Right wing shirked from freedom struggle, propagates fake nationalism: Mallikarjun Kharge in Udaipur

Speaking at Chintan Shivir, Mallikarjun Kharge, convenor of political panel, slammed the BJP for its ‘pseudo-nationalism’. He emphasized that masses must be told of Congress’ role in building India

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge (File photo: PTI)
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge (File photo: PTI)
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Ashlin Mathew

The Congress party has highlighted at the Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir being held at Udaipur in Rajasthan that the fight in the country is about true Indian nationalism represented by the grand old party as against BJP-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s brand of fake and pseudo nationalism.

The Congress had kicked off the Chintan Shivir on Friday, May 12, 2022, stating that after 75 years of India’s Independence, the Narendra Modi government was railroading the Constitution and constitutional values that the Congress party had fought for.

At the three-day event, senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, convenor of the political panel set up by the AICC, slammed the BJP for its ‘pseudo-nationalism’, and pointed out that a party that wasn’t involved or visible during India’s freedom struggle now wants to stake claim on nationalism.

“Neither were RSS members there nor were they jailed for fighting the British. They weren’t even involved in the struggle to free India and now they want to teach us (Congress) about ‘desh bhakti’ and nationalism,” said Kharge impassionedly at a press conference held on Friday.

The Congress, asserted Kharge, represents the Indian way of life of rejecting extremes which has sustained this civilization for 3,000 years.

The senior Congress Rajya Sabha MP said it was the misfortune of the Congress that the leaders of BJP-RSS, which did not sacrifice their lives for India or were in the fight for the principles of the country, now want to tell the Congress about ‘love for the country’.

Combating BJP’s nationalism pitch, the Congress took support of its pre-independence freedom fighter icons. “Several lakhs of Congressmen went to jail during the freedom struggle. The Sangh members weren’t seen there then. Indira Gandhi gave her life for the country as did Rajiv Gandhi, Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh and former Union Minister Vidya Charan Shukla. We are fighting at every front. And they want to teach us a lesson. The Sangh members are saying they are the ‘asal deskbhakt’ and if they are, where were they during the Quit India movement and where were they during Gandhiji’s marches?” asked Kharge.

Agreeing that there were issues in the communication strategies of the Congress party, Kharge said they are not able to reap the benefits of their struggle to build India.

“Other people are reaping the benefits of what we fought for. We will keep the truth in front of the country. We are thinking of new ways to communicate to the people of the country. We are an older generation where we used to go from door to door to transfer messages. Now, everything is on social media. The older generation knows what Congress has done for the country and its people, but we have to educate the young about it too,” reiterated Kharge.

Congress has shown its leadership mettle during tougher times, he said. “After the elections, anything you ask Modi and Amit Shah, they call all their promises a jumla. Our Constitution is proof of what we have done for the country,” remarked Kharge.

According to reports, Kharge spoke at length at the meeting of the political committee, which was also attended by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi too made it a point to attend the meeting for about half an hour.

News reports suggested that in the discussions, it emerged that Congress' “nationalist" credentials shouldn't be restricted to its role in the freedom struggle; instead it should also include national security and the sacrifices made by the leaders of the party.

Reportedly, leaders in the political issues committee meeting said that the idea wasn’t to "reclaim" nationalism but to assert that the Congress represented Indian nationalism and that the BJP represented a "distortion" or "pseudo-nationalism".

Kharge said the political committee would discuss nine points: attack on the Constitution and democracy, protecting diversity, religious and linguistic minorities, rising communal polarisation, protecting autonomous bodies and institutions, national security and foreign policy, Centre-state relation; decisions on alliance with regional parties; issues of North-East states and Jammu & Kashmir.

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    Published: 14 May 2022, 9:14 PM