Buoyed by a few key by-poll successes in the Hindi heartland of the country, Congressmen and women, who thronged the Indira Gandhi Indoor stadium for the 84th plenary of the party, were eagerly looking forward to their new president for a formula of success that they could take to the masses.
However, what they got was the bad old formula of poverty alleviation, a Hindu face mask to hide the old pro-Muslim chant, visible dominance of the family in-charge and so little from the ground level to report about.
Mask fell down
First was to declare the Lingayats, who constitute over 20 per cent of Karnataka’s population, out of the Hindu fold. If the Lingayats, for whom worship of Lord Shiva is central to their faith, are not Hindus, then who else can be termed as a Hindu? The joke, however, doesn’t end here.
Described Tipu Sultan
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, who was on a temple hopping spree in Karnataka prior to elections to the State Assembly, described Tipu Sultan as a “symbol of communal harmony”. There are numerous communications from Tipu to his side-kicks, asking them to give a choice to vanquished Hindus in territories over run by them – convert to Islam or meet the sword. Victims of Tipu’s bigotry and Islamic fervour included Lingayats as well.
The political resolution adopted at the Delhi plenary displayed the eagerness that power is about to befall in the pocket but ground level sounds were anything but hopeful.
Rahul Gandhi is not about to be crowned the leader of the broad coalition, he is hoping to raise to beat the BJP in the game in 2019. The broad coalition of anti-BJP forces could break down when it comes to leadership.
Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has projected a broader coalition that would be both anti- Congress and anti-BJP. Rao was, in fact, in Kolkata the same time when Rahul Gandhi was trumpeting his broadside on the BJP-led Government at the Centre.
Neither agrarian crisis nor caste factious events could get the Congress back to power in Gujarat even after 23 years of waiting and a new leadership at the top. The ruling BJP in Ahemedabad got even more entrenched in the minds of the Gujaratis – and that made the difference.
Projected to all-India screen that does not give the Congress the power like manna falling from heaven, the latest set of events in Andhra Pradesh, where the BJP-led Government in New Delhi firmly resisted TDP’s Chandrababu Naidu’s blackmail even at the risk of his quitting the NDA, must have taught the Congress’s supreme leader a lesson in politics. But that is too much to expect from Rahul Gandhi.
His political lessons are limited to what his technology tzar Sam Pitroda tells him every morning. Reports have recently appeared that ordinary Congressmen are increasingly uneasy with the rise of Pitroda in the Congress president’s entourage. This is the wall that separates the ordinary Congress worker from the leadership of the party.
Yet, reports from the Congress binary say that Rahul Gandhi asked for the demolition of the wall that separated the Congress worker from the leadership. What a contradiction!
For those who watched the Congress plenary from the media enclosure, the funniest part of the Rahul Gandhi narrative was his positioning of his party as the historic Pandavas of the power game at Kurukshetra. Who asked them to vacate power in 2014 and kept up the demand all these nearly four years in election after election?
Even most recently, in the tribal areas of the North-East, the Congress could not beat the rise of pro-BJP trend in the three tribal States after the earlier anti-Congress sweep in Assam. Interestingly, little was heard in the Congress plenary about the North-East results.
By projecting himself as the Pandava group waiting to succeed in the 2019 electoral theatrics, Rahul Gandhi has made one more cheap bid to identify his party with the ageless culture of the country.
Juxtaposed this with Karnataka developments, it’s clear that the reference to Mahabharata is not borne out of any reverence to Indian traditions but a hopeless ruse to hoodwink the electorate.
The additional message Rahul Gandhi gave to his followers was that they should take the message of love against the BJP; according to him, the message of hatred. Who has forgotten the communal massacre that Indira Gandhi’s supporters resorted to in 1984, known to history as the anti-Sikh riots?
The total killed reached over 3,000 while Rahul’s father, the then Prime Minister, simply dismissed it as a natural phenomena of the ground rustle when a big tree falls. The forced exodus of the entire community of Pandits from the Kashmir valley is yet another blot on the so-called secular polity promoted by Congress since Independence.
Various riots that have darkened the country’s history, all during the Congress regime, whether at the Centre or in the States – be it the 1989 Bhagalpur violence, or the 2014 Meerut riots – just to mention a few from the many. It is in this context that Rahul Gandhi’s endeavour to project himself and his party as the “true” Hindu saviour must be read.
Reforms are what Congress cabal does not want. Once the major transactions in commerce and individual payments are all on Aadhaar and digital, what will happen to their hopes of the “popular” margins in Government deals that the Congress is so fond of?
Nationalisation of 1969
The public sector banks were milked dry all these years since the bank nationalisation of 1969. Now that the BJP-led Government at the Centre is reforming the Public Sector Banks and tightening Government hold on these banks, how can Congressmen, if they come back to power ever, force PSB managements to bend to their will?
The Modi Government’s ‘Reforms, Reforms’ cry is what has got the goat of the Congressmen. Naturally, they want the BJP to be out of power as soon as possible. What Rahul Gandhi has given the Congress entourage is an assurance that by any means, power is sure to come to them.