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Rahul’s political dilemma continues to haunt him

R Murali

There is no room for ambiguity in politics. For a very long time, the grand old party of the Indian politics, Congress has been in a confused state for more than one reason when it comes to Hindutva. Should it oppose it or stand by it is the million-dollar question that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi faces time and again. Should he oppose it, he is ridiculed and if he does not, he has another problem. In a way, he is caught between the devil and the deep sea.

At a Congress session recently, Rahul made a scathing attack on Hindutva while he wanted to know if it is all about killing others. Many political pundits strongly believe with Assembly elections to some of the northern states next year, the Congress leader is trying to make a bold move to criticise Hindutva. He asks if there is a need for Hindutva if one is a Hindu.  One strongly feels he is taking a calculated risk and many BJP leaders opine that Rahul has been a Hindu hater.

Rahul has a question to answer here. Does he know the mayhem that followed after his grandmother Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984? Thousands of innocent Sikhs were butchered and will his party take the responsibility for the carnage.

Has Rahul ever thought of the political repercussions of such a bold statement? Does he know that Congress is distancing itself from Hindus by trying to question them?

Ever since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister, Hindutva has been BJP’s ideology with which it has successfully caught many people on the wrong foot. In the present scenario, it is suicidal to criticise Hindutva. It may not be easy for Congress to negate whatever political dividends that the BJP has gained being a Hindutvavadi. Not long ago, Rahul went on temple visits to show he is no less a Hindu. But do we have takers for such theatrics? One needs to be street-smart to be able to maintain a balance in politics. Rahul, it seems, has a long way to go take on the mighty BJP leaders politically.

Indian voters are intelligent these days and they know what political opportunism is. Criminalisation of triple talaq and abrogation of the Article helped the BJP march ahead of the opposition. The entire opposition, including the Congress, was left to squirm in disgust. But how can the Modi government be challenged without attempting to dislodge its main fulcrum? It appears that Rahul has realised the logical fallacy of this strategy. But will his move be beneficial?

BJP has the backing of large sections of the media which can help create any narrative that benefits the party. It is blessed with a charismatic leader who is immensely popular. Therefore, one could argue that Rahul’s move could boomerang. This fight can’t be fought in bits and pieces for half-hearted attempts won’t lead him anywhere. To defeat Modi, Rahul and the Opposition must hit at the core of the RSS, that is their ideology. A large section of Hindus firmly believes that for India to attain its past glory, Hindutva is essential.

Political strategist Prashant Kishor has gone on record that the BJP will be at the centre of Indian politics for many more years. He mocked Rahul for assuming that people will teach the BJP a lesson.  He is of the opinion that the BJP will be in the news whether they win or lose. “Rahul assuming that people are angry with Modi and would want to teach him a lesson is nothing but a hallucination.”

Anyway, Congress has very limited options to claim that it is a viable alternative to BJP. Given the party’s present state, Rahul may have taken a bold step. Anyway, he has nothing to lose.

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