Hindutva was key factor behind BJP's success in Polls, claims RSS

The Sangh is attributing the BJP’s defeat in Delhi to the lack of a Hindutva issue.
( [email protected] ) Dec 12, 2003 09:54 AM EST

New Delhi, India., Dec. 12 - Forget development, or more precisely, the lack of it. The Sangh Parivar has no doubt that Hindutva is the reason the BJP has swept the polls in three states. In fact, the Sangh is attributing the BJP’s defeat in Delhi to the lack of a Hindutva issue.

The Sangh claims its line on Dilip Singh Judeo as a victim of conspiracy against reconversion has clicked. Apart from Pathalgaon, the lone Congress seat in Judeo’s Jashpur district, the BJP has won most of the tribal seats in north and south Chhattisgarh, including Bastar.

Along with the tribal districts of Chhattisgarh, the neighbouring Jhabua and Dhar districts of Madhya Pradesh, too, have fallen to the BJP. After all, the battle for Chhattisgarh was fought on the issue of tribal identity. When Ajit Jogi referred to the upper caste as the "other", the BJP termed Jogi a "nakli adivasi".

"Uma Bharti, one of the public faces of the Ram temple movement, defeating Digvijay Singh in Madhya Pradesh, the Parivar pitched against conversion and conspiracy in Chhattisgarh and a collective effort of the Parivar in Rajasthan" is how Sangh elders see the BJP’s victory.

RSS spokesman Ram Madhav said, "Though the BJP rightly deserves the victory, it was the result of a united effort by the entire Parivar. There was a Hindutva undercurrent in all these states and the effort succeeded when the local parivar organisations were taken into confidence by the BJP."

Of course, anti-incumbency and development alone cannot explain the fall of the Congress citadels in tribal regions to the BJP onslaught. The Congress is now out of power in traditional tribal states: Chhattisgarh, MP, Jharkhand and Orissa.

Of the 41 tribal seats in MP, 24 in Rajasthan and 34 in Chhattisgarh, the BJP has won the maximum, implying that these traditional Congress bastions did not buck the trend in the plains.

The reason, say RSS leaders, is the role of the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram (VKA) in saffronising tribal India. VKA organising secretary in charge of Mahakaushal Nishikant Joshi said the fight in Chhattisgarh was over "a false tribal and the real ones. We had worked on social awakening in Bastar. And conversion was a very big issue in the state with all the nuns and missionaries roaming around the state openly under the CM’s patronage."

It is indeed a surprise that the Ashram which could never match the Church in terms of resources and developmental work, could polarise the polity so effectively.

While the missionaries in north Chhattisgarh and MP were aware of such a polarisation, those in Bastar did not forsee the extent of saffronisation probably because with the Naxal threat, the Sangh’s activities were on a low key.

On Lok Sabha polls, Madhav said, "It is for BJP to decide. We have no opinion. The present position is favourable to the BJP and it is a good situation."

"If the time is conducive, they can go ahead," the RSS spokesman added.