Softened sena will be good for democracy

And Sena’s rabble rouser Sanjay Raut sidestepped a loaded question on the party’s position to honour Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarkar with the Bharat Ratna, saying he would not fall into the trap. 

Published: 18th November 2019 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th November 2019 01:52 AM   |  A+A-

Perhaps the best takeaway from the emerging Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress axis would be the sobering of the Thackeray party, whose brand of Hindutva has hitherto been sharper than that of the Sangh Parivar’s VHP. Superficial changes are already visible, like the sartorial preference of Sena boss Uddhav Thackeray ever since he opened talks with NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar. Saffron clothing has been packed off. And Sena’s rabble rouser Sanjay Raut sidestepped a loaded question on the party’s position to honour Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarkar with the Bharat Ratna, saying he would not fall into the trap. 

The BJP visibly softened after getting into power for the first time with Vajpayee leading a coalition and Advani saying governance was mostly ideology neutral. One hopes it happens to the Sena as well. Instead of lampooning it as a case of the tiger changing its stripes, the change could be read positively as one of sandpapering its harsh edges, thus contributing to national integration.

As Uddhav admitted, he was learning from experience how the BJP had managed to find common ground with parties professing diverse ideologies to stay in power. It’s for this reason Uddhav’s visit to Ayodhya on Sunday next would be watched with interest. Remember his party had earlier bragged about Sena kar sevaks bringing down the Babri structure and accused the BJP of shying away from hard Hindutva. Now that Sena will be occupying the Opposition benches in Parliament, its nuancing on issues like the human rights situation in J&K will also be interesting. 

The Congress is helping the Sena’s mainstreaming at great personal risk. In her gamble for power, interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi has shown there are no political untouchables. One wonders if the party would have responded similarly had Rahul Gandhi continued at its helm. As for the BJP, it would surely harp at the Congress ‘duplicity’ on secularism to draw minority votes across India, and try to chip away at the Sena’s base. The chessboard has been interestingly set.

Stay up to date on all the latest Editorials news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp