NEW DELHI: As construction of the Ram temple is in full swing in Ayodhya after the verdict from the apex court, the Congress wants to look beyond Ayodhya and return to the politics of people minus religious overtones as the party knows that it has lost major support due to mandir politics.
Since the BJP embedded itself in mandir politics, it has risen from 2 MPs to more than 300 in 2019. After it took aggressive stance, it rose in 1989 to support the VP Singh government and when Lal Krishna Advani embarked on to ‘rath yatra’ which finally led to the demolition of Babri mosque in 1992, the party formed its first government in 1996 at the Centre albeit for 13 days and then for 13 months in 1998 and in 1999, it formed a government that ran its full course of five years under the stewardship of Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
All it happened at the cost of Congress which lost its significance in UP and Bihar, as upper caste voters shifted to the BJP and minorities to regional parties. The Congress knows it all, so its leaders do not want to be in any discussion on Ayodhya.
Senior party leader Salman Khurshid in his latest book, ‘Sunrise over Ayodhya: Nationhood in Our Times’, says, “Indian politics, held captive in one way or the other by Ayodhya, may now well seek its emancipation from this issue, and the pursuit of welfare.” Incidentally, Khurshid was in council of ministers of then Prime Minister P.V. Narsimha Rao.
Shakil Ahmed, who was an MoS Home in the UPA government under Manmohan Singh, at the time of the demolition in 1992 had written a letter to Rao in capacity of an MLA from Bihar and said that the Prime Minister has lost respect. He had said, “yesterday’s incident at Aypdhya has not only destroyed faith of the minority community but of the entire citizenary of the secular country.”
In a letter to the then PM, he said, “people are more angry with Congress than BJP-RSS.” He wrote, “People are angry with you on personal level and Congress government at the Center which allowed things to happen so easily despite pledging to protect secularism and constitution.”
But after 29 years he doesn’t want to take up the issue but the letter itself manifests that the Congress leaders considered Rao as villain in the entire episode.
Of late, with resurgence of BJP as formidable force, the Congress first tried to embrace itself with Rahul Gandhi performing pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra chanting ‘Durga stuti’ in Varanasi, but having sensed that Congress can’t match with the BJP on religious turf, the party has done course correction and is now trying to return to original issues albeit saying there is a difference between Hinduism and hindutva. -IANS