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BJP?s Yaqoob Qureshis

The BJP, one can safely state, has never been known for appeasing India?s Muslim community. This is not only because it never subscribed to such a policy, but also because it has vocally opposed this variety of vote bank politics.

india Updated: Mar 10, 2006 02:20 IST

The BJP, one can safely state, has never been known for appeasing India’s Muslim community. This is not only because it never subscribed to such a policy, but also because it has vocally opposed this variety of vote bank politics. But going by the party’s latest go at the UPA government’s ‘softness’ towards Islamic terrorism and that being the cause for Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Varanasi, the BJP must have appeased Muslims without the rest of the country getting wind of it. How else can BJP president Rajnath Singh and his predecessor L.K. Advani explain the attacks on the Akshardham and Raghunath temples that occurred during NDA rule? These two gentlemen are now planning a ‘rath yatra’ whose purpose seems to echo that of some irresponsible politicians in the SP and the Left over the last few weeks. The only difference, however, is that while SP and Left leaders have been kicking up dangerous dust ostensibly to support global anti-Islamism, Mr Singh and Mr Advani have a ‘Hindu incitement’ in mind.

Those who committed the heinous acts in Varanasi will be mighty pleased to note that the BJP has reacted exactly the way they figured it would: all ready to stoke up some ‘Hindu backlash’. The fact that the BJP, since its fall from electoral grace, has found itself without much of a role to play on the national political landscape partly explains why its top leaders are ready to clutch on to an attack on a Hindu temple with such gusto.

But it would be a giant suspension of disbelief for the BJP to believe that latching on to any simmering Hindu-Muslim tension in the country will get its spluttering engine purring again. For one, the RSS — and if there’s one entity that represents the Hindutva ideology, it is the RSS — has refused to get onboard of BJP rath. For another, the attack in Varanasi is not the act of a cynical government (as may have been the case when a Congress government overturned the Shah Bano case, banned The Satanic Verses, etc.) but violence committed by enemies of the State against the nation. If BJP leaders believe otherwise, they will find themselves in a dark booth with Yaqoob Qureshi and his ilk playing to a gallery whose members have far better things to do than fall for manufactured paranoia.