In an ironic twist of history,the BJP on Saturday sought to appropriate the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi,who was assassinated by a RSS activist months after India gained Independence,by claiming that the Gandhian ethos can be found only in the Sangh Parivar and not in the Congress.
“All the works associated with Gandhian ethos,if at all are visible,will not be found in that parivar of the Congress but in our parivar (BJP and RSS),” party chief Rajnath Singh said in Nagpur,the city of the RSS’ headquarters.
“The Congress has nothing related to Gandhi except a family name while we are the ones who are carrying forward his crucial work,” Singh said in his inaugural address at the saffron party’s two-day National Council meeting.
While on Friday the party had claimed that the Gandhian model of economy was best for the nation in view of the global meltdown of capitalism and the failure of communism,on Saturday it sought to claim the Mahatma’s political legacy as well by questioning the Congress’ Gandhian credentials.
Incidentally,the Gandhian and Swadeshi tone to the party’s pre-poll agenda,which is being seen as an attempt to broaden the saffron outfit’s electoral appeal,has emerged recently after former Swadeshi Jagaran Manch leader Murlidhar Rao was appointed as advisor to the party chief.
Rajnath said,”I would like to ask my Congress friends,to what extent have they implemented Gandhian thoughts in their policies while ruling this country for around 50 years? Their policies reflect more the elements of British Raj while those of Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj are missing.”
“In today’s Congress thinking there is neither any Hind Swaraj nor Gram Swaraj,no place for villages and no respect for farmers. No swadeshi cottage industries,no section living in simple life of sacrifice is connected to them,neither is there a swadeshi style nor swadeshi language,” he added.
Rajnath claimed that in India today,the Gandhian ethos can be found only in the ideology of the BJP and in the simple and dedicated lifestyle of several organizations of the Sangh Parivar.
Seeking to make a blend of the party’s Hindutva leanings with the Gandhian vision,he blamed Congress regimes of having tried to label devotional songs favoured by the Mahatma such as Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram or Vaishnav Jan as totally communal.
Saying that the Congress projected itself to be a party based on the vision of Young India,Rajnath said the BJP’s ideology was based on the vision of the new Young India dreamt of by young ascetics like Swami Vivekanand and Sri Aurobindo and for which many youth such as Bhagat Singh and Vasudev Balwant Phadke had laid down their lives.