Nearly a dozen Rajput organizations, including the Karni Sena, have declared support to the Congress party for the upcoming by-polls in Ajmer and Alwar Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies to be held on January 29. The Rajput organizations claim they have taken the decision to avenge the humiliation Rajputs have suffered under the BJP rule in the state.
Giriraj Singh Lotwara, Preseident of Shri Rajput Sabha, said, “The Rajput community is unhappy with the state BJP government. The community feels cheated. The agreement inked in the Anandpal encounter case has not been followed. In the Chatur Singh case, we demanded a CBI probe but nothing happened. Also, a sum of ₹3.5 crore service tax has been imposed on Rajput Sabha Bhawan.”
Candidate of the Congress Party from Ajmer, Raghu Sharma, met with leaders of the Rajput community seeking support for the upcoming by-polls. Leaders of Rajput organizations have assured unconditional support to the Congress in all the three seats going into polls. Khachariyawas, who was accompanying Sharma, commented “The Rajput organisations have assured support on all three seats and this will come as a big jolt to the BJP. We have also assured the Congress’ support to the community.”
The other Rajput organizations to have declared support to the Congress include Shri Rajput Sabha, Marwar Rajput, Rashtriya Karni Sena, Rawna Rajput, Charan Rajput, Pratap Foundation.
It wasn’t the first time that Congress leaders have sought to appease the Rajput community for electoral gains. When members of Karni Sena had thrashed Sanjay Leela Bhansali last year, Congress leader Pratap Singh had backed the Karni Sena and stated that no one had the right to dent Padmavati’s image. He had told ANI then, “Padmavati was not lover of anyone. Bhansali cannot hurt the sentiments of the people by portraying the sacrifice of Padmavati in a wrong way. Padmavati has a history, she had fought for everyone. Chittaur is a pride of the nation.”
The conspicuous silence of the Congress bigwigs over the violent antics of the Karni Sena has not gone unnoticed. Normally, they are overeager to point fingers at the BJP and demand strict punishment for the offenders, however with the state assembly elections in Rajasthan around the corner, the Congress party has adopted a strategic silence.
Shashi Tharoor, self-proclaimed champion of Freedom of Expression, demanded that the sentiments of Rajputs be respected, giving the impression that he was perfectly at ease with censorship in this particular instance:
2/2 मैं यह भी निर्भीक होकर कहूँगा की भारत की विविधता व समरस्ता के मध्यनज़र राजपूत समाज की भावनाओ का आदर किया जाना सबका कर्तव्य है। राजपूतों की बहादुरी हमारे इतिहास का हिस्सा है व ईस पर कोई प्रश्न नहीं उठा सकता। भाजपा व उसके सेन्सर बोर्ड को ईन भावनाओ का सम्मान करना चाहिए।
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) November 16, 2017
While the Congress party maintains stoic silence, and Karni Sena extends support to Congress, news emerged that after meeting Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Karni Sena has agreed to accept invitation extended by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and watch the movie Padmaavat:
BREAKING: #KarniSena देखेगी #Padmavat, यूपी के सीएम @myogiadityanath से मुलाकात के बाद करणी सेना के लोकेंद्र कल्वी ने कहा कि #SanjayLeelaBhansali के न्यौते पर हम पद्मावत देखने को तैयार हैं. pic.twitter.com/XN0JpHEkdQ
— ABP न्यूज़ हिंदी (@abpnewshindi) January 22, 2018
Appeasement has been a favored tactic of the Congress party to succeed at electoral politics and it is not surprising that it is looking to benefit electorally from the Padmavat controversy. Congress has in the past adopted the same strategy and it has served their purposes electorally. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise to anyone that the Party which brought the First Amendment is again willing to retract from its self proclaimed strong commitment to Freedom of Expression for electoral benefits.