The Bharatiya Janta Party or its abbreviation, BJP by which it is commonly known as, on the 5th of August celebrated one year since it made its notorious decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. The 5th of August in Modi’s India saw him laying down the founding brick signaling the beginning of the construction of the Ram Temple.
Modi’s BJP has long been advocating for the construction of the temple where the birthplace of the Hindu god Rama-the seventh avatar of Hindu Deity Vishnu took place. The temple is to be built on the same ground where the Babri Masjid once stood before being lynched by angry mobs in 1992, coincidentally it was the BJP that first started campaigning for the building of the temple that led to nation-wide protests and finally mass scale vandalism leading to the demolishing of the mosque.
When Modi attended the ceremony that was broadcasted live on State Television, once again the inevitable question of BJP choosing the 5th of August as the date to inaugurate the temple was raised; with concerns, if there is, in fact, a message being sent to Kashmiris on purpose.
The construction has been legally approved by the Indian Supreme Court who allocated this land at the place where according to their own admission the mosque was illegally demolished. The judgment given in 2019 found that acts of placing an idol in the mosque in 1949 and the demolition were illegal but used the beliefs which led to such acts as reasoning to hand over the land to Hindu parties. The Court also refused to divide the land between Hindu and Muslims.
All of this begs to ask the impending question if this act will actually translate into popularity for Modi. The party already has its popularity at a peak in North India whose city of Ayodhya hosts the Temple. The temple is not likely to bring him supporters from the East and the South. The chief benefactor of this move in the state of Uttar Pradesh will be the Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
At the moment Adityanath is seen anti-Brahmin by Brahmins, members of the highest caste in Hinduism responsible for protection and teaching of sacred knowledge. The construction of this temple will help his position greatly. Though the BJP leaders that actually helped start the Ram Temple Movement as well as the violence it sparked in the decade of the 1980s and 1990s. The two leaders; Murli Manohar Joshi and LK Advani did not only start the movement but were also responsible for bringing in overpowering majority wins in the 2014 and 2019 General Elections. The party went from just two seats in the Lok Sabha (the lower house of India’s bicameral parliament) to over 300 in the latest elections.
The BJP leaders joined through video conference with the impression remaining that they have been pushed to the sidelines for not willing to give up control of the movement and party to the Prime Minister and Home Minister; Amit Shah.
The BJP will have a difficult path to maneuver ahead in the valley to gain support from the locals. Heart-wrenching stories have emerged from people who have interviewed since the decision had been implemented almost a year ago. Ever since the BJP has been actively organizing its self in Kashmir. Prior it has not won a single seat in parliament or assembly but now it has managed to double its membership to 250,000.
The party has a supportive base in Jammu as is evident from the previous wins, even though it did not win any of the forty-six seats in the Kashmir Valley, the winning of twenty-five seats in the 2014 polls made it form a coalition government in Jammu.
The future of the Bhartiya Janta Party seems to be pushing for Hindutva in its main political manifesto. Whilst the state of Uttar Pradesh already witnessing an increase in caste politics, the regions of Bengal and Assam see BJP use a cultural-religious message to appeal to their voters. Already Bihar has been struck with the global coronavirus pandemic. The floods causing great damage as well as a loss of income. Bihar like Uttar Pradesh has also seen a rise in caste politics.
In this case, BJP focusing on Hindutva and creating Hindu icons like the Ram Temple to serve as a cultural icon as well as the date of the inauguration coinciding with the one-year completion of revoking of article 370 and 35-A sends an alarming message most especially through the valley Prime Minister Modi had promised to work for and include in mainstream Indian politics.
The people of Kashmir seem more alienated and desolate than ever, whilst BJP carves a dangerous path ahead for once a secular and the biggest democracy in the world.
Hamna Kamal has a degree in International Relations. She was a part of the literary society in her University and also a member of the organizing committee for overseeing the operations and the task to overlook the smooth running of Model United Nations of College of Business Management. She has interests in geopolitics, fundamentalism and diplomacy.