One wonders where all these developments are leading the Congress to. Let alone the rest of the upper castes, the OBCs, the STs and the SCs, even the Muslim voters must be scratching their heads in puzzlement
Just why the Congress is suddenly possessed with such profound love for the Brahmins? It cannot be for electoral considerations; the Brahmins constitute only about five per cent of the country’s total population. In the Assemblies going to polls — Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan — an overwhelming proportion of voters come from the Other Backward Classes (OBC), the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. Neither of these is going to be overjoyed by the Congress’s professed affection for Brahmins. Besides, most among them have been supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the Congress is hardly likely to win them over with demonstrations of effusive praise for the Brahmin community.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala had claimed that his party had a Brahmin DNA
On the other hand, the Rajputs must be wondering what wrong they have done to not have attracted similar attention from the Congress. At least in Rajasthan, this community, which has backed the BJP, has considerable sway in several seats in the Marwar region, and the party has been working to get Rajput voters to switch sides after weaning away Manvendra Singh from the BJP and making him a sort of Rajput mascot for the party.
Senior Congress leader CP Joshi recently said only Brahmins “know about (Hindu) religion in the country” and that neither Prime Minister Narendra Modi nor Union Minister Uma Bharti — both non-Brahmins and hailing from the backward castes — could claim to understand Hinduism.
This was not a one-off gaffe. Less than three months ago, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala had claimed that his party had a Brahmin DNA. Addressing an event in Haryana, he stated, “Indian National Congress is that party, my friends, in whose blood there is Brahmin Samaj’s DNA.” Then there was also the positioning of Congress president Rahul Gandhi as a sacred thread-wearing Hindu Brahmin. This was buttressed by Rahul Gandhi claiming to be a Shiv Bhakt and undertaking a pilgrimage of Kailash Mansarovar.
One wonders where all these developments are leading the Congress to. Let alone the rest of the upper castes, the OBCs, the STs and the SCs, even the Muslim voters must be scratching their heads in puzzlement. On the one hand, Congress is going overboard to seek their support — even claiming that it is a Muslim party. On the other, it brazenly decides to appease the Brahmins.
So far, there has been pin drop silence among its allies and those others who have backed the Congress against the BJP on numerous occasions. It would be interesting to know what the DMK, for instance, has to say. Known for its anti-Brahmin stance, the Tamil Nadu regional party is poised to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha election in partnership with the Congress. It would also help to understand how Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, whose TDP has allied with the Congress to fight the Telangana Assembly poll, views the “I Love Brahmins’ posture.
The Congress could not manage Jammu & Kashmir despite the Nehru parivar having its roots in the State, and so it appears far-fetched that by invoking the family’s Brahmin affiliation
And what about the two powerful regional leaders of Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav, who are being wooed by the Congress. Neither of them has any particular need to pamper the Brahmin community; on the other hand, the less they do so the more it’s politically beneficial to them. Mayawati especially ought to see red over the development. Her politics rests on anti-Brahmanism, and her pejorative use of ‘Manuvadi’ is another way of looking down at the Brahmin community.
The problem for the Congress is that even the Brahmins are unlikely to seriously believe in the party’s new assertions, given its more recent history of seeking to appease the minorities and every other section of society except the Brahmins. The Congress, therefore, stands to lose the affiliation of the non-Brahmin castes and also not gain Brahmin support.
Perhaps the Congress has decided to cash in on the caste of its dynasty — the Nehru family. The Congress could not manage Jammu & Kashmir despite the Nehru parivar having its roots in the State, and so it appears far-fetched that by invoking the family’s Brahmin affiliation, the party can suddenly win over the community to its side on a nationwide scale. Besides, there is the small problem of the ‘Gandhi’ surname which came into the family from Feroze Gandhi. Since Feroze Gandhi has never existed in the pantheon of Congress leaders who deserve mention, the party shouldn’t have trouble downplaying the linkage, even if the dynasty’s male members continue to flaunt the ‘Gandhi’ surname.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.