Three months after Varun Gandhi declared himself the mighty saviour of Hindus and potential terminator of Muslims, his party has discovered that his hate speeches might have been responsible for its dismal performance in the Lok Sabha elections. The BJP and others of the Sangh Parivar were not quite sure initially how to respond to the fiery speech of their young leader. At one point of time they distanced themselves from Varun’s words. However, the young leader’s subsequent arrest brought out the real colours of the Parivar outfits. They started defending Varun’s position.
Muslims (and Christians too) were always seen by the Sangh Parivar as alien, violent and threatening. As Siddharth Varadarajan wrote in The Hindu [March 24, 2009]:
The anti-Muslim construct and the threat of violence is a congenital part of the RSS’ philosophical DNA, a genetic flaw so potent that it contaminates anyone who comes into contact with it. Muslims are the enemy around which the edifice of the BJP’s wider politics is built, even if the requirements of legality mean the party has to be guarded in the manner in which it expresses itself. Sometimes, of course, the mask slips, either by carelessness or design. Varun Gandhi is a novice but even a consummate politician like Atal Bihari Vajpayee could occasionally trip up. In a venomous speech at a BJP meeting in Goa in April 2002, shortly after the anti-Muslim violence which shook Gujarat that year started, Mr. Vajpayee, who was Prime Minister at the time, declared: “Wherever Muslims live, they don’t like to live in co-existence with others, they don’t like to mingle with others; and instead of propagating their ideas in a peaceful manner, they want to spread their faith by resorting to terror and threats.”
Varun or Vajpayee, Advani or Modi, every BJP leader has made use of hate as an effective political weapon. This time, however, it turned out to be not so effective: the party performed badly in the Lok Sabha elections. Now it needs to lay the blame at somebody’s doorstep. Varun has become one of the scapegoats.
There is also much infighting now in the party. One leader is turning against another. Soon they will all be blaming one another.
What the BJP and others of the Parivar should realise is that Indians have grown up. They don’t want the kind of nationalist and parochial patriotism dished out by the Parivar. They want economic development and progress. Even now there’s time for the Parivar outfits to change their line of thinking. They can veer away from hate and focus on united efforts at building up a better India.