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Diversionary tactic for some, result of competitive communalism for others

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Kolkata, June 25 (Ajit Weekly News) Is the BJPs neo-Hindutva, as described by many, in its current form more aggressive than what it used to be before? That is the question doing the rounds in the political and social circles of West Bengal today. However, different people from the socio-religious and socio-political circles of the state have divergent views on it.

For some the Hindutva agenda of the saffron camp is always there except that it erupts differently according to the need of the hour. For this section, the Hindutva flareup from time to time shows aggression sometimes as a diversionary tactic to shift attention from the burning socio-economic issues and at times over any looming election.

However, there is another section that believes that the BJP’s neo-Hindutva is in its most aggressive form now and there are two major socio-political reasons behind it. The first reason is that the BJP leadership has realized that its Hindutva agenda is getting more support from different sections than what it used to get earlier and that is encouraging the saffron camp to push it more aggressively.

The second reason, according to this section, is that many other political parties have included competitive communalism or soft Hindutva in their agenda, which has prompted the BJP to push its religious agenda harder.

Trinamool Congress leader and three-time Lok Sabha member, Saugata Roy told Ajit Weekly News that the Hindutva agenda is something that the BJP always keeps in reserve to be pushed at different levels of aggression according to the need of the hour. “Some might find that the current neo-Hindutva agenda of the BJP is in its most ferocious form.”

“But to me the country has witnessed this aggressive Hindutva push several times, more especially when the saffron camp is on the backfoot for any reason. The degree of aggressiveness increases at the time of elections or at times when the BJP needs to divert attention from any burning issue. And what I feel is that it is already time for the BJP to slowly increase the level of aggressiveness which will see its extreme stage before the Lok Sabha polls,” Roy said.

Speaking to Ajit Weekly News, Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member Santanu Sen said since the beginning of the Narendra Modi-led regime in 2014, a push in the aggressive Hindutva agenda was witnessed which was not evident in the Atal Behari Vajpayee-led previous NDA regime.

“That same Hindutva agenda started gaining further momentum and started getting reflected in the Union government’s policies since Amit Shah became the Union home minister after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. There have been ups and downs in the ratio of aggression depending on the prevailing situation. But you are right that this aggression has witnessed a steady northward trend to reach the present situation. But in my opinion this is not the peak. The aggression will be accelerated further keeping in mind the assembly elections next year and most importantly the 2024 Lok Sabha polls when it will reach its peak,” Sen said.

General secretary of the All India Minorities Youth Federation Mohammad Kamruzzaman told Ajit Weekly News that since 2014, when the Narendra Modi-led government first came to power, a major change in the political approach of the so-called secular parties was witnessed.

“Previously, the public expression of following religious norms during any important event including polls was mainly restricted to the BJP leaders. But since 2014, the leaders of secular parties, be it Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi or Mamata Banerjee or Abhishek Banerjee, all started making public displays of their religious emotions. Their logic for this soft- Hindutva line might be to counter the BJP’s hardcore Hindutva agenda. But it has prompted the BJP to express its own religious agenda in a more aggressive manner as is being seen today,” Kamruzzaman said.

According to the national spokesman of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen Asim Waqar, the BJP leadership has realized that the way in which their aggressive Hindutva agenda will receive national focus, no other issue will get that. “From media to intellectuals, all are responsible for highlighting the BJP’s Hindutva agenda. The day they will stop highlighting this agenda and speak of other burning socio-economic issues, the Hindutva memo will die a natural death,” Waqar said.

CPI(M) central committee member Sujan Chakraborty feels that in West Bengal a policy of “competitive communalism,” has prompted the BJP to push its Hindutva agenda in the state harder. “With the Imams-Muezzins allowance on the one hand and Durga Puja donations to clubs on the other hand, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is trying to maintain a vote bank balance. So she is encouraging the BJP to push its Hindutva agenda in the state more aggressively. The BJP did not get the same opportunity during the 35-year Left Front rule, since we never indulged in such competitive communalism,” he said.

Trinamool Congress leaders, however, feel that the neo- Hindutva push is nothing but a recurring eruption of the BJP’s agenda keeping a lot of factors in mind like the Presidential polls, elections in different states and most importantly the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. They also apprehend that the BJP will continue accelerating its Hindutva pace till it reaches the extreme point in 2024.

–Ajit Weekly News

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