The battle for the Bhopal seat reflects the larger conflict between two competing narratives that is playing out in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
The BJP, which has been winning this Hindi heartland seat since 1989, is pushing a mix of aggressive Hindutva and strident nationalism.
On the other hand, the Congress has also adopted a soft Hindutva side.
Digvijaya Singh, a leader who once made the phrase ‘Hindu terror’ famous, has visited many temples and Sadhvi Pragya who is a hardcore Hindutva supporter and whose Hindu image is her only selling point, these thing has made one thing very clear that the Lok Sabha battle for Bhopal is turning out to be a peculiar but fascinating affair.
No Congress- BJP Fight But Who Is A Better Hindu?
Not only has Mr Singh been busy temple-hopping, performing pujas and participating in yagnas, he has also made it a point to publicise this on Twitter. In addition, Mr Singh has sought help from his long-time guru Dwarka-Sharda Peeth Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati, who is virtually camping in Bhopal to vouch for Mr Singh’s devotion to the Hindu faith. Having been branded as “anti-Hindu”, Mr Singh sought an image makeover when he undertook a six-month Narmada yatra last year. The Congress leader also made it a point to invoke “Ma Narmada” while “welcoming” Ms Thakur to Bhopal for the election and expressed the hope that Narmadaji would bless them all so that they walk the path of truth and non-violence.
The BJP carefully fielded the controversial Thakur against Singh.
It’s Congress `soft’ Hindutva vs BJP `hardline’ Hindutva
“Digvijaya Singh iconises the image of an anti-Hindu force. He coined the word Hindu terror. This is precisely why sadhvi ji has been fielded against him, since she is a living victim of his politics and can expose him,” Bajpai said.
When her candidature was announced, Thakur visited the Mahakaleshwar temple that very evening.
Her constant and dominant messaging at rallies, roadshows and public interactions is to question Singh and what she calls his “anti-Hindu” stance.
Hindutva remains her pivotal election issue.
“She stops at temples on the way during her campaign but she really does not need to flaunt this since her stature is enough,” said Hitesh Bajpai, who takes care of Thakur’s media outreach and strategy.
“But for Singh, visiting temples is an election ploy. If he is such a Hindu, why did he visit Azamgarh earlier? Or begin his campaign with a dargah visit? His entire political lifestyle has been anti-Hindu,” Bajpai added. ( The Print)
So, this contest has become one about the two trying to trap each other by carefully watching each other’s steps.
What do you think about this? Tell us in the comments section and stay connected with Awaaznation for all updates.