Goa BJP can't afford Hindutva line

| 15 April 2002 21:17 IST

Goa may go in the history of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party as the crucial national executive meet held in this tiny coastal state decided to go offensive with its ideology, including Hindutva.

But the ruling party's first state unit to shy away from the Hindutva line, is Goa. The tourist state is going for polls any moment, thanks to the midway dissolution of the Assembly by the ruling BJP here.

Rather than inspiring its party cadres following prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's speech at the public rally where he aggressively attacked Islamic terrorism, the party leaders here are busy convincing people that it is a terrorist section among the Muslims and not the whole community he was attacking.

"The word Hindutva was not even uttered at a single session of the national executive meeting in three days", claims chief minister Manohar Parrikar, otherwise a proud swayamsevak of the RSS.

He is mysteriously silent on whether the 'BJP ideology' will be taken to the people during the poll campaign, though veteran party leader L K Advani has told the partymen not to feel apologetic about the party ideology while Vajpayee has appealed to mobilise masses on the basis of ideology.

"We will definitely attack any terrorism, whether Muslim or Hindu, during our poll campaign. But unfortunately, such Hindu extremism has not come to light to so far", says Parrikar.

Whether the BJP wishes to do it or not, the saffron party cannot afford to take offensive Hindutva line during the poll campaign, given the political compulsions here. Besides its 'original' party cadres, the BJP is also fielding several neo-saffronites, who came from the Congress fold midway, to bring the BJP to power here.

One such leader is industries minister Shaikh Hassan Haroon, who has been winning or losing elections on Congress ticket since 1979 from Mormugao, consisting of large number of Muslim vote bank. Deputy chief minister Ravi Naik and power minister Digambar Kamat, representing towns of Ponda and Margao, also bank upon the Muslim vote bank.

Though Muslims are hardly two per cent in Goa consolidated in few towns, the BJP however has been trying to win over sections of total 26 per cent Christian community living in the coastal state, including candidate like Parrikar himself.

In fact, the BJP last time conquered the South Goa Parliamentary seat, also due to active support of the Christian community, in which even the influential Church reportedly played a major role, with the sole intention to defeat the corrupt Congress.

"My agenda in Goa will be good governance, cent per cent secularism and fight against corruption", states Parrikar, who has already chargesheeted three ex-ministers of the Congress, in three different scams, during his 16-month regime.

The BJP has thus decided to go offensive, but on these three crucial issues rather than taking open Hindutva line. On the contrary, the issues like Gujarat may prove suicidal for the ruling saffron party here, if the riots continue there in the same manner.

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