Can't Win Fight Against BJP-RSS By Taking Short Cuts: Rahul Gandhi

On organisational reforms, he said it was high time to have a “healthy mix” of senior and young workers in all state, district and central units. 

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Udaipur: Drawing reference to the Pegasus spyware controversy in which politicians, civil liberties activists, journalists and others were spied upon, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in his speech on the final day of the Chintan Shivir sought to establish that the Bharatiya Janata Party was muzzling “open conversations” between people. At the same time, he praised the Congress for having free and honest discussions of political and organisational matters in the Chintan Shivir – an aspect of the brainstorming camp that he said bore the stamp of what the Congress principally stood for.

“I was involved in all discussions…I was asking myself the question that which other party would allow such honest conversations without any fear, any worry. (Which other party) will allow discussions in which senior leadership was being bluntly told what the Congress party thinks,” he said, adding that the party’s rival BJP-RSS will never allow such a process.

He said that the Congress can have such discussions between its workers irrespective of their religion, caste and other affiliations only because its fight is “ideological”. “Every politician, every journalist here knows Pegasus…it is the way to strangle political discussion of the country,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi spoke minutes before CWC member Ajay Maken read out the Udaipur declaration. An ideological fight (vichaardhara ki ladai) with the BJP-RSS formed the crux of his speech. “Even the regional parties will not allow such conversations,” he said, adding that state-level parties do not have an ideology. He said smaller parties are needed in Indian democracy but they can’t challenge the Sangh parivar’s hegemony because they lack the Congress’s ideological strength.

That is why, he said, the BJP only focuses on criticising the Congress, and never the regional parties as it knows that only the grand old party can break their dominance.

“Unfortunately, politics in our country is not progressing” in the manner the Congress conducted the discussions, he said, adding that there was an atmosphere of fear in the country because of the BJP-RSS which is attempting to muzzle free conversations between people.

India is described as a union of states in our constitution, and thus it was critical for the union that states and people of the country across regions are allowed to have this kind of conversation, he said.

“The only alternative to such conversations between people of India is violence between people of India,” he said, adding further emphasis on the point that BJP will precipitate unprecedented chaos and violence in the future. “It is Congress’s responsibility to stop this fire, it is the Congress’s responsibility to take our message to the people of India…It is a battle for India’s future,” he said. He said that the Congress’s ideology was not chalked out by an individual but was a shared heritage of India’s founding fathers like Gandhi, Nehru, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad and Ambedkar.

“We do not understand the consequence of such muzzling. India does not understand the consequence of it yet. Congress’s responsibility is to let the people know that the BJP is dividing people, it is destroying India’s institutional framework,” he said.

Elaborating on why the BJP was responsible for rampant poverty, unemployment and the farming crisis, he said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP and its ideology have broken the spine of India.

Sending a message to his colleagues, he said he was certain that Congress’s fight in the future should not be an “internal” one that sees party leaders hankering for party posts. “Rather it should have an external focus. We should look towards the people of India. All leaders, both senior and junior, should simply, without worrying too much, just sit with people of India more and more.”

“I am certain that we will not win in this fight (with the BJP-RSS) by taking a short-cut. It can only happen if we are ready to shed our sweat,” he said, urging leaders to understand that Congress’s battle is not solely with a political party but with all institutions of the country that have been appropriated by the Sangh parivar.

He, however, added that the BJP outdoes the Congress in communicating with people, and that the party should entirely “reform” its communication strategy.

On organisational reforms, he said it was high time to have a “healthy mix” of senior and young workers in all state, district and central units.

He said he wholeheartedly supported the Congress’s resolution to implement “one family, one post”, although he added that general secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal had given a caveat that there could be exceptions. Later, while reading our the Udaipur declaration, CWC member Maken said that Congress has adopted the rule but will allow more than one person in a family only after the second person gains at least five years of organisational experience.

In line with what her mother Sonia Gandhi said later in her concluding remarks, Rahul too stated that the whole of Congress is his family. This appeared to be an attempt to reach out to the party workers, while also projecting the Gandhi family – that is at the centre of the leadership debate within the party – as supposedly devoid of sectarian interests.

He ended his speech by saying that he was not scared of taking on the BJP-RSS. “I have been fighting the BJP, I will keep fighting it. I am not scared. In my whole life, I have never been corrupt. I have not taken a single penny from Bharat Mata’s pockets. I will show how the BJP-RSS can be defeated. And we will do it together.”