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The Toilet-Temple Issue and Indian Politics


Indian political parties, almost all of them are showing remarkable capacity in circumventing electoral laws and bringing Indian attachment to their religious traditions into play during election campaigns.

Generally it always has been the BJP to be the target of accusation and not their opponents. But in the current match surprisingly the BJP is the target again but in a different way and honestly for a wrong reason.

The provocation is by the now famous statement of Narendra Modi, BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate. While interacting with Students in Delhi recently he is said to have said “Shochalaya pehle and Shivalay later”, meaning toilets taking precedence over temples.

This has resulted in filling of many pages of News Papers in electronic form and hundreds and thousands of comments there on-both supporting and in opposition in addition to provoking hard liners including an ally of the BJP in their pre-poll alliance. I do not quote the so called experts discussing every issue and giving their sermons because of my own lack of interest in their deliberations.

No one, however, is taking into consideration nor making any reference to the context in which Modi made his observations.

He quoted his image as a communal leader – and a hard liner at that – and that if he makes his priority public it would go against his established image but since his projected priority is based on inclusive development, in his opinion he said what the current pastime is. If one honestly views with this context in mind, Modi has actually said what he believes in irrespective of his image.

This is the present scenario where the BJP is made to give clarifications even on building a Ram Temple at Ayodhya.

By now, the readers must have glanced at the back ground of one upmanship on such issues where it is in fact the BJP that made an issue out of what Jairam Ramesh, a Cabinet Minister at the centre – a Congress man – made exactly the same remarks nearly a year ago. Now it is the BJP, which is on the receiving end.

Be that what it may, what is important here is to notice that things related to religions or religious traditions invoked by political formations in different fashions to garner votes has nothing to do with either but only to fool the voters due to their gullibility. Both Modi and Ramesh are committed individuals and they said what they really believe in.

In fact where the issue of Gujarat’ 2002 carnage is concerned, they are under judicial scrutiny in courts and even a Minister in Modi’s cabinet has been convicted for her involvement. So for Modi, to keep on harping on propagating a hard liner image and his trials are of no use.

In place of that the Gujarat government should be pressurized to implement various rehabilitation measures which are long overdue. This is probably in the best interest of Modi and BJP as well.

The crux of this piece is to highlight the responsibility of an enlightened voters to exercise his franchise totally based on the honesty and integrity of the candidates.

They should ignore the tactics of exploitation of voters religious sentiments for garnering votes as has been shown above how the politicians change their position with the time and the responsibilities imposed for governance.

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2 years ago

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