oppn parties Fighting Fire With Fire Will Be Disastrous For The Congress

News Snippets

  • Special DG (Training) in CRPF, S N Shrivastava, appointed special commissioner (law & order) in Delhi Police in order to quell the violence. He is also expected to take over as chief of Delhi police once Amulya Patnaik's term ends on February 29
  • Curfew and shoot at sight orders reportedly in force in some areas, but Delhi Police HQ does not issue a notice for the same
  • The Central government has pressed paramilitary forces to control the riots in Delhi
  • Mobs in Delhi target journalists, check them for religious identity and snatch equipment
  • 13 people deal until now in one of the worst spells of violence in Delhi
  • Violence in Delhi shows no signs of abating with fresh areas in the north-eastern part of the capital coming under its grip
  • Delhi High Court says DGCA was wrong in approving the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra by airlines other than Indigo for his alleged misbehavior with TV anchor Arnab Goswami aboard an Indigo flight
  • The Bihar assembly passes a resolution to stick to the old NPR form, making it the first NDA state to do so
  • Arms deal for advanced helicopters, worth $3bn, signed with the US, but the trade deal remains elusive
  • Trump says he has a good equation with Pak PM Imran Khan and assures India that Pakistan is working to reduce cross border terrorism
  • Trump once again offers to mediate in the Kashmir issue
  • Trump says it is up to India to decide on the CAA
  • US President Donald Trump says PM Modi wants religious freedom for all
  • US President Donald Trump lands in Ahmedabad, received at the airport by Prime Minister Modi
  • US President Donald Trump to land in India today
Continuing violence in Delhi takes the sheen off the visit by US President Donald Trump
oppn parties
Fighting Fire With Fire Will Be Disastrous For The Congress

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2018-09-17 13:24:06

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
If its latest strategy in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh can be taken an indication, the Congress has decided to fight fire with fire. As Rahul Gandhi visits Bhopal for a road show today (17th September), the city is plastered with posters describing him as a Shiv bhakt, taking a cue from his Mansarovar Yatra, complete with him pouring water (thankfully not milk) over the Shiv ling. This is a new strategy as the Congress had previously shied away from such overt display associated with religion, especially Hinduism, to preserve its secular credentials.

While this must be a conscious decision by the Congress to prevent the BJP from consolidating Hindu votes, it is fraught with danger. The Congress has always relied on the solid backing of its minority vote bank, cultivated gingerly through the years. If it now indulges in in-your-face Hindutva to fight the BJP, it might anger the minorities. Then obviously, the Congress will be left na ghar ka na ghat ka. For, the party can hope to add a few hundred Hindu voters through the Shiv bhakt stance. But the loss of minority voters can be much more and it will be disastrous for the party.

Hence, instead of fighting for the Hindu votes, the party should follow its old stance of appealing to all classes of Indians by being secular and liberal. The Congress suffered in the last elections for five well defined things –anti-incumbency, the massive scams under UPA II, lack of charismatic leader to counter Narendra Modi, divided opposition and Rahul Gandhi’s image of an unprepared leader. This time around, the BJP will suffer anti-incumbency, the Congress has got many favourable court rulings in the scam cases, the opposition is working towards being united and Rahul Gandhi has shed his pappu image to emerge as a workable alternative to Narendra Modi. Hence, the party must not queer the pitch by wooing just the Hindu votes.