The Congress declared war on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and their affiliates on Friday, swearing to defeat their “grand design to usurp power through undemocratic means.” The party will launch a publicity blitz through June, with senior leaders addressing public rallies in State capitals and holding media briefings.
Their mandate is to deconstruct the Yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s anti-corruption campaign by focussing on the sangh parivar’s ‘nefarious strategy,’ while simultaneously highlighting the steps the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had taken — and would be taking — to tackle the twin problems of black money and corruption.
Announcing the party’s plans for June, Congress media chairperson Janardan Dwivedi said the details were being worked out at a meeting of senior office-bearers. He, however, stressed that the Congress did not wish to vitiate the atmosphere in the country, and its campaign would be carried out in “civilised” language.
Mr. Dwivedi, seeking to draw a distinction between the tradition of the Congress and the BJP, said that his party disputed the latter’s description of the clearing of the Ramila Grounds on June 4/5 by the police as “the blackest day in India’s history.” “What sort of understanding of Indian history do these people have that they chose to describe this day in the country’s 5,000-year-old existence in this manner,” asked the Congress media chairperson, adding, “If we take the history of modern India, the blackest day was the day Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, and the happiest the day [when] India gained its Independence.”
For the Congress, these two milestones are of particular significance in its continuing battle against the BJP, as the Mahatma’s assassin shared the ideology of the sangh parivar, and the latter had no role in the freedom struggle.
The Congress also released on Friday a booklet “The Congress View on Present Situation,” the first of a periodic series, which is to be distributed all over the country in the coming weeks. This booklet carries a photograph of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, looking ready for battle, with the end of her pallu, tucked firmly into her waist.
The book not only contextualises the anti-corruption campaigns of Anna Hazare and Ramdev, lists the government’s actions and future plans in dealing with black money and corruption, its many successes in launching pro-poor programmes, and the steady growth in the economy — it also launches a no-holds barred attack on the sangh parivar.
The forces of communalism, fundamentalism and extremism, it says, “don different masks at different times. They seize every opportunity to push their sinister agenda. They embrace every cause and support every protest, however dubious, as long as they can gain some political mileage.”
Right wing fundamentalist forces, it continues, are currently under pressure for two reasons — one, because they have lost political ground by losing elections, and two, because they are now “accused in several terrorist cases, including the bomb blasts in Malegaon, Mecca Masjid and the Samjhauta Express.” Hindu