After fifteen long years, the Congress Party has begun its innings in Madhya Pradesh on a message of hatred towards the people of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Chief Minister Kamal Nath says that migrants from these states are grabbing employment opportunities from the people of Madhya Pradesh and that Kamal Nath, as Chief Minister, will protect the rights of locals.
Another message of division. How long before “Build the wall” becomes an official Congress slogan? Only, in this case, they will be building walls between Indian states. One wall around Karnataka to keep it safe from ‘North Indian imports’. Another wall around Madhya Pradesh to keep out the migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Not to mention walls around areas dominated by specific castes that the Congress is trying to nurture into vote banks: Patidars in Gujarat, Jats in Haryana, Marathas in Maharashtra and Lingayats in Karnataka.
Presumably, the only people who will have an “all-access pass” through these walls will be infiltrators from Bangladesh.
Don’t miss the change of rhetoric from a few months ago. Back then, the whole of the Hindi heartland (derisively called “cow belt”) was the enemy. At that time, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah tweeted saying that PM Modi and CM Yogi were ‘North Indian imports’.
The new enemy is only Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, as evidenced by the utterings of Kamal Nath. The recalibration has been done after the Congress won 3 states across the Hindi heartland. What a coincidence that Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are the two big Hindi speaking states ruled by BJP/NDA.
Just as interesting to observe as the change in Congress rhetoric will be the reaction of two groups that orbit the Congress Party.
The first is that of the Congress allies in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Where is Lalu Yadav, the man who prides himself on being ‘Bihar ka beta‘? And where exactly is Akhilesh Yadav, who ran an entire campaign on being ‘UP ke ladke‘? And wasn’t Rahul Gandhi himself supposed to be one of the two good boys in ‘UP ke ladke‘? Not to mention Mayawati herself, who has been four-time Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.
All we heard was some faint grumblings from these parties. No real courage of conviction to stand up for the honour of the people of their respective states. And likely for good reason as well. The SP, BSP and RJD are caste-based parties with captive vote banks. They don’t have to actually do anything for their people. Mayawati had boasted in 2016 that members of her caste group worship her as a Devi. Very well.
As for Rahul Gandhi, his UP connection is limited to a family stronghold of Amethi, which has been kept underdeveloped and frozen in time for decades so that the emotional appeal of the Dynasty wins him the seat every single time.
This is how the ‘idea of India’ works. Trap people in these caste, regional and dynastic loyalties and the privileged elite can rule forever.
The second reaction to watch will be that of the Congress camp followers in the liberal ecosystem. Their job is to provide “intellectual” ballast to the positions taken by the Congress Party.
Around the time the Congress was fighting to save Karnataka, the “intellectuals” would produce “scholarship” showing how the Southern states were unfairly carrying the economic burden of the backwardness of the rest of India. For good measure, their job was also to find out and exaggerate examples of “Hindi imposition” and highlight cultural differences between the North and the South.
According to our scholars and intellectuals, the only strands missing in the much vaunted Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb are the cultural ties that bind Hindus all across India and all across castes into one living civilization.
After the BJP came to power in Maharashtra, we found intellectuals poring through the pages of history trying to find an episode that could be twisted into a caste war. They found one in Bhima-Koregaon where Dalit soldiers fighting for the British had defeated a Maratha army serving the Brahmin Peshwa. The perfect, mouth-watering recipe for a caste cauldron. Intellectuals promptly gathered at the spot and decided to restart the war 200 years after it was fought.
Over the next few months, expect to see many comical results as India’s “intellectuals” adjust their scholarship catch up to the changed line of the Congress Party. Expect to hear about some thousand-year-old war between some king from Bihar and some king from Madhya Pradesh. Expect to see ‘economists’ writing papers on how influx from UP and Bihar is ruining the economy of Madhya Pradesh. These will be published with juicy, provocative headlines on ‘news’ portals.
How long before some ‘scholar’ accuses the ‘North Indian BJP’ of imposing Hindi in Madhya Pradesh? Wait and see, they are going to say this.
Meanwhile, as Tajinder Bagga says, let’s just hope that Kamal Nath doesn’t do to people from UP and Bihar what he did to Sikhs in 1984.