Anti-Muslim hype wouldn’t work by Mohammed Ataur Rahman (JUNE 28, 2007)
Presently a battle royal is waging in the BJP. It is, in fact, less of a battle than a buck-passing match between the top leaders ostensibly out to know what led to their well-deserved rout in UP.
Mr. LK Advani of Babri Masjid demolition fame, who was unceremoniously ousted for making a remark about Pakistan’s founder, which the BJP’s controllers in the RSS thought presented a positive picture of the Qaid-e-Azam.
Mr. Rajnath Singh took the reins of the party after Mr. Advani. True to the Sangh type, Mr. Singh could not look beyond his nose and think of any thing other than Muslims, mullahs, mosques and madrasahs.
Again true to type, the BJP tried to win UP elections by trying to whip up anti-Muslim hysteria. It thought the old medicine (anti-Muslim hysteria) would work fine this time also. But it did not.
Even the blatantly criminal CD carrying an anti-Muslim message did not stir public imagination, including Hindu imagination. Voters wanted something more substantial than enmity of Muslims. The BJP had nothing to offer. As there are no free lunches (pardon the cliché) voters said, "No, thank you", with the ballot, of course.
Now Mr. Advani seems to think Mr. Singh and his lieutenants could (and should) have tried harder. Perhaps hard enough to demolish another mosque, trigger a few riots. That could have got the voters interested.
In our humble opinion, the average voter is getting mature. Muslims are a great people. But that should be no reason for the BJP to think only of them all the time. Let them think of other things also. Like development, for instance.
Muslims alone will not get them the votes, try as hard as the BJP can. Hatred of Muslims has failed the BJP in UP. Even love of Muslims will not help it. The party has to come out of its old mode of thinking if it wants to succeed in future.
Mohammed Ataur Rahman