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Premature euphoria

Buoyed by exit poll claims that the BJP was picking up in Uttar Pradesh, the latest issue of Organiser indulges in a bit of premature euphoria with a screaming front-page headline “Big Hindutva Surge — BJP is the front runner in UP.”

April 26, 2007 1:54:13 am

Buoyed by exit poll claims that the BJP was picking up in Uttar Pradesh, the latest issue of Organiser indulges in a bit of premature euphoria with a screaming front-page headline “Big Hindutva Surge — BJP is the front runner in UP.” The accompanying report says that all political players in the state “have started realising that the BJP is fast emerging as the dark (sorry, saffron) horse in this race. The BJP cadres are not only bolstered by the party’s superb performance in the recent elections in Punjab, Uttarakhand and Delhi but also by the unprecedented solidarity of Hindutva forces in the state, who are sparing no stone unturned to make the party win.”

Asserting that the morale of the party cadres was “on an all-time high”, the report adds: “Leading their victory march in the remaining four phases would be none other than the ever popular former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who is all set to hit the campaign trail next week. The nation too is getting ready for an encore performance from the BJP after its recent hat-trick.”

On Congress’s trail

The editorial focuses on the Congress party’s alleged pandering to Muslims in the backdrop of the UP assembly elections. It sharply attacks a booklet published by the AICC highlighting the achievements of prominent Muslims in India — including Azim Premji, Shahrukh Khan, Irfan Pathan, Bismillah Khan, Zakir Hussain et al — and attributing it to Congress rule.

Similarly, Sonia Gandhi’s personal letter in Urdu to thousands of Muslim leaders across UP appealing for help to fight against caste and communalism is also severely attacked. Says the editorial, “When she talks of building a society of ‘your dreams’ and sends it only to prominent Muslims it sounds ominous. Is it a way of promising a state and social order conditioned by Islamic laws and world vision? And if this is secularism, how does one define communalism?”

As for Rahul Gandhi’s controversial statements during the UP campaign, the Organiser sees a “method in the mad pronouncements.” According to the editorial, “He was cleverly trying to shift the focus away from the poor, unpopular record of the UPA under Dr Manmohan Singh at the Centre. It is intriguing that neither Rahul Gandhi nor Sonia Gandhi made any appeal to voters in the name of the UPA regime’s achievements in the last three years. By consciously making controversial and untenable statements, which attracted a lot of media attention, the Gandhi scion tried to draw public attention away from price rise, terrorist attacks and soft-pedalling on national security issues.”

Attack on Leela Samson

Leela Samson, famous Bharatanatyam dancer and current head of the prestigious Kalakshetra Foundation in Chennai, is the target of a vicious attack this week. According to writer P. Deivamuthu, the Mumbai-based editor of Hindu Voice, Samson “has destroyed the values for which this institution stands for and is still continuing the destruction in a subtle way.”

Her alleged crimes include a “disdain” for idol worship, removal of Vinayaka idols for which regular poojas used to be conducted by students, discouragement of prayers within Kalakshetra, and setting up a movie club “which has completely spoilt the gurukulam atmosphere of this traditional institution.” She is also accused of planning to demolish the temple structure of the Kalakshetra Auditorium “under the pretext of modernising it”, removing religious symbols which earlier adorned the certificates issued by the institution, and removing earlier restrictions and “thus encouraging the meeting of boys and girls in any hostel room at any time of the day and night.”

There is no mention of the fact that Leela Samson is herself an illustrious alumnus of the institution. Instead, the author says “members of the performing arts world outside Kalakshetra Foundation and members of the Hindu community should initiate an action immediately to stop the planned destruction of a glorious institution teaching and nurturing the ancient traditions of Sanatana Dharma.”

Compiled by Manini Chatterjee

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