The fact that BJP candidate and accused terrorist Pragya Singh Thakur claimed that Gandhi’s killer was a “patriot” is extremely symbolic since it drew attention to the unsavory figures that the ruling party associates itself with and also encapsulates the essence of the historic crossroad that this election represents.
India is at an historic crossroad this election and nothing more perfectly encapsulates that essence than BJP candidate and accused terrorist Pragya Singh Thakur claiming that Gandhi’s killer was a “patriot“. She was previously arrested as one of the prime suspects in the 2008 Malegaon terrorist attack carried out by Hindutva extremists against Muslims, but has since been released on bail and is now contesting the elections in Bhopal on behalf of the BJP. Her incendiary and ideologically radicalized comment was made in the context of responding to an opposition politician’s historically accurate remark that “independent India’s first extremist was a Hindu”, which is veritably true because Gandhi’s killer was indeed a member of the Hindu fundamentalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that later gave birth to none other than the BJP itself.
Modi’s party has since distanced itself from Thakur’s glorification of terrorism but the damage was already done because of the widespread awareness both within the country and abroad about her scandalous statement. The BJP is usually very proud of its association with “saffron terrorists” but has taken an uncharacteristically sensitive approach towards any public mentioning of its traditional ties with Gandhi’s killer during the ongoing election out of fear that it’ll scare some voters into supporting the opposition instead. That’s because this election isn’t like any other in India’s history since its outcome will greatly determine the future of the country’s constitutional secularity. The ruling BJP wants to turn India into a “Hindu Rashtra” (fundamentalist Hindu state) across the transnational region that its ideologues claim as “Akhand Bharat” (Greater India), so its re-election would allow it to make further progress in this long-term direction.
No matter how much the party denies that this is its official vision, the very fact that someone such as Thakur was chosen by it to contest elections in spite of her unresolved terrorist charges speaks volumes about its implicit intent. The only reason why they’re censuring her now is because she let the cat out of the bag about how the BJP truly feels about Gandhi’s assassin, who they revere as a Hindutva “patriot” that punished India’s independence leader for “selling out” to the secularists and not succeeding in ethnically cleansing every Muslim from their country during the deadly events of 1947. Even if the party wins re-election at the end of the month, it’ll have serious difficulty containing the public relations disaster that this and other campaign scandals have caused to its international reputation, which might lead to some of its partners treating it differently once they finally figure out what the BJP is really all about.
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