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Home Editor's picks While Modi chose Varanasi, Rahul chooses Wayanad: Both made a civilisational point that should...

While Modi chose Varanasi, Rahul chooses Wayanad: Both made a civilisational point that should not be missed

Both Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi made a civilisational statement with the seats they chose as a second contest and civilisational revolves around Hindu issues.

2019 Lok Sabha Election is just weeks away and Congress’ Prince, Rahul Gandhi, has now decided to fight from Wayanad, Kerala, in addition to his ‘bastion’ Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. While the popular consensus seems to be that Rahul Gandhi was looking for a safe seat to contest from due to fear of losing to Union Minister and BJP’s firebrand contestant Smriti Irani, there is a deeper malaise to Rahul choosing Wayanad that cannot be ignored.

A sting operation conducted by Times Now had thrown up some startling admissions by a Congress MLA regarding why Rahul Gandhi would be choosing Wayanad as his safe seat. In the sting video, a senior Congress Party leader could be seen saying Congress President Rahul Gandhi is facing pressure in Amethi and has to find a safe seat, implying that he should contest from Wayanad as Hindus form a minority in Wayanad constituency which will ensure an easy victory for Rahul Gandhi.

“The total Christian-Muslim vote is about 50%. It comes to around 54% which makes easier for Rahul. And the thing is there are 8% Adivasis who are with us. Actually, Wayanad has been a Congress stronghold since 1957,” said the Congress leader in Times Now sting video. He also spoke about the Tribal votes that would go in Rahul Gandhi’s favour (and hence the jump from 50% to 54% in his previous statement).

From the sting video itself, it is evident that Congress has put its electoral eggs in the non-Hindu vote basket. Even in the past, Congress has ensured that their non-Hindu vote played a large part in their electoral fortunes. One recalls Sonia Gandhi meeting Shahi Imam in an appeal for votes and Rahul Gandhi reportedly declaring recently that Congress is a Muslim party. One also recalls the Hindu terror bogey that Congress desperately tried to raise with their eyes on the Communal Violence Bill that would deem every Muslim a victim of communal violence and Hindus, regardless of facts, the aggressor. Congress has also been eternally eager to not only capitalise on the Muslim and Christian vote bank (which are obviously non-Hindus) but also to paint Hindu factions as non-Hindus for their petty electoral goals. One recalls how they mercilessly divided Hindus by declaring Lingayats as a separate religion right before Karnataka went to polls. In a jiffy, they tore Hindus apart just to ensure that BJP’s Lingayat stronghold gets shattered.

During the Madhya Pradesh elections, a video had emerged of senior Congress leader and now CM of MP Kamal Nath allegedly advising Muslims to remain patient till the assembly elections and “we will deal with them later”. BJP spokespersons seemed to suggest that senior Congress leader Kamal Nath was talking about dealing with Hindus on behalf of Muslims.

The Janeu Dhari Shiv Bhakt avatar of Rahul Gandhi during the Gujarat elections was soon betrayed by the realisation that Congress if it wishes to survive, would need to bank on non-Hindu votes. It perhaps became even more apparent when the residents of Amethi expressed their resentment with the Congress party and the dynasty saying that they did not want to empower Muslims in the area.

In fact, Rahul Gandhi’s new economic advisor used to be a part of AISA which is rabidly anti-Hindu. Similarly, one recalls how their own leader had openly slaughtered a cow just to spite Hindus and gotten away with it after a brief but elaborate drama of Rahul Gandhi suspending him from the party. The sham suspension was a show to not completely antagonise Hindus while he was still with the party to ensure that the non-Hindu votes get further consolidated.

Congress, thus, made a civilisational choice in the process of ensuring their political survival. A non-Hindu majority India is far better for their electoral prospects that one that is dominated by Hindus. It is this civilisational choice that is reflected on Rahul Gandhi’s choice to contest from Wayanad as a “safe seat” because Congress truly believes that an area with a minority dominance will keep their family business running.

When one contrasts this with what Narendra Modi did, the civilisational question that the country is faced with becomes even more apparent. Prime Minister Modi won with a massive margin in Vadodara, Gujarat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Vadodara vote share in 2014 General Elections

In 2009 as well, it was a BJP candidate who had won from Vadodara with a substantial margin. With such numbers, there was no need for Narendra Modi to look for a “safe seat” as is being claimed by the Congress party today. The Prime Minister was extremely comfortable in his prospects from Vadodara.

The question thus remains: Why did he choose Varanasi to contest from, when it was not even considered a safe seat for the now Prime Minister?

Varanasi is considered a city of temples. Kashi, a city that rises from the feet of Ganga has been a symbol of Hindu faith for millennia. The sacred most city among the Sapta Purie (7 sacred cities in Hinduism), Kashi is where a Hindu’s faith is rejuvenated and strengthened. While Hindus have fought for their rights in Ayodhya for centuries now, Kashi was always considered an unfinished chapter as far as reclaiming the Hindu faith is concerned. A city scourged by Muslim invaders, the Kashi Vishwanath temple’s ruins is a constant reminder of how much has been taken away from Hindus. A temple scourged by Aurangzeb.

The Gyanvapi Mosque – Erstwhile temple of Kashi Vishwanath. It was destroyed by Aurangzeb to build the mosque

Christian missionary Edwin Greaves (1909), of the London Missionary Society, described the site as follows:

At the back of the mosque and in continuation of it are some broken remains of what was probably the old Bishwanath Temple. It must have been a right noble building; there is nothing finer, in the way of architecture in the whole city than this scrap. A few pillars inside the mosque appear to be very old also.

— Edwin Greaves, Kashi the city illustrious, or Benares, 1909

The fundamental between Rahul Gandhi fighting from Wayanad apart from Amethi and Narendra Modi fighting both from Vadodara and Varanasi remains that Modi did not run the risk of losing, unlike Rahul Gandhi.

Amethi Lok Sabha elections 2009

Amethi Lok Sabha elections 2014

While Narendra Modi won comfortably from both from Vadodara and Varanasi, Smriti Irani managed to breach Rahul Gandhi’s bastion substantially.

However, both Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi made a civilisational statement with the seats they chose as a second contest and civilisational statement revolves around Hindu issues.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi choosing Varanasi as a second constituency signalled to Hindus that he stood firmly for them and by them. That the Hindu cause will not be compromised for petty electoral gains and that, restoration of Hindu pride and faith is a target he hopes to achieve. While he has reiterated several times that non-Hindus will always get their due, unlike Manmohan Singh, he never pandered to them by making statements like Muslims have the first right on resources.

As for Rahul Gandhi, by choosing Wayanad he too signalled his statement to Hindus, albeit, of a different nature. For Congress, a non-Hindu majority country is far more electorally viable than one where Hindus are in majority. Their words and actions have proved that time and again and Rahul Gandhi thinking of Wayanad as a “safe seat” is just another indication of the same malaise.

While thinking of the benefit of non-Hindus is no crime, Congress has repeatedly sacrificed the interests of Hindus in order to pander to the ‘Minorities’. With this, the civilisational conundrum has been now intertwined with the nation’s political choice. It is now, indeed up to the voters what statement they think their future would benefit from.

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Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

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