A poster with a group of State leaders of the Congress party along with the party president, Rahul Gandhi, depicting the respective caste groups the leaders belonged to emerged on Wednesday in Patna. The poster displays a group photograph of state Congress leaders with their President Rahul Gandhi and has the caste of each person printed on the front.
The Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee was revamped last week with the appointment of new office-bearers. Siddharth Kshatriya, a former secretary of Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) put up a poster in Patna to thank Congress president Rahul Gandhi on appointing new office bearers in the party’s Bihar unit.
The poster, along with the pictures of the new office-bearers also mentioned the individual caste of the leaders.
The poster exposing the caste-based politics the party resorts to read: “We congratulate party president Rahul Gandhi for ensuring that the newly appointed Bihar Congress working committee sets a benchmark of communal harmony by giving representation to all castes/communities”.
The BJP state spokesperson lambasting at the Congress said, “In sheer desperation, the Congress has been resorting to gimmicks like proclaiming Rahul Gandhi as one who wears the sacred thread, worships Lord Shiva and goes to Kailash Mansarovar on pilgrimage. The posters mark a new low in the history of the Congress which Mahatma Gandhi had, rightly, wished to abolish after Independence. The party and its national president should apologise to the nation for the antics while the EC should take note of the attempts to whip up caste and religious feelings and initiate appropriate action.”
JD(U) MLC Neeraj Kumar, strongly criticising Congress’ tactics said that the poster exposes the party’s real face. “Rahul Gandhi is touring temples and distributing certificates of being a Hindu. Whereas in Bihar, the party’s popularity has taken such a hit that it is now compelled to publicize castes of their leaders”.
This is not the first time Congress has taken recourse to caste-based politics. During the buildup to the Gujarat elections, the Congress party had surprised many by openly declaring its intention to woo Hindus, with Rahul Gandhi going on a literal “temple run” during the state’s campaign. The party further ‘saffronised’ Rahul as a Janeu-dhari Shiv Bhakt’ when rumours spread about his name being registered in the non-Hindu register of the Somnath temple.
We have seen Congress supporting Bhim Army in Uttar Pradesh. They fanned the Bhima-Koregaon violence hailing the protests and blaming BJP for ignoring Dalits. While playing these caste-based politics the party has methodically used the Rohit Vemula suicide case, extended support to people like Hardik Patel and Jignesh Mevani in their attempt to appease the Dalits. They have also tried to encash the ‘Lingayat‘ card prior to the Karnataka elections.
In fact, the deep-rooted, horrendous, casteist bias of the Congress Party was boldly out in the open when their loyalist Mani Shankar Aiyer had audaciously passed a casteist remark calling PM Modi a ‘neech’ aadmi. The Congress subsequently revoking Mani Shankar’s suspension, which had come in lieu of his ‘neech’ comment furthered the parties penchant.
Sonia Gandhi, the party supremo, reportedly too had used the same word to describe Modi in 2014, at a rally in Kushinagar (UP).
While the Congress desperately tries to prove itself to be a secular party, comments coming from party veterans like Ghulam Nabi Azad referring to Modi as a “Gangu Teli” (Modi comes from the Teli caste) itself proves the deep-seeded casteist mindset of the party.
It is being alleged that with an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Congress President Rahul Gandhi has finally taken a call to again play the upper caste card by appointing veteran party leader Madan Mohan Jha, a Brahmin, as the new Pradesh Congress Committee chief in Bihar. To woo the forward caste vote bank in the state, the party has named Akhilesh Prasad Singh, a Bhumihar, as the chief of the campaign committee for 2019 Lok Sabha polls.