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Home > 2022 > RSS and BJP in a bind over the Bharat Jodo Yatra | Arun Srivastava

Mainstream, VOL 60 No 46 November 5, 2022

RSS and BJP in a bind over the Bharat Jodo Yatra | Arun Srivastava

Friday 4 November 2022

by Arun Srivastava

RSS leaders and Narendra Modi are not at all worried of rejuvenation and survival of Congress, it is the threat of Rahul Gandhi giving a new left of centre ideological line to the Congress that has really shaken their confidence in accomplishing their mission.

Only a week back outlining the ideological structure of the Congress, Rahul Gandhi in the midst of Yatra in Telangana, said the ‘Hate project of RSS’ had not only weakened the country but was also antithetical to Indian culture, and was therefore “anti-national”. Rahul said that the Bharat Jodo walkathon amounted to taking an ideological position against this hate project.

How could a walkathon take an ideological position against RSS and BJP hate project remains an enigma for Modi and his RSS leaders? Rahul nevertheless emphasised; “It’s of course completely political. It is a political action to spread the message across the country that the hatred and violence propagated by the RSS-BJP is weakening the country”. He further said:

“Spreading hate is anti-national activity. That’s not the Indian culture; the Indian culture is harmonious, peaceful and affectionate. That’s the idea behind the Yatra. Lakhs and lakhs of people are coming to the Yatra. They are demonstrating what being an Indian means.”

It is surprising that even after so many days of Yatra, the RSS stalwarts and their think tanks could not comprehend the real purpose of the Yatra which is to counter counter social polarisation.

The RSS and Modi must not have imagined that the phrase anti national they have using to attack those who question the majoritarian and sectarian thrust of its politics and speak up for secular and democratic values would become the most effective weapon and Rahul would use it against them. The saffron leaders might not have imagined in their dreams that one day Rahul would use the walkathon to enthuse the people to confront fear injected in the minds of the people through lynching and other modes of violence; Rahul’s call to fight and defeat the politics of divisiveness as this will result in connecting with the people and explaining to them the nature of the ideological battle.

With Yatra attaining wider acceptability and getting a passionate response from the people of all shades, Modi has started falling upon his old much despised tactics of harassing and terrorising the people, politicians, academics, intellectuals and even journalists. The brutal use of ED, CBI and IT has been manifestation of this design. The members of his think tank have already been resorting to vilification campaign.

With Rahul marching ahead with strong determination and clear vision, the RSS and BJP have been trying to torpedo his march by winning his trusted friend Ashok Gehlot. Was it a coincidence or a deliberate attempt that on the day dalit student leader of University of Hyderabad Rohith Vemula’s [1] mother extended solidarity to Rahul Gandhi by joining his Bharat Jodo Yatra in Telangana, the Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot was busy eulogising Narendra Modi as a leader who commands global respect and has highest regard for democracy.

Coinciding with her march Radhika Vemula tweeted; "Extended solidarity to Bharat Jodo Yatra, walked with Rahul Gandhi, and called upon Congress to save Constitution from BJP-RSS assault, Justice for Rohith Vemula, passing Rohith Act, increasing representation of Dalits, oppressed sections in higher judiciary, education for all". The Congress’s official Twitter handle and some of its leaders also tweeted pictures of Radhika Vemula walking with Gandhi during the Bharat Jodo Yatra. Obviously it manifested the mood of the people of the country that they are craving for change in the power structure.

The new Congress president, Mallikarjun Kharge, has appealed to all those who are committed to democratic and constitutional values to join hands with the party as the battle now is not merely political but one for safeguarding the future.

He also distinctly drew the line for fierce ideological fight by saying; “RSS-BJP wants a “Congress-mukt Bharat” because replacing Ambedkar’s Constitution with the Sangh’s agenda would not be possible without that.” At the same time he explicitly spelled out that the Congress would never allow the RSS-BJP to achieve its objectives, contending that the New India they have unveiled scarcely reflects the constitutional spirit of equality and justice.

Kharge continued: “What kind of New India is this where the youth don’t get jobs, where farmers are crushed under the wheel, where atrocities against women are rising, where tormentors of women are honoured? What kind of New India is this where people are crying over high prices, where the government is selling public sector units, airports, ports, roads, railways, banks to crony capitalists? Where the government is sleeping but the ED, CBI, income tax are working round the clock to harass political opponents?”

According to Kharge there is no more ambiguity and the bare fact is Rahul has sharpened the party’s ideological focus; “We know there are crores of youth in the country who aspire to see India beyond the divide of religion, caste and gender; who want peace, jobs, development, scientific temper and democratic freedom. I want to call upon my Congress family to come together to carry the message of the Bharat Jodo Yatra to every nook and corner of the country — the message of economic equality, safeguarding constitutional values, communal harmony, more employment opportunities to the youth of India.”

At least three decades the Congress is being discussed in remote areas, villages, and people are in awe of the fact that Rahul Gandhi is walking all the way. the yatra while has rejuvenated the Congress it has been shaping up Rahul’s personal image, with senior party leaders repeatedly claiming that India will see a new Rahul Gandhi after the journey. Gehlot or any other senior Congress leader cannot deny that yatra has activated the party cadre in every assembly segment and has unified the state leaderships due to the bonhomie created by it. A new energy is emerging in the Congress Party as it heads towards the 2024 Lok Sabha elections courtesy the Bharat Jodo Yatra.


[1Rohith Vemula, the dalit student of the University of Hyderabad who died by suicide in 2016 following alleged harassment perpetrated allegedly by some senior BJP leaders

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