Why BJP has Gone from Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas to Mandir Politics


Why BJP has Gone from Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas to Mandir Politics

Illustration: Akshita Monga


our years ago, in the wake of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP unhesitatingly put the word Ayodhya in their manifesto. It was a risk, according to even conservative minds, because it is one thing to offer hyperbole as part of routine electoral seduction, it is another to etch it in ink, where it can be found and deconstructed with ease. That the BJP threw their weight so unreservedly behind a communally divisive issue with a particularly turbulent history, only cemented a fact in India’s politics – that no matter how many “vikas” and “desh badal raha hai” planks the BJP decided to stand on, it would centre back to the one that defined its ideology and vision of India best.  

Even Murli Manohar Joshi, the head of the party’s draft committee at the time, had said, with aplomb “whatever is there is there”, pointing to the kind of confidence that, in retrospect, not only feels justified but prophetic. But Ayodhya’s efficacy, its relevance lies in its incompleteness, in remaining the unfulfilled symbol of a perfect Hindu nation. There is more to be gained from the vocal grind of a victimised mandir that stokes the imagination, than there is from one that registers to the eye. With Ayodhya, the journey will always remain more important than the destination.