It isn’t just these elections which have goaded the BJP into examining what exactly their relationship with Hindutva should be – turns out 2009 is a variation of 2004. It’s useful to take a look at what the world looked like back then –
There are several factors which could pull the BJP away from the emotive issues. A powerful middle class is emerging in the country both in urban centres and in rural India, proud to be Hindu but squeamish about extremism of the kind that erupted in Gujarat.
But that triumphant mood has been significantly tempered in the subsequent years and the article’s last line would seem out-of-place now:
One of Vajpayee’s achievements has been the way he has managed to set his own agenda without antagonising the RSS.
One thing is clear. Under Vajpayee, a party on crutches has found its feet.
That was an excerpt of Neerja Chowdhury’s article in February 2004. The rest of it here.