In backyard Mangalore, BJP loses Sangh vote

FP

The Hindutva laboratory in coastal Karnataka's Mangalore region is at the crossroads as the state goes to polls on May 5. For the first time in nearly 20 years, BJP candidates here do not have a crucial ingredient in their mix — the numbers and muscle of the Sangh Parivar cadre.

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Those in the Sangh Parivar who believed that the BJP victory in 2008 would set the stage for imposing right-wing Hindu ideology in the district are a disillusioned lot. Despite the church attacks, the pub attack, the homestay attack, attacks on individuals in inter-religion relationships, a seriously committed group in the Sangh is upset that the BJP did not go the whole hog.

"We have applied the brakes on supporting the BJP in the election this time. We want to see how they will do without our support. They have tied the hands of the workers in pursuing Hindutva agenda... The Sangh leaders have also fallen from grace and are pursuing personal interests," said an agitated official of one of the Sangh's 36 organisations who has been with the Parivar for over 25 years.

"We had five core issues — stopping cow slaughter, ending religious conversions, fighting love jihad, opposing caste reservations, and protecting Hindu culture. None of these was effectively pursued and the Sangh was also not allowed to do it. Now people have started to believe that the BJP uses these issues only to get power," the official added.

Another senior Sangh organiser who has been active for over 30 years in the region is equally disenchanted, though less vocal. "As members of the Sangh, we are not allowed to seek personal gain. It is true and natural for some people to be upset. But ultimately we are still committed to our core values and creation of a Hindu society," the Sangh activist said.

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