In a dilemma over ‘Hindutva’ as the core issue, top leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday discussed the importance of ideology for the party on the second day of the introspective deliberations here.

Against the backdrop of the party’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP leaders discussed at a ‘Chintan Baithak’ as to what extent its ideology, particularly with regard to Hindutva, should be practised to boost electoral prospects.

Lately, the party has been in a dilemma over the issue, with some factions favouring an undiluted Hindutva while others, a softer and “inclusive” one to expand its vote bank.

A section of the BJP feels that the dilution of Hindutva had led to confusion in the party cadres and cost the BJP dearly in the recent Lok Sabha polls.

This view, however, is not shared by the moderate sections, which want to win over more allies and reach out to voters who are reluctant to go with the BJP because of the Hindutva issue.

At the National Executive Meeting held in Delhi in June, the BJP had insisted that “Hinduism or Hindutva is not to be understood or construed narrowly, confined only to religious practices or expressed in extreme forms.”

It contended that Hindutva was “inclusive, representing the finest imprints of our cultural and civilisational ideas. This profound concept is the real inspiration for a resurgent India with which the BJP is proud to be associated.”

Some sections of the BJP, including senior leader L.K. Advani, have been advocating that the party cadres follow a tolerant version of Hindutva while maintaining its ties with RSS.

A section, including M.M. Joshi, has been opposing dilution of ‘hardline’ Hindutva as the ‘core issue’.

The RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat, in a recent interview emphasised the need for the BJP to stay with its core ideology.

The BJP on Wednesday, sent out an assertive message on the issue of ideology as it summarily expelled its senior leader Jaswant Singh for praising Pakistan founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah and criticising Sardar Patel in his book, ‘Jinnah — India, Partition, Independence’.

On the first day of the Baithak on Wednesday, 25 top leaders of the party deliberated upon the poll results and the causes of its poor showing. Various aspects like the selection of candidates, campaign strategy and issues raised during electioneering were discussed threadbare.

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