Why did the nation defeat the Congress and reduce it to the status of 44 in Lok Sabha in 2014 if it was secular, pro-minorities, tolerant and all-inclusive?
Almost all non-BJP political parties have unleashed a no-holds-barred campaign in favor of minorities, especially Muslim and Christian, and Dalits, Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and tribals. They are seeking to establish that India under the Narendra Modi regime has become unsafe for them. The Congress is leading the pro-minorities’ movement from the front. It has been accusing the Narendra Modi-led government of being intolerant and exclusivist and urging people to defeat the BJP in the next general elections so that the “Idea of India” could be revived. A bulk of the Left-oriented English language media is also batting for these non-BJP parties and making the debate bitter and fierce.
It may appear unbelievable, but it is a fact that at one point in time during the UPA rule, it was the minorities who held many very crucial and sensitive ministries, departments and institutions.
Various leaders of minority, Dalit and OBC communities too have been consistently saying that the plight of their communities is miserable and pathetic and that they have no real and effective say in the governance of the country. Leaders of the Muslim community are more vocal. They, like secular parties, including Congress, are also mercilessly targeting the BJP.
The question to be asked is: Why did the nation defeat the Congress and reduce it to the status of 44 in Lok Sabha in 2014 if it was secular, pro-minorities, tolerant and all-inclusive?
What was the status of the minorities and Dalits during the Congress-led UPA regime? It may appear unbelievable, but it is a fact that at one point in time during the UPA rule, it was the minorities and Scheduled Caste (SC) communities who held many very crucial and sensitive ministries, departments and institutions.
The Vice President of India was Mohammad Hamid Ansari (Muslim), who till recently was also the Chairman of Rajya Sabha, the House of Elders. The Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha was controversial P J Kurien (Christian). His immediate predecessor was K Rehman Khan (Muslim). Later on, he was made Cabinet Minister in Dr Manmohan Singh’s ragtag UPA Government.
The Prime Minister of the country was Dr Manmohan Singh (Sikh from Pakistan, which came into being in August 1947 on the basis of the two-nation theory). He remained at the helm of affairs between May 2004 and May 2014. He has on occasions said that the minorities in India had the “first claim” over Indian resources and other things.
The Chairperson of the UPA was and is Sonia Gandhi (a Christian married to a Parsi or Muslim). She was the most powerful leader in the country without whose prior approval and concurrence nothing could move forward in the country. She was also the president of the Indian National Congress (the ‘Grand Old Party’ of India), which was founded in December 1885 by Britons like AO Hume to puncture and defeat the Indian freedom struggle with the help of some Indians. (The then Gujarat Chief Minister and presently Prime Minister Narendra Modi had described the Congress as a “party of termites” and as a party for “commission”’ and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as “night watchman” appointed by Sonia Gandhi “to keep the seat warm for the first family of the Congress”.)
The fact of the matter is that there were many other members of the minority communities, who held many important positions in the Government.
The number two in the Congress was Sonia Gandhi’s son, Rahul Gandhi. Now, he is the AICC president. He was the second most powerful person in India after her mother.
The Minister of External Affairs was Salman Khurshid (Muslim). Two Ministers of State in the External Affairs Ministry were E Ahamed (Muslim of Kerala Muslim League) and Preneet Kaur (Sikh). Even the official spokesperson of MEA was a Muslim – Syed Akbaruddin. In other words, the very crucial External Affairs Ministry is in the hands of the minorities.
The Defence Minister of India was AK Antony (Christian). The Chief of Army Staff was General Bikram Singh (Sikh). Similarly, Air Chief Marshal was Norman Anil Kumar Browne (Christian). In a way, the defense of the country was in the hands of the minority communities.
The Chief Justice of India was Altamas Kabir (Muslim). The Attorney General of India — the highest law officer in the country — was Goolam Essaji Vahanvati (Muslim). The Director of the Intelligence Bureau, which deals with very sensitive issues, was Syed Asif Ibrahim (Muslim).
But these are only a few instances. The fact of the matter is that there were many other members of the minority communities, who held many important positions in the Government. Not only minorities, even people from SC and OBC communities held very important positions in the Government. Take, for example, Meera Kumar and Sushil Kumar Shinde. Meera Kumar was the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, highest law-making body. Sushil Kumar Shinde was the Home Minister of India. The internal security of the country was in his hands.
Then look at the States which were then ruled by OBCs and minorities. Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh to mention a few, had Chief Ministers who belonged to the OBC communities. States like Andhra Pradesh and Delhi, to mention only a few, had Chief Ministers who belonged to the minority communities. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit is a Sikh married to a Brahmin. Two States – Punjab and Haryana — had Chief Ministers who belonged to the Jat community. The fact is that almost all the Chief Ministers, barring those of West Bengal, Odisha, Uttrakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and a couple of other States, belonged to OBC communities and minority communities and this is the beauty of Indian democracy.
They must remember that the Hindus constitute almost 80 percent of the country’s population and this fact they ignore at their own peril.
However, to say all this is not to suggest that minority communities, SCs and OBCs are not facing problems. Indeed, there are issues confronting them which need to be addressed. But the issues which are facing them are the same which are being faced by the majority community, including ‘high caste’ Hindus – Brahmins, Rajputs, and Vaishyas included. In fact, there are regions in the country where the plight of ‘high caste’ Hindus is deplorable. Take, for example, Jammu & Kashmir. In Jammu & Kashmir, the life of the Hindus is not one of political and economic aspirations. Almost everything has become the sole preserve of the majority Muslim community.
The Congress and similar other outfits would do well to look all these facts in the face and refashion their whole approach towards the Narendra Modi-led government, which they describe as “anti-minority”, “anti-Dalit”, “anti-OBCs” and “anti-tribal”. The causes of discontent, disaffection, and alienation are deeper. The causes of the defeat of many secular parties, including the SP, the BSP, the NCP and the RLD in 2014 and after are also deeper. They must remember that the Hindus constitute almost 80 percent of the country’s population and this fact they ignore at their own peril.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
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