Since 1995, BJP has been the incumbent party in Gujarat. Over 22 years of unchallenged leadership has made Gujarat elections a matter of prestige for Hindutva leadership. Anything less than a substantial victory in the upcoming 2017 elections in Gujarat might reflect on the outcome of 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Which is why the saffron camp is setting the stage for the upcoming electoral challenge in the form of a despicable anti-Muslim propaganda focussed on ethnocentricity. Just a few days ago, graffiti asking people to be cautious of fictitious agendas like Love-Jihad were found inscribed in various places in Ahmedabad.
Last weekend, “Welcome to Hindu Rashtra” boards were spotted in various localities in Ahmedabad including Krishna nagar, Meghaninagar, Shahibaug and Anupam cinema areas of Ahmedabad. The boards have been put up by VHP and Bajrang Dal with names and contact numbers of organisers.
This affiche in Gujarati translates to:
Welcome to Meghaninagar locality,
Of Naroda district,
Of Karnavati metropolitan city,
Of the Hindu Rashtra.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad
Secretary: Vasantbhai Patel
Organiser: Mukeshbhai Patel
Notice the usage of “Karnavati” instead of Ahmedabad. Similar boards with just the name of the locality changed to Krishnagar and Shahibaug were also discovered in the respective areas.
This growing trend of Hindutva assertion using street graffiti and placarding via the VHP and Bajrang Dal marks an array of increasing insecurities in Gujarat BJP. Perhaps, the use of assertive language via the dismissal of the city’s official name Ahmedabad and asking for it to be changed to Karnavati is to become one of the token political agendas for BJP campaigning in Gujarat. The city was originally named Ahmedabad by King Ahmad Shah I, in honour of four Ahmads, himself, his religious teacher Shaikh Ahmad Khattu, and two others, Kazi Ahmad and Malik Ahmad.
At the outset, BJP is yet to find a neo-political face similar to the hardliner in UP to lead the upcoming elections in Gujarat. With his other fierce representative Amit Shah upheaved as the party president, there is unlikely a figure in the party to represent even an unchallenged incumbency like the BJP in Gujarat. Are Modi and Amit Shah remote-controlling the Governance in Gujarat enough for another triumph in Gujarat? Is the recent bone of contention from the Patidar section, once a fortitude of Hindutva support, creating insecurities in the BJP camp? Perhaps, the removal of former CM of Gujarat Anandiben Patel following the peak of Patidar mobilisation speaks volumes of the fear in the ruling party, especially, in rural Gujarat where BJP has been performing poorly in successive local body elections.
Earlier, the appointment of another hardliner Yogi Adityanath in UP has confirmed the direction of which the BJP and its supporting organisations are trotting towards. The BJP President in Gujarat Jitu Vaghani has confirmed the campaigning for its 2017 elections to commence, with the invitation extended towards all BJP Chief Ministers in the nation, Yogi and Modi to be the predominant image of this campaigning.
While the saffron camp has upped the ante in communal polarisation, it is also time for BJP to stop disowning the crimes of the VHP and Bajrang Dal cadres and acknowledge themselves as the beneficiaries as a part of their political campaigning.