//In BJP, even directory reflects ideological shift

In BJP, even directory reflects ideological shift

New Delhi, May 06: Ideology is back with a bang in the BJP not only in the pro-Hindutva statements of its new RSS-backed chief Rajnath Singh but even in its new telephone directory.

In the telephone directory of the BJP Parliamentary Party, "Idol worship" is passe. Gone are the photographs and quotable quotes of its two stalwarts– Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani– that adorned the inside covers of the earlier directory brought out in December 2004, when the latter was at the helm of affairs.

Portraits of the saffron party`s founding fathers– Shyama Prasad Mookerjee and Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya – not only continue to be part of the new publication but also get exclusive pages, in an apparent reflection of the party`s emphasis on ideology vis-a-vis idol worship.

Mookerjee`s photograph adorns the back page with the old quote while Upadhyaya gets the inside page with a new quote that counsels the party to treat power as a means to serve the people and not an end in itself.

Interestingly, unlike in the past, the new directory was first issued in Hindi, with the English edition scheduled to come out later.

However, BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar dismissed suggestions that the change in the directory`s content reflected any ideological shift.

"It is a utility which contains telephone numbers and addresses of our MPs in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha," he said.

After Singh took over as the BJP chief, the huge hoardings and billboards outside the party`s 11, Ashoka Road headquarters here that prominently featured Vajpayee and Advani were removed.

The new board only has the party`s name on it, apparently emphasising the primacy of ideology and organisation over individuals.

Even in the wake of the "lauh purush", "vikas purush" controversy when the NDA was in power, the RSS had counseled the party to rise above individuals and give primacy to ideology.

"All small and big activists in the party should be committed to some objective. Commitment inculcates the spirit of dedication and discipline," says Upadhyaya`s quote, which is strikingly similar to the RSS advice.

Besides consulting the RSS top brass on various issues, the new party president has been pursuing the Hindutva agenda and directing party-ruled state governments to deport illegal Bangladeshi migrants and enact anti-conversion and anti-cow slaughter laws.