//Thackeray asks BJP to go the Modi way

Thackeray asks BJP to go the Modi way

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 | City

Says party should learn lesson from defeat in five states and return to Hindutva

Parikshit Joshi

The Shiv Sena has started telling off its two-decade-old ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in Maharashtra by suggesting that the latter adopt a more aggressive approach on Hindutva. The Sena has also wants Hindutva’s poster boy and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to be catapulted to national politics.

The Shiv Sena’s opinion assumes significance in the backdrop of BJP’s dismal performance in the just-concluded assembly elections in five states.

“The performance of the BJP cannot be swept under the carpet by extending the logic that the party has small stakes in the five states,” a hard-hitting editorial in the Sena mouth-piece Saamna said on Tuesday.

Questioning whether there is any party at the national level to espouse the cause of Hindutva, the Sena said the BJP should not run after secularism, abandoning the cause of Hindutva in the process.

Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, the editor of Saamna, has consistently maintained that the BJP should not eschew Hindutva merely to keep its allies at the national level or broaden the party base.

Modi, on whom Thackeray has showered wholesome praise in the past, should be catapulted to national politics, opines the edit.

“The BJP needs a well-equipped Arjun to give the party direction,” the Saamna editorial said. The analogy is hard to miss since BJP’s Laxman, Pramod Mahajan, passed away only recently.

However, it is for the BJP to decide over the issues, the Sena does not want to interfere in the internal matters of our ally, said a senior Sena leader.

In view of Mahajan’s passing away and Sena suffering blows with the exit of Raj Thackeray and Narayan Rane, it was expected that both the partners will need each in the days to come. “But by virtually asking the BJP not to soft-pedal on Hindutva and a greater role for Modi, the Sena has started dictating terms to us,” a senior BJP leader told Mumbai Mirror.

It appears that the Sena now wants to have an upper hand in the alliance, claimed another BJP office-bearer.

• The premise of the Sena-BJP alliance is Hindutva. We have not abandoned Hindutva and do not have any differences over this with our ally.
— Nitin Gadkari, BJP Maharashtra unit chief

• Shiv Sena is our ally and they have the right to express their views. But the BJP has never abandoned the cause of Hindutva. In fact, we firmly believe in it and will continue to work on its ideals.
— Prakash Jawdekar, BJP national spokesperson

• Since I have not read the editorial, I cannot comment on it. However, we will definitely give a thought to the views expressed in the Saamna.
— Vinod Tawde, BJP state general secretary

Assessing Modi

Is Narendra Modi capable of directing the BJP as suggested by the Shiv Sena? Mumbai Mirror takes a look at the positives and negatives of the leader whose mere mention evokes sharp reactions.

Positives

• Master strategist and organiser (credited with making Gujarat a citadel of the saffron party)

• Strong oratorial skills

• Enjoys the unstinting support of the RSS, fountainhead of the sangh parivar

• Instrumental in the party’s huge success in the 2002 state polls

• As CM is credited with a GDP growth rate of 10 per cent, the highest in the country

• Decreased state’s fiscal deficit by nearly 50 per cent

• Ensured a BJP victory in local self government body polls

Negatives

• Is a hated figure among Muslims

• Criticised for his alleged complicity in the post-Godhra religious clashes

• Lacks universal appeal

• Runs the state with an iron hand with less regard for the opposition

• Under attack for recent riots in Vadodara following demolition of a dargah
 
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