The Congress is in a state of a perennial decline. The party has only two CMs left- Bhupesh Bhagel in Chhattisgarh and Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan. The state of Rajasthan is to go to the polls next year and if Congress wants to retain its existence, it needs to stay in power in Rajasthan. However, the ongoing Hindutva wave may not allow it to survive.
Politics in the state of Rajasthan is warming up ahead of the Assembly elections next year. The BJP and Hindutva organisations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) are apparently relying on the Hindutva plank. And this should get the Congress worried. Why? Well, due to an old observation by CM Ashok Gehlot.
BJP’s Hindutva plank
The BJP has been pushing the Hindutva narrative in the state of Rajasthan in the recent past.
The party doesn’t have a CM face in the state and whether Vasundhra Raje will make a comeback at the top post if BJP wins the upcoming elections remains to be seen.
However, last month, we did get to see a ‘moderate’ Raje push the Hindutva line. Following an April 1 order of Jodhpur Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd. directing ten districts under its jurisdiction to ensure that there were no power cuts in Muslim-dominated areas during Ramzan, Raje targeted the Gehlot government with the Hindutva narrative in her mind.
In an angry tweet, the former Rajasthan CM said, “People in the state are not only observing Ramzan but are also fasting for Navratri in the scorching heat. Why is the state government concerned only about Ramzan is and not other residents?”
She also accused the Rajasthan government of neglecting temples and promised one for every district if the BJP is voted to power.
Read more: Is there a PFI hand in the Karauli violence in Rajasthan?
What also shows BJP’s intent on pushing the Hindutva narrative is the ‘Aakrosh Rally’ [anger rally] in Alwar, Rajasthan.
The rally was held by the BJP and other organisations to protest against the demolition of three temples during an anti-encroachment drive. Alwar MP Balaknath and many monks participated in the rally marching from the Shaheed Smaarak (martyrs’ memorial) to the collectorate.
After the rally, political jibes were shared between the BJP and Congress. What needs to be understood however is the fact that politics in Rajasthan has taken a Hindutva turn. For Congress, it is more of a setback.
Read more: Communal clashes in Gehlot’s Den
Why Hindutva in Rajasthan could be a setback for Congress?
To understand why Congress could be worried about Hindutva politics in the state, one can take a look at one of Gehlot’s addresses in April 2021. The Rajasthan CM had then spoken about how the BJP and the RSS were taking the Hindutva narrative forward that has created a Hindutva-dominated environment in the country.
The Rajasthan CM had sort of expressed concern about the situation, though he assured the workers about fighting on.
Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi has also been trying to distinguish between Hindus and Hindutvavad is an apparent attempt to push back against the BJP. Ashok Gehlot too tried to back Rahul Gandhi’s remarks drawing a distinction between the two, in yet another attempt to halt BJP’s Hindutva plank.
Somewhere down the line, Congress understood that if Hindutva politics starts clicking, then it may have to face trouble in Rajasthan. A conscious and early attempt was made to condemn and undermine Hindutva politics.
However, the attempt seems to have failed with Hindutva politics becoming fully apparent in Rajasthan. This could trigger the endgame for the grand old party in the country’s largest state.