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    [2001 onwards]


'In the BJP victory, one finds the seeds of defeat'

December 15, 2002, Ahmedabad: Socio-political analyst Achyut Yagnik's take on the BJP's big win in Gujarat.

Shri Achyut Yagnik : Hello! I am here to chat on the Gujarat Elections

Surya : Does this win for BJP give hardliners in the party a boost to use this line in the rest of the country?
Shri Achyut Yagnik : I strongly feel that BJP would try to replicate the Hindutva appeal in the 2003 elections in nine states as well as the 2004 national elections. The younger leadership within the BJP would follow aggressive militant Hindutva line.

Sammy : Do you think Mr Modi was actually responsible for the rioting, or was he a victim of the media?
Shri Achyut Yagnik : There are a number of indications suggesting the involvement of the BJP leadership in Gujarat. From 28 February to 2 March, the State had virtually collapsed. Even people were killed at the gate of the high court and a sitting judge also left his official residence.

sakash : Hello Mr Yagnik, let me repeat my question to you: Don't you agree that 'soft Hindutva' was a failure. It failed during Rajiv's shilanyas episode too. I've heard people saying the Congress doesn't have faith in its own ideology! Isn't it time for aggressive secularism? You can't win an election if you choose to abandon courage and adopt the Opposition's platform as your own!
Shri Achyut Yagnik : I don't think soft Hindutva has failed. I feel the Congress was not proactive in Gujarat and they started the campaign very late and people's issue like water, electricity, drought and earthquake relief were not raised by the Congress. Of course, I would agree that Hindutva appeal was very successful in central Gujarat and tribal belt also.

sakash : Mr Yagnik, do you think this could be the beginning of real terrorism in our country?
Shri Achyut Yagnik : After Kashmir, Gujarat has also become a fertile ground for terrorists activities. Unless we start a healing touch, start peace and reconciliation process in Gujarat, society will be divided.

patrick : How do you describe the poll outcome?
Shri Achyut Yagnik : I think the poll outcome suggests Hindutva appeal as well as the appeal of the pride of Gujarat or Gujarat asmita; not only tribals of eastern belt but the upper caste and intermediate caste of central Gujarat are also welcoming both Hindutva and Gujarati pride.

subra : Why should the so-called secular governments bear the cost for this? Why should my tax money go for this pseudo-secularism? Correct or not? Do they give me any concession to go to Kedarnath?
Shri Achyut Yagnik : For your information, the government is facilitating yatra to Mount Kailash and Mansarovar for Hindus.

sandeep : Mr Yagnik, what do u have to say about all the Muslims who were murdered during the Gujarat riots? Don't u think that helped your party to win these elections?
Shri Achyut Yagnik : I do not belong to any party; I am a social worker associated with an organisation working for the empowerment of marginalised communities. My organisation has carried out relief and rehabilitation after earthquake and after the communal violence for Muslim victims.

stinger : Mr Togadia had said if his experiment succeeds in Gujarat, it will be replicated in other parts of India. So what will be the BJP's strategy in the nine states which go to the polls next year? Also, how much will the BJP yield to the VHP in Gujarat since the VHP had campaigned for it?
Shri Achyut Yagnik : The VHP had wanted 30% of the seats from the BJP, but I should point out that a number of important BJP leaders are very close to VHP and hence, I can say a process of VHP-isation of BJP is going on in Gujarat; and they will get more strength under Narendra Modi.

king : Do you seriously feel that BJP lost in UP because Ayodhya 'lost its charm factor' or because, the BJP refused to take a stand on the issue as it professed so strongly during pre-poll times. It's also irrefutable that a communal factor has aided the BJP once again in Gujarat. If that remains the case, a couple of blasts in Maharashtra next, before the elections occur, and subsequent recoil would also ensure their win. Please comment!
Shri Achyut Yagnik : After the NDA experiment at the Centre, it was not possible for the BJP to follow a militant line on Ayodhya. In UP also, they were dependent on the BSP and Mayawati. As long as the BJP is in NDA, it will not be possible for it to implement aggressive line either in UP or in other north Indian state.

In the BJP victory, one finds the seeds of defeat because after becoming a ruling party, they cannot have Hindutva line and they have to perform to resolve burning issues of the common people. Unfortunately, they failed to address the burning issues and in the end, they depended heavily on militant Hindutva. As BJP is facing the elections in 2003, in a number of states the younger leadership of BJP may adopt the strategy of aggressive Hindutva.

Shri Achyut Yagnik : Thank you for your questions. I have to now leave for another appointment. Let us hope for peace and tranquillity in Gujarat.

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