For the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttar Pradesh, the slogan of "Hindi, Hindu, Hindusthan" is very much in currency. It may not be as overt and in-your-face as it used to be in past elections. But behind the curtains, a new saffron brigade is working actively for LK Advani, the BJP's prime ministerial candidate.
Except that, the drums of the soldiers of Hindutva are beating softly. There is no pomp and show, no loud anti-campaigns. The sadhus are there, but they are offering lifestyle choices, rather than selling Hindutva as an ideological plank. This group is also trying to clarify the confusion among the Hindus about the BJP and radical Hinduism.
It isn't as if the firebrand Hindu leaders - Yogi Adityanath, Narendra Modi, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiyar, and now Varun Gandhi - have vanished. Their campaign continues to oppose minority appeasement. But yoga guru Swami Ramdev; Sri Ravi Shanker of Art of Living; Mahant Gyandaas of Akhada Parishad, Sadhvi Ritambhara and Siya Kishori Saran have been softly addressing the issues related to Hindus. The aim of both these groups is common: to pave the way for the formation of the BJP-led government at the Centre. But the rath yatras and trishuls are missing. Instead, it is the soft persuasive power of Hindutva that is on show.
What is more important that this team has a direct communication with Advani and no one else in the party. The group has become active at the initiation of Advani who, much before the announcement of polls, had written a letter to 300 prominent Hindu leaders, mahants and priests seeking their blessings and support. In his letter, Advani had also supported the 11-point agenda of the Dharma Raksha Manch on issues related to Hindu and Hindutva.
In his letter, Advani had sought support on the issue of security of the nation, growing terror attacks and challenges before the Hindu culture.