordings of his statement.
Since Togadia and Modi are not known to be on the best of terms, some see in the alleged speech an attempt to stir trouble for the BJP mascot. The two developed differences after Modi embarked on an image makeover, projecting himself as a progressive leader. Togadia has since been sidelined even within the VHP.
The BJP said it had “no control over non-BJP voices” but the RSS defended Togadia. “Pravinbhai had not said anything that was attributed to him. It was fabricated news. No swayamsevak thinks on those lines,” RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said.
On Giriraj, however, the BJP sang a new tune today. Having distanced itself from his statement yesterday, it said: “If Giriraj Singh’s comments come under the category of irresponsible statement, then there are many like zeher ki kheti (used by Sonia Gandhi) which should be treated as same. Maybe all these politicians need lessons in public speaking.”
The party believes the statement targeted reports of Muslim consolidation in Bihar and Jharkhand against Modi and hopes it will send the right signals to the majority community in the two states.
Modi, however, studiously avoided any reference to either Togadia or Giriraj at a packed rally in Mumbai today, urging youngsters to not just vote but inspire others to vote for a stable government.
“I want to tell those of you in the 18-28 age group something from my heart. You should rise above politics…. If you agree with me, you listen to me. If you don’t, just leave it.
“18 to 28 is the period in your life when the foundation of your life is laid. What education to take, which career field to choose …. If you elect a nikkammi sarkar (weak government) for five years, where would your life go?…
“You need to be not just voters, but turn canvassers…. Step outside your homes and inspire others to vote for a stable government,” he said.