Although Shah tried being mostly neutral on the issue of Ayodhya, his take on Ram Mandir subtly hinted at a resurrection of the communal propaganda of the Sangh. When asked about if the national party was following a path of its core values of Hindutva to win the vote bank in UP, Shah went on a defensive tone and asked the interviewer to not see the ban on slaughterhouses from that point of view. He said that whether it was western UP, Awadh, Rohailkhand or Purvanchal, milk-giving cows were getting finished due to slaughterhouses. Shah also talks about the dynasty politics in the Congress. The BJP president said that if Rahul Gandhi had a son, he would go on to lead the Congress party. It has to be noted that the BJP has made an alliance with the SAD in Punjab; a party that has been accused of monopoly in the state by the Badal family.
When asked about the return of the issue of Ram Mandir in UP, Shah calmly said that the party would explore ways of building a temple within the Constitutional framework, which could be done in two ways: either through dialogue or through a court order.
Shah then went on a rant about provocative leaders in the state and asked the anchor to not link it to the BJP. BJP’s process for campaigning in UP has been quite simple. Attack the SP over law and order and development. And the gang rapes in Mathura and Bulandshahr only added to its narrative. BJP has been playing on a base created with two major strikes; one against terrorism(surgical strikes) and other against black money(demonetisation).
And irrespective of their success or relative failure, it has walked on a high road or at least advertised so. The Bhartiya Janata Party’s election manifesto for Uttar Pradesh speaks volumes about the party’s propaganda for the elections. Subtle mentions of triple talaq, Ram Mandir and the ban on cow slaughter are played like background music to a ‘focussed on development’ agenda.