The RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s remark stating that no Hindu Rashtra without Muslims is a deviation from the past rigidity it had against the minorities. His statement Hindutva is not only for Hindus, it’s for the world and humanity, be it Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, who all were born here. We never saw state and nation as same. States can come and go, but nation, which is a cultural concept, stays. We believe in that. He also went a step further by proposing that a Ram Temple will put an end to all the differences between the Hindus and Muslims. The sudden U-turn on the religious tolerance somewhat prelude to the coming elections is an indicator that toned down approach to regain the lost political ground among the voters. There is a wide divergence between recent statements and the utterances and actions on the ground in the past. The lynchings, the attempt to corner dissenters and leftists and the concerted move to paint them and anyone in the middle as anti-nationalists hardly squares up with the homilies delivered at the conclave. As for Ram Temple — the biggest attempt at polarisation that has helped the BJP sustain an anti-Muslim narrative for the past 25 years — surely the RSS chief is not unaware that the matter is hotly contested and sub-judice. Too much blood has flown in the Saryu for it to be settled in the manner of a playground quarrel. The BJP, however, gave the game away by its Ordinance on triple Talaq. More than helping Muslim women, this was a timely diversion from the economic distress and mismanagement by appearing to be sensitive to the plight of Muslim women. The promises made in 2014 on the economic side – jobs, MSP and crackdown on black money – will not give similar traction in 2019. Nor is there time or the ability to set things back. The agenda this time is likely to be heavily loaded towards polarisation. And all the talk of temple and triple Talaq is a forerunner.
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