With Sonia Gandhi being named in relation to Augusta Westland scam by the Italian Appeals Court, those who voted for Congress Mukt Bharat feel vindicated. But, this struggle for achieving Congress Mukt Bharat is far from over.
Modi Sarkar is doing an excellent job on economic and security fronts. PM Modi has said on several occasions that his government is working according a plan. It appears that the plan is finally picking up speed. If elections were to be won purely on the plank of development, then Modi government is doing quite well and is well on its way to another term- except that it is not all that simple.
War in pause mode?
Until August Westland expose happened, Congress was calling shots both inside and outside the Parliament. Its eco-system of parties (like the AAP and CPI), mainstream media, and even academic institutions are still intact. Congress has been occupying a disproportionate share of public discourse diverting attention from national priorities and creating fresh obstacles for the government.
Using stray incidents like Church attacks, a Muslim not getting rented accommodation, a Muslim techie’s murder, Dadri lynching, FTII strike, Rohit Vemulla’s suicide, and Kanhaiya Kumar and Khaid Umar’s anti-India rants, Congress had attached Modi Government relentlessly over the last many months. A somnolent BJP (see this article) wasn’t helping matters either. It appeared as if the war for ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’ had gone into a ‘pause’ mode and those who wanted swift changes had become restive.
A battle won
But, the Augusta Westland bribery judgment by the Italian Appeals Court has changed things in New Delhi. The judgment gave the BJP an opportunity to take control of the political narrative and BJP has grabbed this with both hands. It brought Subramanyam Swami in Rajya Sabha. It is now setting agenda of discussions in the Parliament i.e. notices for discussion and privilege motions are coming from the BJP. Sonia Gandhi and Congress are defensive for the first time in the last two years. Sonia is so much on the defensive that even Sharad Pawar, her erstwhile adversary, had to be pressed into the service to say that “BJP leaders informally admit that there is no evidence against Sonia” (Read )
A large number of Indians believe that the trails of corruption -in cases like Coalgate, 2 G scam, Augusta Westland, and of course National Herald case-lead to the door steps of top Congress Leaders. Ishrat Jahan cover up has further added to their anger towards Sonia Gandhi, who had controlled the UPA government. There is a huge public pressure for a thorough investigation of all corruption and terror related cases and punishing the guilty. This seems to be a real possibility now.
The Congress is on a back foot. The battle for perception has gone in favor of the BJP, albeit temporarily. But is the war for Congress Mukta Bharat being won? Let’s examine.
A war can’t be won without media cover
Let’s assume that senior Congress leaders, including Sonia Gandhi will be convicted in one of the cases that they are facing. But, even then, the conviction in itself will not automatically guarantee an electoral defeat of the Congress. Take the example of Lalu Prasad Yadav, who won Bihar elections in spite of conviction in the Fodder scam. Further, Sonia and her battery of lawyers, think tanks, ‘friendly’ politicians and pliable journalists will do everything to not only prevent such a conviction, but also to distract attention from the various scams and their involvement in them.
Even the re-galvanized BJP is no match for the Congress and Left eco-system’s masterful art of communication -they use insinuations, outright lies, mudslinging, and intellectual sophistry to great effect. With almost the entire mainstream media ranged against it, BJP will find it difficult to sustain its aggression. When you are in the government you are more vulnerable to attacks based on all kinds of real and imaginary issues.
There are limitations to what a government can do. It cannot make allegations. But a government can use its machinery to thoroughly and swiftly investigate wrong doings. Hopefully Modi Sarkar will do this. Many still have doubts about the Finance Ministry’s capabilities, if not its inclination.
As a party, BJP can do what its government cannot do. It can and should continue to criticize and question Congress leaders about scams and bad policies during its rule based on reasonably verified facts. This can’t be just an election time exercise. BJP needs a massive media reach for setting the agenda. Social media cannot match the reach of mass media in a country like India. India has smartphone user base of 220 Million, as per this report. Only 22 Million people use Twitter, as per an estimate. About 132 Million Indians use Facebook, according to Marc Zuckerberg as reported here. However, Twitter is a better indicator of use of social media for news and political opinions. Facebook and Whatsapp groups do disseminate political content, but their reach is limited. We can infer that political impact of social media can reach at the most- a single digit crore of people. India’s recorded voter base in 2014 elections were 83.4 crore. Thus, under 10% of voters can be influenced through social media.
Not having alternative media, which can report facts with reasonable impartiality is a major hurdle in winning this struggle for a Congress Mukta Bharat. The new media should not only counter the mainstream narratives that are often biased towards left-liberal views, it should also set genuine India-centric agenda in all walks of public life- politics, economy, social sectors, academics, and sciences. It should not only concentrate on projecting views, but also on delivering unbiased and truthful news. Cooperation among nationalist think tanks and non-government organizations will have to be built. We don’t see anything substantial happening in this area.
Institutions -many weak zones
The government can and should purge the institutions of Congress sycophants and the Communists. But, this has not happened until now. Some academic institutions continue to be bastions of the left. Police are inefficient, feudal and often gamed in favor of criminals or politicians. Police reforms have been pending for a long time and is yet to see the light. Similarly, judiciary has been stonewalling any attempt towards reform and accountability. Over 3 Crore pending court cases, lakhs of under trial prisoners, poor conviction rates, postponements, stays and bails letting even convicts roaming free, and no fear of the law is a true Congress legacy.
Can India truly become free from Congress and all that it represents, unless and until there is an overhauling of all these institutions and administration structures?
Our education makes us scorn the rich heritage of our civilization, which was head and shoulders above other civilizations just over a thousand years ago. The word Hindu has come to be scorned as backward, parochial by educated Hindus. The less educated, follow traditions blindly, but they are ultimately influenced by the educated. This British legacy has been nurtured to perfection by the Congress and the Leftists.
We have laws that discriminate against Hindus. Our laws allow governments to meddle with Hindu temples and religious trusts. Our laws prohibit any interference in Islamic or Christian organizations under the pretext of protecting the minorities. The Right to Education (RTE) does not apply to minority education institutions, while it puts the burden of admission to poor students only on non-minority institutions, i.e. Hindu schools and colleges. These laws are the true legacies of Congress. We don’t see the actions by Modi Sarkar on this.
The British encouraged the Church and the missionaries to undertake conversions on a massive scale. Congress inherited this legacy and encouraged it further. Illegal migration from Bangladesh and higher than average growth in Muslim population is another factor. Both these disturb the demographic balance and the Hindu civilizational core of India. A nationalist government is expected to arrest these trends. But we see no action at all by the BJP government towards this end.
Electoral defeats of Congress won’t be enough
Parties like SP, RJD, NCP, and TMC, which are steeped in Congress culture have filled the void created by Congress’ losses. Therefore, a mere electoral defeat of Congress is not enough to achieve a Congress Mukt Bharat. For this, we need to uproot the Congress culture -the culture of dividing and fragmenting people on the basis of religion (partition), caste (reservations), languages (linguistic re-organization of states), ethnicity, etc.; the ecosystem of complicated mechanisms of control, sops, exemptions, and discretionary powers that are in the hands of a few powerful people; and the culture of detesting anything that is Hindu and anything that predates the British and the Islamic rule.
Bharat will truly become Congress Mukt, when it frees itself from the ecosystems and legacies inherited from the Congress party.
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Nationalist, blogger, runner, startup mentor, design consultant. IIT Bombay alumnus. Twitter: @Hkarandikar