Congress Heaps Godse Slur

Odisha has been witnessing a different kind of politics, which is observed after the 2019 General Elections. The poll verdict has made it very clear that people prefer Biju Janata Dal (BJD) for the state and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the centre. People have rejected the Indian National Congress (INC). The country’s oldest political party lost its leading opposition status in the State Assembly and could manage to secure only one Lok Sabha seat.

The new politics is that Congress appears to have no problem with the ruling BJD, but unable to tolerate the growth of BJP. The party which had just one Lok Sabha seat in 2014 now has eight. Its tally in the Assembly increased from 10 to 23. Congress, on the other hand, reduced its seats from 16 to 09.

The Congress’s attitude was clearly exhibited in the recently concluded Budget Session of the Odisha Assembly, where the oldest party mostly targeted the saffron party instead of zeroing on the ruling BJD. The opposition Congress and BJP stood divided, thus giving a breathing space to the ruling party. The Treasury Bench had a smooth time as the Congress and BJP kept on fighting each other.

After a deep analysis of the reason behind the growth of BJP in a state like Odisha, the Congress appears to have come to a conclusion that the new generation has forgotten the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi and the people who killed him for propagating the message of ‘Ahimsa’. 

Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha Mishra, in a different
avtar, for the first time, raised the issues relating to Mahatma Gandhi and his killer Nathuram Godse. The Congress leader, during his several attempts in the Assembly, attempted to dub the BJP as a platform that supported killer of Mahatma Gandhi. He even said that BJP leaders worship Nathuram Godse and attempt to create a temple to boost the image of the Gandhi killer.

This is not all. Mr.Mishra also accused the BJP of harbouring the leaders who openly praise Nathuram Godse. He said the Prime Minister had categorically announced, during the last elections, that he would not forgive BJP’s Bhopal candidate for making anti-Gandhi statement. “What action has the Prime Minister taken against the BJP leader two months after the elections?” Mr.Mishra asked.

The CLP leader also challenged the BJP members in the Assembly whether they can give “Nathuram Godse Murdabad” slogan. One of the saffron party lawmaker, however, replied, “Yes.” But, none of them dared to take the challenge thrown by the Congress leader. They refrain from saying the slogan in order to silence Mr.Mishra.

This is not all, in his bid to attack Rashtriya Swyam Sevak Sangh (RSS), the Congress leader alleged that the RSS headquarters had not hoisted tri-colour for 52 years after Independence. RSS’s former chief M S Golwalker in his book
Bunch of Thoughts has written something critical about Mahatma Gandhi which is a dishonor for the Father of the Nation, he alleged.

Why is the Congress leader making Gandhi vs Godse an issue in Odisha without having immediate provocation, asked BJP deputy leader in Assembly, Bishnu Charan Sethi. Even the Congress Whip Taraprasad Bahinipati had no reply to this question. The Jeypore MLA, known as an outspoken leader, preferred to reply with a smile when asked the question raised by Mr.Sethi.

There should be no doubt that the Congress think tank has come to a conclusion that after 72 years of Independence and death of Mahatma Gandhi, people have forgotten the Father of the Nation. Other than some statues and his picture on currency notes, Gandhiji is no more in the minds of the present day voters. The present generation has not seen the Independence struggle and is oblivious about his rich contributions to nation-building.

The Congress leaders feel that the growth of BJP is mostly due to our people forgetting Gandhiji.  Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Jan Sangh (BJS) and later Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could not be acceptable to the people India as long as they were aware of Gandhiji’s ideology of non-violence. The general impression on the Sangh has all along remained that Hindu fundamentalists killed the Mahatma. Therefore, they were not accepted by the people of India.

The Congress now realizes that it cannot stop BJP’s growth unless people understand that Gandhi killers get respect from the people ruling the country. It is a fact that the people of India are mostly peace loving and they do not appreciate violence. And basing on this theory, Congress ruled the country for generations despite not making any tangible progress. The Congress leaders till Rajiv Gandhi were able to respect Gandhiji’s ideologies which indirectly helped the old party to remain in power, thus keeping the BJP at bay.

The successive Congress leaders had created an impression among people that the saffron party loves violence and they backed the people who killed Gandhiji. However, things changed after Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi came to the helm. Little realizing that highlighting Gandhiji would give them acceptance, Sonia and Rahul preferred to give importance to Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi instead of Mahatma Gandhi.

In the process, people, particularly the youth, found BJP more acceptable to them than the Congress. The 21st century young men and women want to go forward and not look back. This change of mindset has also helped the BJP to grow in India as well as in Odisha. The change in people’s perception has in fact caused huge electoral damage to the Congress and gain to the BJP.

Things are getting out of hand as Congress is not in a position to get even the status of a recognized opposition party. So, of late, the leaders of the oldest party have been trying to raise the Gandhi issue and create an impression among people that BJP supports Gandhi killers. Narasingha Mishra’s attempt to make Gandhi vs Godse an issue in Odisha appears to be part of Congress’s bigger agenda to take on BJP.

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