After the Congress party came to power in 2004 in alliance with Left parties, the Indian politics tilted radically towards ‘secularism’. Every party was bound to prove itself secular and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh famously/infamously said, “Minorities have first right on nation’s resources”.
This wave of minority appeasement in the name of secularism was so strong that, the myth of “Hindu terror” was propagated by many leaders like Digvijay Singh and home minister Shivraj Patil. The Congress party, in alliance with the left which has complete control of academia and intellectual narrative, propagated the myth of Hindu terror in order to sabotage BJP and RSS.
Many Hindu leaders like Sadhvi Pragya, Swami Aseemanand were arrested under the terrorism charges and were branded as ‘saffron terrorists’ by the media, which perpetuated the myth rather than doing some investigative journalism. These leaders were later acquitted from all terror charges as the charges, of course, were not true.
The myths of Hindu terrorism got a currency especially after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks and with the Congress party spectacular victory in 2009 general election.
The wave started to take a U-turn after the Congress party came to back foot after the Indian Against Corruption movement and the rise of PM Modi, who was chief minister of Gujarat back then. In was well known by 2013 that Modi is going to Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2014 general election and the Congress and the left-liberal establishment was rattled with a Hindu nationalist eyeing for the most powerful chair of the country.
From the very early days, PM Modi made very clear that the campaign will be centred on the Good Governance, Development and of course, Hindu Nationalism- the ideological arrows for which Modi was known for as CM of Gujarat.
With these electoral planks, Modi registered a massive victory in 2014 general election and for the first time in 30 years, a party came to Lok Sabha with full majority of its own.
After Modi became PM, Amit Shah was made BJP chief. The Hindu nationalist agenda became very clear after Amit Shah’s election as the party chief. Amit Shah led the party to victory in one after another state election, riding on the similar ideological plank that of 2014 general election.
However, with every passing state election, the emphasis on Hindu nationalism agenda became more prominent. In the 2014 general election, more focus was against the corruption but it soon morphed into something bigger ideologically after the party won in Uttar Pradesh, and choose Yogi Adityanath as chief minister despite opposition from within party, media, and the left-liberal bureaucratic-political-activist establishment. CM Yogi Adityanath has been more open about the Hindu nationalism agenda than any other BJP CM and has in fact, helped to mainstream many aspects of it.
From 2014 onwards, the political narratives of the country have shifted more towards the right on the political spectrum in terms of the cultural point of view. In 2009, every party wanted to show itself as ‘secular’ by wearing skull caps on Muslim festivals which became a fashion among politicians. But, by the end of 2017, Indian politics moved to the other side of the political spectrum and every party was hell-bent on showing its Hindu loyalties.
The self-proclaimed secular parties like Congress became involved in temple run by the 2019 general election and ‘Gotra‘ of party leader like Rahul Gandhi was being discussed. Akhilesh Yadav, another secular politician took a holy dip in Ganga and performed Hindu rituals to show his Hindu loyalties. In Kerala, Communist party leaders started to backtrack on their Sabarimala stand, after it backfired in the Lok Sabha elections. In Tamil Nadu too, Dravidian leaders continue to visit temples to pander to the Tamil Hindus as they secretly fear a Hindu awakening in the offing.
From Kerala to Jammu and Gujarat to Assam, Indian politics and political parties started openly showing their Hindu loyalties. In the Delhi assembly election, BJP lost the election but won the ideological battle as Kejriwal and other AAP leaders were forced to support the abrogation of Article 370, visit Hindu temples and recite the Hanuman Chalisa so as to not infuriate the Hindu voter, to the point that leftists have started to cry foul about this ‘soft Hindutva’.
Therefore, the rise of PM Modi and BJP has completely changed the political conversations of the country and from a point where every party flaunted its “secular” ethics, now every one of them runs to temples sporting a Tilak on their forehead. Wearing the skullcap and participating in Ramadan is no longer cool until the same is done for the Hindus, and therefore, BJP and RSS are winning the ideological battle despite minor losses in the assembly election.