For the BJP, the elections are about Hindutva and not development

The Modi government has failed to keep most of its promises, and its only option for attracting votes now is Hindutva

  • Published 24.04.19, 4:06 PM
  • Updated 24.04.19, 4:06 PM
  • 3 mins read
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Pragya Singh Thakur, BJP's candidate from Bhopal. One wonders how the BJP has remained nonchalant about the Supreme Court’s recommendation to Parliament to enact a law that would direct parties to revoke the nominations of candidates facing “heinous and grievous” charges (PTI photo)

Sir — In a recent interview, the prime minister, Narendra Modi, said that he felt a “sense of responsibility”. But by fielding “Sadhvi” Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case who is out on bail, the Modi-Amit Shah duo has shown the world that the Bharatiya Janata Party has made the elections about Hindutva and not development (“Full on”, April 22). One wonders how the BJP has remained nonchalant about the Supreme Court’s recommendation to Parliament to enact a “strong law” which would direct political parties to revoke the nominations of candidates against whom “heinous and grievous” charges have been framed. In India there are many lawmakers with such criminal charges. Their place is not in state assemblies or Parliament.

The Modi-led government has failed to deliver on almost all of its major election promises of 2014. Now the only option it has for attracting votes is to use Hindutva as a political tool. Further, given that the Congress nominated the two-time former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Digvijaya Singh, as its candidate from Bhopal, the BJP felt the dire need to ratchet up a Hindutva component by announcing the candidature of Thakur in the same constituency. In effect, the BJP has let short-term electoral gains dictate its policies. Unfortunately, this will only serve to divide Indian society irreparably in the long run.

Bidyut Kumar Chatterjee,

Faridabad

Sir — When Pragya Singh Thakur said that her curse killed Hemant Karkare, I first thought it was a joke. The grimness of what she said took time to sink in. On one hand is a martyr who took bullets for the nation, and died fighting against terrorists. Then there is Thakur who, herself a terror-accused, is making such statements. She belongs to the group of self-proclaimed custodians of patriotism that plague India at the moment. Are records as gruesome as hers the benchmark for patriotism now?

Thakur calls herself a “Sadhvi”. People like her believe that they are the guardians and representatives of Hinduism. But one must not mistake Hindutva for Hinduism. People like Thakur can never be a symbol of any religion that teaches the ideas of tolerance and peace. This is the country of Tagore and Vivekananda, and land where a certain

Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan would sing thumris on Indian ragas with as much devotion as a Pandit Jasraj would sing, “Mero Allah meherbaan”. This is also a country where a Hindu wedding ceremony is performed with Ustad Bismillah Khan’s shehnai playing in the background.

India has always nurtured secularism and celebrated unity in diversity. Every spiritual messenger has spoken about accepting all religions in order to be true. The aggressive proponents of ‘Hinduism’ would do well to read up on the real representatives of the religion. No one should be guided by vitriol or spread hate in the name of such a peaceful religion.

Sourav Chunder,

Calcutta

Sir — The BJP’s decision to field Pragya Singh Thakur, a Hindu hardliner who is on trial for alleged terror activities, from the Bhopal constituency should not come as a surprise, given the party’s clear strategy to polarize voters along religious lines. While Thakur is free to contest elections under the existing law, this step certainly exposes the BJP’s hypocritical stand on terrorism. Last year, the apex court had recommended the introduction of law banning candidates accused of heinous crimes standing for election. But this seems unlikely to happen anytime soon.

S.K. Choudhury,

Bangalore

Sir — Narendra Modi seems to miss no chances to take credit for the army’s success for electoral gains, even at the cost of violating the model code of conduct. However, the nomination of a terror accused as a candidate in the Lok Sabha polls is an unequivocal signal from the BJP and its leadership that legal processes do not matter when it comes to furthering political agendas. This brazen attempt to wipe Thakur’s slate clean seems designed to prove Modi’s claim that there can be no such thing as ‘Hindu terrorism’.

S.S. Paul,

Nadia

Wise decision

Sir — Hats off to the newly-married couples who cast their votes even on their wedding day. While even the elderly and the differently abled went to discharge their duty, it is shameful that almost 30 per cent of the voters in Tamil Nadu did not turn up. This must include some young and educated citizens who preferred to enjoy a vacation instead. Perhaps the introduction of online voting could facilitate their participation. Further, in order to to ensure a healthy voter turnout, India could follow the lead of some Western countries which penalize those who skip casting their ballot without valid reasons.

N. Mahadevan,

Chennai