Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that the battle of ideologies has become one of the most important ones in today’s India, while accepting that the ideology of his party had been overshadowed by the “hate-filled orientation” of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“It is important to understand why we find ourselves in the situation where we find ourselves. Today, whether we like it or not, we have to accept that the divisive ideology of the RSS and the BJP has overshadowed the loving, affectionate and nationalistic ideology of the Congress. Our ideology is alive and vibrant but it is overshadowed,” Mr. Gandhi said. He was speaking at the inaugural session of a four-day national orientation camp for organisation training at Sewagram Ashram in Wardha district of Maharashtra.
“The moment we crystallise ours’ [ideology], we will envelope them [the BJP-RSS]. Just like Lord Shiva used to consume poison, Congress ideology will make the BJP’s ideology, [of] hate disappear,” he said.
Commenting on the training, Mr. Gandhi said that spreading the Congress’ ideology was “only one part of it”. “Our ideology spreads only when fear and pain within an individual is overcome. We must focus on strengthening our workers to make them fearless and pain-less. We are countering the ideology which thrives on fear and pain. We stand with smile, love and respect to others crossing the boundaries of caste, religion and region, against those who offer nothing but hate, anger and abuse,” he said.
Stressing that the ideology which the party follows has been the foundation of India’s culture for thousands of years, Mr. Gandhi pointed out that Hinduism and Hindutva are two entirely different things. “Why do Hindus need Hindutva when they follow Hinduism?”
“Is Hinduism about beating a Sikh or a Muslim person? No. But Hindutva is. I have read the Upanishads and nowhere is it written to kill an innocent man. But I can see it in Hindutva. Our orientation comes from Lord Shiva, Kabir, Guru Nanak to Mahatma Gandhi. We stand for what they stood for in their times,” he said.
The Lok Sabha MP added that the party had stopped propagating its ideology aggressively among its own people for various reasons. “The central way to do it is by training our own people and channelising how it is different being a Congress person than being an RSS person. We have to spread it effectively, first among ourselves and then others. This is the foundation mission of Congress workers,” he said.
Talking about those who quit the party to join the BJP but returned, Mr. Gandhi said he had spoken to one of the leaders from Uttarakhand, who had rejoined the Congress few days ago. “I asked him, ‘why did you come back?’ He told me that the BJP was suffocating, he couldn’t breathe freely in that party,” said Mr Gandhi.
Earlier, Sachin Rao, All India Congress Committee training in-charge, while explaining the background to the training camp, said that this was being organised at an extremely important and crucial stage for both the party and the country.
“The idea of India has never been under attack from the forces of fascism as well as from the regional forces of caste, religion, trying to shatter the politics of this country,” Mr. Rao said. He said that training is an important aspect of a party’s struggle against this as it’s necessary to understand what workers were fighting for and how to go about it. “This is not only for leaders but also for every last worker of each [polling] booth,” he said.