It took two successive election debacles, but the recent rout in the General elections seem to have woken up the BJP to the fact that there are also Muslims, Christians and other minorities in this country.
I read (LK Advani Aide-), Sudheendra Kulkarni's detailed analysis of the defeat in a magazine and (surprise!) there was Hindutva among the reasons given.
'How did we invite this weakness upon us?', went the opening line.
Truly said. How could any aspiring national party have continued to bind its own feet using such a bigoted stance?
Kulkarni made some points about the prevalent anti-Muslim dogma among party members that prevented them from taking ANY attempts, no matter how justified, towards minority development and welfare.
I was half hoping for a schism in the BJP, whereby a new party could emerge free from it's RSS and VHP ties, leaving the dinosaurs behind to fade into ignominy.
That hasn't happened yet, but positive signs are emerging.
At the National Executive Committee meeting held the other day, the party has resolved to abandon its hardline Hindutva stance.
To quote former charioteer, LK Advani, "At our office-bearers meeting two days back, two eminent colleagues of ours affirmed their faith in Hindutva but cautioned against any narrow, bigoted, anti-Muslim interpretation being put on it"
The Resolution taken at the meeting also stated that "Theocracy or any form of bigotry is alien to our ethos. Hinduism or Hindutva is not to be understood or, construed narrowly confined only to religious practices, or expressed in extreme forms"
I hope that means an effective end to the bigoted 'Hindu Rashtra' ideology and the associated venom spewing.
It is not exactly the much desired snapping-of-ties with the RSS, but definitely a firm step away from them.
How honest these words are remain to be seen, but it sure is an encouraging sign.
India really needs a truly right-of-center national party to act as a natural counterweight to the liberal leaning Congress.
Thus far, the bigoted, anti-Muslim and minority bashing tactics of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar meant that there was no genuine, inclusive national alternative to the Congress.
By getting routed in the elections, the party has got a real opportunity to reposition itself as a party for ALL Indians, not some.
One would hope that this election translates into a more mature, civilized political discourse from the BJP.
Another reason for India to say 'Jai Ho!' ;-)