Thursday, April 25, 2024

Opposition must jointly take on BJP for using religion to win elections


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Political impact of Ram Mandir inauguration will not be Pan India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s controversial inauguration of Ram Temple in Ayodhya on January 22 will also mark the beginning of BJP’s campaign for Lok Sabha General Election 2024. Religious events, including fetching large number of Hindu devotees to the Ayodhya Ramlala Darshan free of cost for the next two months, will be organized as a special feature of this year’s election campaign outside the purview of the Election Commission of India in which large number of RSS-BJP-VHP activists under the garb of Sadhus overtly and covertly will do the work of BJP and PM Narendra Modi who will be seeking a third term. However, the ultimate political impact will be uncertain, because after showing initial panic, the Opposition seems to be firmly opposed to the design, as the four Shankaracharyas declared the consecration violation of shastras of Sanatan Dharma.
The Opposition is bent upon exposing the RSS-BJP clans political design and as political parties many of them will not be participating in the consecration ceremony as the four Shankaracharyas and other apolitical Hindu saints along with the four Shankaracharyas. It is another matter that many of the political leaders of various Opposition parties will be seen visiting Ayodhya, since religion is a personal matter, and no Opposition party is imposing on their individual leader or activist not to observe religious events on January 22.
Many Opposition political parties have planned to organize their own religious events in their states or areas to mark the occasion only to frustrate the RSS-BJP’s design to label them as anti-Hindu. In that list is West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC leader Mamata Banerjee who would be leading a religious event in Kali Mandir at Kolkata, and AAP leaders would be organizing Sunderkand paths in Delhi. Many interpret these events as panic reactions in anticipation of political damage that BJP’s Ram Temple politics may inflict on them in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. Nevertheless, the country will soon be witnessing two sets of religious congregations throughout the country before and during general election campaigns. Vishwa Hindu Parishad has already trained hundreds of RSS-BJP activists to impersonate themselves as Hindu Sadhus and do political work under that garb.
Many of the RSS-BJP activists have been deployed as Kathavachakas, who will visit every part of the country to emotionally and politically target their audience during their Ramkatha or Krishnakathayagyas. It has been seen in the past during Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s campaigns, and many such events will be organized in the near future.
They have also deployed mobile vehicles with Hindu deities that go from one place to the other in the name of religious teaching to the common masses. However, what they do is to prepare them for a Hindu Rashtra.
During their journey at every religious congregation they will talk about Hindu Rashtra, and seek public support for this ultimate aim. All their efforts, even when they do anything in any other field such as education, are targeted towards achieving their end. Ekal Prayas is one of them, and in the 2019 election, it was reported in the media, how their teachers helped BJP candidates in Assam.
Several wings of RSS, have trained thousands of volunteers directly in over one lakh villages of the country and indirectly influencing about 4 lakh villages, through their education, rural and agriculture training, and several other social programmes.
January 22 would be the occasion when through lakhs of religious events, RSS-BJP activists would be activating all their wings and associates and putting them in the election work in favour of establishing Hindu Rashtra under PM Narendra Modi.
Given the huge RSS-BJP networks across the country, not only the BJP but also several political analysts have already declared that it is a sure win for Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha election 2024.
The certainty with which they talk is, however, misplaced. Therecannot be a pan-India political impact of Ram Temple inauguration, since Ram is not the most popular deity across the country. Hindus have many popular deities, and there are many sects, who would not like their own deity to be overshadowed by Ram, even if the Prime Minister inaugurates the Ram Temple.
Perhaps, even PM Modi knows it and that is why he recently organized Tamil Sangam in Varanasi, the abode of Shiva, mainly to link Shiivaites of southern India. He has been seen travelling to South Indian religious places dedicated to other deities. Ram Temple politics has almost no political impact on South India.
From West Bengal to North East India, the popular deities are Kali, Durga, Kamakhya and other female deities, worshiped as supreme deities of Hinduism. In old Darbhanga, that is Mithila, the ‘dvar banga’ Shiva is the chief deity, and they grudge that their daughter Sita, was not treated well by Rama in Ayodhya. There is no great political impact of Rama in that region.
Lord Krishna is popular in Odisha, and Navin Patnaik is seen busy in organizing events for Jagannath Puri corridor even currently when Ram Temple consecration ceremony is being held at Ayodhya.
Ram could have some political impact in Jharkhand and certain parts of Bihar, central Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh. Krishna is the popular deity in Mathura and its surroundings. In the upper reaches of the Himalayas, Shiva and Shakti are chief deities. Haryana has two popular deities named Shyam – one of them is the Mathura-Vrindavan and the other the Khatu. Maharashtra has its own Ganpati Bappa. It should therefore be noted that the RSS-BJP clan has limited power to impose Ram on everyone else in the Hindu pantheon. Therefore, the real issue is not Ram Temple, but the RSS-BJP-VHP network that needs to be taken seriously by the Opposition political parties. They must not panic, and they must expose how RSS-BJP-VHP activists under the garb of Sadhus (bhagvadharis) are trying to cleverly drive the electorate to vote for BJP. (IPA Service)


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