Home Politics Congress asserts its pro-Hindu credentials ahead of MP bypolls, like it did...

Congress asserts its pro-Hindu credentials ahead of MP bypolls, like it did in 2018 election

MP Congress has sided with protesters opposing Durga Puja restrictions, accusing the BJP govt of being anti-Hindu, and is now highlighting initiatives it took for Hindus.

Milind Ghatwai
MP Congress chief and former CM Kamal Nath at a Hanuman Chalisa recital | Twitter: @OfficeOfKNath

Bhopal: When a group of protesters in Madhya Pradesh, demanding the lifting of restrictions on the height and size of Durga idols and pandals, became unruly and prompted the police to resort to mild cane-charge Sunday, the Congress was quick on the uptake.

Shivraj ke khilaf Hinduon Ka pradarshan-Shivraj ne Hinduon pe barsai lathiyan (Hindus protest against (Chief Minister)-Shivraj rains lathis on Hindus),” the opposition party tweeted after the police managed to disperse the protesters, some of them sporting saffron, at Bhopal’s Roshanpura Square. 

Looking at scaled-down celebrations and to limit gathering of devotees during the upcoming Durga Puja festival, the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh has restricted the idol size to 6 feet and the pandal dimensions to 10×10 feet. The restrictions have not gone down well with Hindu organisations.

And this appears to have allowed the Congress to adopt the strategy it employed ahead of the 2018 assembly elections in the state — play up its Hindutva credentials, at a time when crucial bypolls are due in the state, though the dates are yet to be announced.

The Congress Monday alleged that many functionaries of the Hindu organisation that led the protests were injured, and described the restrictions as unreasonable. On social media, the party then went on to reel off initiatives it took for the majority community during its 15-month government in Madhya Pradesh.

The initiatives included developing an Om Circuit by linking Ujjain, Dewas, Mandu and Maheshwar to establish MP as a religious and spiritual tourism destination; Ram Van Gaman Path to trace the route taken by Lord Ram on his way to exile, according to Ramayan; building of gaushalas and increasing the honorarium of temple priests.


Also read: It was self-defence, says top MP cop seen ‘assaulting’ wife in viral video


Congress’ pro-Hindu credentials 

By asserting its pro-Hindu credentials ahead of the crucial byelections, the Congress has taken the same route as it did ahead of the 2018 assembly elections when it aggressively championed the cause of Hindutva in a bid to outdo the BJP. 

The Congress manifesto in 2018 had promised many schemes that would have done the saffron party proud. Among the promises made were a Narmada trust Act, establishment of a spirituality department, new Sanskrit schools, establishment of Shipra, Tapti and Mandakini river trusts, besides work on Ram Van Gaman Path and increased honorarium for priests.

“The BJP used to brand us as Muslim party. It’s a conscious decision to shed that tag thrust on us by our rivals. Earlier, we did not do anything to change the perception,” the chairman of the Congress manifesto committee Rajendra Singh had admitted then. Singh, who was deputy speaker, lost the election but the Congress managed to unseat the BJP after 15 years. A rebellion by MLAs loyal to Jyotiraditya Scindia brought an end to the Kamal Nath government in March this year.

Even though the dates for the byelections to 28 constituencies, which will decide the longevity of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, are yet to be announced, Congress leaders don’t miss any opportunity to visit temples these days just the same way they did in the run-up to the 2018 assembly elections.

Last week, the Congress shared an image of Pradesh Congress Committee chief and former CM Kamal Nath wearing sacred cloth and sandalwood paste on his forehead recalling that his government had committed to spending Rs 300 crore on the development of Ujjain’s Mahakal temple. It claimed the party has blessings of Lord Mahakal and saints.

Then there were images of many gaushalas constructed during the party regime. Throughout its 15-month rule, the Congress government accused the BJP of not constructing even one new gaushala and paying only lip service to ‘gaumata’. 

In Sanver, a poll-bound constituency in Indore district, the BJP took out Kalash Yatras earlier this month in anticipation of the arrival of the Narmada waters through pipeline. When the Indore police booked a few BJP leaders for taking out the Kalash Yatra in violation of Covid restrictions, the Congress was not ready to take credit for it, worried the ruling party may label it anti-Hindu.

“Ahead of elections, the Congress takes on a new identity and tries to divide the society. By fobbing off a sculptors’ protest as that of a Hindu organisation, it’s trying to spread poison but they will not succeed this time,” said BJP spokesman Rahul Kothari.


Also read: Chouhan announces cash scheme for MP farmers, politics over Congress’ loan waivers intensifies


 

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism

3 COMMENTS

  1. Bangladeshis are criminals, terrorists and threat to nation. It’s congress which wants Bangladeshis as their vote bank

  2. Don’t forget that it was the Congress who attempted to create the perception bogey of “Saffron terror” & “Hindu terror”.
    Congress is anti-Hindu.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More