Exit Polls Renew 'Hindu Rashtra' Clamour As Right-Wing Outfits Plan to Seek Constitutional Amendment

CNN-News18
The Hindu Janajagruti Samiti said the annual 10-day convention will be held in Goa with a focus on legalities of amending the Constitution.

Buoyed by exit polls that predicted a return of the BJP government at the Centre with a thumping majority, many Hindutva organisations are holding a 10-day convention from May 27 and the focus, this time, would be on ways to amend the Constitution to get India declared a “Hindu rashtra”.

The Hindu Janajagruti Samiti said the annual convention will be held, like other years, in Ponda, Goa, and over 800 organistions will attend the session with a special focus on legalities of the amendment, besides social media usage towards this goal.

This is the outfit whose activists have been named for their role in the killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh.

CNN-News18’s Deepa Balakrishnan spoke to the samiti’s spokesperson, Mohan Gowda, and the vice-president of Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad, NP Amrutesh.

Edited excerpts:

What is the main objective of the convention?

Mohan Gowda: To declare India as a Hindu nation. Since 70 years, in the name of secularism, discrimination is going on — over Ram mandir, repeal of Article 370, cow slaughter… All the demands are pending. Day by day, attacks on Hindu activists have reached a peak. So, we want to get India declared a Hindu nation. This will be the only solution to the root-cause of the problem.

NP Amrutesh: Our goal is to form a Hindu nation. To name India a Hindu rashtra and to delete ‘secularism’ from the Constitution.

Are you giving an ultimatum?

Mohan Gowda: We are passing a resolution in the convention with all the coordinating Hindu organisations. More than 800 delegates are coming. We will submit this resolution to the Central government.

Is there a deadline by when this should be achieved?

Mohan Gowda: By 2023, at any cost, India should be declared a Hindu nation.

But it requires Constitutional amendment?

Mohan Gowda: Across the whole country, there is an increase in support for Hindu causes. Even parties, like the Congress, have started visiting temples.

Now, the BJP has a majority in the Lok Sabha. By 2021, it can get a majority in the Rajya Sabha. It can be in power in 15 states. Definitely India can become a Hindu rashtra by 2023.

Are you buoyed by the exit polls prediction in putting forth this demand?

Mohan Gowda: Now the poll scenario has given us hope. In West Bengal and other states, there’s hope for the Hindu cause. In Kerala, too, it is same. So, definitely we are hoping for a good government that is pro-Hindu.

But that requires a constitutional amendment, it is a long process.

Mohan Gowda: Definitely we are demanding (the same). (Former prime minister) Indira Gandhi unconstitutionally included the word “secular” in 1976. It is an illegal word. It should be removed from the Constitution. This is dangerous, because (BR) Ambedkar had said many Leftists had wanted to include the word “secular”, but he opposed it as he wanted India to be a religious state. Indira Gandhi took advantage of Emergency.

But such an amendment would attract a lot of opposition.

NP Amrutesh: The opposition cannot do anything if there’s a majority. If there are 100 MPs and 90 are ready to amend the Constitution, what about the 10 members…

Wherever you go, 10 members are making noise, but the 90 members are raising their hands to change the Constitution. It is simple. You don’t complicate, when there is a majority. According to the Constitution and in a democratic set-up, when you have a majority, you choose the government, you choose your prime minister, chief minister.

Right from beginning the word “secularism” is there.

NP Amrutesh: Not from the beginning. It was introduced in 1976 during Emergency after sending opposition leaders to jail. If need be, we can now send opposition leaders out of the Lok Sabha to get this cleared in Parliament.

We have come to know the real truth of secularism — it is the appeasement of minorities, to get their votes. We want to curb this. Go for a common civil code.

How would a Hindu nation make any difference?

Mohan Gowda: We can get religious education in our schools and colleges and our temples will be free from government control… We will get government funds to go to pilgrimages. There would be protection for Hindu temples, saints and Hindu organisations.

You said Hindu activists are targeted. What is your reference here?

Mohan Gowda: Hindu activists (were targeted) for the last five years in south India — 125 leaders were murdered in Tamil Nadu, 24 in Karnataka in the last two years. In Kerala also, 256 Hindu leaders were murdered. There is a systematic movement of jihadists in India. In West Bengal there has been a serial killing of Hindus — four leaders were brutally murdered. There should be protection for Hindu leaders.