Congress had better keep off 'Intellectuals'




A desperate Congress party is embarking on a 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' that has generated some interest among the disparate groups of Civil Society and some NGOs.

A desperate Congress party is embarking on a 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' that has generated some interest among the disparate groups of Civil Society and some NGOs. Calling themselves leading grassroots movement groups, the leadership of these organizations acceded to the demand of the Congress high command to join forces against the undemocratic rule of the BJP.

This intervention is claimed as non-partisan and is said to be not to promote any one political party. These groups also have proclaimed that they are not here to participate in the competition among and within the political parties in the Opposition, dubbing their effort as "non-partisan' politics of resistance. The idea of 'non-partisan' politics sounds lofty. But the very fact that most of the NGOs or the heads of those NGOs are 'victims' of the Centre's actions against illegal foreign funding lends a touch of irony to the claims. For the Congress, it is a compulsion. The most undemocratic party which is responsible for corrupt governance, dynastic politics and for creating religious vote banks all these years has exhausted all options and plans this 'abhiyaan' after its own 'Bharat Thodo' and 'Party Thodo' 'abhiyaans'.

Indians always loved such 'yatras,' more so if it is a 'padayatra'. Mahatma Gandhi successfully experimented with it and knit people together. Much earlier, several spiritual gurus of this land did so in spreading the message of unity and wisdom. In fact, the Congress would have been better off without the support of these groups. These NGOs and Civil Society groups anyway would support the Congress in fighting the ills of the BJP governance. But, it is bound to be looked at differently and convey a wrong perception to the people if such groups get associated with it.

"Several eminent persons, intellectuals and activists met in Delhi in September 2021 to explore the possibility under the working name "India Deserves Better," writes Yogendra Yadav who played a major role in the meeting and the subsequent ones, too, in various cities. The basic idea is said to be to forge a broader unity of all those who wish to reclaim the republic and strengthen the hands of democratic resistance. "Intellectuals" like Prashant Bhushan are part of it. The Congress, on its part, has asked all "citizens, organisations, movements and political parties" to join it through Digvijay Singh.

All the names that one hears in connection with this effort are those of known BJP-baiters. At best, this could turn out to be yet another effort by the anti-BJP grouping to take on the BJP despite the claims of non-partisan politics. Has the Congress assured the groups of its commitment to democratic values? How does the party justify its protests in response to the probe into the National Herald Case? Do these groups which plan to join hands with the Congress ask the question? These very same groups have been campaigning against "the genocide of Muslims and demolition of hundreds of minorities' homes and persecution and lynching of Muslims in large numbers," ever since the BJP came to power."

None of these can deny the fact that they have been claiming large-scale violation of human rights on a daily basis in the country that should be taken with a pinch of salt. Congress would only distance itself from the people further by getting into their company afresh.

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