Is Shiv Sena in defensive mood on Hindutva issue ??

Mumbai :- The Shiv Sena that dumped its “HInduvta” for the power and made an alliance with the “secular” parties, like Congress and NCP and even “communal” Samajwadi Party, now got a chance to ridicule its now prime rival, the BJP. Backing the RSS number two, Suresh (Bhaiyyaji) Joshi, who on Sunday said “the Hindu community is not synonymous with the BJP and that opposing BJP does not amount to opposing Hindus,” the Shiv Sena spokesman and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut said that the BJP does not “define Hindutva and Hindu community.”

Scared with the mammoth rally of Raj Thackeray in support of controversial Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens in Mumbai on Sunday, the Sena is now planning to chalk out its new strategy and is desperately in defensive mood “Hinduvta” cause. Joshi’s remarks on BJP came handy for the Sena that was being cornered from all corners that the Balasaheb founded party “dumped” its principal agenda—Hinduvta—only for power. While talking to a news agency, Joshi said that Hindu community does not mean BJP, and opposing BJP does not amount to opposing Hindus. Bhaiyyaji Joshi further said, “Political fight will continue but it should not be linked to Hindus.”

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Bhaiyyaji Joshi’s comments came in view of the ongoing protests against the CAA which offers citizenship to people from six communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians, but not Muslims — who entered India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The RSS, parent organisation of the BJP, has been firm on defending the CAA. Earlier, Bhaiyyaji Joshi had said that the government has passed CAA and the state government has to implement it as under the Constitution, citizenship is a subject of the Centre, and not of the state. “State governments can make laws only on the subjects of the Concurrent List like the Centre makes the law under the Motor Vehicle Act,” Bhaiyyaji Joshi had said.

Reacting on the comment of RSS general secretary, the Sena leader Raut said, “See, Bharatiya Janata Party does not define Hindutva and Hindu community. BJP is a political party, Shiv Sena is a political party. There are many parties and they have their own ideology. Like Pakistan has declared itself an Islamic state but India has still not declared itself as a ‘Hindu Rashtra’.” The Sena was perturbed over the Sunday rally of MNS and hijacking it’s Agenda of “Hinduvta” and “Marathi manush” and is trying to counter the MNS and the BJP and reiterating that the party never dumped “Hinduvta” and is fighting for the cause.

In his inaugural rally on Sunday, Raj made all the right noises on issues, like secularism. His party flag, unveiled earlier, was a manifestation of this political correctness, with strips of saffron, green, blue and white. The new flag aimed at appealing to all social sections beyond the traditional Maharashtrian and Hindu base of the Shiv Sena. However, in a ‘ghar vapasi’ of sorts, Raj seems to have hitched himself and the MNS to the majoritarian agenda once espoused by his parent party, the Shiv Sena. And that’s the main concerns for the Uddhav Thackeray led party!

In the party’s state-level convention on January 23, the first such event after it was started, Raj launched an image makeover by adopting a saffron flag, signifying his formal shift to Hindutva. The message was in the air right from the word go, with Raj beginning his speech with greetings for Hindus rather than Maharashtrians, as he would do earlier. Raj stated that he was a Marathi, but also a Hindu.

He linked the protests against the controversial CAA and NRC to anger among Muslims over the Supreme Court ruling for the Ram Temple at Ayodhya and the scrapping of Article 370, which conferred special status on Jammu and Kashmir. The February 9 march was planned as a counter to these protests. The signal is very clear. Raj is trying to take the place of Balasaheb Thackeray through his own party to counter Uddhav-led Sena! Time will say who wins in this battle!