Is silence only tactical!

Just when we thought that BJP has reined in its exuberant fringe in recent weeks, the Union Minister Mahesh Sharma has broken the silence by reiterating his party's stand to build Ram temple at Ayodhya. Not only that, Sharma has negated the forensic report that the meat in the fridge of Ikhlaq, the victim of Dadri lynching was mutton, saying it was beef. And Sharma is not a fringe but a responsible leader in the union government, Does this mean, come what may BJP will not change its stripes, albeit there could be periods of tactical silence.  Sharma, as an afterthought, did temper his statement on Ram temple by mentioning that the government will wait for the Supreme Court order on the matter or the "mutual understanding" before  going ahead  with the construction.  Incidentally, Sharma is the minister of culture in BJP government. Though there is nothing new about his provocative remarks as he has made them previously also, the uncalled for references to Dadri and Ram Mandir are conspicuous by their bad timing. They have come at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi seemed to have got a grip on his party's lunatic fringe. When Sadhvi Pragya, Sangeet Som, Sakshi Maharaj,  others seemed to have been forced to go quiet. And the violent attacks on the minorities curbed. With such recourse to communal utterances and privileging of one community's sentiment over that of the other, the country's largest minority will once again have a reason to be worried. And ironically, at a time when Prime Minister has showed signs of moving beyond his ideologically steeped politics and work for a greater regional reconciliation with Pakistan. In a cathartic departure from the past, Modi stopped over in Pakistan on his return to India from Afghanistan.  The move has certainly gone a long way to temper public apprehensions about him in the country. PM is beginning  to be seen to move to the political middle ground. But as Sharma has reminded us once again, BJP will often struggle with a politics of accommodation, If PM wants to be taken seriously in his new avatar as a peace maker, he will have to take firm steps for a fundamental departure from the particularly polarizing climate of the past several months which reached its crescendo during Bihar polls. India's concerned minorities need such a message and outreach.   

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