Ghulam Nabi Azad has yet again invoked Congress’ soft Islamist ideology. This time around, the senior Congress leader was canvassing Congress candidate Allama Prabhu Patil from Gulbarga constituency for the Karnataka assembly elections. In an attempt to appeal to communal interests and religious sentiments, Azad stated, “The BJP should not be allowed to come to power at any cost. Muslims should en masse cast their votes in favour of Congress candidates”. This is a clear attempt to fight the elections with a communal narrative in mind. This is an open threat to challenge the secular fabric of the country and communalize the entire political atmosphere. Ghulam Nabi Azad did not stop with his bigotry here, he further stated, “If you criticise Hindus, the BJP will come to power. Instead of criticising Hindus, cast your vote in favour of Congress candidates.” There is a clear attempt to project Muslims as the people of the Congress and Hindus as their rivals. Ghulam Nabi Azad has virtually issued a dictum instructing the Muslims to defeat the “Hindus” by voting as a block for the Congress. The bigoted leader thereafter invoked the contributions of former Gulbarga north MLA Qamar-ul-Islam asking the electorate to bring the late leader’s wife to power. Ghulam Nabi Azad ended his speech with yet another communal remark stating that bringing the Congress to power would be a gratitude to Islam. It seems that the Congress is using a Muslim leader in an open attempt to pit Muslim electorate against the Hindus.
The communal speech made by Ghulam Nabi Azad is not only wrong at a moral and political level but also in violation to legal regime relating to elections in India. In fact, the Supreme Court has recently ruled on the issue of seeking votes in the name of religion. It is clear in terms of the apex court’s ruling that it is illegal for political parties and leaders to ask for votes in the name of religion. A seven judge bench of the court had made it clear that any appeal for votes on ground of religion amounts to corrupt practice under election law. This makes it clear that to ask for votes in the name of religion is illegal in India. It is also corroborated by a code of conduct prescribed by the Election Commission of India that caste or communal feelings shall not be appealed to. However, the state election commission does not seem to be taking any action in this matter. In an ideal world, a show-cause notice should have been issued confronting Azad for enraging communal feelings and spreading hatred as well as the Congress for allowing such state of affairs. Union minister Nitin Gadkari has also hit out at Congress for playing the communal card and questioned how Azad can go on saying that voting for the Congress would be real service of Islam even as the State Election Commission is acting as a mute spectator.
This also poses a question on the mainstream media outlets and the liberal lobby in India who cry foul when even any junior leader of the BJP or for that matter someone even remotely related to the BJP makes a slightly communal remark. In fact, for even social media posts by random users they are almost always ready to declare India as the bedrock for Hindu terrorism. However, when one of the senior-most Congress leaders, Ghulam Nabi Azad has openly asked the Muslims to vote for the Congress in order to defeat Hindus, there has been a disturbing silence. However, the silence speaks for itself. It proves that there is no secular or liberal lobby in India. There is only an anti-Hindu lobby active throughout India masquerading as the secular lobby. While they remain silent on any provocation against Hindus, they frown upon any retaliatory statement made by even the junior-most BJP leaders.
This is not for the first time that the Congress has come under the scanner for trying to woo a particular community when elections are around the corner. Prior to the UP elections last year, top Congress leader Salman Khurshid had stated that the details of the Batla House encounter had brought Sonia Gandhi to tears. This statement had come even though the Delhi High Court had rejected an inquiry into the genuineness of the encounter in 2009 itself.
In Karnataka, the Congress had been trying to appeal to the religious sentiments if Muslims throughout its tenure. One of The most obvious manifestations of this charade being the celebrations of Tipu Jayanti wherein the birth anniversary of a Hindu-hating tyrant was celebrated with great fervor. However, this statement by Ghulam Nabi Azad is an aggressive form of Islamism directly calling upon the Muslims to come out in full force and vote for the Congress thereby serving Islam. There has also been an attempt to lead militant Islamism by prompting them to defeat the Hindus. In the kind of democracy that India is, this is a serious threat and a fearful proposition.