The Congress party, it seems, has learnt nothing from its spectacular defeat in the 2019 General Elections. Even after being reduced to 52 seats in the Lok Sabha, the party continues to indulge in the same rhetoric that has ensured its utter ruin. The most obvious example of it came during the JNU protests when the party continued to support the hooliganism of the ‘students’.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, for instance, accused the government of inciting violence. He said, “Poor people’s kids attend this college, kinds from all over India attend this college. Kids, especially from the bigger states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal come to this institution. Increasing the fees of this institution by three times means that a poor person’s kid won’t be able to study. I strongly condemn this. Instead of providing free education to the kids they raised it by three times. What is the point of this high-power committee? First, you instigate violence and then you talk about peace?”
Then, on Tuesday, the party created a ruckus in the Rajya Sabha and forced the Chairman to adjourn proceedings. Initially, Chairman Venkaiah Naidu denied them permission but as the din continued, he was left with no choice in the matter. On Wednesday, the youth wing of the party attempted to corner the BJP over the matter but ended up using a picture from the UPA era when a woman was thrashed during a protest over the Nirbhaya rape and murder.
The manner in which the ‘students’ have unleashed chaos in the streets of New Delhi in the name of ‘protests’ shouldn’t really have a place in civil society. Ideally, they should not be able to find an ounce of support from any end of the political spectrum. But here we are, the ‘Grand Old Party’ of India is going out of its way to support hooliganism without any concern for its own political prospects.
Rahul Gandhi may not be the president of the party anymore but it appears, the culture that he normalized in the party as the president continues to rule the roost. It ought to be remembered that he was one of the first politicians to have visited the JNU after anti-national slogans were raised on the campus. When the entire country was enraged by the atrocious slogans that were raised, Rahul Gandhi defended it in the name of freedom of expression.
Even the party’s manifesto for the Lok Sabha Elections appeared to have been written by someone who has spent an excessive amount of time in the corridors of JNU. They promised a repeal of the sedition law, they swore to amend the AFSPA in order to ‘strike a balance’ between the power of security forces and human rights and remove immunity for “enforced disappearance, sexual violence and torture”. Furthermore, they also vowed to pass “regulations to stop the spread of fake news and hate speech and punish those who misuse digital and social media.”
In light of all of this, the Congress’ support for JNU does not appear surprising at all. The party now derives its ‘intellectual’ prowess from the ‘students’ of JNU. It might seem bizarre but JNU is now the ideological fountainhead of the Congress party. There was a time when the core leadership of the Congress party at least kept themselves in touch with the mood of the nation. Not anymore.
Therefore, it’s not really a surprise that the Congress party is struggling hard to defend the terrible conduct of the JNU ‘students’ even on the face of overwhelming evidence. Because, in a democracy, it is natural for political parties to defend their ideological allies. And the ideological inclinations of the ‘students’ of JNU are more in consonance with the ideology of the Congress party than any other organization.