An organism which refuses to adapt to changing scenarios, changing trends, is bound to end up a loser. Evolution, is the process which allows organisms to thrive and flourish even as their surroundings or needs change. This rule applies as much to living beings as to political parties. And we are currently witnessing this in the Congress party.
As per WikiLeaks, Congress scion and soon to be President of the party, Rahul Gandhi had declared in the US in 2009, that Hindu extremists were a bigger threat to India than Islamic terrorists. The term “Hindu Terror” was coined by UPA ministers. While the world was holding Pakistan responsible for 26/11, then Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh, then considered the mentor of Rahul Gandhi, had released a book titled “26/11 RSS Ki Saazish?” (26/11, An RSS Conspiracy?) thus exonerating Islamic terrorists.
This was Congress’ and its leaders’ public stand on such issues. Then the waterloo called 2014 came, followed by many such waterloo moments, most notable being the Uttar Pradesh assembly election in 2017. Now, we see a course correct, an evolution.
Rahul Gandhi has started visiting temples by the dozens. Even the Somnath temple, which is witness to Rahul Gandhi’s great-grandfather’s treachery. The prince now claims his family is a “Shiva Bhakt”. Once controversy broke out over Rahul’s religion, Congress leaders scrambled to declare him a devoted Hindu. Further, it was said that “not only was he a Hindu, but he was a janeu-dhari Hindu”, which was to say, not only is Rahul a Hindu, but he is a Hindu of the ‘highest order’, a Brahmin. Now we suddenly see posters of “Pandit” Rahul Gandhi, put up by Congress leaders.
All of this is in view of the Gujarat elections where perhaps Rahul Gandhi has realised (from earlier debacles in Gujarat and other places) that going for the soft-Hindutva line could be more useful. A political outfit is not barred from changing its religious thought-process before an election. But one expects consistency of view. If Congress wants to rebrand itself as a soft-Hinduva party, so be it. But then it has to consistently follow this maxim.
For starters, when in Kannur, Kerala, a Youth Congress leader had slaughtered a cow in full public view, later claiming that he had the approval of the State President for this act, Congress acted by condemning and suspending the concerned people. On the other hand, Rahul has a comment handy when it comes to condemning ‘Gau Rakshaks’ without ever commenting on ‘Cow smugglers’ and the menace it has led to. Not once does Rahul comment on murders by these smugglers. Even when action was taken against the Youth Congress leader, it was cloaked as a disciplinary action and that it wasn’t the style of protest that Congress condones. Not a word was said about Hindu sentiments being deliberately hurt and of the subject of the protest itself.
While this may be a story of the past, and the Congress and Gandhi’s can be excused for it because Rahul Gandhi had written a tweet to distance himself, will they at least explain what is a soft-Hindutva party’s senior leader Kapil Sibal, doing when he represents the Sunni Wakf Board in the Ram Mandir case in the Supreme Court? An easy answer would be that Sibal is a respected lawyer and it is his right to represent any client who comes to him, and all of this is in his personal capacity. But then why did Sibal try to delay the judgement on the Ayodhya matter, citing 2019 Lok Sabha elections? Why is he being reported as saying:
How does it matter, to the Sunni Wakf Board or to an independent lawyer acting in his personal capacity, that the elections may be affected by a title dispute judgement? Or is he only a proxy for the Congress party, who by claiming to be representing the Sunni Wakf Board, is trying to further the Congress’ own ideas, in the Ram temple case? Is this then the same Congress, whose to be President is a temple hopping, “janeu dhari”, Shiva Bhakt?
The Congress’ only explanation so far is that it is Sibal’s personal case, and they have refrained from commenting further calling it a sub-judice matter. Both explanations are not convincing.
The singular question which arises in the minds of all Indians at this moment is: Will the real Congress stand up? Are you the old “secular” Congress whose Prime Minister declares that minorities have the first right over the nations resources, thereby reducing the Hindu majority to second class citizens? Or are you the new “soft-Hindutva” Congress which has a “janeu-dhari”, Shiva Bhakt for a President who loves visiting temples (which according to him, are also frequented by molesters)?
Or is the Congress of today, just a confused jigsaw puzzle of ideologies that keep fluctuating depending on the state that goes to election? Will this ‘soft Hindutva’ stand disappear once say Kerala goes to polls, just like they pandered to Muslims when Uttar Pradesh was headed for elections?
For what its worth, BJP and the Sangh has stood by their ideology come hail or high water. Regardless of elections being held and its victory or loss in those said elections, their ideological stand has been consistent through the decades.
Congress needs to take a stand on this issue once and for all, and then stick to it consistently. As said before, there is no restriction for Congress to remodel itself as a soft-Hindutva party, but at least let it be honest. In a Hindu Majority country as diverse as India, a political parties stand on the issue of ideology is an extremely important element. The voters certainly deserve all the information there is to have before making an informed decision while casting their votes.
The garbled shrieks of ‘secularism’ is clearly passe. If not, then it is clear as daylight that Rahul Gandhi and the Congress considers Hindus and Muslims to be gullible fools who will fall for temporary gimmicks and dramas, as and when is suited to the Congress party’s political needs.
Editorial team of OpIndia.com