One of the surprising elements of the Indian political discourse in the last one year has been how the Congress, a party that almost derided the Hindus has now started to push the Hindutva narrative. Facing a string of electoral losses, the Congress probably realised that its anti Hindu image has been a factor behind its downfall and therefore, it has started to play the Hindutva card. It all started in the run up to the Gujarat assembly polls last year. And got further intensified during the Karnataka polls. Rahul visited around 30 temples during his campaign for the Gujarat assembly elections. At one time he even wore a rudraksh and his party advertised him and and his family as Janayeu dhaari. Now, the Congress is following the same tactic even during the Madhya Pradesh assembly polls. Temple runs, a ‘Ram Van Gaman Path Yatra’ and a sudden and surprising penchant for gaushalas (cow shelters) goes on to show that the Congress is once again relying on the soft Hindutva narrative.
This is, of course, a sham. There is no reason why Congress and especially its president turn into devout Hindus. Such temple visits and statements were never made in the past. And now that the grand old party is in a miserable condition, Rahul Gandhi is trying to project himself as a devout Hindu while the Congress is trying to push the Hindutva narrative. Now, as per a latest report by OneIndia, the Congress is set for a major ‘Hindutva’ push in the upcoming festive season. This is significant given that the nation will go to Lok Sabha elections next year. The Congress is trying to carve out a Hindu vote bank for itself with this sham of Hindu devotion.
The Congress is planning Kanya Pujan and Phalahari meet across the big cities of politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh around the Dussehra-Diwali period. Sources in the Congress say that the party president Rahul Gandhi has instructed his workers to make use of the upcoming festive season in order to connect with the people. Uttar Pradesh Congress Seva Dal chief, Pramod Pandey has been quoted as saying, “Fasting during the Navratras also develops patience and tolerance which will be needed to counter the politics of hate by the BJP. We will be intensifying our move near festivals of Dussehra and Diwali. We will be seeking blessings of the fasting people by holding functions of Kanya Pujan and Phalahari meet. Our aim is to make the voters aware of the difference between religion and politics.” The message for the Congress workers is clear. The party leadership wants them to woo Hindu voters enthusiastically by making use of the festive season. Congress understands that despite Rahul Gandhi’s Mansarovar Yatra and his claims of being a Shiva Bhakt, the Hindus have not really been impressed. In fact, the Hindus are irked by the way they were ridiculed during the UPA era and Rahul Gandhi’s antics have failed to have any effect.
The Congress must be really naive to think that it will be able to fool the Hindu voters with its antics. The fact remains that the voters are not gullible and the reality of the Congress is known to everyone. Congress is taking too big a risk for a gain that it will never be able to make. It is not that the Congress is not trying to woo Muslims and other minorities but the zeal with which it is trying to appease the Hindus might only alienate its core voter base as well. The minorities might feel that the INC has become a party with a majoritarian ideology. It was after decades of neglect towards the Hindus and continuous appeasement that the INC principally became a minority vote bank based party. Now, even after all its efforts it will not be able to change its basic structure. It will have to remain confined the boundaries that it drew for itself and any attempt to venture out in order to woo Hindus will only cause further loss to the already dilapidated party.