As the Congress, led by its veteran leader Kamal Nath, decides to contest the 2023 Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections, the party seems to be back to its tried and tested ‘soft Hindutva’ policy, which was seen in the 2018 state elections. The Grand Old Party in its manifesto spoke of building gaushalas in every village and developing Hindu shrines in the state.
However, it is now an unusual sight for Congress to do something about it and not to have conflicts between it.
On Monday, Congress unanimously decided to go for the 2023 assembly elections under Nath, who led the party to power in 2018. However, like last time under Nath, the team is ready to empty its ‘soft Hindutva’ pitch and the ongoing Navratri festival looks like a perfect platform for the same.
Through an official order dated April 2, the party requested its cadres and leaders to perform Ramakatha Bachan, Ramlila and worship of Lord Rama on Ram Navami (April 10). The team has asked its staff to recite Hanuman Chalisa and Sundarkanda on April 16 Hanuman Jayanti.
Former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and party state president Kamal Nath Ram will deliver a greeting message on the occasion of Navami and pay obeisance at his hometown Chhindwara on Hanuman Jayanti. Nath is a huge Hanuman devotee who even erected a 101.8 feet Hanuman statue at Chhindwara a few years back.
In Congress, meanwhile, it now looks like a traditional tradition, with dissenting voices within the party over the plans.
Arif Masood, the party’s MLA and member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, well-known for his outspoken views, has publicly criticized the party’s move, saying it was unwelcome to a political party to order religious observances. “Such letters have left us in a quandary,” Masood said, referring to Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti but choosing to ignore the month of Ramadan.
“You have skipped Ambedkar Jayanti, you have skipped Gangaur and Good Friday,” added the Firebrand MLA who is known for being vocal about religion.
“All religions are possible [religious equality]We are fighting with the opposition on that fundamental issue [BJP] Abandoned by you [the party]. People like this feeling about the team, “added Arif Masood.
“Special puja should be done but no one will do it at your request,” said the MLA who claimed that he had no problem with Kamal Nath’s leadership but he was telling the truth. “We are taking every department with us. Such letters are not correct. How can we leave Baba Saheb Ambedkar,” Masood said.
He further said that by issuing such orders, the party was giving the BJP a chance to corner them, adding that the Congress party should stick to its own policy.
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