At BJP youth wing meet, cadres call for Ram Mandir, elders focus on Kanhaiya

New Delhi: The cadres burst their lungs for ” Ram Lala” but the BJP elders had only “Kanhaiya” on their minds and lips.

The JNU controversy and its most visible face drowned out a familiar cry at the BJP youth wing’s two-day national conclave that wound up in Vrindavan on Sunday.

One particular scene played out repeatedly as one national BJP leader after another rose to address the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha crowd.

” Ram Lala, hum ayenge, mandir wahin banayenge (Lord Ram, we’ll be back and build the temple at that exact site),” the cadre would roar.

At BJP youth wing meet, cadres call for Ram Mandir, elders focus on Kanhaiya

But the leader would motion them to be silent or simply ignore the chant and the issue wholesale. What the politicians wanted to speak of was Kanhaiya Kumar, the JNU student leader arrested on sedition charges for allegedly joining in “anti-national” sloganeering on campus before being freed on bail three weeks later.

Kanhaiya dominated the speeches right from BJP national president Amit Shah’s inaugural address on Saturday although not all named the JNU student leader.

Disregarding the ” Ram Lala” chant from the left corner of the tent, Shah thundered: “Anti-national slogans were raised at a university in Delhi. The Yuva Morcha will give a befitting reply to them.”

On Sunday, it was finance minister Arun Jaitley’s turn. He castigated the Left and Rahul Gandhi for “siding” with those raising “slogans calling for India’s dismemberment”.

Jaitley ended on a buoyant note, citing how Kanhaiya “went to jail for raising anti-India slogans but came back and shouted ‘ Jai Hind‘ and ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’”.

The finance minister implied that Kanhaiya was compelled to use these slogans in his “victory speech”, thus proving that the BJP had “fulfilled its national responsibility and emerged victorious” in an ideological war.

Jaitley said the communists had a “historical tradition” of speaking against the country’s interests but the Congress had, before Rahul, never “sympathised” with those looking to break up the country.

“Gandhiji, Nehruji, Dr Ambedkarji, Indiraji and Rajiv Gandhiji never did this sort of thing. But he (Rahul) did. It exposes his ideological hollowness,” Jaitley said.

On Saturday, HRD minister Smriti Irani asked “those Leftists” who had chanted slogans at JNU in favour of executed terror convict Afzal Guru why they had been silent “when a girl was raped in Calcutta and a (Yuva Morcha) leader killed in Kerala”.

Kanhaiya is the JNU students’ union president and a member of CPI student arm AISF.

Junior foreign minister V.K. Singh said: “Should the country support those who are with terrorists? Rohith Vemula was an icon of the JNU students’ union president but we know that Rohith was supporting Mumbai (1993 blasts) terror convict Yakub Memon.”

Rohith, a Dalit PhD scholar, had committed suicide after Hyderabad Central University punished him and his Ambedkar Students Association peers. The action had followed repeated reminders from Irani’s ministry about a letter her colleague Bandaru Dattatreya had written accusing the students of protesting Yakub’s hanging and attacking an ABVP leader when he objected.

Morcha president Anurag Thakur too ignored the ” Ram Lala” chants and said: “We are not against JNU but against those who are trying to divide the nation.”

Uttar Pradesh BJP president Laxmi Kant Bajpai asked: “Who has given Kanhaiya the right to speak against the Prime Minister?”

The final resolution at the conclave said: “Anti-national slogans were raised and the Rohith issue was taken up to initiate a fruitless debate to malign the BJP.”

Away from Vrindavan, even the BJP’s wider community of stakeholders couldn’t stop talking about JNU and Kanhaiya. “Kanhaiya is engaging in extremely aggressive politics. I shall soon hold a yoga session at JNU to reform the students and save them from his ideology,” Baba Ramdev told reporters in Haridwar.