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BJP walks Hindutva talks nationalism

With leaders like LK Advani and Sushma Swaraj slated to address meetings during the BJP youth wing yatra from Kolkata to Srinagar, the party appears to have stepped up its political rhetoric on Kashmir.

delhi Updated: Jan 13, 2011 23:15 IST
Vikas Pathak

With leaders like LK Advani and Sushma Swaraj slated to address meetings during the BJP youth wing yatra from Kolkata to Srinagar, the party appears to have stepped up its political rhetoric on Kashmir. And buzz is that Narendra Modi may also be part of the rally at Jammu on January 25.

Parallel to the party’s campaign on an apolitical issue like "corruption", the BJP has chalked out a provocative issue where its core Hindutva line can be played up as a "national" line.

In line with this, the shrill rhetoric on Kashmir is being articulated in terms of the “right” to hoist the Tricolour, as Rajnath Singh wrote to the President.

The recent aggressive turn is a far cry from the Atal Bihari Vajpayee initiatives to provide a healing touch to the Valley and engage it on the basis on ‘Insaniyat’ (humanism).

Be it BJP-in-power vs BJP-in-opposition or the moderation of Vajpayee giving way to a more hawkish line, the party’s agenda has clearly veered around to the pre-NDA days when Murli Manohar Joshi had hoisted the Tricolour in Srinagar in 1992.

Abrogation of Article 370 — which gives special status to Kashmir — was integral to the BJP’s original agenda, apart from a Ram temple and Uniform Civil Code.

On Thursday, the party’s Mahila Morcha resurrected its old demand for a common civil code at a function articulating it as a secular, gender issue, with “Muslim backwardness” as an implied subtext.

Senior leader Arun Jaitley called for personal law reforms even as he reiterated that a common civil code remained the long-term goal.

Those very people, said Jaitley, who defend the right of separatists to speak against the nation in Delhi on grounds of freedom of expression have a problem with political parties wanting to hoist the national flag in Srinagar.

A galaxy of leaders who will address the yatra are Jaitley, Rajnath, MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Advani and Swaraj.