From the list of temples being ordered state-wise to the new found love for Pravin Togadia, the Congress still appears to be groping in the dark.
A few widely reported recent incidents in the political sphere have thrown some interesting questions. A lot has already been discussed the Congress chief’s temple runs in Gujarat and how it brought them dividends. A section of the media later also indicated how the Congress central office, immediately after Gujarat, had asked for lists of temples and Mutts from election-bound states such as Rajasthan, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh for Rahul Gandhi to visit in the coming months.
The sudden love for Dr Togadia does remind me of the time when the party and its allies like RJD suddenly developed bleeding hearts for L.K. Advani.
While this looks like a long-term plan, the Congress surprised many people, including its supporters, when state leaders like Arjun Modhwadia rushed to sympathize with Dr Pravin Togadia after the latter pointed fingers at ‘powers’ wanting to eliminate him in an encounter. I do not know how serious is Dr Togadia’s charge being taken and by which people but the Congress certainly never had a bleeding heart for the firebrand VHP leader. Why then did the party rush to his bedside is something only the Congress spokespersons can explain. However, the sudden love for Dr Togadia (whom the Congress always wanted to be arrested) does remind me of the time when the party and some of its allies like the RJD suddenly developed similar bleeding hearts for Lal Krishna Advani, a stalwart politician, for whom the Congress and the secularism flag bearers never had a kind word before that. In their own words, Advani had divided India and poisoned politics by bringing in Hindutva.
Today, the same parties (and persons) are suddenly very concerned about Togadia whom they painted as a monster not too long ago. The complete facts about Dr Togadia’s sudden disappearance and subsequent developments will definitely come out soon but where does it leave the Congress as far as its political positioning is concerned?
From the list of temples being ordered state-wise to the new found love for Pravin Togadia, the Congress still appears to be groping in the dark as far as how to challenge Narendra Modi is concerned. What was the party’s reason for attachment to Advani earlier or Togadia today except that they were seen as anti-Modi? What does it tell us about the policy of secularism of the Congress when one state leader (Siddaramaiah) slams Hindus right-wing as terrorists and another state leader (Modhwadia) goes to visit Pravin Togadia within six days? Is this being done deliberately to confuse the electorate? If so, how does it help the party to gain votes in the future?
Mamata Didi realizes that while having a monopoly over the 27 percent Muslim votes is essential, completely alienating the majority Hindus may not be a very profitable idea.
Meanwhile, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who had surprised even die-hard secular champions, by introducing stipends from the state exchequer for Imams and Muezzins is now holding Purohit Conferences. This after some extremely provocative decisions and orders in the last two years which enraged the Hindus of the state no end. Clearly, Mamata Didi realizes that while having a monopoly over the 27 percent Muslim votes in the state is essential, completely alienating the majority Hindus may not be a very profitable idea.
It is terribly interesting for a student of Indian politics like me to observe where this leads the Congress and its ‘secular’ allies. One thing, however, is certain. Rather than the consequence of a well-thought strategy, this new phenomenon appears more an attempt to shoot in the dark…a desperation to try anything that comes to the mind. As they say in the heartland, ‘lag gaya to teer nahi to tukka!!’
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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