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Gadkari’s entreaty to muslims signals new BJP
Jammu, Feb 25 (Agencies):
Published on 25 Feb. 2010 10:45 PM IST
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While reiterating that the Bharatiya Janta Party’s commitment about building a temple at the location of the since-demolished Babri Masjid, its new chief Nitin Gadkari has made an entreaty to Muslims. He asked them to donate the disputed land at Ayodhya to the party’s traditional vote bank – right-wing Hindus. There have been angry outbursts from Muslim sections at adding insult to injury. Gadkari’s entreaty, however, needs to be viewed in the context of what can be said to be the emergence of a new-Bharatiya Janata Party. The party, doubtless, far from being bubbly and thriving. It is course down, but not out, after theoreticians of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh took some drastic actions to regain control. The choice of Nitin Gadkari to lead the party reeling under a grave electoral snub is indicative of far-reaching changes. He was not at all in reckoning before the Lok Sabha defeat and his elevation has been a blow to corrupt self-seekers in BJP, such as Gopinath Munde. The BJP strongman of Maharashtra, said to be managing Mahajan millions (or billions) amassed by his brother-in-law Pramod Mahajan in the last telecom scam during Vajpayee’s regime, used to dictate terms to Gadkari. The influence of rabid communal elements like Shiv Sena, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal over the party leadership is being neutralised. These outfits are run by street-smart heroes with no background in carrying out social service. They are known to derive maximum benefits to their own families and cronies by abusing the goodwill generated by RSS cadre for selfless service. Their nominees in BJP had started eclipsing hard-headed RSS strategies. Corrupt opportunists like Munde, who frequently showcased his loyalty to Bal Thackeray to wield power, are being sidelined with the weeding out some dead wood. The deliberations of the recent BJP conclave need to be analysed in this context. The new president fixed an ambitious target of 10 per cent improvement in the electoral performance. He also made overtures designed at attracting Muslims and Dalits to vote for the party. He almost rehabilitated the former Dalit president Bangaru Laxman, who had been victimised after being conned. Ignoring, trashing or rejecting it outright may not be the wise thing to do for the minorities. The need is for presenting a unified stand after dispassionately weighing the current situation. The pragmatic response must be bereft of excessive emotionalism. What BJP is openly asking Muslims now – “Be generous towards Hindus and facilitate construction of a grand Ram temple” – has always been the goal of the supposedly secular Congress Party, but, clandestinely so. The game plan started in 1949, when the Nehru regime collaborated in the illegal occupation and takeover of the ‘abandoned’ mosque, trashing the 300-year-old land title. The Muslim leadership seems keen to undermine the good work they did 60 years. Times have changed, as confirmed by an Obama in White House extending hands of friendship to those hounded so far. They have to move over. Invincible arguments by celebrated lawmakers and lawyers are only of academic value, good only in textbooks on jurisprudence. It is a weird case of obsession to dream that the title suit ‘hearing is nearing completion’. The reality is that the issue is not, as these people think, within the purview of courts or Shankaracharyas.

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