Wednesday, Jun 25, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
The BJP would like to make its slogan of a strong and united India and a strong BJP an "emotive election issue" and while doing so cleverly weave the concept of "Hindutva" in it as the "mainstay of this nation" and "synonymous with Indianness".
The meeting of the party's cultural cell this morning was the occasion when the party chief, Venkaiah Naidu, spelt out his views on Hindutva, attacked "pseudo-secularists" as the "biggest danger to national integration", stated that the BJP was proud of its Hindutva ideology, and then added that "Hindutva is not our election issue".
It was not the Congress nor the Left parties Mr. Naidu chose to attack in his brief opening remarks. "The pseudo-secularists entrenched in universities, film theatre and other cultural forums posed the real problem," he said.
Ironically, although it is the "pseudo-secularists" who have been speaking against giving in to the Unites States' "request" for Indian troops for Iraq, and the BJP leaders in Government who want to get on board the U.S.-British Iraq enterprise, Mr. Naidu attacked the "pseudo-secularists" for their "western thinking".
He said they gave Hindutva a bad name, "giving the impression that Hindutva was a narrow concept".According to Mr. Naidu, Thailand and Indonesia represented true secularism.
"In Thailand there is the State Bank of Ayodhya... in Indonesia there is the Garuda Airways and Kubera Bank and the idol of Ganesh on its currency notes...," he said.
Tomorrow the party will hold a meeting of its central office-bearers with Mr. Naidu in the chair and Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, as a participant, in Gwalior.
The emphasis will be on finalising and announcing specific programmes of agitation in the four Congress-ruled States going to the polls Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Delhi as decided in the recently concluded "chintan baithak" in Mumbai, a party spokesperson, Prakash Javadekar, said.
An assessment will be made of the ongoing campaign, strengths and weaknesses will be discussed, and above all, a mechanism will be set up for constituency-wise reviews so that the central party can take a final view on dropping sitting MLAs and presenting new faces to the people.
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