26 February, 2021

Endorsing Hindutva

The Supreme Court verdict in the Manohar Joshi case raises fears that the next poll campaigns will witness more communal virtriol then ever before

Endorsing Hindutva

IT was one of the most awaited judgements in recent times. And there was palpable tension in Maharashtra the day before it was to be delivered. On Monday, December 11, the Supreme Court was to decide not only the fate of Maharashtra ChiefMinister Manohar Joshi, but also define by implication whether or not appeal for votes based on Hindutva was permissible in election campaigns. The latter, of course, was the more important aspect of the case, for it was to come virtually on the eve of the general elections.

When the verdict was finally delivered by a bench comprising Justices J.S. Verma, N.P. Singh and K. Venkataswami in the packed courtroom number three, its echoes were heard in every section of the nation's polity. The Hindutva brigade of the BJP and the Shiv Sena burst into applause—Bal Thackeray's indictment was only a small price to pay for a larger cause. The National Front-Left Front combine spluttered in stunned disbelief. The Sena-BJP alliance's primary source of worry had been the possible fallout if the apex court had confirmed the Bombay High Court verdict...

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