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Rohit Dhankar

Sonia Gandhi appeals to minority voters ‘not to split secular vote’. Minority in her appeal, and mostly in present-day Indian conversations, is a euphemism for Muslim community. In plain language Sonia Gandhi is calling upon Muslims to vote en-block in favour of her own Congress Party. The assumptions are that (i) Muslim vote is secular vote, by the grace of its very religious affiliation, and (ii) Congress Party of Nehru-Gandhi dynasty is a secular party by its very nature.

Shahi Imam after a day or two of Sonia’s appeal, himself appeals to Muslims to support the Congress party. His appeal is to a community identified by its religion, he himself is a religious authority whose influence ends with Muslims, and he has the authority to issue fatwa for Muslims. In this particular case, he is not issuing a fatwa, but his appeal is certainly in capacity of his religious office. In what sense this man is more secular or less communal than Praveen Togadia or Ashok Singhal is known only to likes of Sonia Gandhi and Mulayam Singh. This is a man who has scared even the law of the land and Delhi police by his communal might and threats of communal violence. Now Sonia Gandhi appeals him to help keep “secular votes” united.

Congress is supposed to be fighting communalism and divisiveness used by BJP. BJP has a history of communalism and divisive politics, and there is no evidence of a change of heart in the party. Therefore, the claim that BJP is indulging in communal and divisive politics is easy to accept. It seems to be true by all available evidence.

And still the Congress president’s appeal raises very serious question: can communalism of one section of citizens be fought with communalism of another section of citizens? Or more seriously, is it the case that communal appeal to one section of citizens is really ‘communal’ and to other section of citizens is ‘secular’? If one appeals to Hindus to vote en-block then it is a communal act and when one appeals to Muslims for the same it is a secular act? This exposes the blatant communalism of congress. It is also an example of so well-known Muslim appeasement. But what else could Indian citizens expect from someone who has captured power on pure dynastic loyalties sustained by feudal mind set of Indian public.

This precisely is the mind-set of Indian National Congress, this precisely is the reason that gives BJP its strength. As long as the political parties of the country have this double standard we will not be able to defeat communalism in our society and politics.