Congress weaves in Ramayana, Gita in anti-CAA campaign

AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. (PTI photo)

Lord Ram, Lord Krishna and various other characters from The Gita, The Ramayana and The Mahabharata have found their way in the Congress counter-campaign as protests over Citizenship Amendment Act assume political undertones with sharply divided opinions on both sides and the BJP scales up the Hindutva- nationalism narrative to corner the Opponents on the issue.

“Modi Ji, when Lord Ram raised his Dhanush, it was not against the residents of Lanka but against its characterless and torturous king, When Lord Ram killed Baali, the fight was not against Kishkindha but against the character of Baali. The opposition to your divisive agenda is not the opposition of Parliament, Mr Divider in Chief,” tweeted Chattisgarh Congress.

This was on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing a gathering in Tumukuru in Karnataka, said that he wants to tell “those people fighting against Indian Parliament” that today the need is to expose the antics of Pakistan and if anybody has to do an agitation, it should be done against the antics of Pakistan for last 70 years.

BJP has repeatedly accused the Congress leaders of “speaking the language” of Pakistan on various issues including CAA.

Earlier on Monday launching a scathing attack on UP Chief Ministers Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi had invoked The Gita to buttress her condemnation of the Chief Minister’s “revenge” remarks that the latter had made immediately after violent protests on CAA last month in Lucknow.

Later it emerged nearly 20 protestors were killed in the violence and UP government forced the protestors and their families to cough up penalties for the loss to the public property.

Castigating Adityanath for “revenge” remarks, Gandhi said that India is a nation of Ram and Krishna, who spread the message of compassion. Quoting from the Gita, she also sought to remind the Chief Minister that Lord Krishna had never told Arjuna to fight for truth and religion and not revenge.

In order to hammer home the message of the cultural diversity of Indian society, the Congress leader also quoted the imager of Lord Shiva’s wedding in which “all kinds of people dance”.

Priyanka’s assertion “saffron does not belong to you. It is a symbol of our religion and culture” was in sync with attempts of Congress in the last few years not to be seen as ‘ignoring” Hindu symbols, a charge it often faced from the BJP.  Priyanka Gandhi, had, however, earlier also advised his cousin Varun Gandhi in 2009 to read The Gita after some alleged anti-Muslim comments made by the latter.

Post-2014 Lok Sabha poll debacle, A K Antony Committee, which went into the reasons of the detail had said that what also cost the party dearly was an impression of Congress not being sensitive to Hindu issues peddled by the BJP that led to the polarisation of votes in the latter’s favour. Post-2014, there has been a sustained attempt by Congress to be seen as being pro-Hindu, which was seen in the party’s attempt to project Rahul Gandhi as “jaeudhari” Hindu or Rahul identifying himself as “Shiv Bhakt”.

As the anti-CAA protests have panned out, Congress has attempted hard to de-hyphenate it from a Muslim issue even as BJP has read out names of Muslims involved in the protest violence in Delhi. Congress’ soft Hindutva has riled the ruling party.

In the run-up to 2018 assembly elections in MP Congress came out with a plan to organise a ‘Ram Van Gaman Path Yatra’ along the mythical route taken by Lord Rama on his way to the 14-year exile and promised to set up a gaushala (cowshed) in every panchayat. The soft Hindutva moves of Congress had riled the BJP and Finance Minster Nirmala Sitharaman, latching on to a reported “Muslim party” remark in an Urdu daily, had then attacked Gandhi saying"You can't be a Janeu-dhari at one point…a Muslim-dhari at another.”

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