The All India Congress Committee also known as the Congress party is in its 125th year. In a two-part interview with Sheela Bhatt of rediff.com, the historian and biographer Ramachandra Guha, author of the much-acclaimed India after Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy, discusses the birth and growth of the grand old party.
Sheela Bhatt: In the last many years, some of the Congress leaders have been seen as mocking Hinduism and sometimes even Hindu civilization while trying to attract the minority?
Ramachandra Guha: Lots of people have this view of the Congress. I wish we had a political party to challenge the Congress. That would offer the people of India a wider vision of how this country should be built. But we don’t need polarising issues. Such criticism comes from people who have a polarised vision.
I come from Karnataka. In the last election, the BJP put up 224 candidates but not one Muslim. Almost 15 percent of the population of Karnataka is Muslim. So you are telling 15 percent of Karnataka you don’t count for us. Then how can you blame them for voting for the Congress?
The BJP originally said, “appeasement of none, recognition of all.” But, they never followed it.
In Karnataka they attacked Christians after the Muslims in Gujarat. They had only one woman in the Cabinet and she too has been sacked. So, what message are they sending? Is this the alternative to the Congress? The Congress can be a cynical manipulator. It plays one community against the other, okay, but, what are you offering that is better?
Also read: ‘BJP is now just a B team of the Congress’