Forgery of AICC document reflects desperation and frustration among BJP-RSS ranks
When lampooning, vilification, intimidation and fake cases failed to bring Congress on its knees, RSS-BJP now resort to forgery to defame it. Sujata Anandan explains why RSS and BJP leaders are riled
The handful of RSS ideologues I have been speaking to over the years have, strangely, over recent months all been urging me to prevail upon Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to dissolve his party.
“He must finally take Mahatma Gandhi's diktat seriously and put an end to the Congress. The party has outlived its utility,” more than one of them has told me.
When this refrain became frequent, I was compelled to ask one of them what had come of the BJP-RSS plan to liberate India from the Congress and why did they now need the help of a top Congress leader to rid the nation of his own party.
The man did not go so far as to admit that the BJP IT cell had failed grandly in ensuring a Congress mukt Bharat but he did not deny it either. However, what he said reminded me of Shakespeare's Macbeth ("Who would have thought the old man would have so much blood in him?") – we did not realise that Rahul Gandhi would have so much staying power and that the Congress itself would have so much life left in it!
Then, in an almost pleading tone, he said Rahul Gandhi's role in life was to be a business tycoon and not a political leader (as though he had anything to do with it). Listing all the disadvantages of continuing in politics, he also reluctantly admitted that from a reluctant politician, Gandhi had taken the centre stage in politics. He almost, but not quite, said that Gandhi was here to stay.
There is bewilderment among these RSS ideologues about why they failed to destroy both the Congress and the Nehru-Gandhis. From what I can make out, they are extremely angry at the failure of both Sonia Gandhi and her son to compromise with or make deals with the RSS considering that the latter is in power and could easily destroy anyone opposed to the ruling party as they have done with many opponents in the past.
In a weak moment, one of them even told me, “We searched. Don't think we did not look high and low through all the corridors of power to lay hands on something against them. But we could find nothing.”
So now, I believe, the RSS-BJP have taken to manufacturing documents against the Congress as evident from the alleged toolkit on forged Congress letter heads that several BJP leaders, including many ministers, seem to have tweeted. I am glad that the Congress has taken swift action against the forgery for any complacency would only have emboldened the RSS-BJP to forge something less harmless than a toolkit.
After all, over the years they have got away with vilifying Rahul Gandhi essentially because of the reluctance of the Congress and its leaders to get into a contretemps with their opponents. Rahul Gandhi's exceptional courage in weathering all the ridicule is what ultimately defeated the BJP IT cell but it is one thing to poke fun at your opponent and quite another to indulge in forgery and the Congress and its leaders must always guard against such possibilities.
However, what this forgery tells me now is that it is a complete failure on the part of the BJP to render India Congress-mukt – you cannot kick them out, so you might as well acknowledge you need fraud and lies to defeat the party. For, in this day of dedicated fact-checking, such forgeries cannot have a long shelf life and, predictably, not just did AltNews prove the toolkit to be manufactured, even Twitter has marked the tweet by BJP spokespersons and ideologues as "manipulated media" which cannot be retweeted and would alert others to its fraudulent nature.
But the events leading up to the episode also reveals a certain amount of chagrin among my RSS ideologue friends. They would not admit it openly but they are highly upset at the manner in which the Covid crisis has been handled by the Modi government, thus giving an opportunity to the Congress and its leaders to emerge as more compassionate, more competent and more efficient.
A couple of incidents in particular has got their goat – that at least two foreign embassies seem to have vested more faith in the Congress in saving the lives of their staff and that hardcore Modi supporters too tweeted to the Indian Youth Congress for beds and oxygen than vesting faith in their own government. When one of these Modi supporters, who is a public figure, was pulled up for contributing to the Congress narrative, I am told he was short with his interrogator, saying he had to save a life and he did not care where the oxygen came from so long as it helped his relative to live.
Now it is that kind of reaction from their own supporters that probably brought about the crib that the Congress is deliberately reserving beds and hoarding oxygen cylinders to bring a bad name to the government. Really? I thought any government should be far more powerful than a so-called rag-tag opposition to prevent such kind of malpractice by hospitals and others - if the allegations are true.
But it is simply that the Congress has had a history of governance and social service – and not simply self-service as the Modi government indulges in - and it is bringing its vast experience to the interest of saving the lives of people who may not even vote for their party (like the Modi supporter who snubbed his own party man when it came to saving his elderly relative's life). That is what really bothers the RSS – their inability to defend the Modi government's incompetence, with even RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, while shifting half of the blame to the carelessness of the people, having to acknowledge that part of the crisis was the government's fault.
If RSS supporters and leaders have come this far, including indulging in forgery, you can be sure they know they have lost the plot. What really galls them is that their detergent against the Congress is no longer working among some of their own suppo0irters and the Congress's khadi shirt is emerging cleaner and brighter.
(The writer is an author, commentator and columnist. Views are personal)