Quick edit: Is back to basics the only way forward for BJP?

Familiar cry,though often heard but no longer given much credence,resounds loudly in Ahmedabad.

Written by Tikli Basu | Mumbai | Published: April 1, 2013 3:45:56 pm

The familiar cry,though often heard but no longer given much credence,resounded loudly in Ahmedabad yesterday,the day Narendra Modi’s isolation ended within the central leadership.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat declared the organisation would take up mass recitation of a ‘Vijay Mantra’ to build a glorious Shree Ram Mandir… We will have to build good,honest and true Hindus in Bharat,because,now the whole world will be following Hindus… A Hindu is a Hindu in his thoughts but not so much in his behaviour. We have to change this.

The message is clear: Narendra Modi is the party’s last hope,its final burst to consolidate the core Hindu vote. And who are the conquistadors in Battle 2014? Narendra Modi,his aide Amit Shah,the other Gandhi,Varun… all under the deep shadow of questionable behaviour. But that shadow is their creed,and now,the BJP’s armour.

BJP chief Rajnath Singh,in yesterday’s party expansion,kept out those who are not close to the Sangh – Yashwant Sinha and Jaswant Singh,even Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan. The Sangh has bounced back,just a few months after being kicked in the belly with Nitin Gadkari’s exclusion.

Yes,this is the last gamble. The mask of the liberal right wing has come off.

Politically with this gamble,the BJP is trying to spin a larger net to mop up the grand anti-UPA sentiment. Not to mention too that the fight to take place in the four states coming up for elections this year will be entirely bypolar – between the BJP and the Congress.

And Modi’s supporters believe that his continuous economic and political success in Gujarat,his ability to pull crowds,his meteoric rise in the party against the BJP’s will are developments as subtle a poke in the eye! Though in Gujarat,Modi has only a slight advantage over the Congress with 15 MPs to the Opposition’s 11.

With the Congress having chewed up the BJP’s other agendas – it hanged Afzal Guru and forced the main Opposition to back its reforms – the BJP is going back to basics. It is sharpening its divisive rhetoric,backing an arguably authoritarian figure – who has continually failed to address the question of accountability for the 2002 riots – and asking the 50 to 55 per cent upper caste Hindus to go back to the temple.

Will this strategy have a market in 2014? Or will the party end up dancing with ghosts?

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