J.P. Nadda’s jab of Congress ‘lupt’ Bharat becomes ominously valid.
Oxford-educated Independent candidate, Kartikeya Sharma brushed past the Congress nominee Ajay Maken to enter the Rajya Sabha from Haryana. Miffed by Rahul Gandhi’s attitude, Bhajan Lal’s son, Kuldeep Bishnoi, cross-voted to queer the pitch for Maken, who needed 31 votes, which is the exact strength of Congress MLAs in the state. Maken polled 30 against Sharma’s 29 in the first count. Upholding Sharma’s objection to the vote cast by the daughter-in-law of Bansi Lal, Kiran Choudhary, Election Commission invalidated it, bringing the tally to 29-29: as Sharma had majority in the second preference votes cast by BJP, he won.
The Kuldeep Bishnoi saga was a repeat of the Himanta Biswa Sarma exit from Congress in 2015. Bishnoi had been seeking a meeting with Rahul Gandhi for the past three years. As the story goes, when approached by Maken for his vote, Bishnoi insisted that a meeting be arranged with Rahul. As Rahul was on his overseas sojourn in UK, Maken could not fulfil this desire of his elector. Bishnoi and Kiran did not join the resort jamboree organised by Congress by flying its MLAs to Raipur, Chhattisgarh, where it has one of its two residual state governments. (MLAs in Rajasthan, the other Congress ruled state, were cocooned in the resort in Udaipur, where some weeks back the “Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir” was attended by the party top brass.) The absence of Kuldeep and Kiran at Raipur had indicated that all was not well in the Congress camp.
Haryana is the state where Panipat, the venue of three battles (1526, 1556, and 1761) which proved decisive in India’s history, is located. The 1761 outcome was the precursor to the consolidation of British rule. By losing the Rajya Sabha poll in Haryana in spite of having the requisite numbers, Congress seems to have lost the Fourth Battle of Panipat—the dominance of BJP in New Delhi is further established. The shrinking Congress footprint perhaps justifies what BJP chief J.P. Nadda said in Kolkata past week.
Going a step forward from Sangh Parivar’s “Congress-mukt (sans Congress) Bharat” jab, Nadda enunciated his premise of “Congress-lupt (extinct) Bharat”. “Forty years back, nobody had thought India could be ‘Congress-mukt’, today, we have Congress-lupt Bharat… There is nothing Indian left in the Indian National Congress (INC); their leaders now speak from London,” Nadda said in an apparent reference to Rahul Gandhi’s “Vision of India” speeches at London and Cambridge.
“Political culture has changed for better because of the leadership of Narendra Modi. We are fighting regional parties, which have turned into dynastic outfits. These parties neither have any principles nor policies,” Nadda added.
“Be it in Jammu and Kashmir, where you have the JKNC and the PDP or in states such as Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and West Bengal… everywhere we find baap-beta (father-son) parties or baap-beti (father-daughter) and bua-bhatija (aunt-nephew) parties,” he said.
Congress meanwhile is being geared up for “mass action”, one of the takeaways of the Udaipur “Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir”. In his London and Cambridge discourse, Rahul, citing the popular upsurge in Sri Lanka, has said a mass uprising was necessary to fight BJP. One would have thought that mobilisation would be directed towards bringing to relief issues like inflation, unemployment, need for communal amity, etcetera. However, the first appeal for mass action, which has been sent to the cadres post Udaipur is to hold protests on 13 June, the day former Congress president Rahul Gandhi appears before the Enforcement Directorate in the matter pertaining to transfer of assets of Jawaharlal Nehru founded National Herald to a new entity, Young Indian.
As the matter is sub judice, this writer shall refrain from commenting on its merits. Suffice to say that when National Herald was founded in 1938 Nehru had collected donations from 5,000 freedom fighters. Nehru never intended it to be a party paper nor did he deem it a family asset. He was chairman of Associated Journals, the company which owned the newspaper in Lucknow—he resigned that post before joining the interim government on 2 September 1946. The assets of National Herald thus had a place in the heritage of India. It had nothing to do either with the Indian National Congress or with the Nehru family. The ED case has emanated from a petition filed by Dr Subramanian Swamy, the BJP MP who is known for his independent views which often are critical of the Narendra Modi regime. As concerns about money laundering emerged after a court admitted the case, ED has swung into action, as it is so mandated by law.
All Congress MPs have been summoned to be present in New Delhi on Monday, 13 June, the day Rahul appears before ED—state level workers have been directed to remonstrate outside ED offices. Thus the mass mobilisation on 13 June is directed towards defending the might of the triune which controls the reigns of the Grand Old Party. When Lalu Yadav was first summoned in the fodder scam case he rode an elephant to demonstrate his might. Immediate past history sometimes escapes the attention of our political class.
The distribution of ten Rajya Sabha tickets was not done by the Congress Working Committee or the Political Advisory Group, set up post Udaipur. Apparently, a video call between Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Vadra and Rahul, who was in the UK, decided the list, with each member of the triune having equal share of three nominees each and one being given as largesse to a nominee backed by Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh. The one-family-one-ticket rule and the necessity for a ticket aspirant to have been active for five years—the lofty notions emanating from Udaipur—were summarily overlooked. It was clear that the GOP was trotting on its grand old stride. Thanks to Ashok Gehlot’s dexterity, Congress staved off attrition in its ranks in Rajasthan. Haryana Congress too had a dexterous Bhupinder Hooda at the helm, but arrogance of the “High Command” ensured the defeat of Ajay Maken.