This is one question that even Congress President Rahul Gandhi must be asking himself. After his alleged ‘Congress is a Muslim party’ comment in a closed-door meeting last week, now BJP is questioning him saying Who is the real Rahul Gandhi?
After the soft contour of Mahagatbandhan is crafted, what the Congress party is looking at is playing a soft Hindutva- soft Islam card. MyNation has learnt what will be the strategy of the grand old party in the run-up to the 2019 general election. It wants to peddle soft Islam, pandering to its core constituency in states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Assam and West Bengal. At the same time, Rahul Gandhi is not going to be apologetic about his temple run either particularly when he is in states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Chhattisgarh or Tripura. Let’s look back at 5 times he swung to Hindutva and 5 times he branded himself as the messiah of Muslims.
‘JANEU-DHARI RAHUL’ :
1. During the high octane Gujarat Assembly election, we saw a different Rahul Gandhi who hopped from one temple to another keeping the local sensibilities in mind. He visited more than 20 temples, including Somnath, Akshardham, Ambaji, Dwakadhish, Chotila, Khodal Dham and Dasi Jivan temples to drive home one point: He is not what BJP makes him look like.
2. During Karnataka elections, the Congress President had a slim escape from death when his chopper crash-landed. Immediately he issued a statement saying, he will go to Mansarovar darshan, a holy site for Hindus after the election is concluded.
3. Rahul walked up 14 kilometres to Kedarnath shrine on 23rd April 2015. It was his first coming out of the pro-Muslim image. Smeared in saffron, Rahul announced, ‘I felt a sense of energy within me’, standing outside the Kedarnath Temple, flanked by then CM of Uttarakhand Harish Rawat and Congress leader Ambika Soni.
4. When Gujrat election was at its peak, a controversy broke out over a leaked picture from the visitor’s diary of Somnath temple that Rahul allegedly signed under Non-Hindu section. Party media head Randeep Surjewala proudly announced from a press conference that Rahul is not only a Hindu but a ‘Janeu dhari (sacred thread wearing) Brahmin’.
5. Around the same time on 20th November 2017, Rahul reiterated, “I am a devotee of Lord Shiva”.
But it was his pro-Muslim positioning that made all the more news and the BJP encashed it ever since the run-up to 2014 General election. Here are 5 instances when the ‘Janeu dhari brahmin’ seen to be appeasing the minorities.
‘MUSLIM-DHARI RAHUL’ :
1. The latest incident is of last Wednesday when he met a dozen of ‘eminent Muslims’ at his 12, Tughlaq Lane residence where he allegedly declared that ‘Congress is a Muslim party’. Something that has snowballed into a full-fledged political row, ever since.
2. Rahul Gandhi's' silence on Triple Talaq Bill was also seen as a way to appease one section of the society. A carefully crafted statement of the party read, it “will not oppose the Bill, or move amendments. It will only raise concern over the criminality clause.” No wonder it was to meant to appease Muslim men. In fact, Rahul Gandhi himself was conspicuously absent from the discussions and voting in parliament. No whip was issued to its members either.
3. After a gap of 3 years, Rahul organised an iftar party this year, reviving the old custom of the grand old party. In politics, symbolism is everything. And if he has sent one message by donning a skull cap that evening, it’s his flexibility to swing from the pro- saffron to pro-Islam mask, overnight.
4. Back in 2009, speaking to Aligarh Muslim University (AMU)students, Rahul surprised many by saying, a Muslim too can become a Prime Minister. He said, “If there is a Muslim Prime Minister, he will be the most capable person in the country”.
5. And now the bombshell. RaGa told then US ambassador over a lunch, during UPA 2, that Hindu extremist groups could pose a greater threat to India than Islamic terrorists. When Wikileaks unravelled this truth, Congress didn’t go on a defensive. Rather many Congress leaders were seen to be justifying what RaGa was quoted to have said.
Rahul Gandhi seems to be a personality of contradictions. He doesn’t have a core belief. No wonder journalist Shahid Siddiqui who questioned Gandhi over his alleged statement says, “ He walked into the trap of BJP. They wanted him to get into this 'one vs another' narrative. And now he has walked into it, particularly after his purported ‘Congress is a Muslim Party’ comment”.
Shashi Tharoors’ infamous ‘Hindu Pakistan’ remark worsened the matter for Congress. Though the Congress was quick to distance itself from it, many within BJP think it’s part of a larger strategy by the Congress to ‘reposition’ itself.
Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman lashed out last Friday from the BJP podium, “First a Karnataka Minister who is from Congress MLA supported Sharia Court, then Shashi Tharoor's ‘Hindu Pakistan’ comment and now Rahul Gandhi saying ‘Congress is a Mulsim Party. The transformation from ‘Janeu dhari; to ‘Muslim dhari’ is now complete”. And with Congress’ Minority Cell Chief Nadim Javed confirming to Urdu newspaper ‘Inquilab’ that Rahul indeed said what he said, its natural to ask, which Rahul Gandhi is for real?
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Last Updated 17, Jul 2018, 9:09 AM