The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate LK Advani used Saturday’s Yuva Kranti Rally in New Delhi to revert to core Hindutva ideological issues. He repeatedly linked the Amarnath standoff, the Ayodhya movement and Bharatiya Jana Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mukherjee’s opposition to Kashmir’s special constitutional status in the early 1950s to make a case for “cultural nationalism”.
He accused the government of following double standards on matters relating to Hindus and other religions. Interestingly, he repeatedly referred to the country as “Hindu-sthaan” (Hindutva’s Sanskritised equivalent of Hindustan), a term generally used by core ideologues of the Sangh Parivar.
“Mukherjee had said there could not be dual laws for a single country,” Advani said, regarding Mukherjee’s stand that all Indians should be allowed to settle in Kashmir. Mukherjee had been imprisoned in Kashmir in 1953 and had died there. By repeatedly evoking Mukherjee, Advani hinted at reverting to BJP’s old stand that Article 370 —which grants special status to Kashmir — should be revoked.
Linking the present Amarnath issue and the Ayodhya movement to cultural nationalism, Advani said that such issues were directly related to the unity and integrity of the country.
He added Indian democracy had been put to shame on July 22, as “it was for the first time that a government and its allies had openly said they would make MPs defect”.