As reported earlier, BJP has minced no words in pitching its hardcore Hindutva agenda in campaign for the ongoing Uttar Pradesh bypolls scheduled for 13 February.
The saffron party’s decision to borrow a candidate from the RSS, its ideological mentor, for Deoband assembly bypolls appears to be bearing the fruits, at least whipping up the communal sentiments.
This is also a marked departure from the party’s stand in 2014, when its development agenda won him a record 71 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats.
We reported last week how the BJP had roped in the services of riots accused leaders including on minister to spearhead campaign in the communally sensitive Muzaffarnagar.
Now, going by the party’s campaign in Deoband, it seems the BJP has indeed removed its mask of development and replaced it with hardcore Hindutva agenda, an identity it always carried until Narendra Modi’s rise to power.
Deoband, despite being for India’s largest Muslim seminary, has never been known for communal clashes, not even in 2013 when the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar killed more than 50 people.
But thanks to BJP’s candidate and ex-RSS pracharak Rampal Singh Pundhir it may all change.
Pundhir is determined to assert the Hindutva if he wins the election.
Pundhir, who even served jail sentence for murder charges in the past told Indian Express, “ek bhay hoga unke andar. Hamara terror hoga unke upar, unke gundon par (Muslims will feel scared. They and their hooligans will feel our terror). This election has become a fight between Hindus and Muslims because Hindus are unsafe.
“Honour of our mothers and daughters is threatened. Hindu traders face theft, dacoity, are murdered. Deoband mein kisi Hindu ki himmat nahi hai ki kuch bol jaye (No Hindu here has the guts to speak out).”
He added, “When our government (in UP) comes in 2017, we shall see how they commit atrocities. Deoband has a locality — Reti Chowk. Hindus are scared to pass through that area. When I become MLA, I will walk around with my shirt buttons open.”
Contrary to Pundhir’s claims, nearly 40 percent shops in Reti Chowk is owned by Hindus and the area bears the look of true communal harmony.
“Threat to Hindus? Who said? May be due to polls, some people are spreading lies,”Praveen Kumar of Praveen Jewellers was quoted by the paper.
“I am here for 35 years. Muslims and Hindus live here in harmony,” adds Rajiv Kumar of Rajiv Medical Store.