When someone talks about Hindutva or Hinduism in relation to politics, BJP’s picture becomes evident. The other so-called hardcore Hindu parties like Shivsena have been the allies of BJP. It’s certainly unfortunate that religion (any) is still the political agenda in many parts of the globe. Anyway, facts say that such religion based appeasements have hardly helped the parties, at least in general Lok sabha elections. And, this is not just a claim; we have the numbers. Find out below.
How Hindutva has never helped BJP:
So, to start with BJP, first of all, Hindutva as a political agenda was not started by this party. There was Hindu Mahasabha having prominent leaders like Lala Lajpat Rai. This Hindu Mahasabha was then supported by even the communist parties, which had the legendry names like Bhagat Singh and was led by Chandrasekhar, who was a Hindu. Both were against Congress’s appeasement politics, to both Hindus and Muslims (in fact to British as well). Can anyone imagine even about communists supporting BJP today?
However, it is true that BJP has become the flag bearer of Hinduism or Hindutva agenda in India. And, if you think this strategy has helped the party, you are wrong like millions. First of all, when did BJP’s Hindutva rebellion began? The answer will be since when the Ram Janma Bhoomi agenda surfaced. Now, let’s take a dig in to the elections after that.
So, BJP’s agenda of Ram Janma Bhoomi then during the 1989 election give them only 85 seats.
Coming to 1991 election, the party still stuck with the same agenda, and got only 120 seats, which was nothing in comparison to the rage they had created.
The party was hugely criticized after that. In fact, the likes of Congress had mocked about their number of MPs.
BJP doing well without “Hindutva” agenda:
Well, those who think BJP has not ever done well without “Hindutva” agenda are also the fools like those who think the agenda has done magic for the party. Take a look at the elections after 1991. The party realised that this “Hindutva” can’t really be an agenda to win election. Hence, the elections fought by BJP in 1996, 98, and 99 were not based on “Hindutva”. Needless is to say that the party had done really well during the same phase. The best example can be “Atal Bihari Vajpayee” government. Mr. Vajpayee is regarded as one of the finest PMs of the nation.
Again the party raised Hindutva agenda during 2004 led by Advani. And, needless is to say this helped no one in BJP, except Narendra Modi. Well, Modi’s win was quite strategic handled smartly by him, which was not overwhelmed or overconfident like Advani. You can
The subsequent elections won by Modi are also quite based on the issues like “Vibrant Gujarat”, “Gujarat” Asmita”, etc, rather than mere “Hindutva”.
Similar is the case of Congress as well:
Well, religion based politics is not limited within BJP. Congress has been doing the same, in rather a more dangerous way, since the days prior to independence. In fact, the same was the reason that Hindu Mahasabha or Communist parties with people like Bhagat Singh, Bose, Chandrasekhar Azad, etc appeared.
Above all, such religion based politics can certainly be stated as one of the reasons behind the party’s disastrous loses in 2014 general election. Excessive statements of Muslim appeasement by top leaders created a reaction among hindu masses to support Modi. And, needless is to say Modi is a master in creating opportunity out of criticism.
Take a look at the other two elections prior 2014, the party never used such strategy in an aggressive fashion, and it never got polarized by the Hindus.
So, to sum up things, it can be concluded that the political parties should understand the fact that religion based agendas may accumulate masses for them, but can’t guarantee about winning elections, and prepare their strategy for upcoming 2019 general election.