Cong., CPI(M) counter ‘bid to undermine religious neutrality’

May 29, 2023 12:00 am | Updated 05:40 am IST - Thiruvananthapuram

The Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] appear to have found a common cause in the ‘Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Union government’s brazen attempts to undermine the Constitutional principle of the administration’s religious neutrality.’

They have accused the BJP of imbuing the inauguration of the new Parliament building with revanchist Hindu symbolism for political point-scoring with an eye on the majority community votes in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Both parties are acutely aware that the electorally consequential minority communities in Kerala are watching the Centre’s display of Hindu nationalism with a cautious eye and feel compelled to mount a forceful pushback against the Sangh Parivar’s ‘polarising’ political and historical narratives.

Nevertheless, the jury is out on whether their shared opposition to the BJP’s ‘peddling of the Sengol myth associated with the transfer of power in Hindu kingdoms of yore’ and ‘attempt to rewrite history to give credence to Sangh Parivar’s Hindu nationalist ideology’ would evolve into a broader resistance to the BJP’s ‘attempt to downplay the country’s diversity and dismantle its secular foundation’ in Kerala.

Stance hitherto

The CPI(M)’s State unit had repeatedly drawn the line at any broader political understanding with the Congress, given the latter’s ‘neo-liberal economic outlook and soft Hindutva line’.

In turn, the Congress has accused the CPI(M) of cosying up to the BJP to diminish its political influence in the country.

Moreover, both parties believe they could electorally ill-afford to be seen on the same side, given the looming Lok Sabha elections and the threat posed by the BJP.

Congress’s emphatic victory in the Karnataka Assembly elections has underscored the need to whittle away BJP’s attempt to project a Hindu nationalist coalition undivided by caste and weaponised against liberals, secularists, and minorities.

The caste factor

Notably, AICC general secretary K.C. Venugopal told reporters in Kannur that the BJP’s caste prejudice reflected in its decision not to invite President Droupadi Murmu, who hails from a tribal community, to inaugurate the new Parliament building.

CPI(M) leader and Minister for Local Self-Governments M.B. Rajesh and General Education Minister V. Sivankutty said separately that the government would resist the Sangh Parivar’s attempt to tweak Indian history.

Bharatiya Janata Party State president K. Surendran sought to appropriate the political high ground by stating that Congress and Left parties disfavoured Indian democracy by vilifying the historic inauguration of the country’s new Parliament building.

BJP accused of using revanchist Hindu symbolism at inauguration of Parliament building

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