Senior Congress leader and working committee member A K Antony while addressing the KPCC executive meeting in Thiruvananthapuram sharply criticized the party leaders saying that the party doesn’t need those who work as Congress during the day and RSS at night.
His criticisms haven’t gone down well with the senior Congress leaders. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said that Antony’s statements were unfortunate. However, he seemed relieved in KPCC president’s explanations refuting the senior leader’s statements. Antony notably, has not denied his statements so far. He had during the meeting, pointed out that the ground beneath the Congress was slipping with many of the members joining the BJP. The fact that NDA led by the BJP, emerged as a third powerful ally resulting in a huge setback for the Congress and the UDF in the state during the last Assembly elections, is indisputable. Many Congress members and their allies belonging to upper class have shifted to the hardcore Hindutwa wing. It was the same phenomenon evident in the 2014 national elections that reflected later in Kerala. Add to this the fact that the hardcore right wingers have been able to lure a section of the Hindus belonging to the backward classes that stood with the Left wing.
This transformation occurring in the majority community in India, according to careful observation, is not an abrupt change of course. It’s a known history that there have been both Hindu nationalists as well as those with secular views at the top level of the party leadership right from the time the Indian national congress entered the scene dominating the country’s independence movement. Later when the Hindu Maha Sabha and the RSS became active, there had also been leaders in the national movement who backed these outfits. It’s an undeniable truth that after the two-nation theory gained momentum and the country split into two, it was not only the Hindutwa nationalists who wanted India to be a Hindu nation but some others as well who were at the senior level in the Congress government.
The motive behind Modi government’s obstinate move to build a colossal statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, independent India’s first Home Minister, spending millions, is also not hidden. It was the nation’s First Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s unwavering secular stance and the secular democratic character of the Indian Constitution that held the country and the Congress on to the path of secularism until now. It’s high time that we realize that it’s the natural consequence of Nehru’s followers striving hard to merge with Hindutwa policies in the name of nationalism that prompted the extreme right wing forces to come forward with the agenda of ‘Congress-free India’. India is a melting pot of Hindu, Muslim, Christian and Buddhist cultures. Nehru and like-minded leaders were able to view the nation as a symbol and model of diversity.
The extreme Hindutwa forces have been propagating that India has been a land of Rishis and sages for decades and that a religion or culture from outside can never be loyal to the country and its civilization. The leaders of the Indian National Congress have never been able to react to such agendas of the Hindutwa forces, let alone preventing their bad influence in history, education and cultural institutes. The fact is that many of those leaders were ‘Rashtriya Swayamsevaks’ at night. In the changed circumstances, it’s natural for them to think that they could side with the Sangis day and night.
The Babri Masjid demolition by Hindu Kar Sevaks in 1992 had deeply wounded the secular India. Keeping apart the fact that the then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao who silently backed the attack belonged to the Congress party, it will be convinced that BJP’s expectations that time would bring a large section of the Congress under their feet, isn’t a mere daydream. Congress should be capable of adopting a solid and unwavering stance against fascism and aggressive nationalism in order to prevent the ground slipping from underneath their feet. The party should also abandon the unsteady and cowardly approach of confronting hardcore Hinduism with soft Hinduism. Only then will the secularists and religious minorities who detached themselves from the party would pin hopes on Congress again.