In a bid to turn around his political fortunes, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has decided to pull off a publicity stunt by playing to Hindu sentiments using the issue of Ram Mandir construction.
On Monday, Digvijaya donated an amount of ₹1,11,111 to the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra but claimed to not know where to make the donation. In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he wrote, “As I am not aware of where to donate money and in which bank account, therefore, I am enclosing a cheque of Rs 1,11,111 for Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra with a hope that you (PM Modi) will get it deposited in an appropriate account,” Singh wrote in a letter to PM Modi.
Interestingly, Digvijaya Singh claimed that he was unaware about where to make the contribution although Shri Ram Janma Bhoomi Tirth Kshetra Trust has put up all payment details on their official social media handles. Instead, the Congress leader chose to write an open letter to the Prime Minister in order to make a political statement.
Digvijaya Singh and his political stunt
Digivijaya Singh went on to make sly remarks against the BJP by claiming that he has never used the issue of Ram Mandir for political gains. He said, “Since religion is a personal affair, there a person should refrain from reinforcing the strength of his Faith in public. Such an act can lead to the path of ‘arrogance’ which can create obstacles in the pursuit of self-development and public welfare… Even though Lord Ram is an integral part of my life, I never used His name to do politics. This has not only given me peace but has protected my religion from being maligned.”
With an over-emphasis on devotion, he added, “I have not used religion as a political tool and will not do so even in future. I don’t link Lord Ram with the concept of nationalism since Mahatma Gandhi has said – Religion is no test of nationality but a personal matter between man and his God.”
Digvijaya Singh tried to take potshots at the BJP for supposedly misusing the name of Lord Ram to further their political motives. The Congress leader gave the impression that even though he and his party leaders uphold the legacy of Lord Ram but they never bring religion into politics. By doing so, he tried to imply that while the Congress is not ‘averse’ to Hindu interests, yet, the BJP is somehow using religion as a ‘barometer’ for proving one’s nationalism.
However, it is important to note that the Congress leader instead chose to ‘publicise’ his contribution to the Ram Mandir cause in order to play to the Hindu sentiments. While shrewdly using the opportunity to create a distinction between his party and the political rival BJP, Digvijaya Singh desperately attempted to politicise the matter in the name of Lord Ram.
As the Congress leader had highlighted earlier that religion is a personal matter, then, what was the need for him to stress on his personal devotion in a publicised letter? This is the same thing that he had been accusing the BJP of doing in his letter to the Prime Minister.
Congress and contradictory stances on Ram Mandir
It may be appropriate for the party’s senior members to recall that it was the Congress-led Central government which had in September 2007, said that there is no historical proof of Lord Ram’s existence. In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the Congress government had then said: “Valmiki Ramayana and Ramcharitmanas admittedly form an important part of ancient Indian literature, but these cannot be said to be historical records to incontrovertibly prove the existence of the characters and occurrences of events depicted therein.”
This sudden shift in Congress’ stance is definitely overwhelming but speaks volumes about their hypocrisy, considering they were the ones who had refused to even acknowledge the very existence of Lord Ram. The sudden exuberance now displayed by the Congress bigwigs over the construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya clearly goes on to indicate that either the party’s senior members have forgotten history or are assuming that the public has forgotten it.