Congress Pusillanimity

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HOURS after the home minister Amit Shah attacked the Congress over its tie-up with People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) and asked it to clarify its position on restoration of Article 370, the national party announced its dissociation with Gupkar grouping. Its chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a statement that the Congress was not a part of the Gupkar alliance and was contesting the district development council elections in Jammu and Kashmir to “expose” the BJP through democratic means.

Earlier, National Conference President, Dr Farooq Abdullah had said that Congress was with Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) and will also be a part of the group in the upcoming district development council (DDC) polls. He told media that Congress state President Ghulam Ahmad Mir had personally expressed his support for the PAGD and decided to fight elections jointly.

If anything, Congress approach to its alliance with the PAGD mirrors its pussilanimous politics to politics as a whole. Over the past many years now, the party has displayed a stunning lack of conviction in its so called secular ideology. Its strategy has been shaped largely by what the country’s rightwing opinion feels. For example, it was so called secular Congress which moved Afzal Guru up the queue to hang him in 2012. To add insult to the injury, Guru’s family, his wife and the lone son were not informed before his execution, let alone allowed to meet Guru. The hanging and the indecorous secrecy of the deed only played into the deep cynicism and the sense of alienation in Kashmir.

India needs a robust secular narrative to confront the hardline sectarian narrative with a serious political challenge. The country needs a politics that brings into sharp relief the secular-communal binary and turns it into a fight between good and evil. But Congress so far has not been up to the task. His vision for the country is vague and insipid. It has so far failed to straddle the widened Hindu-Muslim divide. Instead, it has chosen to play second fiddle to the BJP on ideology and ply a soft Hindutva that includes making a beeline to temples during elections and avoiding Muslims. As it is, its election campaign during recent Bihar Assembly polls was bereft of any discourse about Muslims or addressing their concerns. This is why a substantial number of them shifted to the party of Asad-u-din Owaisi and led to Mahagathbandan falling just shy of victory.

Congress’ politics in J&K is a reflection of its ambiguous cowardly politics at the national level. It isn’t certain about any of its ideological tenet, while as the BJP is.

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