Soft vs Hard Hindutva: How Cong plans to use Hindutva card to ace MP polls

By Praveen Dwivedi

Bhopal, Jun 4 (IANS): In the run up to the assembly elections later this year, the Madhya Pradesh Congress is set to counter the party's portrayal as anti-Hindu. The opposition led by veteran leader Kamal Nath has drawn up elaborate plans to take on the ruling BJP and it's saffron allies - the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Bajarang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).

The idea is to counter the BJP's hard-Hindutva with soft-Hindutva, and for this purpose, the Congress has made the "Dharmik and Utsav Prakosth" fully active now. The committee was formed two years back and had enrolled kathavachak Richa Goswami who has an ashram in Amarkantak, along with several priests, religious storytellers and priests of temples.

The Congress' "Dharmik and Utsav Prakosth", which also projected Kamal Nath as a devotee of Lord Hanuman, has organised 30 religious programmes across the state in the last two years. It is now set to take forward its vision across 230 assembly seats in the coming days. The fresh segment of religious programmes will start with a mega event of the "Bhagwat Gita" kathavachan by Richa Goswami in Panchasheel Nagar of Bhopal on June 5, sources privy to the matter told IANS.

"The religious programmes are being organised across the state to counter the portrayal of the BJP and its ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh of the Congress as anti-Hindu. Local party leaders will be organising the programmes at their expense by involving the local people," a Congress spokesperson said requesting not to be named.

Sources claimed the preparations for this had began a couple of months ago with the formation of a 'mandir pujari prakoshth'. In a meeting with MP Congress head Kamal Nath, the priests had voiced their grievances, which include ownership of the temple's land and that they should be given the status of farmers. The plan is also an attempt to dent the BJP's Brahmin voters.

A similar concept was utilised during the last elections in 2018 and Hindu religious leaders such as Computer Baba and Mirchi Baba were enrolled to organise programmes before it returned to power in Madhya Pradesh in 2018. Later, they were given cabinet rank also which had led to a political controversy.

The Congress, however, lost power two years later when 22 legislators quit the party and resigned from the assembly in March 2020. This crisis within the Congress had resulted in Shivraj Singh Chouhan coming back into power again after 15 months.

Importantly, the Congress will take up the recent incident of the 'Mahakal Lok' corridor to corner the BJP in the coming elections. Six Saptarshi idols had collapsed following which the opposition Congress criticised the ruling BJP, accusing it of indulging in corruption in the Mahakal Lok corridor project, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October last year.



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Title: Soft vs Hard Hindutva: How Cong plans to use Hindutva card to ace MP polls

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