BJP president Amit Shah steered clear of controversial issues like Ram temple and uniform civil code on Friday as he indicated that the party will fight the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls on development plank which, he insisted, has been the Modi government’s agenda.
With RSS affiliates Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal raising the pitch for Ram temple construction, an issue which fuelled the party’s rise in 90s, Shah asserted that such outfits cannot be equated with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
He also wondered on what basis the opposition was accusing his party of causing communal polarisation ahead of the state polls early next year. Political rivals and several public intellectuals say cases of religious and political intolerance have gone up since the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came to power in 2014.
At a press conference to publicise the “achievements” of the Modi government, Shah chose to stick to the narrative of the central government’s “pro-poor” and “pro-farmers” work as he faced a volley of questions on BJP’s stand on controversial but core party issues in the light of crucial UP polls.
“These are part of our manifesto and if you read it you will find that it is mentioned there as to how we intend to work on them,” he said.
The BJP has maintained in its manifesto that it supports Ram temple construction but it should be done either with consensus or as per judicial decision.
“Bajrang Dal is not BJP,” he shot back when asked on its and VHP’s pitch for temple construction.
“You should only listen to the government,” he said on issues raised by these outfits, seen as BJP’s sister organisations.
To a question about armed training being given by Bajrang Dal to its activists in parts of UP, he said the state government should take action if there is anything unlawful.
Shah, who is credited with the party’s landslide win in the state during the Lok Sabha polls, was tight-lipped over whether it will name a chief ministerial candidate in the state, saying the issue is yet to be discussed in the party.
Home minister Rajnath Singh had on Thursday appealed to people at a rally in Saharanpur to end BJP’s 14-year-long exile and Shah was on Friday asked “who will be its Ram?”
“Ram will be decided. Public will decide it,” the BJP chief said.
He also asserted that BJP will form the next government in the state, adding that he saw Samajwadi Party as the main challenger.
Shah had said on Wednesday that the Samajwadi Party government’s “corruption and misgovernance” will be his party’s main issues besides development.