Is Sonia Gandhi led Congress digressing politics further?

Congress high command is digressing politics either for saving her party in order to let it remain in power, or throwing all the stakes in order to promote his son Rahul Gandhi’s ascendance.

The UPA government has been trying too hard to appease the minorities. Within two months, they have opened too many sops for them and have showed keen interest in their matters.

Whether it be prime minister Manmohan Singh visiting the riot affected areas in Muzaffarnagar along with Congress high command Sonia Gandhi and heir apparent Rahul Gandhi, or PM’s NIC speech which was full of UP bashing for the same, all the way they have tried to show that they are the most secular party who want to work for the betterment of minorities.

The UPA was dry with the relay of scams hitting it too hard across the face. Then the Narendra Modi chanting, which fails to stop at every corner of the country, has sown the seeds of desperation in the government.

The hush-hanging of Ajmal Kasab and much publicised hanging of Afzal Guru came in order to woo the public and deviate its attention from Modi. But it ended up upsetting the other majority which comes into minority.

The RSS bashing and name calling is very public in the Congress which is a clear sign of the said desperation. After all, what could be more digressing and desperate than Rahul Gandhi using his grandmother Indira’s assassination as a plank to gain votes and call BJP responsible for it?

When home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde wrote letters to the chief ministers directing them clearly that “no Muslim youth is detained wrongfully on charges of terror”, it came back to the ground zero.

The fact that the Congress party was sleeping while the Korajhar was burning and it had deaf ears to over 100 communal clashes within a year in Uttar Pradesh signifies that its electoral insecurities are the reasons for its wake from the deep slumber.

The Prevention of Communal Violence and Targeted Violence Bill is just a reflection of Congress’ failure in governance.  The bill is not only divisive it is also digressing to the politics which has come down only to emotional robbery for vote-gains.

Sonia Gandhi’s NAC, which drafted the bill in 2011, built the bill on the assumption that majorities target minorities. R Jagannathan in his article notes that “Even though the bill seeks to remedy this by using the district for identifying majority and minority, and also identifies linguistic minorities, and SC/STs as worthy of protection, it is difficult to imagine a more polarising way of dealing with communalism.” Overall minorities form 50% of the population in India. The idea of protecting other half on the basis of local majority-minority identification is ridiculous.

Also, it will not cover the minority-minority riots like Shia-Sunni riots in Uttar Pradesh and Muslim-Christian riots in Kerala. It would not even be able to stop tribal riots in various parts of the country.

The communal identities, which are bound to be marked due to the presence of this bill, will only make minorities an easier target.

The bill seeks to hold the official staff, or the administrative officer, responsible for the “dereliction of duty” if they fail to prevent communal riots. It may sound good because the Indian administration is in dire need of reform but the riots are not a result of lackadaisical attitude all the time. Just see what happened in Muzaffarnagar. The administrative officers who were freshly transferred in the area failed to contain the communal clashes despite their willful attempts because they were completely unaware of the ground situation due to their fresh introduction to the scene.

Ashutosh Varshney wrote in Indian Express that “a mere eight cities in India – Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Hyderabad, Aligarh, Meerut, Delhi and Kolkata — had nearly 46 per cent of all deaths in Hindu-Muslim riots.”

He says the way “social and community life” is organised in a city makes communal rioting more or less likely. “Riots are jointly produced. They are, in part, an outcome of how the police officials and civil administrators have performed their constitutionally assigned functions. Rioting is also, in part, a result of how social and economic life is organised in a town, whether Hindus and Muslims are segregated or integrated, and what incentives or capacities such local structures have created for politicians, always in search of political gains, to inflame and polarise, or calm and unite, local communities. The same IAS officer who functioned well in Warangal often felt helpless in Hyderabad. The NAC would like to give more powers to the civil servant. But if riots are jointly produced by the state and society, dealing with one side of the equation is surely not enough,” he wrote in that article.

However hard Congress may try to cover the governance failure, the slip always occurs.

Another point which is interesting to note is that all the major sops came out of the Sonia Gandhi led NAC. Whether it is food security bill, or the much controversial ordinance negating Supreme Court’s order to disqualify criminal lawmakers and this communal violence bill, it was all an arsenal from NAC.

This not only says that the Congress high command is digressing politics either for saving her party in order to let it remain in power, or throwing all the stakes in order to promote his son Rahul Gandhi’s ascendance.

Whatever the reason is, the divisive policies that the Congress party has been adopting of late should fall before it is too late.

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