Soft-Hindutva is Corroding the Congress

DR. S. AUSAF SAIED VASFI says that Congress Party should reinvigorate itself by acting as a truly secular party. It should take on BJP’s Hindutva directly and not act softly against communalism.

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DR. S. AUSAF SAIED VASFI says that Congress Party should reinvigorate itself by acting as a truly secular party. It should take on BJP’s Hindutva directly and not act softly against communalism.

The Saffron has, after Punjab, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, stolen a confident march over the Congress. After 18 months from now the crestfallen Congress has to face the music of the 15th General elections. Is there any guarantee that it would perform well in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh and even in Karnataka? Is the Party prepared? Has it the ideas and synergy to bounce back? Has it the moral courage to admit its faults and correct its wrong policies?
Its foe is formidable. It has the killer instinct. It is uncompromising in its schizophrenic ideology. It knows how to deceptively turn the tables through the tactical use of emotions, religious feelings coupled with ostracising the minorities, who more often than not, side with the Congress.
The BJP killed two birds with one shot when it, all of a sudden, announced its Prime Minister-in-waiting. The primary aim was to stop Mr. Modi in his tracks, who was, and is, heading straight towards New Delhi. The second objective was to dispel the haze over the leadership issue. Now the party is packaging Mr. Advani in the mould of Mr. Modi. The party has readied itself for the on-coming Lok Sabha elections. The party on December 9 last decided to project its already nominated future Prime Minister as the strongest and most effective leader. It has also decided not only to strengthen itself organisationally but also as the leader of the NDA.
The third point the BJP proposes to emphasise during the next 18 months relates to national security and development. And as model, Gujarat is going to be placed before the nation.
In this Laboratory of Hindutva, nine per cent of the state population, the Muslim minority does not exist virtually. To quote the eminent political commentator, Mr. Kuldip Nayar (Asian Age, December 31, 2007): Modi and the BJP’s ideology of Hindutva are dividing the country into two communities, Hindus and Muslims, or maybe three because the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a front organisation of the RSS, like the BJP, is also targeting the Christians. It is a shame what the VHP did in Orissa with the connivance of the state government, an ally of the BJP.
It should now be clear to the Congress and the minorities what the post-2010 Bharat would be. It would not be a Bharat of Gandhi’s or Nehru’s dreams, or those of Abul Kalam Azad or Abdul Ghaffar Khan. It would be a Bharat of Monje, Swarkar, Golwalkar and Godse.
So would happen because, the Congress has systematically diluted its political heritage. The party does not now appear to be honest about its conviction in secular values. It no more looks sincere as far as plurality of Bharat is concerned. It was in the name of these egalitarian values that the struggle for freedom was launched and freedom was won by both Hindus and Muslims and other minorities. Its current policy verges on betrayal and hypocrisy.
Otherwise how one should explain the “Soft-Hindutva” being silently pursued by the party that ushered in freedom? How would you rationalise the welcome, nay dependence of the Congress in Gujarat on the rebels of the BJP, rooted in the RSS? How would the Congress defend its unannounced decision not to punish the guilty of the Mumbai riots of 1993? What is the meaning of the virtual non-implementation of the Rajinder Sachar Committee Report? Has it also given in to the Saffron blackmail what they relish to call “communal budgeting”?
This, perhaps, deliberate policy of turning the Congress into the B-Team of the BJP, as some critics allege, has distanced, and is distancing Muslims from the Congress.
Leave others. Would the Congress mind caring about itself? Its past identity, legacy and future is in peril. One does not find congress, as was the case in the Nehru era, an un-equivocal exponent and defendant of secularism and pluralism today!
If the party is really serious about itself and the nation, it should rediscover itself. Without reinventing itself, it cannot win the on-coming battle of ballots.
Following a renewed commitment to the egalitarian values and rededication to egalitarian ideals, it should revive its almost dead cadre. It should create fresh cadre, both at rural and urban levels. Its opponent is cadre-based and ferociously indoctrinated. The Congress cannot undo the Saffron without speaking and acting in its foes’ idiom.
Who is its protagonist and who is its antagonist – the Congress has to decide and redefine its ties. The Left, though opportunist and les-than-dependable, is its “natural ally”. In the given situation, the Left needs Congress and the Congress needs the Left. Let these ties be strategically strengthened to keep the Frankenstein at bay.
Closer contact with the minorities, particularly with its leadership, can pay in political terms. Their age-old grievances will have to be looked into. Much important than the proverbial sops, resolution of their problems is a political must.
It is not that the SCs, STs and the less-privileged have tied their apron-strings with Ms Mayawati for ever. The Congress neglect has thrown them in her lap. They should be brought back.
Elections are not fought, and won, by the top party leaders’ 11th hour visits. They are won by the grassroots level workers’ perspiration. Congress workers have to go to villages. It is equally important, at least now, that the aging, old and ailing gracefully quit active politics for the new, fresh, young leadership. Also add to this the fact that Ms Sonia Gandhi is a crowd-puller not a vote-catcher.
The dream of going it alone or one-party leadership must be given a decent burial by the Congress. The zeitgeist or the spirit of time is coalitions. We think except Shiv Sena no other party would like to be seen with Mr. Modi on the electoral dais. Let all the possible ties be looked into anew.
Let it be made clear to the nation: who will be the Prime Ministerial candidate of Congress after the next Lok Sabha elections. It will perhaps be a tussle between an 80-year old Advani and a 40-year old Rahul. The man-on-street, the middle income group as well as the corporates shall decide better who will prove the worthier in the uncertain India and the more uncertain world.