Former Union Minister and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has unequivocally denied reports that he was joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
He pointed out that he has ‘spoken and written in defence of a pluralist India’ for 40 plus years and that his ‘convictions do not match those of the BJP’. Tharoor claims that he couldn’t compromise on his belief of a plural India where there is equal rights for all citizens and communities and that he had a Nehruvian view on the matter. His denial comes in the backdrop of a report that four Congress leaders from Kerala including Tharoor planned to join the BJP. Former MP and senior Congress leader K Sudhakaran have also dismissed reports that he was planning to join the BJP. Although no information about the other two persons are known yet, given the circumstantial evidences, rumours are speculating around two Congress leaders. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and KPCC President M M Hassan assert that nobody from the Congress would be joining the BJP.
Such reports might be spawned in the Hindutwa hubs itself in order to establish the onset of Congress decline and that the BJP wave was gaining momentum across the nation. The fact that people believe the tales and rumours about the Congressmen than those in other parties, cannot be denied. It was only recently that A K Antony, the Congress veteran said that there were leaders in the party who were Congress during the day and RSS during the night. As the saffron party continues its run forward, such persons are more likely to paint themselves in saffron hues both during the day as well as in the night. Given the absence of a leader at the national level with the required expertise, maturity and organising skill, the realisation that the future of Congress is doomed will easily attract those adhering to soft Hinduism to hardcore Hinduism. The reality that wealth, power and positions are weaknesses of almost all secular party leaders, also remain.
Rita Bahuguna Joshi, a prominent Congress leader from Uttar Pradesh and daughter of former UP Chief Minister H N Bahuguna, joined BJP just before the last assembly election. Former Union Minister and Karnataka Chief Minister, 81-year old S M Krishna as well as a senior minority leader in the Congress, C K Jaffer Sharief, who was also a former Union Minister, shifted allegiance to the hardline Hindutwa fold. Sharief have even recommended RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat as the President of India. When there was a lack of leadership to steer the Congress following the unexpected martyrdom of Rajeev Gandhi, and also after the party went into the hands of P V Narasimha Rao and Sitaram Kesri, there were many local leaders on board the sinking Congress party who were awaiting an escape. It was Sonia Gandhi’s entry that saved the party then. When her ill-health and her son Rahul Gandhi’s inefficiency once again lead the party to decline, many of the remaining fortune-seekers making off to the Hindutwa fold isn’t surprising.
When the basic reason is analysed, it could be understood that the Congress has gone too distant from the Nehruvian ideology cited by Tharoor. The soft Hindutwa stance of a significant section of the leaders transforms into hardcore Hinduism in the changing circumstances and the trust in the secular democracy is also shattered. The belief that sticking on to the ideology would lead to the more efficient grabbing hold of power, positions and wealth also upsets many. Exploiting the weaknesses of such persons and expanding the foothold of Hinduism is the strategy deployed by Amit Shah and his bloc. Posting the loyal workers of the RSS in all prime positions, they know that majority of those claiming to be belonging to a secular party are people who could be won over by spending some money. It’s not a difficult task to oust those in key positions in parties plagued with envy, jealousy, backstabbing and rage. At this time when the secular side is facing a total decline, the truth is that the parties outside the NDA have the strength to resist and defeat the attempts to make way for a hardline nationalist to Raisina Hill. But willpower and statesmanship aren’t something available in the market. The Congress that should be forming the grant alliance, doesn’t even realise its own power.