Indian national congress was the principal representative of Indians in British India. Although its style, its intimacy to the royal throne and the viceroys, its methodologies, unreal romanticism is dubious but the fact that it represented the maximum number of Indians in British India is irrefutable. And as far as national icons are concerned, it can give any world political group a run for its money. It was like the West Indian cricket team of the 70s, star-studded would be an appropriate way of defining it. Dadabhai Naoroji, Pherozeshah Mehta, Surendranath Banerjee, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Annie Besant, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Lala Lajpat Rai, Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, Abul Kalam Azad, Sarojini Naidu, S. Srinivasa Iyengar, Rajendra Prasad, Bhimrao Ambedkar, Subhas Chandra Bose, J. B. Kripalani, Vallabhbhai Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi himself were a part of it. And then add Indira Gandhi to that list, her despotic nature lies forgotten and the fact that she happens to be the most popular female Indian leader of all times is widely celebrated.
And the legacy now lies in the much unmerited hands of Mr. Rahul Gandhi. Mr. Rahul Gandhi has proved himself to be a failure on all possible fronts. He neither is a charismatic orator nor does he have the right political acumen. He can grin a little, act cute and all and that’s where his talent ends. His speeches have been a fodder for the social media and he probably will go down in History as the most ridiculed politicians of all times. Quite an impediment for the first family of India. So the only thing that can get him out of his miseries is the great legacy of the grand old party of India. And its legends of course. But Rahul Gandhi has Narendra Modi in front of him who is not just a good orator or a sound politician but someone who doesn’t hesitate in usurping others’ legacies.
Modi niftily seized Sardar Patel from Congress with his pet project “Statue of Unity”. He also sent a strong message across that Patel has been a forgotten hero and Congress has never given Patel the credit that he rightfully deserves. The response was strong and encouraging for Modi.
Modi: 1 Congress: 0
Then Narendra Modi dexterously clutched the heritage of Mahatma Gandhi by his Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Gandhi’s round spectacles became the insignia of the project. While Gandhi’s heirs kept decorating his Samadhi with garlands and singing “Vaishnav Jan”, this shrewd Gujarati walked away with all the laurels.
Modi: 2 Congress: 0
Modi then went ahead and said that the government will run clean India campaign in every school from Nov 14 (Pt Nehru’s birth anniversary) to Nov 19(Indira Gandhi’s birthday).
Woah! That’s a choke slam.
Modi: 4 Congress: 0
Following Modi’s plans, RSS was quick to pitch in and the RSS’s Scheduled Caste Morcha launched a campaign to adopt Ambedkar as the party’s Dalit icon.
Modi: 5 Congress: 0
So after stripping the congress naked of parliament seats in 2014 general elections, Modi launched a campaign to rip them off their national icons. Digvijay Singh reacted strongly, so did Manish Tewary and other spokespersons. They accused BJP of being a hero-less party but it was too late by then. Modi made it clear before the people of India that Congress is a Rajiv Gandhi only party and all other leaders are lying forgotten in history books.
Congress that traditionally was the sole representative of the Dalits and the downtrodden was marginalised by the regional satraps. Since the 1990s, Congress has been in complete shambles in the states of UP and Bihar. The Lalus and Mulayams and Mayawatis and Nitish Kumars have ripped them off the Dalit votes. So here comes Rahul Gandhi with all his half Italian charms celebrating Ambedkar in Mhow. Rahul Gandhi chose the occasion of Ambdekar’s graduation from Columbia University in the US a 100 years ago to celebrate him. He conveniently ignored the stark realities that Ambedkar was never shortlisted for Bharat Ratna by the Congress in all those 58 years, even his oil painting wasn’t installed in Parliament premises.
This is Congress’s last attempt at consolidating Dalit votes with a half-hearted celebration to decorate a Dalit icon. But looks like the royal prince has failed to observe that the Dalits aren’t so Dalit anymore. They are fast catching up with the mainstream of society. They are a part of this economic transformation that India is undergoing. And half-hearted attempts are destined to fail anyway.