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Two Voices from UP: 'Strong BJP means stronger India'; 'neo-Hindutva a diversionary tactic'

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Lucknow, June 26 (Ajit Weekly News) Opinions are clearly divided in Uttar Pradesh over the aggressive Hindutva branding of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

While a senior BJP leader feels that the new BJP is stronger and has wider acceptability, a veteran Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) functionary is of the opinion that the BJP is playing the Hindutva card only to divert attention from its failure to fulfil the promises it had made to the people.

Talking to Ajit Weekly News, Vijay Pathak, the Vice President of BJP’s Uttar Pradesh unit, said, “A stronger BJP means a stronger India. The party clearly sent across a message of its inclusiveness by nominating someone like Ram Nath Kovind, and now Draupadi Murmu, for the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The party is not focused on one or two vote banks and has included almost all castes and categories in important positions,” Pathak said.

The national secretary of Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Anil Dubey, however, feels that the BJP is shying away from the core issues and it does not want the public to talk about them.

“Each time the opposition tries to raise these issues, the BJP comes up with a Hindu-Muslim agenda to keep the people engaged. The party and its governments do not want to talk about unemployment, poverty, lack of health facilities, farmers’ problems etc.,” Dubey said.

Defending the aggressive Hindutva branding of the BJP, Pathak said, “Everyone is free to pursue his religion. If the yogi Adityanath government ordered removal of loudspeakers, he also made sure that the Gorakhnath temple was the first to bring down loudspeakers which proves that the decision was not targeted at one particular community.”

Pathak added, “Wearing a ’tilak’ or a saffron scarf is my personal choice and no one should object to it. If any case of hooliganism by anyone — be it even a party member — has been reported, action has been taken. There has been no discrimination on any ground by the party or the government.

“There is talk of Muslims being alienated, but Muslims are also benefiting from government schemes. There has not been a single instance of someone being denied benefits on religious or caste grounds.”

Pathak also said that the party is more focussed on serving the people than ever before.

“Our cadres are constantly at work and so are the leaders. We believe in keeping the party machinery fully oiled and vibrant,” he said.

Dubey, on the other hand, said that the BJP, in its new avatar, banks on emotive Hindutva to retain power and the minorities end up as pawns in this game.

“The BJP government talks about cow welfare while its fringe elements indulge in mob lynching on this issue. But look at the condition of cows in the gaushalas? No one talks about it,” he pointed out.

The RLD leader said that the BJP apparently has no faith in democratic norms because just like it brought in the farm laws, it has introduced the Agnipath scheme without bothering about public sentiments.

“There were year-long protests against the farm laws and now the youth are protesting against the Agnipath scheme. The BJP continues to disregard public mood,” Dubey said.

–Ajit Weekly News

amita/arm

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