Yatra and Congress

Ram Puniyani

The humongous success of Bharat Jodo Yatra has brought forth many a dormant issue of Indian society. While its title does hint to combat social divisions created along religious lines during last three decades, core issues of Indian society have come to fore. The problems of farmers, youth, rising prices, the worsening plight of Adivasis, the insecurity and other problems of women are being well articulated during this spectacle. This is visible not only in the statements of its leaders of Yatra but also through those who are joining the Yatra with great enthusiasm and hope.

Indian society witnessed the divisive issues, emotive issues and the escalating religious violence along with decline in the conditions of the average, poor and marginalised sections of society. To large number of people a sense of despondency is giving way to some sense of hope and optimism.

At electoral level the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has already made unshakable place in Indian political system. Apart from the rightward shift towards Hindu nationalism engineered by RSS combine, BJP enhanced its political clout by winning over opportunist politicians through money, muscle power and use of ED in particular. It appeared as if this party is invincible.

Congress, the other major National party, was reduced to a emaciated machine, where many of its leaders, not deep set in secularism and values of Indian Constitution started leaving it. They thought that their political prospects will be better in other parties, particularly BJP which offered them generous fodder.

The Congress party which was going through ideological and organisational decline seems to have got a new lease of life and vibrancy. It now seems to have all the potential to take up the newer situation. Question is: can it take challenges head on to restore its place in the National life?

All in all the phenomenon of democratisation and inclusive politics was struggling to march from formal to substantive equality. But there were many internal flaws and external forces, which started impacting on the national polity. Internally the Grand old party’s ideological training wing left a lot to be desired. Many entrants to the party did so for sake the of power and pelf.

The absence of land reforms and persistence of pre modern ideology was well exploited by Religious right wing. The Hindu nationalists, had prepared the ground not only ideologically enhancing the conservative, orthodox and retrograde views, they also banked on the religiosity of the society to bring forth the identity issues like Ram Temple and Cow for example. The solid strength of RSS is the large and committed workers, fully indoctrinated in the view of history and ideology which not only sees democracy, secularism as Western concepts but also glorifies the past where values of Manusmriti ruled.

No doubt the Yatra is doing a miraculous job where the leadership of the party can understand the needs of the country’s average people and not just the Corporate, who have the access to centres of power all the time. The present Yatra also reminds one of extensive ‘third class compartment’ travels of Mahatma Gandhi which helped him grasp the pulse of the Country. Will this Yatra fulfil such a mission in current times is a million-rupee question.

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Vol 55, No. 23, Dec 4 - 10, 2022