Pranab Dada: Re-Hindu’ising Congress?

October 25 2017

The Congress in its moments of political despair has found a new mentor in former President of India and general ombudsman over the party’s past 40 years, Pranab Mukherjee.
It is not any longer a scuttlebutt in the political labyrinths that he weighs in much more on the Gandhi scion Priyanka than Rahul. It is clear in his jest released memoir that he had been very upset when the UPA government had decided to arrest Jayendra Saraswathi, who claims to be one of the four descendants of Adi Shankaracharya. Dada has resurfaced in the Congress firmament that there has always been a section of the party – since its inception till the formation of the UPA 1 that has espoused ‘soft-Hindutva’, and he has recounted among them leaders like Madan Mohan Malaviya, Kamalapati Tripathi till Narasimha Rao. Political commenters, in fact, link Nehru-Indira-Sanjay Gandhi-Rajeev Gandhi-Narasimha Rao in the same chain. Contrarily, ever since the party command was taken over by Sonia Gandhi, there had been a marked shift towards favouring minorities and many Muslim and Christian leaders had found their way into the advisory council at 10 Janpath. This came to be known as the ‘Sonia Effect’, so much so that it had led to then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to make a rather peculiar declaration that the first rights over natural resources lay with the minorities!
Tracing back the 2014 general election rout of the Congress, the AK Anthony committee too had also suggested that the Congress has painted itself as an anti-Hindu party.
Thus it is that though the crown prince, Rahul Gandhi may not be seen to be meeting Pranabda every now and then many of the party’s top MPs do consult the old warhorse daily and, expectedly, conveys his messages to the aspirant Congress boss.
No wonder that Rahul has started remaking his own image and visiting Hindu temples, including more than a dozen in Modi’s Gujarat itself.
And thus it is that the party has started revitalising its once-discarded image of being anti-Hindu.

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