Congress in a surprising move has decided not to hold any Iftar dinner party this year at the central level. The state units of the party however, will be continuing with the Iftar parties. This comes just a year after Congress President, Rahul Gandhi had thrown a grand Iftar party in Delhi after he took over as the party President. Congress’s minority cell chairman Nadeem Javed confirmed that no Iftar was being organized at the national level, but the state units were hosting such parties.
Iftar Parties have been an important part of Congress’ political image and several senior leaders of the party are regular attendees in the grand Iftar parties. Iftar parties have been used for long by Congress and other regional parties to portray their secular credentials and also to appease the Muslim vote bank.
Politicization of Iftar parties had also led to various controversies in the past with media houses labeling individuals and political parties as ‘communal’ for failure to organize or attend any Iftar party.
The 2019 general elections huge wave against politicization of religious ceremonies to appease the minorities and Congress after the embarrassing defeat in the LS elections seems to have taken an important lesson from it. Congress for long has been under fire over its policies of blatant minority appeasements and hosting grand Iftar dinner parties has been a firm part of Congress’s political culture, which is an indication to this appeasement.
In fact, the tradition of political Iftar parties is pretty old. India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, among other things, also imposed political Iftar parties on the nation. This was continued by succeeding Congress generations and several ‘secular’ parties which arrived on the political scene. In such circumstances, it appears rather absurd how the secular parties suddenly gave up on a tradition which they once claimed to be so close to their heart and India’s secular ethos.
This move by Congress President Rahul Gandhi is definitely not going to go down well with the minority vote bank of the Congress. Rahul Gandhi over the past few years has been trying hard to revive the grand old party. The downfall of which many experts claim is the anti-Hindu image that Congress had consciously built over the decades in order to keep the anti-Hindu votes consolidated into its fold.
However the new trend witnessed in the 2019 general elections surely indicate towards evolution of Indian electorate. Indian Electorate, this election seems to have superseded the identity barriers like caste, religion and others and has voted based on development work and future agenda presented by the parties, in which evidently Congress failed massively, even drawing blanks in large states like Rajasthan, Gujarat and many others.
The way the so-called secular parties like Congress have given up on the political Iftar even though the left-liberal brigade kept fighting for it exposes the sham of secularism they have been professing for several decades. The political Iftar was a political stunt deriving its importance out of vote bank politics and a perception fight. Its demise is a result of the very same factor.