Editorial

Congress, Opposition dividing the nation on caste lines

Yatindra Bhatnagar

Politics is said to be a dirty game. It doesn’t have to be that way, but for that, politicians will have to think about, and sincerely display, national interest.  However, what’s happening these days is a sad commentary on Indian politics.

The political parties, especially Congress, Socialist Party, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), West Bengal’s Trinamool Congress, and some parties in southern India along with other selfish elements, are doing everything dirty and dangerous to divide the nation on minority-baiting, caste/sub caste and now sub-sub caste lines, just to gain power (votes).

That is not only dirty but dangerous.

Congress Party, now under the immature and reckless Rahul Gandhi, like his uncle Sanjay Gandhi, is bent upon the ‘job’ of cashing on caste lines and fomenting trouble for the country by taking up the newly ‘discovered’ sub-caste card.

In Gujarat Rahul had put on the mask of ‘a staunch, janeu (sacred thread) wearing Hindu Brahmin with numerous visits to temples all over the state. He also played the ‘Patidar’ card, and succeeded in deceiving some sections of Hindus and got a few more seats, though not enough to topple the BJP government.

[No wonder he was branded an Ichchhadhaari Hindu (turning Hindu ‘at-will,’ (like the mythological ‘at-will’ snake-woman) and ‘an election Hindu.’ 

Rahul had never been known as even a simple Hindu, not to mention a temple-going, janeu-wearing Brahmin!.  On top of it he even claimed that his whole family, right from Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, were staunch devotees of Shiva. Wow! But he doesn’t mention his mother, Sonia, who is supposed to be a Roman Catholic. But that’s okay.

Earlier he was wooing Muslim voters by posing as a ‘secular and anti-communal Congressman.’

That didn’t work much and Muslim vote was divided.

Then he became an advocate of the ‘Dalits,’ the Scheduled Castes (the lower strata of society.)

That also failed as BSP raised the flag of being a Dalit savior.]

Encouraged by his tactic of donning the Hindu mask in Gujarat, and capturing some seats, the Congress and their allies are now on to the old dirty trick of ‘divide and rule.’ In the north they are trying the Jat card. Now in the southern state of Karnataka, where elections are due next month, the Lingayat is the newest tool, the new sub-sub caste card.

Rahul and his ‘allies’ think it’s the best and the most convenient tool to try and beat the BJP in Karnataka. Forget the corrupt and incompetent Congress rule in Karnataka, the new caste-card would bring them results, they hope.

There are some others also who are riding on the Lingayat bandwagon to make a mark. The hardcore Lingayats don’t accept that they are a sub-group of Hindus; they want a separate minority religious status for them. Though they are followers of Shiva, one of the Trinity of Hinduism, they don’t subscribe to the Vedas, whereas, their own sub-sub group of Veerashaivaism, though worship Shiva but also believe in the Vedic heritage.

With all these caste-cards Rahul and his Party and other narrow minded-bedfellows of Congress are hoping to get enough votes to defeat Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), brilliantly led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the party president Amit Shah.

[Modi’s party claim that they work for, and aim at, total development and empowerment of all the Indian people, economically, socially, culturally - and globally. They have results to prove their point, what the others have? ]

Based on this dangerous caste-card Congress and the assorted opposition, caste-based, regional-based and hungry-to-get-a- slice-of-power groups and parties are trying to cobble up a workable front to challenge BJP.

It’s a sad spectacle that even Andhra’s leader N Chandrababu Naidu has thrown all the earlier lauded democratic and patriotic principles – and his own accomplishments - into garbage and has become a staunch critic of Modi and BJP. He was a trusted ally of BJP but, probably, in his quest for more rewards, and recognition as a national leader, he has become a man who thinks only of regional interests and how to remain in power in his own Andhra Pradesh, forgetting the bigger picture.

Naidu did take Andhra Pradesh to great heights of economic development and made Hyderabad and the state an important IT Hub. However, he sacrificed the farmers and farming.

 [One should not forget the record of Chandrababu Naidu, a son-in-law of the legendary movie star of Telugu cinema, NT Rama Rao who was his mentor and also father-in-law. Naidu  betrayed NTR whom he ‘stabbed in the back’ and himself captured power. Before that he was a Congressman for years and became a minister but after his defeat joined NTR’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and rose to leadership role.]

This same double-turncoat politician Naidu wants a ‘Special Status’ for Andhra Pradesh. He has split with the BJP and has started blasting Narendra Modi using harsh rhetoric.  

One may concede that some states do need special assistance because they are economically not at par with more prosperous states or their current needs are more. Those states deserve extra federal help and often they get it. Andhra is not one of the extreme cases where special treatment is necessary or desirable.

However, that slogan appeals to the locals and Naidu wants to cash on that, especially after the division of the state and the big city of Hyderabad remaining with the new state of Telangana. Naidu’s Andhra Pradesh has to set up a new Capital. They have chosen Amaravati city and huge funds are required to develop it as the Capital means spending a huge lot of money and more chances of corruption and wastage.

[One more point about Naidu. He may be an able administrator and organizer but his own personal record may or may not be unblemished. He founded a business company, Heritage Group and when it went Public it was 54 times oversubscribed. Now his daughter-in-law, Nara Brahmini heads the Group. Businesses in India connected to politicians are generally a suspect, though, as I mentioned, there may or may not be anything wrong but there is always the possibility of a conflict of interest.] 

I am totally opposed to giving ‘special status’ to any state – Nehru gave it to Jammu & Kashmir and the results are disastrous for the common people and wonderful for the vested interests and the ‘elite.’

Coming back to the caste card, minority card and the regional card (like the Shiv Sena and its breakaway faction MNS ‘working’ for the Marathas) and other narrow-minded-politics-driven factions in several states and areas, one should be reminded strongly that this ‘division and disunity’ weakens the entire country. In the past it has resulted in foreign invasions and hundreds of years of subjugation of the country.

This can happen again in several other ways – economic, social, and demographic.

The Congress and the other opposition parties and groups are  desperately trying to put up a joint, united, front against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party for the General Elections in 2019.

Let us hope that they don’t gain anything enough to make a dent but receive the strong disapproval of their dirty tactics at the hands of voters. The nation, its development, all around educational, economic, social, and cultural progress and an exalted status among the nations of the world are more important issues than personal or factional gains – and those too are not guaranteed by supporting a group of strange bedfellows.

The people are fast becoming wise and we hope they will continue to play their part in making India great again. 

4/12/18