Last Updated: March 01, 2023, 16:37 IST
The Nehru-Gandhi obsessed tag gets reinforced by the posters of missing icons and this has given much-needed ammo to the BJP. Till the 2024 polls. (ANI File)
It was the need to change the ‘obsessed’ narrative that made Congress pick a non-Gandhi president. Unfortunately, even new chief Mallikarjun Kharge is accused of being remote-controlled by the Gandhis
While Congress insists it was not deliberate, it certainly has thrown up a debate on why the Nehru-Gandhi centric party has in the past not given the same space to other freedom icons and has, in fact, been selective in giving glory.
Two names stand out among many and both have now been usurped by the BJP, peddling the narrative that the Congress cannot look beyond the Gandhis.
First is Sardar Patel, the Iron Man of India, who is given credit for the unification of states. The pitch of the BJP since 2019 has been that the Congress has scant regard for India’s icons if they don’t belong to the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. In the case of Patel, the ‘disdain’ is more since he was believed to be Right of centre thinking. Critics of Congress say it is this ‘Right-leaning’ approach that made the Grand Old Party uncomfortable with Patel.
When BJP decided to commemorate October 31 as ‘Unity Diwas’, potshots began at the Congress. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP made the point that even those who had contributed immensely to the freedom movement were forgotten by the Congress. As the Statue of Unity came up in Gujarat’s Kevadia, the Congress was left scratching its head.
In a belated response, the Congress has now prominently placed Patel on its posters, with even Priyanka Vadra claiming that he was a Congressman.
The same story is with Subhas Chandra Bose, who was a rebel within Congress. Bose contested against Mahatma Gandhi for the top post and was considered untouchable after that. It has given another handle to the BJP to attack the Congress and also the TMC during the Bengal polls. Both the Congress and TMC were accused of neglecting Bose even as the BJP held a slew of programmes in the state to pay tribute to Bose. Other events such as the declassification of the Bose files and sprucing up his museum in Kolkata to holding a tribute event for him at the Victoria Memorial got the BJP more brownie points.
Here, the prime minister once again kept accusing the Congress of neglecting a non-Gandhi. At the Raipur session, Bose was conspicuous by his presence.
The Congress has pitched itself as the only party which has been a part of the freedom movement and this is its counter to the nationalism edge that the BJP enjoys.
However, the Grand Old Party has been late to the game. In fact, in more goof-ups at the Raipur plenary, posters did not feature Kamraj (who Rahul Gandhi says he needed to learn a lot from) and Jagjivan Ram (whose daughter Meira Kumar was on stage).
Moving away from the posters and hoardings, Congress has faced the wrong side of the stick by being accused of being obsessed. It was the need to change this narrative that made the party decide on a non-Gandhi as Congress president. Unfortunately, even new chief Mallikarjun Kharge is being accused of being remote-controlled.
The Nehru-Gandhi-obsessed tag gets reinforced by the missing icons on posters and this has given much-needed ammo to the BJP. Till the 2024 polls.
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