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Monday, April 22, 2024

Undeterred by Nitish-Modi, Rahul Marches Ahead For Mission 2024

Narendra Modi and Amit Shah’s latest masterstroke might have gone awry, as their operation “destroy INDIA bloc” seems to have caused blowback and impaired their own interest. In their quest to project themselves as adroit political Svengalis, they have harmed their own cause more than inflicting damage to the Congress.

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By: Arun Srivastava

Narendra Modi and Amit Shah’s latest masterstroke might have gone awry, as their operation “destroy INDIA bloc” seems to have caused blowback and impaired their own interest. In their quest to project themselves as adroit political Svengalis, they have harmed their own cause more than inflicting damage to the Congress.

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Their lending a helping hand to Nitish Kumar, in the tiff of one-upmanship, has projected the duopoly as the enemies of youths of Bihar. Youths of Bihar for decades have traditionally been quite politically sensitive. They have a glorious past of struggles. In recent times, especially the urban middle class youths have come to nurse a soft corner for Modi. But his move to engineer split and desertion of the opposition alliance by Nitish has turned the youth hostile. Though for common people of Bihar, Nitish is more like a political Natwarlal, for the youths, he is a Nero, who is least bothered of their welfare.

In an unexpected turn of events, the youths who were erstwhile divided on caste lines and stood by their caste leaders, have developed strong empathy for Tejashvi Yadav and Rahul Gandhi. Their fondness for Rahul and Tejashvi could be seen in their massive turn out at the Purnea rally of Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra. They strongly hold the view that at the instructions of Modi, Nitish did the latest somersault to prevent them from really achieving caste justice and progressive development. The youths are also sceptical that Nitish in his new NDA avatar would abandon all the promises made by the Mahagathbandhan government to the youths.

The youths feel cheated. Modi must not take it as a storm in tea-cup. This anger that has burst barely two months before the Lok Sabha elections may prove disastrous for RSS and BJP. The anger among the youth is not only confined to Patna. This was seen even in the far corner of the state, Araria, the work place of famous rebel writer Phanishwarnath Renu. Even the seasoned Congress leaders were astonished at their presence at the meet to listen to Rahul.

For the state Congress leaders, the rally has come as a major morale booster.  The rally drew massive response notwithstanding absence of RJD chief Lalu Prasad and Tejashvi Yadav. None of them were present to address the participants. While ED had summoned and grilled ailing Lalu for nearly eleven hours on January 29, it had summoned Tejashvi the next day. Both were interrogated in the alleged land for job scam.

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However, the leaders of Grand Alliance see through this action of ED as a nasty plot to discredit the INDIA bloc, framed at the behest of Modi and Amit Shah, that with exit of Nitish Mahagathbandhan would lose its relevance and collapse in the state. Modi and Shah also nursed the opinion that a large chunk of Congress leaders and legislators would join the BJP.

Nonetheless, going by the mood of the participants and the enthusiasm that was visible at the ground, it could well be envisioned that both have failed. Their mission has suffered a miscarriage. The temper of the crowd, especially of the youths, was perceptible at the tumultuous cheers and clapping at Rahul’s remark. “Mahagathbandhan will fight for social justice in Bihar; we don’t require Nitish Kumar for the cause. We don’t require him at all”. A message had gone that youths of Bihar would prefer to identify with the Congress.

Just after Nitish deserted INDIA bloc, the mainstream media had started creating the impression that the alliance was in totters and it was not in the situation to pose a serious challenge to Modi.  It might appear to be an exaggeration, but the fact is the rally sent a strong message that it was alive and thriving.

Seasoned Congress leaders, those who have been associated with the party from their student days, as activists and leaders of NSUI, the response at some level exhibited the sign of resurrection of the party in the state. They openly expressed that for some of the MLAs and leaders those who were in a state of confusion about their future moves, whether to shift to BJP, this rally would prove to be a major deterrent.

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Like in other states, the feudal and landed gentry has a firm grip on Congress in Bihar. But they could not manifest their antipathy to Rahul’s pitch that launching of caste census was the prime agenda for the party. His assertion of setting a new left-to-the-centre narrative, in contrast to the prevailing political line and philosophy of the party, apparently does not appear to face severe resistance. Leaders share the impression that in order to retrieve its lost ground it must have to follow the ideological narrative of Rahul. The party stands for Dalits, EBC, labourers and proletariat. Congress leaders have the habit of uttering populist schemes. But Rahul’s reflection was different.

Reminiscent of his thrust on alternate path and need for evolving new ideological narrative during the Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul made it liberally clear that the party must identify with the poor, dalit and proletariat if at all it has to survive and exist. Making a pitch for nationwide caste census, he said, “No one understands “samajik nyay (social justice)” better than Bihar. This country should know how many OBC, SC or ST people there are, for which a caste census is necessary. That will give every group an idea of what they deserve. That is actually the country’s X-Ray”. In fact at his rallies, whether it was in Kishanganj or Araria, he harped on social justice. “People must know what their rights are. This is what Congress promises to do.”

Moreover, INDIA leaders are not feeling betrayed and also are not scared of the ED and CBI.  The cool posture of Rahul has a major inspiration for them. The Bihar Congress chief Akhilesh Singh even said, “We have no problems with whoever wants to leave. I can assure Rahul ji that even after Nitish’s exit; Bihar’s Mahagathbandhan (RJD, Congress and Left) alliance will win two-thirds of the seats in the Lok Sabha.” This improved level of confidence simply reinforces the fact that Congress leaders are raring to take Modi head on.

Dipankar Bhattacharya, the general secretary of the CPI(ML), the other major ally of Mahagathbandhan, while stressed on the need for pursuing a pro-people political line, he emphasised that the prevailing political situation was just akin to the time of freedom struggle. Calling upon the political parties to undertake the fight against inequality, Dipankar said not to compromise with the ideology and fight for social justice and democracy.

He said India was passing through the worst time. Secularism, Constitution, and the socialist character of the country were being annihilated by the Modi regime. He was unsparing of Nitish. He said that Nitish had betrayed the legacy of Karpoori Thakur, who was the symbol of fight of poor against social and economic exploitation. In contrast Nitish was chief minister for nine terms but did nothing for the poor.

Emphasising that the INDIA bloc is a strong and viable force, the party chief Mallikarjun Kharge through his virtual participation told the audience that seat sharing would not prove to be a major hindrance. Talking to newspersons, Jairam Ramesh reiterated that one can’t imagine INDIA bloc without Mamata Banerjee. It is expected that Kharge’s team would soon finalise the seat-sharing and joint campaign arrangements with INDIA allies. Ramesh also took jibe, “Vishwas ghat karne mein visheshagya hain (Nitish Kumar is an expert at backstabbing). He changes his political colours like a chameleon… The entire drama was manufactured by the BJP, Prime Minister Modi and Amit Shah. However, it will not affect the INDIA bloc.”

However, the remark of senior TMC leader Sudip Bandhopadhyay: “If Mamata Banerjee can reduce the Congress and the Left to zero (in assembly polls), it can also reduce the BJP to zero (in Lok Sabha elections),” has not been received well by the Congress leaders. They feel that instead of unnecessarily precipitating the issue, TMC leadership must maintain restraint. His observation: “We never received an invite from Rahul Gandhi. We received an invite from the party yesterday. What is the point of it when the Yatra has already begun,” has also thrown open a debate in the party circle, whether this implied that the aides of Rahul were not carrying out his instruction in right manner. Rahul a couple of days back had told that he had written to Mamata Banerjee inviting her to join the rally. (IPA Service)

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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