The Congress seems to be totally engrossed in its fake Hindutva narrative. A party that used to badmouth Hindus and push the imaginary narrative of saffron terrorism suddenly seems to be concerned about Hindu sentiments and emotions. The soft Hindutva approach that the Congress first adopted during the Gujarat assembly polls now seems to be picking up and intensifying in the run up to the Gujarat assembly polls last year. This only got further intensified during the Karnataka poll campaign. Congress president has suddenly started visiting temples and he was even portrayed as a Shiv Bhakt by his party cadres. What started as a soft Hindutva approach in order to reclaim the Hindu votes has now turned into a full-fledged Hindutva pitch by the Congress.
First indications of an aggressive Hindutva campaign as opposed to a soft one came in wake of the campaign for the Madhya Pradesh polls. The Congress which once espoused minority tilted secular values almost bordering on Hindu bashing now started indulging in temple runs, a ‘Ram Van Gaman Path Yatra’, and promising gaushalas in its poll campaigns. Now, the Congress has taken this to a whole new level by protesting against the Sabrimala verdict.
The Kerala unit of the Congress on Thursday had announced that the party would hold a day-long fast in Pathanamthitta on Friday to protect the custom and tradition at the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple.
In fact, senior Congress leader, Ramesh Chennithala told reporters after a meeting with former presidents and members of Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages the temple that the party was with the Hindus and supports their cause. In their protest, they have been demanding the filing of a review petition against the Supreme Court verdict permitting women to enter the temple premises without any restrictions.
The Congress’ protest comes on the heels of a BJP agitation on the issue. This gives rise to the suspicion that the Congress is doing all this only in order to mislead and appease Hindu voters on issues that are sensitive and close to the Hindu psyche. They don’t want to continue the status quo where Hindus see BJP as the only party they can vote for. Ramesh Chennithala alleged that the RSS-BJP and the state government were ‘cheating’ Hindus. There is no reason why the Congress should feel bad about Hindu emotions being hurt given that it has been grossly insensitive about Hindu sentiments. He has also alleged that the LDF government was in a haste to implement the apex court’s order. He also made it clear that there were many other court orders which were yet to be implemented and that this order is being implemented in a hurried manner. Senior Congress leader K Muralidharan also gave a similar reaction and said, “Instead of rushing with the verdict, the government should inform the court about practical difficulties involved in implementing the order. Devotees are upset and nobody can overlook this.”
What is even more surprising is the fact that the Congress has suddenly changed its stance on this issue. Initially, the central leadership had stated that it was in support of the top court verdict and that the state unit was free to take its own stand. This is a highly hypocritical and opportunist stand in itself. This means that the central leadership does not want to risk irking its minority vote bank but at the same time it wants to continue appeasing Hindu voters. However, the full-blown protest by the state unit shows that the Congress is now pursuing this issue with full force. As 2019 Lok Sabha polls are getting closer, Congress’ Hindutva is peddling its fake pro-Hindutva narrative with ever increasing zeal and enthusiasm.