When you have more, you want even more. That is exactly what is happening to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The BJP retained power in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand in the recent Assembly elections, but the party is apparently not satisfied.
The upcoming elections in Gujarat and Himanchal Pradesh at the end of this year, as well as the Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Rajasthan in 2023, and, of course, the Lok Sabha polls in 2024, have forced the party to make every possible effort to cement its position among the voters.
The Ram temple in Ayodhya is likely to be ready by the end of 2023, but for the BJP this is apparently not enough.
“Our slogan was ‘Ayodhya ki taiyyari hai, Kashi Mathura baki hai’, and we are going by this. Ayodhya will be ready and we will keep our promise of liberating Kashi and Mathura from invaders. Our trinity of gods — Ram, Shiv and Krishna — will have grand temples dedicated to them,” said a veteran BJP leader.
Party strategists feel that while mere governance can bring them back to power, it is the Hindu card that will give them overwhelming majority in the elections.
The BJP is aware of the fact that the expected reactions from the Muslim community on Kashi and Mathura will only help consolidate Hindu votes in the party’s favour.
“We have not spoken a word on Kashi or Mathura yet, and none of our responsible leaders have made any statement on them so far. But look at the Muslim leaders — they are already reacting sharply. This will naturally consolidate Hindus on the issue,” the BJP leader said on condition of anonymity.
He further said that in the UP Assembly elections, the party got about ‘200 seats’ on good governance but the remaining seats came because of the ‘bulldozer’ campaign which was apparently targeted against the Muslim mafia.
“The bulldozer factor brought Hindus to our side and we went far ahead of the halfway mark,” the BJP leader said.
Besides, he added, who does not want extra icing on the cake and said, “Kashi and Mathura have the strength of demolishing caste barriers and reinforcing the ‘Hindu First’ card. Ayodhya was a trump card in 2014 and 2019 and now in 2024, Kashi and Mathura will lead us back to power.”
The BJP leaders also feel that religion is a glue that keeps the party together.
“When you have a winning card in your hand, petty differences get swept away. For the party workers, what matters is success in elections and no one talks if that is assured,” said a senior BJP MLA.