Editorial & Analyses

    Nationalism vs Appeasement

    Mahesh Chand Gupta
    April23/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    This electoral battle underscores deep-rooted cultural and political ideologies shaping India's future.

    BJP and Congress Flag

    The entire country is currently in election mode. On one hand, the Bharatiya Janata Party is trying to form the government at the Center for the third consecutive time, while on the other hand, the opposition parties are trying to stop the BJP. The INDIA alliance, which includes the Congress, is attacking the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. There are various parties in INDIA but Modi is mostly targeting Congress in his speeches. Although many issues are being discussed in the elections, the electoral scenario is dominated by Hindutva and nationalism of BJP and Muslim appeasement of Congress.

    If BJP is talking about Hindutva and nationalism in the Lok Sabha elections, then this is nothing new for it. The issues of Hindutva and nationalism have become permanently associated with the BJP. Even though Congress has been alleging that BJP's Hindutva and nationalism are meant to win elections, it does not seem to have any impact on BJP and its supporting voters. Congress links BJP's Hindutva with religion whereas for BJP, Hindu is a symbol of culture. The Supreme Court has also said this. BJP's Hindutva includes every nationalist Indian. The party believes that identity as a Hindu is the cultural citizenship of every Indian. Hindu is not a religion, sect or creed. It is a cultural term. Thus, while BJP's stand is clear in this matter, Congress seems to be in a dilemma in this matter for the last ten years. Congress and its leaders are sometimes seen talking about taking Hindus along and sometimes returning to their old appeasement policy. Sometimes Rahul Gandhi tries to show his soft attitude towards Hindutva by worshiping in temples, wearing sacred thread and calling himself a Brahmin, then after a short time he forgets it and starts trying to attract Muslim voters towards the party. Obviously, Congress is not able to give up Muslim appeasement. When Congress recently released its election manifesto, it came under attack from all BJP leaders including PM Modi, Amit Shah, JP Nadda, Rajnath Singh. Modi said that Congress has sunk so much in the quagmire of appeasement that it can never come out of it. The manifesto of Congress seems to be the manifesto not of Congress but of Muslim League. Every page of it smells of Muslim League. Amit Shah said that Congress is an appeasement party. Four generations of Congress kept appeasing. She wants to bring back Muslim Personal Law.

    In fact, Congress has promised the minorities in its declaration that if Congress gets a chance, it will respect and maintain the rights given to religious minorities under the Constitution. The party will re-implement the Maulana Azad Scholarship for studies abroad and increase the number of scholarships. Like every citizen, Congress has talked about giving freedom of dress, food, language and personal laws to minorities and promoting reforms in personal laws. In response to this, BJP is also raising the issue of Sachar Committee report. BJP says who is responsible for the plight of Muslims mentioned in the Sachar Committee report? Congress government was in power for decades, but Congress never thought about the social and economic upliftment of Muslims. Congress has always been using Muslims only as a vote bank.

    Congress's love for Muslims is not reflected in this manifesto for the first time. His line has always been this. On one hand, BJP's Hindutva includes all nationalist Indians, while Congress talks only about minorities. It is well known that Muslims have been a big vote bank of Congress since the beginning, which they got separated from over time and the party is trying to cultivate them again. This has been clear from the statements of party leaders from time to time. Everyone still remembers the statement of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in which Singh had said that Muslims have the first right on the country's budget. In the Gujarat Assembly elections, Congress candidate from Sidhpur seat Chandan Thakor had said that only Muslims can save the Congress. There are many such examples.

    It is fine if Congress keeps speaking for Muslims, but the party has made a big mistake by targeting Hindus. People have still not forgotten Congress leader P. Chidambaram's statement about saffron terrorism a decade and a half ago. By rejecting the invitation for the consecration ceremony of Shri Ram Lala in Shri Ram temple, Congress has hit its own foot.

    Big leaders of Congress have been repeatedly explaining to their high command but the party is not taking any lesson from it. In the year 2014, after the crushing defeat of Congress in the Lok Sabha elections, senior leader A.K. Antony was entrusted with the responsibility of reviewing the defeat. Antony clearly said in the review report that the policy of Muslim appeasement adopted by Congress proved fatal for it.

    Surprisingly, Congress still could not understand the situation on the ground and continued on the path of appeasement. Congress should have left the policies of appeasement and inspired the minority communities to join the mainstream of national upliftment and nationalism. Besides, they should have been awakened on the issues of national equality, Ek Bharat - Shrestha Bharat, equal civil rights, population control etc. so that their contribution in the upliftment of the nation and in solving the problems of the country would have been greater. But by not doing so, Congress always worked to divide the population of the country by promoting appeasement. Unreasonable opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act is also becoming a thorn in the side of Congress. The party has been ignoring all those voices in which emphasis was laid on taking Hindus along. Other regional and national parties have also been following the path of appeasement. On the contrary, BJP also won the 2019 Lok Sabha elections by following the path of Hindutva and nationalism and now once again it is in front of the public on these issues. That means BJP has not made any change in its stand. He is firm on his issues and ideology. Now Shri Ram temple has also been constructed. The issue of Uniform Civil Code is also attracting the common people. Voters will definitely consider that where are the people who have ruled the country for most of the 75 years after independence, trying to take the country by playing the appeasement card? The people of the country will look at the sixteen years of BJP's rule (including the tenure of Atal government), in which the focus has been on the dream of national upliftment, developed India, best India, Vishwa Guru India. The big question is, which of Hindutva, nationalism and appeasement policy is going to have an impact? The question is also whether voters will vote in the name of nationalism, Hindutva and Modi or will Congress be successful in finding a new path with the help of Muslim appeasement? What the public is thinking will become clear on June 4.