Friday, July 6, 2012

Sangh Targets Nitish Over ‘Secular’ PM

Comments against Hindutva aimed at appeasing the minority vote bank: Panchjanya
OUR POLITICAL BUREAU NEW DELHI

TheRashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on Sunday spun an ideological web of support for Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, challenging Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s conception of qualities required of India’s prime minister.
Just when the embers of Kumar’s recent attack on Modi appeared to be dying down, the Sangh took on the Bihar chief minister, without naming him or his party, the Janata Dal (United). An editorial in the RSS mouthpiece, Panchjanya, said the comments against Hindutva were aimed at appeasing the minority vote bank and it sought to know why there was an aversion for Hindutva in a country where 85% of the population was Hindu.
In an interview with ET last week, Kumar had said that the prime minister should have strong secular credentials and liberal frame of mind. The comments were aimed squarely at thwarting Modi’s chances of emerging as the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition’s prime ministerial candidate.
“What is the meaning of saying prime minister of the country should be secular? Our Constitution makers do not give any such ‘distinguished identity’ to the prime minister’s post, perhaps because they believed that India has always stood for eternal values, religion and culture, and the basis of our society and national life is the feeling of all-inclusiveness and mutual existence,” the editorial said.
The right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is the parent organisation of BJP, which leads the National Democratic Alliance. JD (U), the second biggest constituent of the alliance, said it would walk out of NDA if Modi were to be projected as a prime ministerial candidate.
Kumar has taken care to steer clear of Modi because he remains wary of the Gujarat chief minister’s anti-Muslim image since the 2002 riots in his state. However, Modi’s recent moves to project himself as the tallest leader in BJP appear to have forced Kumar to react sharply.
Although the editorial targeted Congress, its barbs were clearly directed at the Bihar chief minister. The editorial said a prime minister’s responsibility as head of the government is to protect the democratic values and protect the rights of all without any discrimination.
“But in contrast to this, efforts are being made to give the prime minister a ‘secular’ identity. Harmony between all sects is a distinct feature of Hindu philosophy in India. To treat this Hindutva as communal and to make secularism an instrument for gaining power is nothing more than politics of convenience,” the editorial said.
The RSS mouthpiece said politicians who are trying to woo Muslim votes by branding Hindus as communal should not be allowed to control the policy. “Leaders who are eager to establish a secular rule by laying atrocities on Hindus should be asked why India should not have a government and a prime minister who is concerned about the majority Hindus,” the editorial said. “Such an administration and prime minister will definitely be inspired by Hindu life values, traditions and ideals to work with the feeling of unhindered progress of all sects and groups and for their happiness.”
The editorial said vote-bank politics has divided the country into minority-majority, communalsecular, castes and sects.
“Instead of finding ways of bridging this gap, conspiracies are being hatched to deepen these fissures for gaining power. Why do these secular forces have such aversion to Hindutva? Only for the sake of getting votes and power,” the editorial asked.
The RSS has come out in full support of Modi, even as BJP has refrained from raising the pitch on the matter. JD (U) has, however, signalled its seriousness by refusing to back BJP’s choice in the upcoming presidential election.