Religious Minority

Modi touch washed off Malaviya Statue »

Samajwadi Party (SP) workers and students associated with the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) washed the statue of PanditMadan Mohan Malaviya at the Benares Hindu University (BHU) campus alleging that NarendraModi’s ‘touch’ has defiled the statue because his hands were smeared with the blood of innocents, let out during the Gujarat riots in 2002. The SP workers washed the statue with holy water from the Ganges to ‘purify’ the sculpture immediately after Modi left the venue. It may be recalled here that NarendraModi had offered floral tributes and garlanded Malaviya’s statue at BHU on Thursday, April 24th , including the event in his roadshow leading to the filing of his nomination papers as the BharatiyaJanata Party (BJP) candidate from Varanasi. Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, the founder of BHU, was a great freedom fighter. He was elected President of the Indian National Congress four times.

The campaigning in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls is becoming increasingly vitiated with more and more such divisive actions and talk with growing focus on Hindu vs Hindu, Hindu vs Muslim, Dalit vs Upper castes etc.rather than on issues which affect the common man like poverty, unemployment, hunger, food security, healthcare, education, sanitation, infrastructure development or even safe drinking water.

Mr Modi, who initiated the personality cult model through his campaign in these elections had in recent times tried to project a more moderate image to garner votes from all communities to fulfil his dream to become the Prime Minister of India – seemingly sacrificing his hard core Hindutva commitment. It was to this effect that Mr Modi had tweeted that he disapproved of the anti-Muslim statements made by the likes of VHP’s PravinTogadia and BJP’s Giriraj Singh. However, he made his own compulsions to know-tow to such divisive forces clear when his roadshow from Varanasi on the day of his nominations was taken out from the local VHP office. Also rendering the air was the war cry of ‘HarHarMahadev’ as saffron suffused the streets of the temple city during the roadshow – telling in itself.

If the people of India vote overwhelmingly for Mr Modi as Prime Minister, then democratic norms clearly dictate that so be it. But before that, shouldn’t the Prime Ministerial aspirant clarify what role organizations like the VHP and the RSS would play under his government? And what would be the status and power of the likes of PravinTogadia or Giriraj Singh or even Amit Shah under his reign?

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