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Tripund, saffron and rudraksh…, why is Congress trying to make Rahul an ‘ascetic’?

Rahul Gandhi, who set out from Kanyakumari on the ‘Join India’ tour, became an ascetic on his way to Delhi. When Rahul was roaming around wearing a white T-shirt in the bitter cold of the capital, he was seen as an ascetic and a saint among the Congressmen. Rahul also described himself as an ascetic in a press conference on January 9. 

4 years ago in the assembly elections of Gujarat and later in Rajasthan, Rahul had called himself a janeudhari Brahmin. Rahul has also called himself a devotee of Shiva. In such a situation, the question has started to arise in the political corridors that what is the need for the biggest face of Pandit Nehru’s secular Congress to become first a janeudhari and now an ascetic.

(Photo-PTI)

The reason for becoming an ‘ascetic’ is philosophy or politics? 3 points…
After 2013, the Congress, which has lost about 40 assembly and 2 Lok Sabha elections, is constantly changing its organization and strategy. In the course of this change, Congress sometimes goes on the path of soft Hindutva, and sometimes on the path of constitution and secularism. This is the dilemma of the Congress as well as its weakness.

Hearing Rahul’s ‘ascetic’ form and answers to questions in Bharat Jodo Yatra, the discussion has intensified whether Rahul will now only talk about philosophy and principles or will also do politics? Why are Rahul himself and Congress strategists doing this? Let’s understand it in 3 points…

1. Focus on the face after Antony Committee’s report- After the crushing defeat in 2014, Sonia Gandhi formed a committee under the chairmanship of AK Antony. The committee attributed the defeat to Muslim appeasement and absence of the organization in the elections. 

It was said in the report of the committee that the issue of Hindus should also be raised by the leaders of the party. Along with this, emphasis was also laid on changing the image of the biggest face Rahul. 

During the Gujarat elections in 2017, the Congress also moved forward on the path of soft Hindutva, but after the defeat in the 2019 elections, the discussion on it stopped. After 2019, in the hope of Sanjivani, Congress is now again focusing on Rahul’s face and moving forward on the path of soft Hindutva with the help of asceticism. 

2. In states where Muslims are more, regional parties dominate- UP, Bihar, Assam, Kerala, West Bengal, Jammu-Kashmir and Jharkhand have more Muslim population than other states. According to Census 2011, Muslims are 19.26% in UP, 16.87% in Bihar, 27.01% in West Bengal, 34.22% in Assam, 26.56% in Kerala, 68.31% in Jammu and Kashmir and 14% in Jharkhand. 

In these states the votes of the minorities go to the regional parties. The main reason is the outspokenness of local leaders on the issue of Muslims. In such a situation, the Congress is now trying to change its strategy. 

3. Hindutva is a big factor in the 4 big states where elections will be held in 2023. Assembly elections are to be held in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh this year. There are 93 Lok Sabha seats in the four states. That’s why these elections are also being called the semi-finals of 2024. 

According to Census 2011, Madhya Pradesh has 90.8 percent, Rajasthan 88.49 percent, Chhattisgarh 93.25 percent and Karnataka 84 percent Hindu population. Madhya Pradesh was the first state for the BJP-Jan Sangh, where the party formed a government in 1977. 

(Photo-Getty)

Congress faces the challenge of saving the government in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, while the party is trying to make a comeback in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.

Silence on the organization, Rahul engaged in deciding the issue
During the Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul Gandhi is holding a lot of press conferences, but keeps silence on the questions related to the organization. Actually, the Gandhi family has left the command of the organization and is engaged in deciding the issue against Modi and the Sangh. The reason behind this is the upcoming 2024 elections. 

Rahul said in a press conference that we are not working to win or lose an election, we are fighting a battle to defeat an ideology. However, what will be his role in Congress, it is for Mallikarjun Kharge to decide. 

A glimpse of soft Hindutva was also seen in Udaipur Chintan Shivir
In May 2022, Congress organized a Chintan Shivir in Udaipur, Rajasthan. Congress officials from all over the country were called in this. Several resolutions were passed to reinvigorate the Congress in Chintan. 

The most discussed topic in the camp was the poster with the picture of former Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, which was put up for the first time in any Congress program. In fact, former PM Narasimha Rao was isolated after Sonia Gandhi took over.

(Photo-Social Media)

Manishankar Aiyar, a leader close to the Gandhi family, said at a public event in 2011 that the party high command was feeling uncomfortable with Rao after his role in the Babri demolition. 

Congress’s soft Hindutva strategy has been a flop
This is not the first time, when Congress soft With the help of Hindutva, she is engaged in helping the majority in politics. In 1956, the Congress had established the Bahujan Sadhu Samaj to counter the Jana Sangh. In 1966, this organization opposed the Congress government against cow slaughter. 

In 1967, this organization came to an end after a dispute between Indira Gandhi and old Congress leaders. In 1984, Rajiv Gandhi’s government had given instructions to open the locks in the Ayodhya dispute. 

This step of the Congress was seen as helping Hindus. However, by the time of 1990, this controversy had become a big problem for the Congress. In 1998, under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi, the Congress distanced itself from this controversy. 

In 2017, the Congress started implementing it again by telling Rahul Gandhi’s gotra, but after the defeat in Gujarat, it Took silence Congress has again started on this path. It will be interesting to see how the Congress plays in front of the BJP on the pitch of Hindutva?

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