ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Promises and Threats

Secularism as Equal Citizenship

A rejuvenation of the nationalist spirit, constructed in narrow terms of primordial identity is what the ruling party promises in its campaign for the Lok Sabha election. Though secularism was never a clearly defined or practised principle, the explicit signals of retreat from the promise of formal equality represent a clear and perilous regress.

Three legislative proposals introduced in the penultimate session of the current Lok Sabha, were advance intimation of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) campaign themes. These were Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the Triple Talaq Bill, and reservation for economically weaker sections. Cumulatively, the three reaffirmed the Hindutva construct of nationalism and reproached all other parties for abandoning that basic identity in their anxiety to play the politics of appeasement. A concurrent judicial manoeuvre sought to reclaim a site in Ayodhya scarred by strife, proclaiming the symbolic triumph of one faith over another.

After seeking to hustle the Ayodhya issue through its appeal process in the Supreme Court, the BJP briefly considered an ordinance to appropriate the land under dispute for the purpose of a temple. That plan was abandoned presumably, because executive pre-emption of a matter under judicial consideration seemed a risky flirtation with impropriety. When the Supreme Court decided on 8 March 2019, that it would refer the disputed land title to a three-member team of mediators, the BJP was none too pleased.

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Updated On : 22nd May, 2019

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