NEW DELHI: The RSS-BJP push towards the Hindutva agenda appears to be making the NDA allies restive. After the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and the Akali Dal came out openly against the CAA/NRC, on Friday the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and the Republican Party of India (RPI) voiced their disagreement over RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's recent remark that the Sangh regarded all 130 crore people of India as Hindus, irrespective of their religion and culture.
Union Minister and RPI leader Ramdas Athawale said it was not right to say that all Indians are Hindus.
“There was a time when everyone was a Buddhist in our country. If Mohan Bhagwat means everyone is an Indian, then it is good. In our country, people are from Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Christian, Parsi, Jain, Lingayat faiths and different communities live here,” he said.
Later, LJP chief Chirag Paswan also dissented with Bhagwat’s statement.
“People of all faiths and castes living in India are Indians and the Constitution of the country is secular. It is a gift from the Constitution that we can have faith in any religion and practice it,” Paswan tweeted.
There might be a debate on Bhagwat’s statement in the context of his speech made in Hyderabad, but this is not the first time that the BJP’s allies have shown their differences with the party’s Hindutva agenda.
Only last week, amid violent protests across India against the CAA-NRC, JD-U chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar bluntly rejected the proposed nationwide NRC saying there was no question of implementing it.
Later, Akali Dal leader Naresh Gujral voiced dissatisfaction with the way the allies were being treated by the BJP and demanded that the new citizenship Act be amended to include Muslims.
He said that the allies were not consulted over CAA.
Some of the NDA leaders revealed that there was a growing perception among the allies that the Modi government, which worked with a scorching pace in its first tenure for development and economic reforms, had shifted from the tracks.
‘Economy needs urgent attention’
NDA allies believe the focus of ‘big brother’ BJP seems to be on more aggressively pushing the Hindutva agenda.
“Article 370, Triple Talaq, CAA, fears about NRC and now NPR…Doesn’t this suggest a shift towards agressively pushing the hardcore Hindutva agenda?” aked an NDA leader. It was other issues, particularly the economic slowdown, that needed urgent attention, the leader averred.