As his own style to “ridicule” the BJP, the Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha member and the party spokesman Sanjay Raut on Monday that his party would study first if any bill on “Love Jihad” comes in Bihar led by the Nitish Kumar government, then his party would take a stand. He was reacting on the BJP leaders who sought the enactment of legislation against “love jihad”, a term coined by Hindutva groups for Hindu girls being allegedly forced to convert to Islam in the guise of marriage.
The remarks of Raut are quite contrary of Sena stand that once was very vocal against the “Love Jihad” and had insisted for a law against it. Raut now said that BJP leaders in Maharashtra are attempting to “distract” the Uddhav Thackeray-led government from the course of development by using such tactics.
The senior BJP leader Ram Kadam targeted the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government last week and asked why it was silent on the atrocities committed against women under the pretext of “love”. The Sena said it will think about legislation against “love jihad” if the Bihar government brings in such legislation. The BJP union minister Giriraj Singh has backed an enactment of the law in Bihar, but the Janata Dal (U), led by the chief minister, Nitish Kumar is reportedly against it.
The Sena spokesman said, “I spoke to the chief minister about the demand for a ‘love jihad’ law by BJP leaders. We will study the law against ‘love jihad’ in other states, especially in Bihar, and then think about it. Nitish Kumar has become the chief minister with the help of the BJP, but the BJP is running the government. We will study what law Nitish Kumar’s government brings in. The BJP should bring in an ideal law on ‘love jihad’ in Bihar and then ask questions to others about it.”
Earlier, the Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said that the “Love jihad” is a word manufactured by the BJP to divide the nation and disturb its communal harmony. It seems that the Sena which is one of the alliance partners of Congress in Maharashtra is also using the same language against the proposed law.
Political observers feel that by making such remarks, the Sena once a strong votary of Hindutva, is giving up its core ideology of Hindutva. Will the party’s colour remain saffron in coming days?
** M Charulata